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Stewart will race this week

Tony Stewart will end three weeks of seclusion and return to NASCAR racing this weekend in Atlanta, his first public appearance since his car struck and killed a fellow driver at a dirt-track race Aug. 9, Stewart’s team said Thursday.

Stewart will hold a news conference Friday at Atlanta Motor Speedway, site of Sunday night’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, Stewart-Haas Racing said.

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They will be Stewart’s first public comments since his car struck and killed 20-year-old Kevin Ward Jr. while Ward was on foot during a non-NASCAR, sprint-car race at Canandaigua Motorsports Park in upstate New York.

As the story and a graphic amateur video of the incident sparked a nationwide debate about who was at fault, Stewart sat out the next three Cup races at Watkins Glen, N.Y., Michigan International Speedway and Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. Replacement drivers drove Stewart’s No. 14 Chevrolet.


Blaum fires 64 for lead

Ryan Blaum shot an 8-under 64 on Thursday to take the lead in the Hotel Fitness Championship in Fort Wayne, Ind., the first of four events in the Tour Finals.

PGA Tour player Greg Chalmers and Tom Hoge were a stroke back.

Former Huskies Richard H. Lee and Alex Prugh and Andres Gonzales of Olympia each shot a 68. Andrew Putnam from University Place had a 70.

I.K. Kim birdied the first four holes on the back nine and finished with a 7-under 65 to take the first-round lead in the Portland Classic.

The South Korean player birdied seven of the first 13 holes and closed her afternoon round with five straight pars. She won the last of her three LPGA Tour titles in 2010.

Amelia Lewis and Jennifer Song were a shot back in ideal conditions at Columbia Edgewater.

Anna Nordqvist, a two-time winner this year, was another stroke back at 67 along with Mina Harigae, Julieta Granada, Laura Diaz, Alison Walshe, Emma Jandel and Paula Reto.

Juli Inkster, making her 28th appearance in the event at age 54, topped the group at 68. She won the 1999 tournament to wrap up a Hall of Fame spot.

Former Husky Louise Friberg shot a 69.

The Los Angeles Country Club and the United States Golf Association have reached a preliminary agreement to stage the U.S. Open at the ultraexclusive club’s North Course in 2023, the first time the national championship will be held in L.A. since Ben Hogan won the event at Riviera in 1948.

Boston Celtics forward Jeff Green is donating $1 million to Georgetown’s new athletic center. The university announced the gift from the former Hoyas star on Green’s 28th birthday. He helped lead Georgetown to the Final Four in 2007 and was the No. 5 overall pick in the NBA draft that year.

New York Red Bulls midfielder Bobby Convey is going to be out three to five weeks after having surgery for a deviated septum.

Convey played in 13 games this season, starting nine. In his 12th MLS season, Convey has made 217 appearances with D.C. United, the San Jose Earthquakes, Sporting Kansas City, Toronto FC and the Red Bulls, recording 13 goals and 36 assists.

Carlos Bianchi was fired as Boca Juniors coach a day after the team lost for the third time in four games in the Argentine league.

Boca hired Bianchi in December 2012, his third stint in charge of one of Argentina’s most famous clubs — and one with a demanding fan base.

With Boca languishing near the bottom of the standings in 17th place with three points from four games, it seems the club ran out of patience.

Bayern Munich hopes to complete the transfer of Real Madrid defender Xabi Alonso in the next day or two, club officials said.


• Home favorite Francesco Molinari and Austria’s Bernd Wiesberger both shot 66 to share the first-round lead at the Italian Open in Turin, while Stephen Gallacher’s bid to earn a late spot on Europe’s Ryder Cup team ran into trouble.

Molinari and Wiesberger managed six birdies each in their bogey-free rounds to finish 6 under par. They lead a group of five players, including early leader John Hahn of the United States, by one stroke.

Gallacher, who needs a top-two finish to dislodge former U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell from Europe’s team, opened with a 72.

• World record holder and Olympic gold medalist David Rushida of Kenya could only finish third in the 800 meters at the Weltklasse meeting in Zurich, behind Botswana’s Nijel Amos and Ayanleh Souleiman of Djibouti.

Amos, who beat Rushida to gold at the Commonwealth Games last month, surged through the field to win the Diamond League event in 1 minute, 43.77 seconds.

Souleiman finished in 1:43.93, edging out Rushida on the line by three hundredths of a second.

Alejandro Valverde of Spain surged forward to win the sixth stage of the Spanish Vuelta in La Zubia and take the overall lead.

The 31-year-old Movistar rider climbed to the finish line in 4 hours, 35 minutes, 27 seconds, just ahead of Christopher Froome of Britain and Spain’s Alberto Contador, who both finished in the same time.

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