Logano defends his spot in the Chase
Joey Logano defended his place in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship on Thursday, rattling off his season statistics as proof he earned his spot in the 12-driver field regardless of any help he may have received in the deciding race. And make no mistake, Logano said: If anybody helped him at Richmond, he had no clue. The latest driver caught in the fallout of NASCAR’s investigation into Saturday night’s race at Richmond, Logano learned Wednesday that radio traffic appeared to show Front Row Racing’s crew chief and spotter talking about David Gilliland giving Logano a pivotal spot on the track in exchange for something unidentified from Penske Racing. There’s nothing in Penske radio transmissions to indicate wrongdoing, but NASCAR said Thursday it is still looking into the incident. ‘‘That is new stuff to me. Obviously there is no transcript on our radio of anything said about it [and] obviously I would have known about it if that was the case,’’ Logano said.
Cleary, Wings agree to one-year deal
The Detroit Red Wings agreed to a $1.75 million, one-year contract with veteran forward Daniel Cleary Thursday, retaining a key player on the opening day of training camp. Cleary, a 34-year-old unrestricted free agent, returns for a ninth season with the Red Wings and 15th in the NHL . . . Carolina Hurricanes general manager Jim Rutherford said that free agent defenseman Ron Hainsey agreed to a one-year, $2 million contract. The Hurricanes are counting on Hainsey to help replace injured defenseman Joni Pitkanen, who is out for the season with a broken heel that has been slow to heal . . . New Vancouver Canucks coach John Tortorella wants his players to limit their Twitter use because he says the social media site is ‘‘nothing but trouble.’’ He won’t ban players from using it, but he said they better make sure they don’t tweet any information from the locker room.
US climbs to 13th in the FIFA rankings
The US moved up six places in September in the FIFA rankings, finishing 13th, the Americans’ highest position since July 2010. The US had dropped as low as 36th in July and August in 2012. World and European champion Spain remained first for the 25th consecutive month, and Argentina rose two places to second . . . Victor Manuel Vucetich was hired as coach of the Mexican national team as it tries to recover from a pair of losses in World Cup qualifying and avoid missing the tournament for the first time in a quarter-century. The 58-year-old, fired by Monterrey last month after winning three straight CONCACAF Champions League titles, follows Jose Manuel De la Torre . . . FIFA president Sepp Blatter and top official Jerome Valcke will handle discussions of a Russian anti-gay law, the head of soccer’s discrimination panel said. Panel chairman Jeffrey Webb said the top soccer officials will deal with the issue ahead of the 2018 World Cup in Russia . . . Europe’s top referees know they are under intense scrutiny when the Champions League starts next week. UEFA wants its match official teams to get more offside decisions correct after high-profile errors in its marquee club competition last season. In addition, mistakes by referees and assistants on UEFA duty could sway FIFA when it chooses referees for the World Cup in Brazil.
Greece upsets Spain in Europe event
Greece rallied with a big fourth quarter to beat defending champion Spain, 79-75, Thursday in the second round of the European championship in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Trailing by 5 at the end of three quarters, Greece outscored Spain, 27-18, in the fourth to gain a win that could prevent Spain from claiming a third consecutive title. Goran Dragic scored 22 points to help Slovenia beat Italy, 84-77. Italy was the only team to finish the group stage with a perfect 5-0 record, but fell in its first second-round game. Earlier, Croatia used its size to rout Finland, 88-63, for its first victory in the second round.
Armstrong returns Olympic bronze
Lance Armstrong returned his Olympic bronze medal in cycling. Armstrong won the medal at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney in the road time trial. The International Olympic Committee in January vacated his finish. Armstrong tweeted that he gave the medal back and a US Olympic Committee spokesman released a statement confirming its return . . . Olympic great Carl Lewis will be a volunteer coach on the staff of track and field coach Leroy Burrell at the University of Houston, Lewis’s alma mater . . . Novak Djokovic will open the Davis Cup semifinals against Vasek Pospisil Friday when Serbia takes on Canada in Belgrade . . . Olympian Seth Wescott, a two-time gold medalist in snowboarding, fears Russia’s new law banning gay ‘‘propaganda’’ could end up tarnishing the Winter Olympics in Sochi. Wescott, who lives in western Maine’s Carrabassett Valley, criticized the IOC on Wednesday for selecting Sochi to host the 2014 Games, saying the city hadn’t proven it had the ability to hold the event . . . The San Diego Padres promoted Trevor Hoffman to upper level pitching coordinator and special assistant to general manager Josh Byrnes.