Compiled from wire reports
NASCAR overhauls championship format
•?Say goodbye to the NASCAR era when a driver, fresh off a satisfying, top-10 finish, climbs from the car and raves about what a good points day it was. Winning is all that matters under the latest and most radical change to the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.
NASCAR’s overhauled championship format announced Thursday is a 16-driver, winner-take-all elimination system designed to reward “the most worthy, battle-tested” driver at the end of the season.
“Riding around and being pleased because the [previous] format rewards consistency, those days are going to be pretty much over,” NASCAR Chairman Brian France said.
The field, expanded from 12 to 16 drivers, will be whittled down to a final four through eliminations after every three races of the 10-race Chase. The remaining four drivers will go into the season finale with an equal chance to win the championship: The first of the four to cross the finish line will be crowned Sprint Cup champion.
•?Michael Schumacher’s doctors have started trying to wake up the Formula One great from the medically induced coma he’s been in since a skiing accident last month, his manager said. The 45-year-old Schumacher suffered serious head injuries when he fell and hit the right side of his head on a rock in the French resort of Meribel on Dec. 29.
Left-hander Chen?to stay with Royals
•?Left-hander Bruce Chen got his wish, agreeing to a $4.25 million, one-year contract to return to the Kansas City Royals, where he’s spent the past five seasons. Chen became a free agent after last season, but he made it clear that he wanted to return to the Royals.
•?Hall of Fame broadcaster Bob Uecker says that after more than four decades of calling games for the Milwaukee Brewers, he plans to reduce his road game travel this season. Uecker said on WTMJ radio that he still plans to do all home games at Miller Park. The 80-year-old Uecker has been doing Brewers broadcasts since 1971.
Pandolfo is retiring after 15 seasons
•?Jay Pandolfo is retiring after 15 seasons in the NHL and two Stanley Cups with the New Jersey Devils. The 39-year-old forward was born in Burlington, Mass., and also played for the New York Islanders and Boston Bruins.
•?Predators captain Shea Weber is day to day with an upper body injury and did not skate Thursday in Nashville’s first practice since the defenseman was hurt. Weber left Tuesday night’s 4-3 win at Winnipeg 3:28 into the third period and did not return.
•?Johan Franzen won’t play for Sweden at the Sochi Olympics because of a concussion. The Detroit Red Wings forward missed a month before returning for one game on Sunday. Franzen played just under 17 minutes and was placed on the injured list again on Tuesday. He also missed time earlier this season with an upper-body injury.
Mickelson sluggish after back trouble
•?Phil Mickelson’s back was better than his game Thursday in the Phoenix Open. Returning to play after withdrawing from Torrey Pines last Friday night because of back pain, Mickelson opened his title defense with an even-par 71 at TPC Scottsdale. That left him 7 strokes behind leaders Bubba Watson and Y.E. Yang.
•?Donald Young has replaced an injured John Isner for the United States and will face Wimbledon champion Andy Murray today in the first match of the first round of the Davis Cup on the clay court at the San Diego Padres’ stadium.
— From wire reports