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Track owner banks on Cup race in Kentucky

Speedway Motorsports Inc. owner Bruton Smith, whose group also owns Las Vegas Motor Speedway, plans to spend upward of $70 million to help Kentucky Speedway land a lucrative NASCAR Sprint Cup race.

The Kentucky state legislature is ready to help offset some of the cost, if Smith can finally end the track’s decade-long pursuit of a date on the crowded Cup calendar.

Lawmakers are working on an amendment to the Kentucky Tourism Development Act that would allow SMI to recoup 25 percent of the expansion costs over a 20-year period through sales tax revenue.

The proposal comes with a caveat: no Cup race, no tax break.

It’s a deal Smith can live with, mainly because he said he’s planning on having a Cup date in 2010 at the 1.5-mile tri-oval located halfway between Louisville and Cincinnati.


AC Milan still working to retain Beckham

AC Milan is continuing talks with the Los Angeles Galaxy on making David Beckham’s move to the Italian club permanent, a top club official said.

Milan vice president Adriano Galliani said Tuesday there was still no deal, but hinted that an agreement could be reached by Friday.

“There’s is still some distance,” he told the ANSA news agency. “Friday could be the decisive day for Beckham. The player wants to stay. We’ll see how the situation evolves.”

Also: Landon Donovan is unlikely to stay with Bayern Munich on a longer contract once his loan expires in mid-March, according to the German club’s chairman.

Donovan practiced with Bayern in December and joined the German champions during the Bundesliga’s winter break in a loan deal similar to the one his Los Angeles Galaxy teammate David Beckham has with AC Milan. Donovan’s loan expires March 15.


Lady Rebels’ promotion includes $1 tickets

The UNLV women’s basketball team is hosting Put on Pink and Pack the Pavilion for tonight’s game against Wyoming at Cox Pavilion.

The promotion is for breast cancer awareness, and all tickets are $1, with children 12 and under free.

Also: Top-seeded Serena Williams dropped the first four games before recovering for a three-set victory over Sara Errani of Italy in the second round of the Dubai Tennis Championships in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

The Australian Open champion won 4-6, 6-2, 6-0, and sister Venus Williams routed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkov of Russia, 6-0, 6-1.

Felix Sturm will defend his WBA middleweight title against Koji Sato on April 25 in Germany.

The fight will be held in the city of Krefeld, Sturm’s Universum promoters said. Sato has been fighting in the super middleweight division and is undefeated in 14 fights. Sturm is 31-2-1.

Levi Leipheimer bumped wheels with teammate Lance Armstrong, causing a minor crash, but he recovered to maintain his lead after Thor Hushovd won the third stage in the rain-soaked Tour of California.

Hushovd claimed the 101-mile stage from San Jose to Modesto in 4 hours, 28 minutes, 12 seconds. Two-time event winner Leipheimer was still 24 seconds ahead of Australian Michael Rogers in the overall standings.

Seven-time Tour de France winner Armstrong, who began the day fourth overall, finished in the main group with Leipheimer and remained 30 seconds behind overall.

Montreal Canadiens All-Star Alex Kovalev is getting a few days off to rest his body and mind.

Canadiens general manager Bob Gainey said he suggested to Kovalev that he skip a two-game road trip to try to help the right wing snap out of a slump.

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Today’s local and national sports

Here’s today’s local and national sports schedule, including television and radio listings.

Rays owner says sharing season with Montreal is best option

Commissioner Rob Manfred said last week the Rays have “broad permission to explore what’s available.” Tampa Bay is averaging 14,546 fans a game, lowest in the American League.

Las Vegas native Rickard savors hometown stop with River Cats

After a whirlwind of events, outfielder Joey Rickard was released by the Baltimore Orioles organization and claimed off waivers by the San Francisco Giants nearly a week later.