Carl Edwards captured the pole for the Sprint All-Star race at Charlotte (N. C.) Motor Speedway, paying tribute to the late Dick Trickle...

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Carl Edwards wins pole,

honors the late Dick Trickle

Carl Edwards captured the pole for the Sprint All-Star race at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway, paying tribute to the late Dick Trickle along the way.

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Edwards, the 2011 winner in the exhibition event, completed three laps and a four-tire pit stop Friday in 1 minute, 51.297 seconds.

Kurt Busch will start alongside Edwards on the front row Saturday night. Vancouver’s Greg Biffle, Kyle Busch and Joey Logano round out the top five.

Enumclaw’s Kasey Kahne starts ninth.

Edwards had Trickle’s name written just above his window, a tribute to the 71-year-old former NASCAR driver who died Thursday of what authorities said was a self-inflicted gunshot wound in Boger City, N.C.

Edwards said many of his crew members are from Wisconsin, where Trickle grew up.

“We felt like we needed to do something to honor him,” Edwards said. “I don’t know that I deserved to have his name above my window.”


Top-ranked Djokovic falls

Novak Djokovic can’t seem to find consistency on clay courts. With the French Open less than 10 days away, he will enter Roland Garros on the back of two early defeats.

The top-ranked Serb was beaten 2-6, 7-5, 6-4 by sixth-seeded Tomas Berdych in the Italian Open quarterfinals in Rome Friday. In the semifinals, Berdych will face six-time Rome champion Rafael Nadal, who defeated fellow Spaniard David Ferrer 6-4, 4-6, 6-2.

In the other half of the draw, Roger Federer overcame an early break in the second set to edge rising Polish player Jerzy Janowicz 6-4, 7-6 (7-2).

Federer will play Benoit Paire, the 36th-ranked Frenchman who routed Marcel Granollers of Spain 6-1, 6-0.

In women’s action, top-ranked Serena Williams rolled past Spanish opponent Carla Suarez Navarro 6-2, 6-0 to extend her winning run to a career-best 22 matches. Williams next faces Romanian qualifier Simona Halep, who rallied past two-time Rome champion Jelena Jankovic 4-6, 6-0, 7-5.

Two-time defending champion Maria Sharapova withdrew before her quarterfinal against seventh-seeded Sara Errani due to illness. Errani, the first Italian semifinalist since Raffaella Reggi won the 1985 event in Taranto, will face third-seeded Victoria Azarenka, who held off ninth-seeded Sam Stosur 6-4, 1-6, 6-3.


Povetkin retains

WBA heavyweight title

Unbeaten Alexander Povetkin retained his WBA heavyweight belt in Moscow, stopping Polish challenger Andrzej Wawrzyk in the third round for his fourth successful title defense.

The 33-year-old Russian improved to 26-0 with his 18th knockout, flooring Wawrzyk in the second round and again in the third with a right to the head. The referee allowed Wawrzyk to continue before stopping the bout with 31 seconds left in the round.

Povetkin, who outpointed Ruslan Chagaev in August 2011 for the then-vacant title, will face WBA “super champion” Wladimir Klitschko on Oct. 5 in Moscow.


Phelps planning a return?

Is Michael Phelps planning a comeback?

A report Friday evening from WBBH, an NBC television affiliate in Fort Myers, Fla., said Phelps will return to swimming with an eye toward competing at the 2016 Rio Olympics. The three-paragraph story on the station’s website was posted by news anchor Peter Busch, who is the son of Frank Busch, director of the U.S. national swim team.

Phelps downplayed the report on Twitter, but he didn’t specifically deny it either.

“Why do I keep getting texts about coming back?” he wrote. “Do (people) really believe everything they hear or read? There are (too) many (people) in the world that think they have a ‘story.’ “


• Indiana Pacers guard George Hill will have another concussion test before Saturday’s home playoff game. Hill missed Thursday’s game after complaining of headaches.

• Britain’s Mark Cavendish sprinted to victory in the 13th and longest stage of the Giro d’Italia. Italy’s Vincenzo Nibali kept the overall lead, boosting his chances of winning his home country’s biggest cycling race for the first time.

• Tacoma native Tejay van Garderen raced to a dominating individual time trial victory in the Tour of California in San Jose to extend his overall lead over Australian Michael Rogers.

• New York Jets running back Mike Goodson is facing drug and weapons charges after he was found in a car with an acquaintance early Friday morning on Interstate 80 in New Jersey.

• Arizona has hired Damon Stoudamire as an assistant men’s basketball coach for Sean Miller, bringing one of the program’s most popular players back to Tucson.

• Atletico Madrid ended a 25-game, 14-year winless streak against rival Real Madrid, getting a 98th-minute goal from Miranda for a 2-1 win in the Copa del Rey final in Madrid following the ejection of Real star Cristiano Ronaldo.

• Columbus Crew forward Jairo Arrieta has been suspended two games and fined an undisclosed sum for violent play in a game against the Colorado Rapids last weekend.

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