EARNHARDT CLEARED OF CONCUSSION, WILL RACE IN DAYTONA 500
concord, n.c.» NASCAR star Dale Earnhardt Jr., who missed the final 18 races last season because of a concussion, has been medically cleared to return next year.
Hendrick Motorsports announced Thursday that Earnhardt will take part in the season-opening Daytona 500 on Feb. 26.
Dr. Micky Collins, medical director of the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program in Pittsburgh, in consultation with Charlotte neurosurgeon Dr. Jerry Petty, cleared the 42-year-old driver Wednesday following a test session at Darlington Raceway in South Carolina. Petty attended the session.
“I feel great, and I’m excited to officially be back,” Earnhardt said.
Stricker-Kelly team leads shootout
B naples, fla.» Steve Stricker returned from a long layoff to team with Jerry Kelly to take the firstround lead in the Franklin Templeton Shootout.
The Madison, Wis., duo shot a 16under 56 in the scramble format for a one-stroke lead over Harris English and Matt Kuchar at Tiburon Golf Club.
The 49-year-old Stricker had not played since the Deutsche Bank Championship on Labor Day.
Charles Howell III and Rory Sabbatini were third at 59.
• Rafa Cabrera Bello had four birdies and an eagle for an opening 6-under 64 and a one-stroke lead at the Hong Kong Open.
Sebastien Gros shot 65 at the Hong Kong Golf Club, while 11 golfers were tied for third with 66s.
B austin, texas» Former Baylor football coach Art Briles is suing regents chairman Ronald Murff, board members J. Cary Gray and David Harper, and Baylor vice president Reagan Ramsower for libel and slander, accusing them of falsely stating he knew of reported assaults and alleged gang rapes by players and didn’t report them.
The lawsuit also asserts that Baylor officials conspired to keep him from getting another coaching job.
Briles suing Two more to lose medals
B lausanne, switzerland» The Court of Arbitration for Sport said Russian boxer Misha Aloian, who won a flyweight silver medal, and Romanian weightlifter Gabriel Sincraian, who won bronze in the men’s 85-kilogram event, will lose medals from the Rio de Janeiro Olympics after failing doping tests at the Games.
• Swimming’s world governing body FINA said it has agreed to reduce a doping ban for Russian swimmer Vitalina Simonova from four to two years. The former European championship silver medalist was given the original four-year ban in July after testing positive in 2015 for excessive testosterone.
Two get lifetime ban from FIFA
B zurich» FIFA’s ethics judge imposed life bans on Jonathan Musavengana, a former coach of Togo’s national team, and Bana Tchanile, a Zimbabwean official in a longrunning case of fixed friendlies played ahead of the 2010 World Cup.
Former South African federation president Kirsten Nematandani received a five-year ban from any soccer activities for failing to report suspected corruption, and lack of cooperation with an investigation.
Cole Krantz of Windsor High School and Trevor Olkowski of Grand Junction High signed letters-ofintent to play golf at the University of Colorado. … The Ring Magazine is making Muhammad Ali its 1966 fighter of the year, a half century after refusing to give him the award because of his disapproval of the draft for the Vietnam War and connection with the Nation of Islam. … Mississippi football co-offensive coordinator Dan Werner was fired after five seasons with coach Hugh Freeze. … Paul Elvstrom, a yachtsman who won four straight Olympic sailing gold medals from 1948 to 1960, died in Copenhagen. He was 88.