Shell Oil to leave Harvick,
sponsor Kurt Busch in 2011

Several dominoes in 2011 team alignments fell into place Wednesday in a flurry of NASCAR activity triggered by Shell Oil Company’s decision to transfer its sponsorship from Kevin Harvick to Kurt Busch starting next season.

Shell’s move to partner its Pennzoil brand with Busch forced a shuffle at Penske Racing, which will shift its Miller Lite sponsorship to Brad Keselowski next season. Busch, a Las Vegas native, has driven the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge since 2006, when he first joined Penske.

“Brad is one of the hottest young drivers in NASCAR, and we’re thrilled to welcome him to the Miller Lite Racing family,” said Andy England, chief marketing officer at MillerCoors.

Keselowski is in his first full season of Sprint Cup racing and his first season with Penske. Miller has sponsored Penske cars for more than 20 years, first with Rusty Wallace then Busch.

Meanwhile, ExxonMobil announced it is ending its relationship with Penske after this season. Mobil 1 sponsors Penske NASCAR driver Sam Hornish Jr. Penske is working to line up a deal for Hornish and remain a three-car team.

Penske’s new deal with Shell was a conflict with Mobil1. The new partnership makes Pennzoil the primary sponsor for Busch, who will move to the No. 22 Dodge. Pennzoil also will be an associate sponsor for Penske’s IndyCar drivers: Helio Castroneves, Will Power and Ryan Briscoe.

Also: NASCAR penalized four teams that fall under the Michael Waltrip Racing banner for violations at Texas Motor Speedway.

NASCAR said the cars driven by David Reutimann, Martin Truex Jr., Max Papis and Marcos Ambrose all had illegal cars after qualifying at Texas. Reutimann and Truex’s cars are owned by MWR, and Ambrose and Papis drive for teams aligned with MWR.

Crew chiefs Bootie Barker and Frank Kerr have both been fined $75,000 and placed on probation through Dec. 31.

Crew chiefs Rodney Childers and Pat Tryson have both been fined $25,000 and placed on probation through Dec. 31.

Car owners Robert Germain and Tad Geschickter have been docked 50 championship owner points each. Papis and Ambrose have each been docked 50 championship driver points each.

The Indianapolis 500 field will include four former champions.

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway said 40 entries have been filed for the May 30 race. Defending champion Helio Castroneves is joined by former winners Scott Dixon, Dario Franchitti and Dan Wheldon.

Four women could start in the race for the first time. The entries include Danica Patrick, Milka Duno, Sarah Fisher and Simona De Silvestro.


Woods submits entries for
Players Championship, AT&T

Tiger Woods added two more tournaments to a schedule that is not much different from previous years, except for the timing.

Woods entered The Players Championship, set for next month, and the AT&T National, which is held in July and benefits his foundation.

It was the second straight week that Woods made an early commitment to a PGA Tour event, allowing more time to promote his appearance. Last week, Woods beat the deadline by eight days for entering the Quail Hollow Championship, which starts April 29.

Also: Ian Poulter and Steve Stricker pulled out of this week’s Zurich Classic of New Orleans.

Poulter, the sixth-ranked player in the world, withdrew because of an injury to his left knee. Stricker, ranked third, withdrew with an injured clavicle, leaving the event without its two highest ranked players.


BYU rugby club has no regrets about forfeiting Sunday game

Members of a women’s rugby club at Brigham Young are celebrating a season that ended early.

The Women’s Cougar Rugby Club forfeited the final game rather than play on a Sunday, which the players felt would go against their Mormon faith.

It cost them a chance to advance to the USA Rugby collegiate semifinals this weekend, but the players stuck with their pledge to forfeit rather than play.

Coach Tom Waqa says the Cougars were disappointed but had no doubts about the decision. The club routed Wisconsin-Milwaukee on Saturday in Samford, Fla., then forfeited the quarterfinal game against Penn State.

The team held its annual postseason party on Wednesday.

Also: Venus Williams will not play for the U.S. in the Fed Cup semifinals against Russia this weekend in Birmingham, Ala., joining her sister Serena on the sidelines.

Williams said she is still rehabilitating a troublesome knee injury and isn’t ready to return to competition.

Arjen Robben scored in the 68th minute, and Bayern Munich beat Lyon 1-0 in Munich, Germany, in the first leg of a rough European Champions League semifinal in which both teams finished a man short.

Relatives and fans of former boxing champion Edwin Valero gathered for the funeral for the troubled fighter who killed himself after slaying his wife.

Hundreds of residents from El Vigia, Venezuela, attended the mass for a fighter who rose to national fame before quickly falling into disgrace.

Valero, famed for an impressive record of 27 straight knockouts and a huge tattoo of President Hugo Chavez on his chest, was arrested Sunday in the stabbing death of his 24-year-old wife. Police said the boxer hanged himself in his jail cell early Monday.

Two people have been arrested in the shooting of a former U.S. amateur heavyweight boxing champion outside a mall in New York’s Long Island.

Darryl Austin and Rasalaam Jackson pleaded not guilty in North Bellport, N.Y., to assault charges in the April 7 shooting of Adam Willett.

Arizona State announced it is vacating 44 of its 49 victories from the 2007 baseball season and will be reducing scholarships as part of self-imposed sanctions for violating NCAA rules.

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