Busch to start from pole
Kyle Busch has seen it time and again at Martinsville Speedway in Virginia.
Driving down pit road, heading back onto the 0.526-mile track and in contention for the lead, Busch is used to seeing the pole-sitter gun the engine just off the jack and reassume the race lead.
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Busch hopes to experience that for himself Sunday in the STP 500 after earning the pole on NASCAR’s smallest, tightest track for the first time in 19 Sprint Cup Series career starts.
“I think that’s a great thing for us,” Busch said after winning the pole with a lap at 99.674 mph Friday. “We get to pit there and of course drop the jack and just lunge across the line and be good. You need to still run up front all day.”
Denny Hamlin will start in second. Joey Logano will start in third and Danica Patrick in 10th, her best starting spot in a Sprint Cup Series race not held in Daytona Beach, Fla.
Greg Biffle of Vancouver, Wash., will start in 11th, and Kasey Kahne of Enumclaw will start in 27th.
Hanyu wins world title
Yuzuru Hanyu, 19, of Japan had a brilliant free skate to become the first man in 12 years to win the Olympic and world titles in the same year.
The men’s Olympic-worlds double was last achieved by Russian Alexei Yagudin in 2002.
Hanyu, who trailed compatriot Tatsuki Machida by nearly seven points after the short program at worlds in Saitama, Japan, finished with 282.59 points. Machida was second with 282.26, and Javier Fernandez of Spain placed third with 275.93.
Sony has 2 walkovers
Top-ranked Rafael Nadal of Spain and No. 2 Novak Djokovic of Serbia each advanced to Sunday’s Sony Open final in Key Biscayne, Fla., without playing a point.
Both received walkovers when their semifinal opponents withdrew for health reasons.
Tomas Berdych, who was to face Nadal, pulled out because of gastroenteritis. Semifinalist Kei Nishikori withdrew because of a groin injury.
It was the first time since at least 1968 an ATP Tour event had two walkovers in the semifinals.
“It’s very unlucky, very unusual,” Nadal said. “Sorry for Kei, sorry for Tomas and sorry for the tournament, especially sorry for the fans.”
Track and field
Pistorius trial is delayed
The murder trial of Oscar Pistorius has been delayed until April 7 because one of the legal experts who will assist the judge in reaching a verdict is sick — abruptly ending expectations the double-amputee Olympian was about to testify Friday on his fatal shooting of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp at his home in Pretoria, South Africa.
Judge Thokozile Masipa announced the delay in court on the day Pistorius’ defense lawyers were to begin presenting their case after four weeks of prosecution-led testimony and a two-day adjournment.
“One of my assessors is not well, so this court is not properly constituted,” Masipa said.
Masipa has two assessors who sit on either side of her in the Pretoria courtroom. South Africa does not have a jury system, and Masipa will deliver a verdict with help from the two assessors.
Pistorius faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted of premeditated murder for killing Steenkamp, 29, and also could be sent to prison for years if convicted of murder without premeditation or negligent killing.
• French skiing legend Jean-Claude Killy has resigned as a member of the International Olympic Committee, declaring it is time to move on after spending the past seven years heading the oversight panel for the Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.
The 70-year-old Killy said he completed his mission of helping deliver successful Olympics in Russia and defended his close working relationship with President Vladimir Putin, calling him “a good man.”
Killy, a winner of three gold medals at the 1968 Olympics, is leaving the IOC after 19 years as a member.
• Malik Zaire sounds confident he will beat out Everett Golson to become Notre Dame’s starting quarterback this fall.
“Without a doubt,” Zaire, who will be a sophomore, said. “There will only be one guy starting on Aug. 30th against Rice at Notre Dame Stadium, there will only be one guy out on the field, and I believe that will be me.”
Golson, who will be a senior, helped the Fighting Irish go 12-1 and get to the national-championship game in the 2012 season before being suspended from school for the 2013 season.
• Georgia Tech running back Dennis Andrews and receiver Anthony Autry, who are sophomores, have been suspended for the first two games of the football season for violating Tech’s conduct policy.
• Chris Kunitz and Beau Bennett scored goals 47 seconds apart midway through the third period, Marc-Andre Fleury made 35 saves, and the Pittsburgh Penguins clinched an NHL playoff spot with a 2-1 victory over host Columbus. Fleury made huge saves on Brandon Dubinsky and Cam Atkinson in the final seconds.
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