New tires increase speed
A new environmentally friendly tire and cool morning temperatures had NASCAR drivers clocking speeds they were not even sure were possible on Tuesday. On the first day of a closed tire test on Indianapolis’ historic 4km oval, Mark Martin wrote on Twitter that he had hit 340kph in the morning. When Jeff Gordon saw the post, he asked his own team how fast he reached and said he was told 344kp/h. Drivers attributed the speed to almost perfect conditions in the morning — good grip and a cool track. In the heat of the afternoon, Gordon said the tire wear increased and the speeds slowed.
Purdy to replace Brook
England’s Lee Purdy is to replace unbeaten compatriot Kell Brook in a May 18 world welterweight title bout against US boxer Devon Alexander, promoters announced on Tuesday. Purdy, 20-3 with one drawn and 13 knockouts, is to challenge for the International Boxing Federation crown held by Alexander, 24-1 with 13 knockouts, at Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall. Brook, 29-0 with 19 knockouts, was forced to withdraw from the fight because of a foot injury. The bout had been delayed twice before, first by a Brook ankle injury in December last year and then by a February biceps injury to Alexander. Alexander, a former world light welterweight champion, took the title with a unanimous decision in October last year over Randall Bailey in New York.
Blackmon gets suspension
Jacksonville Jaguars receiver Justin Blackmon was suspended without pay on Tuesday by the National Football League for the first four games of this year’s season for a substance abuse policy violation. Blackmon, who caught 64 passes for 865 yards and five touchdowns during his rookie season last year, would be able to return to the Jaguars’ active roster on Sept. 30, the day after Jacksonville play host to Indianapolis. Blackmon, 23, will be able to participate in all pre-season games and workouts, but is to miss the team’s Sept. 8 season opener at home against Kansas City and road games at Oakland and Seattle. Details of the violation are kept private under NFL policy and medical privacy laws. “I’ve made a mistake and I have no excuse,” Blackmon said.
Kahui’s season in doubt
Injury-plagued All Blacks center Richard Kahui’s season with Super 15 champions the Waikato Chiefs is in doubt after he hurt his shoulder in training, it was reported yesterday. Kahui, who missed the Chiefs’ win over the Coastal Sharks on Saturday last week with a hamstring strain, injured his shoulder during tackling practice on Sunday, the Waikato Times said. Chiefs coach Dave Rennie told the newspaper that Kahui would undergo a scan next week, saying signs were “not very good” for the 27-year-old, who has signed to play with Japanese club side Toshiba Brave Lupus next year. “It felt sore and then he threw out a hand to catch a ball and he felt a little pop in there,” Rennie said. He said the injury was to the same shoulder that Kahui had been operated on last year, sidelining him for 10 months. The player only returned to Super 15 rugby last month. Kahui was a key member of New Zealand’s World Cup-winning team in 2011, but persistent shoulder problems have plagued him since his international debut in 2008, restricting him to just 17 Tests, in which he scored 10 tries.