SWEDESBORO, N.J. (AP) — NASCAR driver Jason Leffler died after an accident in a heat race at a dirt car event at Bridgeport Speedway on Wednesday night.
The 37-year-old Leffler, a two-time winner on the NASCAR Nationwide Series who had the nickname "LefTurn" above the driver's side window on his race cars, was pronounced dead shortly after 9 p.m., New Jersey State Police said.
"NASCAR extends its thoughts, prayers and deepest sympathies to the family of Jason Leffler who passed away earlier this evening," NASCAR said in a statement. "For more than a decade, Jason was a fierce competitor in our sport and he will be missed."
Bridgeport Speedway immediately suspended racing for the rest of the night after Leffler's accident at the 0.625-mile, high-banked dirt oval.
The Brooklyn Nets hired Jason Kidd as their coach, bringing the former star back to the franchise he led to its greatest NBA success.
Kidd retired earlier this month after one season with the New York Knicks, his 19th in the NBA. The Nets decided to hire him to replace P.J. Carlesimo despite his absence of coaching experience.
The move reunites Kidd with the franchise he led to consecutive NBA Finals in 2002-03, when they played in New Jersey. He spent 6½ seasons with the Nets, averaging 14.6 points, 9.1 assists and 7.2 rebounds, and is their career leader in numerous statistical categories.
Terms of the deal that made Kidd the 18th coach in franchise history were not disclosed. The Nets will introduce Kidd on Thursday during a news conference at Barclays Center.
SAN ANTONIO (AP) — The NBA's Competition Committee is recommending an expansion of instant replay to include late-game reviews of block/charge plays, the first time the league is considering reviewing judgment calls by a referee.
PITTSBURGH (AP) — The Pittsburgh Penguins and coach Dan Bylsma agreed to a two-year contract extension through 2016.
General manager Ray Shero announced the deal less than a week after the Eastern Conference's top seed was swept by Boston in the conference finals. Assistant coaches Tony Granato and Todd Reirden will also be retained. Goaltending coach Gilles Meloche will move into an advisory role with the club next season.
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The Philadelphia Flyers acquired defenseman Mark Streit from the New York Islanders for minor league forward Shane Harper and a fourth-round pick in 2014.
NEW YORK (AP) — NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell says the Washington Redskins nickname is a "unifying force that stands for strength, courage, pride and respect."
Goodell was responding to a letter from 10 members of Congress who want the name changed because it is offensive to many Native Americans.
He cited the nickname's origins and polls that support its popularity. Goodell wrote that he understands the feelings surrounding it are complex and could change, but he also point out fan pride in the team's heritage.
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Buffalo Bills Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly is described as being in good spirits, recovering at home after having surgery to remove cancerous cells from his upper jaw.
Kelly's spokeswoman Tricia Cavalier said he was released from hospital Monday, three days after the operation.
NEW YORK (AP) — The Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks will bring their thunder Down Under.
Major League Baseball will open the 2014 regular season in Australia, with the Dodgers and Diamondbacks playing a two-game series at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
The matchups March 22-23 mark baseball's first games in Australia that count.
MIAMI (AP) — A judge refused for a second time to dismiss a lawsuit filed by Major League Baseball against a South Florida clinic and its operators over allegations they provided banned substances to players.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Dodgers were still upset a day after their brawl with the Arizona Diamondbacks, with much of their ire directed toward pitcher Ian Kennedy.
Kennedy hit Los Angeles rookie Yasiel Puig and pitcher Zack Greinke with high pitches, and a day later the Dodgers were still taking exception to where they were thrown.
Los Angeles manager Don Mattingly doesn't think Kennedy hit Puig deliberately, but he said Kennedy meant to hit Greinke. The ball deflected off his helmet and struck his upper left shoulder.
TOKYO (AP) — Japanese baseball officials have been criticized for introducing a new ball this season without notifying players.
With nearly 60 games already played, Nippon Professional Baseball acknowledged this week for the first time that a new ball was being used. The new, livelier ball has resulted in more home runs.
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — From some 1,800 miles away in Kansas City, Mo., 13-year-old Nick LeGrande threw out the ceremonial first pitch before the Yankees-Athletics game.
Into the glove of A's reliever Ryan Cook, in Oakland. It was all made possible by a telerobotic pitching machine, and is believed to be a baseball first when it comes to ceremonial first pitches.
NEW YORK (AP) — San Francisco pitcher George Kontos was suspended for three games by Major League Baseball, which said he intentionally threw a pitch at Pittsburgh's Andrew McCutchen on Wednesday, and Giants manager Bruce Bochy has been banned for one.
Miller Barber, the unique-swinging golfer who made the most combined starts on the PGA and Champions tours, died. He was 82.
The PGA Tour said that Barber died Tuesday. The tour didn't provide details of the death.
Barber, nicknamed "Mr. X," played in 1,297 tournaments on the PGA Tour and 50-and-over circuit. He won 11 times in 694 PGA Tour starts and added 24 victories in 603 events on the Champions Tour.
MADRID (AP) — A Spanish prosecutor filed a fraud complaint against Lionel Messi, alleging the Barcelona and Argentina star owes $5.3 million in back taxes.
The complaint names Messi and his father, Jorge Horacio Messi. Both are accused of defrauding millions on income tax returns for 2007, 2008 and 2009.
ISTANBUL (AP) — The anti-government protests in Turkey "will have no bearing" on Istanbul's ability to host the 2020 Olympics, the bid committee said.
The Olympic bid has been rattled by the nearly two weeks of protests that began in Istanbul and spread to dozens of other cities. It's the biggest test yet in the 10-year rule of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Istanbul, making its fifth bid for the Olympics, is competing against Madrid and Tokyo. The IOC will select the host city Sept. 7 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
HALLE, Germany (AP) — Top-seeded Roger Federer looked rusty but beat German wild card Cedrik-Marcel Stebe 6-3, 6-3 to reach the quarterfinals of the Gerry Weber Open.
BIRMINGHAM, England (AP) — Top seeded Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium came from a set down to beat Croatia's Ajla Tomljanovic and advance to the third round of the Aegon Classic in Birmingham.
LONDON (AP) — Four-time champion Lleyton Hewitt and Tomas Berdych advanced to the third round at Queen's Club.
Hewitt defeated Grigor Dimitrov 6-4, 6-3, and Berdych held off a strong second-set challenge from Dutchman Thiemo De Bakker to win 6-1, 6-4.
LEUGGERN, Switzerland (AP) — Alexander Kristoff of Norway won a sprint finish and Mathias Frank of Switzerland kept the yellow jersey after the fifth stage of the Tour de Suisse.