Sports Extra

Auto Racing

Kyle Busch likes to go fast, like record-fast at Bristol

BRISTOL, Tenn. – Count Kyle Busch among those who likes NASCAR’s new Generation-6 racecar. Of course, a new track record is bound to draw praise from any driver.

Busch won his first career pole at Bristol Motor Speedway on Friday with a lap in his Toyota at 129.535 mph, breaking Ryan Newman’s 10-year-old track record of 128.709.

Busch was one of nine drivers to go under 15 seconds in qualifying, and his time of 14.813 is the new record.

Kasey Kahne qualified second in a Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports with a lap at 128.995.

Busch’s teammate Denny Hamlin was third at 128.960. That’s an about-face for Hamlin, who was fined $25,000 by NASCAR for criticizing the new Gen-6 car. He’s refusing to pay but said he won’t appeal the penalty; NASCAR instead will collect the money from his race winnings.

Brian Vickers was fourth in a Toyota for Michael Waltrip Racing, Paul Menard was fifth in a Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet, Jamie McMurray was sixth in a Chevy for Chip Ganassi Racing, and defending series champion Brad Keselowski was the highest qualifying Ford driver in seventh.

WBC

Puerto Rico eliminates USA shy of yet another final four

MIAMI – Once again, the United States only could watch as an opposing pitcher celebrated at the World Baseball Classic.

This time it was 38-year-old right-hander Nelson Figueroa, who became the pride of Puerto Rico on Friday night when he led his team into the semifinals and eliminated the Americans with a 4-3 victory. J.C. Romero escaped a bases-loaded jam in the eighth and retired the final four batters for his first save.

Puerto Rico advanced for the first time to the semifinals, which will begin Sunday in San Francisco. They’ll play the Dominican Republic today in the final game in Miami, which will determine seedings for the championship round. Two-time defending champion Japan and the Netherlands round out the final four.

MLB

Pitchers: Lost in Translation? New rule says no more

TAMPA, Fla. – Major League Baseball has a new rule that allows interpreters to join managers and coaches on the mound when pitchers aren’t fluent in English.

Even though it already has been used in spring training, the rule still might need some tweaking.

Asian players routinely are provided translators by their teams, but Latino players rarely receive the same benefit.

Currently, only people who are employed full time by teams as interpreters are allowed on the field.

World Cup Ski Racing

Germany beats Sweden; Maze and Shiffrin up next

LENZERHEIDE, Switzerland – Germany won the parallel racing national team event Friday at Alpine skiing’s World Cup finals.

The German team of Felix Neureuther, Fritz Dopfer, Veronique Hronek and Lena Duerr won 3-1 in the final against the Swedish quartet of Andre Myhrer, Jens Byggmark, Maria Pietilae-Holmner and Frida Hansdottir.

Germany was third at the World Championships last month when Sweden took the silver medal behind host nation Austria.

Austria lost to Italy 3-1 for third place.

The United States skipped the event, which only featured seven nations. Each nation has four racers, two men and two women, who race head-to-head against their opponents in four parallel races. Each win is worth one point.

Next up: American teenager Mikaela Shiffrin will take on Tina Maze today for the World Cup slalom title. Maze marginally leads the slalom standings, but Shiffrin will take home the crystal trophy if she delivers a fourth World Cup victory.

Ted Ligety of the U.S. already has won the crystal globe in the men’s giant slalom, and Marchel Hirscher of Austria has all but won the overall disciplines title. The giant slalom is today and the season-ending slalom Sunday.

Associated Press