Sports Extra

Auto Racing

Harvick wins Nationwide race; Stenhouse Jr. ties Sadler

FORT WORTH, Texas – Kevin Harvick led 127 laps and won the NASCAR Nationwide race at Texas for the fifth time Saturday night, while Ricky Stenhouse Jr. got even with Elliott Sadler for the season points lead with two races left.

Stenhouse fought a loose car much of the night and managed a fourth-place finish to make up his six-point deficit to Sadler, who finished 11th. Stenhouse’s six victories, two more than Sadler, give him the tiebreaker.

F1 leaderboard takes a hit after Vettel’s disqualification

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – Lewis Hamilton’s slim hopes of a second drivers’ championship flickered when he secured pole position for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and Formula One leader Sebastian Vettel was disqualified and forced to the back of the grid.

Hamilton, the 2008 world champion, clocked 1 minute, 40.630 seconds in his McLaren on the Yas Marina circuit Saturday , 0.348 seconds quicker than Red Bull’s Mark Webber. Pastor Maldonado of Williams will start third, followed by Kimi Raikkonen of Lotus and Jenson Button of McLaren.

Vettel was third fastest, but because he stopped his car soon after qualifying, he was called to a meeting with race stewards. They ruled the Red Bull driver failed to have enough fuel in his tank to be tested after the session. He was excluded from qualifying but will be allowed to start today at the back of the grid.

Cycling

Italian report says ‘Vino’ paid Kolobnev to throw a classic

MILAN – An Italian newspaper printed emails and details of bank transfers that allegedly demonstrate how Alexandre Vinokourov paid off breakaway companion Alexandr Kolobnev to win the 2010 Liege-Bastogne-Liege cycling classic.

Having obtained access to legal documents from prosecutors in Padua investigating doping, Corriere della Sera reports Vinokourov allegedly paid Kolobnev nearly $200,000 to win the prestigious single-day race.

Corriere printed alleged e-mails from the pair where they exchanged banking information, adding that Swiss authorities provided details of the bank transfers. The victory was Vinokourov’s biggest after returning from a two-year suspension for blood doping at the 2007 Tour de France.

Vinokourov also won the road race at the London Olympics.

NHL

NHL and the players’ union again will sit at the table

NEW YORK – NHL labor talks are set to resume after more than two weeks off and a whole lot of canceled games.

For the first time since Oct. 18, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly and players’ association special counsel Steve Fehr agreed to return to the bargaining table at a secret location Saturday afternoon. The two have been talking by phone during the week and found enough common ground to meet face-to-face.

The lockout reached its 49th day Saturday, but at least there’s a glimmer of optimism that the season can be saved. There already have been 327 games canceled – including the New Year’s Day Winter Classic that was wiped out Friday – and the NHL has said it will be impossible to play a full season.

Ski Racing

Vonn’s wish to race the men at ‘Lake Lindsey’ is denied

OBERHOFEN, Switzerland – Lindsey Vonn’s request to compete in a men’s World Cup downhill race has been rejected by the International Ski Federation.

The FIS council met Saturday in Oberhofen, Switzerland, and “confirmed that one gender is not entitled to participate in races of the other,” then said, “exceptions will not be made.”

Vonn, a four-time overall World Cup champion, has earned nine of her 26 World Cup downhill victories in Lake Louise, often dubbed “Lake Lindsey” for her dominance there. She won’t get that chance against the men, though.

Associated Press