Drivers top 200 mphduring Talladega spoiler tests
Speeds exceeded 200 mph during NASCAR's spoiler test at Talladega Superspeedway Tuesday. NASCAR plans to switch from a rear wing to a traditional spoiler, perhaps as early as next week's race at Martinsville Speedway, and the test was the first time a large group of cars have been on a track with the spoiler. There were 25 Sprint Cup teams at the test, which started with single-car runs and moved to a drafting practice.
NASCAR called teams into the garage to change the size of the restrictor-plate, which is used to control speeds at Talladega and Daytona, the two largest and fastest tracks in the series. Later, NASCAR ordered teams to trim the spoilers in an effort to level them off and decrease the drag, something driver Kurt Busch said was needed.
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"Overall I'd say we have a thumbs up with the spoiler," Busch said. "We might need to trim the spoiler a little bit to balance out the drag because, right now, the lead car can get out there, but he can't go anywhere, and it invites everybody else to suck up really easy. That's a concern. We need to balance out how close we keep the pack and yet how controlled the pack is. But the spoiler felt comfortable."
One hope in the return of the spoiler is that it will stop cars from going airborne in accidents. Carl Edwards' car went flying into the frontstretch fencing at Talladega last April. Two weeks ago in Atlanta, Brad Keselowski's car went airborne.
"We hadn't seen cars do that with the spoiler on it," driver Martin Truex Jr. said. "I think the wing is a big part of what was happening there. I think this will take care of that problem."
NASCAR will analyze data from Tuesday's test before setting parameters for a two-day test next week at Charlotte Motor Speedway. That's where drivers will get a real feel for how the spoiler differs from the wing, four-time Sprint Cup champ Jeff Gordon said.
■ Gordon announced Tuesday that his wife is expecting a baby boy. The baby, due in August, will be the second child for Gordon and his Belgian wife, Ingrid. Their daughter, Ella, will be 3 in June.
Tyson training birds for reality show
Former world heavyweight champ Mike Tyson will take flight on Animal Planet with a new sport — pigeon racing. The network this week announced a reality show that will pit Tyson, a novice pigeon racer, against serious competitors. The show is titled Taking on Tyson and promises to bring audiences inside this "intensely competitive and bizarrely fascinating world." Tyson has raised pigeons all his life but will take to the rooftops as a racing rookie. The show is scheduled to be taped this spring in New York City and air early next year.
Aussie is Masthay's competition in Green Bay
Former Kentucky punter Tim Masthay has some competition in Green Bay. Looking for another potential solution, the Packers signed former Australian rules football player Chris Bryan on Tuesday. A 6-foot-5, 210-pound rookie, Bryan played in the Australian Football League from 2005-08. The Packers have been struggling to find a consistent punter for several seasons. They didn't make a qualifying offer to last year's punter, Jeremy Kapinos, and signed Masthay to a reserve future contract in January.
■ The Jets and fullback Tony Richardson agreed to terms Tuesday on a one-year deal, keeping one of the league's best lead blockers in the backfield for the NFL's top-rushing team. Richardson, 38, will be entering his 16th season and has paved the way for several 1,000-yard rushers, including Thomas Jones the last two seasons. The move comes on the same day the Jets officially signed LaDainian Tomlinson.
■ The NFL announced Tuesday two new co-chairmen — and a new name — for its committee on concussions. Dr. Hunt Batjer of Northwestern University, and Dr. Richard Ellenbogen of the University of Washington will lead what now will be called the NFL head, neck and spine medical committee. Dr. Ira Casson and Dr. David Viano, who had led the league committee on concussions since 2007, resigned in November, less than a month after Casson and the NFL's concussion policy were criticized by Congress during a hearing at which Commissioner Roger Goodell testified.
Softball splits doubleheader with No. 5 Tide
The Kentucky softball team split a doubleheader with No. 5 Alabama in Lexington Tuesday. With the Cats down by two in the sixth inning of the second game, Megan Yocke hit a two-run homer, and Brittany Cervantes added a three-run shot to lead UK to a 5-4 victory over the Tide, who are ranked fifth in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll.
Brazilian fans bomb locker room
Brazilian police said Tuesday that fans of a losing soccer team hurled a makeshift bomb into the visitors' locker room, leaving two people slightly injured. A spokeswoman for the Senador Canedo police force said at least one player from the visiting team and a city councilman were hurt in the mayhem that took place Monday night in central Brazil. Players from the Canedense and Vila Nova teams clashed at the end of the game. Fans from the home team then stormed the field and joined the melee.
Ovechkin's hit puts Campbell out 7-8 weeks
Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Brian Campbell will miss seven to eight weeks with a broken collar bone and a fractured rib, the result of a hit from Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin. The Blackhawks' regular season ends April 11. Ovechkin drove Campbell into the boards from behind in the first period of Sunday's game. Campbell stayed on the ice for several minutes. Ovechkin, the NHL's leading scorer, drew a game misconduct penalty for the hit and on Monday got a two-game suspension. Ovechkin said he was disappointed by the NHL's decision and was sorry for the injury that came on what he thought was "just a little push."
■ The family of the Georgian luge athlete who died in a training crash on the Olympic track hours before the Vancouver Games formally opened last month will receive an undisclosed insurance settlement. Vancouver organizing officials said Tuesday that Nodar Kumaritashvili's family qualifies for a death benefit.
■ Lance Armstrong and Alberto Contador will compete in the Criterium International March 27-28, their first race together since the Tour de France last year, Contador announced Tuesday.
■ Lance Mackey became the only musher in the 38-year history of the 1,100-mile Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race to win four straight times Tuesday.
The last word
Richmond star David Gonzalvez almost transferred after his freshman season in 2006. But Coach Chris Mooney persuaded him to stay, and the guard is averaging 15 points heading into the NCAA Tournament. Gonzalvez explained how Mooney helped him mature:
"I was a jerk. That's the only rule that he has around here: 'Don't be a jerk.' "