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Published: Wednesday, January 7, 2004 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 6, 2004 at 11:47 p.m.

NASCAR sets new provisional system

  • NASCAR has a new provisional system that will allow 38 cars to qualify on speed this season in its top two series.

    Previously, only 36 cars qualified on speed and the rest of the field of 43 was set by car owner points. The change, which will affect the Nextel Cup and Busch series, was unveiled Tuesday as preseason testing began at Daytona International Speedway.

    The change reduces the number of provisional starting positions from seven to five for each race.

    The past champion's provisional will remain in place for the 43rd and final starting position when applicable.

    New car owners and teams not in the top 45 in car owner points will not be eligible for a provisional spot until after their entry makes an attempt to qualify at four races. In the past, those outside the top 45 and new car owners earned four provisionals following their first attempt to qualify for a race.

    n INDIANAPOLIS 500: Former Winston Cup champion Tony Stewart said Tuesday he will put his quest to win the Indianapolis 500 on hold until his NASCAR career is over.

    Stewart has twice run both the Indy 500 and NASCAR's Coca-Cola 600 on the same day in an attempt to fulfill his childhood dream of winning at Indianapolis.

    But he's decided he'll sit out the May open-wheel race until the day he retires from the Nextel Cup series.

    Coach denies doing wrong in Auburn probe

  • AUBURN, Ala. - A summer league coach questioned by Auburn University attorneys about his relationship with two former men's basketball recruits has denied any wrongdoing, his lawyer said.

    The university's attorneys have posed questions to Mark Komara, a summer league coach in Huntsville, and said they would use their findings when they present their case in a hearing before the NCAA Infractions Committee in Phoenix Feb. 13.

    United States opens Hopman Cup with win

  • PERTH, Australia - Lindsay Davenport began her comeback from foot surgery with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over Barbora Strycova, leading the defending champion United States to a 3-0 win over the Czech Republic at the Hopman Cup on Tuesday.

    James Blake, who won the Hopman Cup with Serena Williams last year, beat Jiri Novak 4-6, 6-1, 7-5 to clinch the match before Davenport and Blake beat Strycova and Novak in mixed doubles 6-3, 6-2.

  • TATA OPEN: Top-seeded Carlos Moya of Spain moved into the second round of the Tata Open with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Noam Okun of Israel in Madras, India.

  • AUSTRALIAN HARDCOURT CHAMPIONSHIPS: Top-seeded Ai Sugiyama of Japan overcame hot weather conditions Tuesday and beat Emile Loit of France 6-3, 6-2 in a second-round match at the .

    Suns release Ward one day after trade

  • PHOENIX - Charlie Ward was waived by the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday, one day after they acquired him in an eight-player trade that sent Stephon Marbury to the New York Knicks.

    Ward, a 10-year NBA veteran, had been with the Knicks his entire career. He had a clause in his contract allowing it to be bought out before Jan. 10.

    Private service planned for McGraw

  • PHILADELPHIA - Tug McGraw's family will honor him at a private memorial service Saturday.

    McGraw, one of baseball's most colorful relievers, died Monday at age 59 after battling brain cancer. McGraw helped the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies win their first World Series titles.

    McGraw, the father of country music star Tim McGraw, was diagnosed with brain cancer last March.

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