Burton departing from RCR
Jeff Burton will not return to Richard Childress Racing for the 2014 season. Burton made the announcement Wednesday, ending his relationship with RCR that dates to the 2005 season. Burton hasn't won since 2008 and is 22nd in the Sprint Cup standings this season. The 46-year-old has four of his 21 career Cup victories with RCR.
RCR says a new driver for the No. 31 Chevrolet will be announced at a later date. RCR also fields teams for Paul Menard and Kevin Harvick, who is leaving after this season to join Stewart-Haas Racing.
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"I strongly believe in the No. 31 team as to what we can achieve this year, and for the team in seasons to follow," Burton said. "However, the financial realities for next year were obvious to both Richard and me. So, we talked about it and both made the decision to make this move for the team's future."
■ Dale Earnhardt Jr. will have a new look during the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship as Hendrick Motorsports has finally sold the remaining inventory on his No. 88 Chevrolet. Time Warner Cable signed on as primary sponsor for five races this season, beginning Saturday night at Richmond in the final race before the 12-driver Chase field is set. Time Warner will also sponsor Earnhardt at Chicago, New Hampshire, Kansas City and Charlotte.
Ex-Cat Liggins denies abuse allegations
Oklahoma City Thunder guard DeAndre Liggins was arrested over the weekend after his girlfriend told police he attacked her in front of their 2-year-old son, but his lawyer said Wednesday that the NBA player denies "ever laying a hand on a female."
No charges had been filed as of Wednesday in connection to the incident. The local district attorney didn't return a message seeking comment.
A probable cause affidavit filed in Oklahoma County District Court said the woman told police that Liggins punched and hit her at their home. When the woman locked herself in a bedroom, Liggins "kicked the door in and pushed her down" before dropping a fan on her, stomping her with his foot and then dropping an Xbox on her head, according to the affidavit. The officer who wrote the report noted that the woman had physical signs of injury on her body.
Liggins was arrested Saturday on suspicion of domestic assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and domestic abuse in the presence of a minor. He was later released after posting $8,000 bail. His attorney, Billy Bock, said his 25-year-old client denies the allegations.
"DeAndre certainly denies ever laying a hand on a female," Bock said. "He's hurt by the allegations but knows the truth will come out."
■ Wichita State freshman guard D.J. Bowles will undergo tests to determine why he blacked out at practice. Bowles was taken to a Wichita hospital Tuesday night after collapsing during a workout at Koch Arena. Assistant athletic director Larry Rankin says Bowles was stable and talking when he was taken to Via Christi on St. Francis.
■ The NCAA has granted guard Michael Dixon's waiver to play this season at Memphis after transferring from Missouri. Athletics Director Tom Bowen announced Wednesday that the NCAA notified Memphis of its decision.
■ Blue II, the English bulldog mascot who gained national fame during Butler's run to the men's basketball championship games in 2010 and 2011, has died. The university said Tuesday that the 9-year-old dog died Saturday from complications from congestive heart failure.
No. 2 seed Azarenka reaches semis
Second-seeded Victoria Azarenka moved a win away from a possible showdown in the U.S. Open finals with Serena Williams, topping Daniela Hantuchova 6-2, 6-3 on Wednesday in the women's quarterfinals.
Azarenka has beaten top-seeded Williams twice this year, including last month in the finals of a tuneup tournament in Cincinnati. Last year, Williams topped Azarenka in three sets for her fourth title at Flushing Meadows. Before a possible rematch, Azarenka will have to best Flavia Pennetta, a first-time Grand Slam semifinalist at age 31 after her 6-4, 6-1 win over 10th-seeded Roberta Vinci.
Rafael Nadal, the two seed on the men's side, defeated 19th-seeded and fellow Spaniard Tommy Robredo 6-0, 6-2, 6-2 to advance to the men's semifinals a year after missing the U.S. Open with a knee injury. There he will face eighth-seeded Richard Gasquet, who reached his second Grand Slam semifinal — and first since 2007 — by eliminating fourth-seeded David Ferrer 6-3, 6-1, 4-6, 2-6, 6-3 in the men's quarterfinals.
Spieth 'stoked' to play in Presidents Cup
Jordan Spieth started the season without status on any tour. He ends it by going to the Presidents Cup.
Fred Couples used his captain's picks Wednesday on the 20-year-old Spieth and Webb Simpson to fill out his 12-man team, making Spieth the youngest American to play in the Presidents Cup since it began in 1994.
"I'm just super stoked," Spieth said.
Nick Price used his picks on a pair of rookies — Brendon de Jonge of Zimbabwe and Marc Leishman of Australia — as the International team tries to win for only the second time. The matches are Oct. 3-6 at Muirfield Village in Dublin, Ohio.
By taking Spieth, Couples left Jim Furyk off an American team for the first time since the 1997 Ryder Cup, ending a streak of 15 straight teams. Couples said it was such a tough decision that he did not call Furyk, and left him a text message late Tuesday night.
Furyk didn't mind the delivery — "All you're looking for is contact," he said — and while he was disappointed, he said Couples was in a tough spot.
"Everyone is going to argue what the right call is," Furyk said. "He had so many good players ... he wasn't going to make a bad choice."
Bolt on track for post-2016 retirement
Usain Bolt plans to retire after the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics. Bolt said Wednesday he wants to win more gold in Rio, set another world record in the 200 meters next year, and perhaps win a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games.
"So far, (it) is after the Olympics in Rio," Bolt said of his retirement plans. "I think if I am in great shape, I'll go there and do what I have to do. I think it will be a good time to retire on top."
Winning another three golds in Moscow last month made him the most decorated athlete in world championship history with eight gold and two silvers. He has six gold medals from the Olympics.
"If I want to be among the greats of (Muhammad) Ali and Pele and all these guys, I have to continue dominating until I retire," Bolt said ahead of his final race this season in the 100 at Friday's Van Damme Memorial.
■ The University of Kentucky softball team announced its 2013 fall schedule, which includes two home doubleheaders at John Cropp Stadium and two road trips to the state of Ohio.
The Wildcats will face Eastern Kentucky on Sept. 15, with the first game to begin at 1 p.m. The second set of home games is on Oct. 6, when UK will face Georgetown College beginning at noon. The team will travel to Ohio State for a doubleheader on Sept. 22, and to Dayton to face both Wright State and the Flyers on Sept. 29.
The last word
Southern Athletic Association-member Hendrix College will take to the gridiron in Conway, Ark., for the first time since 1960 on Saturday against Westminster. Regardless of that game's outcome, former Hendrix football players like Vance Strange are eager to see their team back on the turf:
"The key thing is that it is born again. The guys like me, those are the guys whose eyes tear up when they see this coming back."