Richard Petty Motorsports considering hiring Kurt Busch
Richard Petty Motorsports co-owner Andy Murstein told FoxSports.com that the team is considering hiring driver Kurt Busch, who parted ways with Penske Racing earlier this month after several off-track incidents that culminated with a tirade with ESPN reporter Jerry Punch during the last race of the season.
Busch, who won NASCAR's inaugural Chase in 2004, has won 24 Cup races during his career. He won at Infineon Raceway and Dover International Speedway in 2011 and finished 11th overall.
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"Kurt's issues are far less severe than what other athletes have done in other sports," said Murstein, whose team fields cars for A.J. Allmendinger and Marcos Ambrose. "Those athletes have all received second chances, and Kurt will, too. He wasn't caught running a dog-fighting ring, he wasn't caught with a handgun in a club, he wasn't using performance-enhancing drugs and, unlike his brother (Kyle Busch), he wasn't even letting his temper get the best of him to cause a wreck.
"I think he is a great competitor who just needs to take a step back and clear his head," Murstein added. "Perhaps someone as well-respected, talented, and universally loved like the King could help him accomplish that."
Richard Petty Motorsports has yet to sign sponsor Best Buy for the team's iconic No. 43 car and Robbie Loomis, the team's chief operating officer, told Sirius XM radio that he wants to hire Busch.
"I would mortgage my house to make Kurt a part of this team," Loomis said. "We value what he has done on the racetrack. He has won a championship and worked for a first-class operation like Penske Racing. Guys like that don't come along every day.
"Best Buy has been a great partner for a long time, and A.J. Allmendinger has done a fantastic job for us," said Loomis, who won a Cup championship as crew chief for Jeff Gordon in 2001. "He's coming off his best season yet, but I can tell you there is a lot of interest on our part in having Kurt Busch in the fold. It makes sense to have Kurt with our team, if we can make it work."
Donald named PGA's player of the year
Already No. 1 in the world, Luke Donald is also No. 1 in the eyes of PGA Tour players. Donald capped off a sensational season Tuesday by winning PGA Tour player of the year. He became the first British player to win the award since it began in 1990.
"It's a great honor to cap off what has been an amazing year for me," Donald said from the Australian Masters in Melbourne. "Thank you to all the players for their votes. There was obviously some other worthy people to vote for, and I guess my overall consistency and having to go to Disney and win, and win the money list like I did, was a deciding factor.
"I feel very honored at the moment."
Donald won the award over Keegan Bradley, Bill Haas, Webb Simpson and Nick Watney. Bradley, whose two wins included the PGA Championship, was voted rookie of the year.
It was only the fifth time in the last two decades that the PGA Tour player of the year did not win a major. Even so, Donald made a compelling case, especially at the end of the year.
He won two tournaments, as much as anyone else this year. He won the Vardon Trophy for the lowest adjusted scoring average. He had top 10s in 14 of the 19 tournaments he played, a rate of consistency only Tiger Woods has known in this era.
But it still came down to the end of the year.
Simpson won twice in the last three months of the season, and entered the McGladrey Classic to try to capture the money title. He took over the lead with his runner-up finish, and Donald decided to enter the season finale at Disney.
Needing nothing short of a win, the 34-year-old from England turned in one of the best performances of the year. Donald began the back nine of the final round with six straight birdies and closed with a 64 to make up a five-shot deficit and win by two.
While only his tour record counted for this award, Donald last week became the first player to win the money title on the PGA Tour and European Tour in the same season.
Sports in the courts
Memphis YMCA unaware of complaints
The YMCA of Memphis and the mid-South said its officials have no record or recollections of any complaints against Robert "Bobby" Dodd during the time he worked there before he left in 1992 and went on to become president of the Amateur Athletic Union. YMCA officials issued a statement Tuesday sent first to The Commercial Appeal.
"We are taking this matter very seriously and will continue to conduct our own investigation internally," they said in the statement.
The YMCA confirms Dodd worked there from the 1980s until 1992. The statement notes background and reference checks, screening and training of all staff and volunteers have been required for at least 20 years.
ESPN reported Friday that two former basketball players have accused Dodd of molesting them as children. One of the players, 43-year-old Ralph West, told ESPN's Outside the Lines he was assaulted in Memphis in 1984. The AAU has confirmed that it is investigating the claims, which date to the 1980s.
AAU Acting President Louis Stout has said that the 63-year-old Dodd has colon cancer and will not return to his positions as president and executive director.
West told ESPN that he doesn't plan to sue Dodd and said the publicity of the case has served his purpose.
"If somebody wanted to lock him up, that would suit me fine," West said. "(But) I'm not really, at this point, it's not about revenge and maliciousness. What I wanted was him away from the kids."
Reds add 6-foot-10 prospect Brackman
Andrew Brackman, a 6-foot-10 pitching prospect, agreed to a one-year contract with the Cincinnati Reds, a source told The Associated Press. The New York Yankees signed the right-hander for a $3.35 million bonus in 2007, knowing he likely would need elbow ligament-replacement surgery. He made his major-league debut on Sept. 22 this year and had three appearances, all against Tampa Bay. He allowed one hit and three walks in 21⁄3 scoreless innings.
■ Kelly Shoppach and the Boston Red Sox agreed to a $1.35 million, one-year contract that brings the free-agent catcher back to his original team. The move could mean the end of Jason Varitek's 15-year tenure behind the plate in Boston. The 31-year-old Shoppach batted .176 with 11 homers and 22 RBI in 87 games last season, his second with Tampa Bay. But he showed a strong arm on defense, throwing out 36.6 percent of runners trying to steal.
■ Second baseman Skip Schumaker agreed to a $3 million, two-year deal with the St. Louis Cardinals. He batted .283 in 117 games for the Cardinals this year and then .381 in the post-season with the lone RBI in a 1-0 victory over Philadelphia in Game 5 of the NL division series.
■ The Philadelphia Phillies agreed to a one-year contract with lefty Dontrelle Willis, a source told The Associated Press. The 30-year-old Willis was the 2003 NL Rookie of the Year with Florida and finished second in Cy Young Award voting in 2005. He was 1-6 with a 5.00 ERA for Cincinnati last year.
■ The Oakland Athletics agreed to a one-year contract with left-hander Dallas Braden. He made three starts last season before being sidelined by a shoulder injury. He was 1-1 with a 3.00 ERA before going on the disabled list April 18.
The last word
Count former University of Kentucky standout Wesley Woodyard among Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow's supporters. Woodyard said of his teammate's chances of being named the team's starter for next season:
"It's the NFL. I have no say so what goes on in the personnel department, but one thing is, at the end of the day, nobody can take away his wins. That's something he's been doing. He's been winning. He finds a way."