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Sports in brief


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NASCAR Chase filtering to lower levels

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — NASCAR is expanding its Chase for the Championship format to include its feeder series, meaning the champions from the Xfinity and truck series will now be crowned in a four-driver shootout at the season finale.

The format, announced Tuesday by NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France, mostly mirrors the playoff-style setup used to determine the Sprint Cup champion the past two years. That system has 16 drivers race through three rounds of eliminations to establish a field of four in which the highest finisher in the finale wins the championship.

The Xfinity and truck series will use a seven-race Chase to decide their champions. The Cup series uses a 10-race format.

All three series will end at Homestead-Miami Speedway. However, the three playoffs will begin at different tracks: Chicago (Sprint Cup), Kentucky (Xfinity) and New Hampshire (trucks).

There will be 12 drivers eligible for the Xfinity Chase, which will then be whittled to eight drivers and conclude with a final four at Homestead. In Trucks, the format is eight drivers cut down to six, then a final four at Homestead.

NASCAR said the 16 Sprint Cup drivers who made last year's Chase won't be eligible for lower-tier championship races. That eliminates Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth, Denny Hamlin, Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano — all often moonlight in at least the Xfinity series — from participating in the season finale.

Gibbs changes: Joe Gibbs Racing moved Dave Rogers from crew chief for Hamlin to the same post with Carl Edwards' team. Mike Wheeler was promoted from the Xfinity series to replace Rogers.


Pharoah earns global honor

Triple Crown-winning Horse of the Year American Pharoah was named World's Best Racehorse by the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities in London. The award was the latest for the champion colt who swept the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes before capping his career with a victory in the Breeders' Cup Classic.

Et cetera

Soccer: Inter Milan coach Roberto Mancini accused Napoli counterpart Maurizio Sarri of using anti-gay slurs during their teams' Italian Cup quarterfinal, which visiting Inter won 2-0. Mancini and Sarri were sent off in stoppage time after an argument on the sideline. "Sarri is a racist. Men like him cannot be in football," Mancini told Rai Sport. "I went to find him in the locker room and he apologized, but I replied that he has only to be ashamed." Sarri said he "lost clarity of thought" after Napoli player Dries Mertens was dismissed and added, "Am I homophobic? That seems over the top."

Olympics: Ticket sales for the Rio de Janeiro Games are disappointing to organizers. Only about half of the 4.5 million tickets aimed at the domestic audience have been sold.

Sailing: The scheduled Day 2 at the Key West regatta was canceled because organizers deemed the winds to be too high to safely sail in.

Times wires

Sports in brief 01/19/16 [Last modified: Tuesday, January 19, 2016 9:43pm]
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