Matt Kenseth and Joe Gibbs Racing were hit with one of the largest penalties in NASCAR history Wednesday after the engine from Kenseth's...

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Auto racing

NASCAR lowers boom on Kenseth after engine fails

Matt Kenseth and Joe Gibbs Racing were hit with one of the largest penalties in NASCAR history Wednesday after the engine from Kenseth’s race-winning car at Kansas failed a post-race inspection. The team had nothing to do with the error, and manufacturer Toyota immediately accepted responsibility for one of eight connecting rods failing to meet the minimum weight requirement by 3 grams — less than an empty envelope.

In the past week, NASCAR has levied more than $450,000 in fines and suspended nearly a dozen crew members for upcoming points races as it punishes teams for rules violations.

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Kenseth was docked 50 driver points in the standings — he earned only 48 points for the victory — and NASCAR also erased the three bonus points he earned for the win that would have been applied in seeding for the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship. In addition, the victory will not be credited toward his eligibility for a wild-card berth in the Chase.

The penalty to Kenseth, who held off Enumclaw’s Kasey Kahne of Hendrick Motorsports to earn his second win of the season, dropped him from eighth to 14th in the standings.

NASCAR also suspended crew chief Jason Ratcliff for six races and fined him $200,000. And in a rare move, car owner Joe Gibbs had his owner’s license suspended for the next six races and he won’t earn car owner points during that time. He also was docked 50 car owner points. Toyota, which supplies the JGR engines, lost five points in the manufacturer standings.

JGR said it would appeal.

College basketball

Louisville’s Smith returning

Louisville guard Russ Smith is passing on the NBA draft to return for his senior season, aiming to become his family’s first college graduate and win another title.

In other moves, Syracuse’s C.J. Fair, the Orange’s leading scorer and rebounder last season, said he is returning for his senior season; USC junior center Dewayne Dedmon said he’s leaving school to enter the draft; injured Penn State point guard Tim Frazier was granted a medical hardship waiver by the NCAA for a fifth year of eligibility; injury-prone guard Maurice Creek is leaving Indiana and hopes to resuscitate his career at another school; and guard Alvin Ellis III will be joining Michigan State’s recruiting class after he was released from his commitment to Minnesota.

College football

Cowboys Stadium to host 2015 title game

BCS conference commissioners said Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, edged Tampa, Fla., in the bidding to be the site of the first championship game in the new playoff system. The game will be held Jan. 12, 2015.


Dortmund beats Madrid

Robert Lewandowski scored four goals and host Borussia Dortmund took a huge step toward reaching the club’s second Champions League final with a 4-1 walloping of Real Madrid. With the win in the first leg of the semifinal, Dortmund, the only unbeaten team remaining in the competition, made it six straight wins at home and extended Madrid’s run of six consecutive defeats in Germany.


Blackhawks clinch

Presidents’ Trophy

Patrick Kane had a goal and two assists and the Chicago Blackhawks secured the Presidents’ Trophy for the first time in 22 years with a 4-1 victory over the host Edmonton Oilers. The Blackhawks (35-6-5) held off the Eastern Conference-leading Pittsburgh Penguins for the top regular-season record in the NHL.

Red Wings into 8th place

Jordin Tootoo netted the go-ahead goal early in the third period and Johan Franzen scored on a power play with 6:26 left, lifting the host Detroit Red Wings to a 3-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings and into eighth place in the Western Conference.

Detroit is one point ahead of Columbus and one behind seventh-place Minnesota. All three teams have two games remaining. The Red Wings are aiming to extend their postseason streak to 22, the longest in North American professional sports.


Denny Hamlin, recovering from a compression fracture of a vertebra in his lower back, hasn’t been cleared to race at his home track in Richmond, Va., as he had hoped.

Doneil Henry and Andrew Wiedeman scored second-half goals to help host Toronto FC beat the Montreal Impact 2-0 in the first leg of the Canadian championship semifinal. In the other semifinal, substitute Tom Heinemann scored in the 88th minute to give the Vancouver Whitecaps a 3-2 comeback victory over host FC Edmonton.

• Two-time defending champion Monterrey played to a scoreless draw at Mexican rival Santos Laguna in the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League final.

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