Saturday’s Sports Briefs

NASCAR adds Jeff Gordon to Chase field

JOLIET, Ill. — NASCAR added Jeff Gordon to the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship field Friday, a stunning and unprecedented step in the fallout from at least two attempts to manipulate the results at the season-ending race at Richmond last weekend.

NASCAR Chairman Brian France expanded the field to 13 drivers for the first time since the format was implemented 10 years ago.

Front Row Motorsports asked for a deal from Penske Racing at Richmond and then helped make sure Penske’s Joey Logano made the Chase field by having one of its drivers, David Gilliland, slow down, according to an Associated Press review of radio communications.

France said NASCAR could not determine a deal was made, but still believed the move was necessary and he placed both teams on probation the rest of the season.

VooDoo assigned Skyler Green

The New Orleans VooDoo were assigned receiver and New Orleans native Skyler Green, the VooDoo front office announced Friday.

Green, a former LSU standout made his debut during the 2011 Arena Football League season with the VooDoo after making stops in the NFL with the Dallas Cowboys, New Orleans Saints and Cincinnati Bengals.

In his first game with the VooDoo, against Jacksonville Sharks, Green had 221 all-purpose yards and five total touchdowns.

He finished the season as the team’s third-leading receiver with 50 receptions for 622 yards and 14 receiving touchdowns while playing in only seven games. In 2012, he had five receptions for 84 yards and one touchdown in four games for the VooDoo.

Kiwis at it again in America’s Cup

SAN FRANCISCO — The plucky Kiwis are at it again.

Nearly 20 years after beating Mr. America’s Cup himself, Dennis Conner, Team New Zealand is on course to scuttle software billionaire Larry Ellison’s hopes of keeping sailing’s biggest prize.

With thousands of their countrymen swarming the waterfront to cheer them on, the Kiwis need three more wins to strip Oracle Team USA of the Auld Mug. They lead 6 to minus-1, with Races 8 and 9 scheduled for Saturday. The clincher could come Sunday.

While firmly in control, the Kiwis are taking nothing for granted.

Team Oracle USA is trying desperately to figure out how to catch the New Zealanders while sailing upwind.

Nadal scores victory in Davis Cup

MADRID — Fresh off his U.S. Open victory, Rafael Nadal returned to Davis Cup play for Spain on Friday and helped his country to a 2-0 lead over Ukraine in a World Group playoff.

Nadal overwhelmed Sergiy Stakhovsky 6-0, 6-0, 6-4 on the outdoor red clay at the Caja Magica.

In the first singles match, Fernando Verdasco beat Alexandr Dolgopolov 3-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-2.

Nadal last played for Spain in 2011 when he won the decisive point of the final against Argentina to give Spain its fifth title. His absence has been due in part to a knee injury that sidelined him for seven months last season.

The world’s No. 2 player showed no signs of weariness after winning his 13th Grand Slam title at the U.S. Open on Monday. He said he felt fine returning to his preferred clay after the hard courts in New York.

“I only had a short time to get used to clay gain, a surface I love,” he said. “Changing surfaces quickly is not the best thing for your legs.”

Nadal needed 30 minutes to ease to a one-set lead. He lowered that mark by four minutes to go ahead 2-0.

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