DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) NASCAR suspended Kurt Busch indefinitely Friday after a judge said the former champion almost surely choked and beat a former girlfriend last fall and there was a ”substantial likelihood” of more domestic violence from him in the future.
In a stunning move two days before the season-opening Daytona 500, NASCAR said Busch would not be allowed to participate in any series activities until further notice given the ”serious nature of the findings and conclusions” made by a Delaware judge involving the driver known as ”The Outlaw.”
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Busch attorney Rusty Hardin said the driver will appeal, and NASCAR said it will be expedited. Still, SHR said Regan Smith will drive Busch’s car in the Daytona 500 regardless of the appeal outcome.
Busch becomes the first driver suspended by NASCAR for domestic violence. Chairman Brian France had maintained the series would let the process play out before ruling on Busch’s eligibility – and the series came down hard in finding that he committed actions detrimental to stock car racing and broke the series’ behavioral rules.
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) – Tyler Reddick won the season-opening Truck Series race at Daytona International Speedway.
Reddick held the lead down the stretch in the 100-lap race, giving team owner Brad Keselowski a win. It nearly was a 1-2 finish for Brad Keselowski Racing. Teammate Austin Theriault was tucked in behind Reddick on the final lap, but Theriault spent the final few hundred yards blocking and keeping everyone behind Reddick.
Erik Jones pulled to the outside and beat Theriault to the finish line. Jones was second, followed by Scott Lagasse Jr., Theriault and Ray Black Jr.
LAS VEGAS (AP) – Floyd Mayweather Jr. will meet Manny Pacquiao on May 2 in a welterweight showdown that will be boxing’s richest fight ever. Mayweather himself announced the bout Friday after months of negotiations, posting a picture of the signed contract online.
The long anticipated bout at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas will almost surely break every financial record, and make both boxers richer than ever. Mayweather could earn $120 million or more, while Pacquiao’s split of the purse will likely be around $80 million.
The fight, which matches boxing’s two biggest attractions of recent years, has been in the making for five years. It finally came together in recent months with both fighters putting aside past differences over various issues – including drug testing and television rights – to reach agreement.
NEW YORK (AP) – Major League Baseball is slowly addressing the lagging pace of games.
MLB and the players’ association announced an agreement to enforce the rule requiring a hitter to keep at least one foot in the batter’s box in many cases. MLB also will post stadium clocks timing pitching changes and between-inning breaks starting in spring training, and it no longer will require managers to always come onto the field when they request video reviews by umpires.
But the sides limited penalties to warnings and fines, and not automatic balls and strikes. The fines don’t start until May 1 and are capped at $500 per offense.
Many of the more radical ideas experimented with during the Arizona Fall League were not adopted, such as a 20-second clock between pitches, a limitation of pitcher’s mound conferences involving catchers and managers, and no-pitch intentional walks.
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – Rams coach Jeff Fisher expects the NFL’s competition committee to take another look at expanding replay.
The committee co-chairman said that while many coaches and team officials are proposing changes, including the possibility of making penalties reviewable, they may not happen before next season.
Replay becomes a hot topic each offseason because of the lingering memories of controversial plays.
The two most notable ones this time came in the playoffs: a non-call in the Lions-Cowboys playoff game, and Dez Bryant’s attempt to catch a pass against Green Bay, which was ruled a reception on the field and then overturned.
Fisher said the number of proposals discussed this week during the NFL’s annual scouting combine was at an all-time high.
NEW YORK (AP) – All-Star forward Chris Bosh of the Miami Heat underwent more tests in a South Florida hospital amid concerns that blood clots have worked their way from his legs to his lungs to create a condition that could be season-ending or worse.
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said the team is still waiting for a full diagnosis and expected prognosis, insisting that it is too soon to draw any conclusions.
But if the clot fears are confirmed, Bosh would almost certainly be facing a recovery period of at least several months.
Asked if that was what doctors were testing for, Spoelstra said he would be ”talking out of line” if he discussed that with the information he had.
LOS ANGELES (AP) – Retief Goosen rolled in a 30-foot birdie putt on his final hole at the Northern Trust Open for a 1-under 70 and his first 36-hole lead in more than four years.
He was one shot ahead of Ryan Moore (68), Graham DeLaet (67) and Justin Thomas, the 21-year-old rookie who already has been in the weekend hunt twice this year. Thomas made three crucial par saves on his final nine holes for a 69.
It’s easy to mention U.S. Open when the scores are high, especially on a course that once hosted one. But there was nothing easy about Riviera. Goosen was at 6-under 136, the highest 36-hole score to lead on the PGA Tour since the Quicken Loans National at Congressional, another U.S. Open venue.
Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera made two bogeys over his last three holes for a 68 and was two shots behind. Defending champion Bubba Watson (69), Jordan Spieth (70) and J.B. Holmes (69) were in the group three shots behind.