F1 to get U.S. driver for first time since '93
An American driver is back in Formula One racing for the first time in more than a decade. Scott Speed, a 22-year-old Californian, was chosen yesterday to drive next season for the Scuderia Toro Rosso team. He's the first American in the series since Michael Andretti in 1993. Speed won the British Formula 3 title in 2003, and both the German and Eurocup Formula Renault championships last year. This season he raced with Red Bull in GP2 -- the circuit just below Formula One.
NASCAR -- Officials are "extremely disappointed" in Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and other drivers who failed to attend last week's season-ending awards ceremonies in New York, spokesman Jim Hunter said. NASCAR president Mike Helton plans to speak with the drivers who failed to attend last week's ceremonies in New York, Hunter said. The sanctioning body also is considering ways to ensure future attendance. Gordon, who finished 11th in the standings, skipped the banquet because he was in Paris preparing to compete in the Race of Champions all-star event. Actor Will Ferrell, pretending to be Gordon, accepted the $1,075,386 payout on his behalf.
For 7th time, Woods voted top player
Tiger Woods won the PGA Tour's player of the year award for the seventh time in his nine full seasons, the final prize in a year that featured two major championships among his six tour titles. It was the fifth time Woods has swept the three major awards -- the Jack Nicklaus Trophy as player of the year, the Arnold Palmer Award for leading the money list and the Byron Nelson Award for having the lowest scoring average. "It's not about winning player of the year awards," Woods said at the Target World Challenge. "It's about winning tournaments that allow you to get these awards." The tour's award is a vote of the players, although tour officials have refused to release vote totals. Dana Quigley, who won the money title on the 50-and-older circuit, won the Champions Tour player of the year. Other winners were Jason Gore, Nationwide Tour player; Sean O'Hair, PGA Tour rookie; Olin Browne, PGA Tour comeback; Jay Haas, Champions rookie; Peter Jacobsen, Champions comeback.
WNBA alters rules to speed up game
WNBA teams will have less time to shoot and play 10-minute quarters next season under rule changes approved by the league. When the WNBA begins its 10th season next year, the shot clock will be shortened from 30 seconds to 24 seconds. Also, 20-minute halves will be dropped in favor of 10-minute quarters. International leagues, where many WNBA players compete in the offseason, are already using the 24-second clock. The shot clock will be reset to 14 seconds when a defensive foul or other defensive violation occurs with less than 14 seconds left. It will be left unchanged when a defensive violation occurs with 14 seconds or more left.
Track and field
Sprinter Holmes decides to retire
Two-time Olympic gold medalist Kelly Holmes, 35, announced her retirement, saying she had nothing left to prove after her victories in the 800 and 1,500 meters at the 2004 Athens Games.
Marlins explore San Antonio
Florida Marlins president David Samson visited San Antonio as part of a preliminary search for a possible new home for the team. Samson said the city was the first stop on a tour that will last three to five months. The Marlins have struggled to attract large crowds at Dolphins Stadium, home of Miami's NFL team, since their inception in 1993. They can leave after their lease expires in 2007. ... In other baseball news, Herb Moford, who pitched for four major league teams in the 1950s and 1960s, died Saturday in Cincinnati. He was 77.
Colleges -- Patterson graduate DeShawn Barrett, named in 2004-05 as a second-team All-Metro football player in 2004-05, The Sun's All-Metro Wrestler of the Year and Male Athlete of the Year, will play football at Wesley College in Dover, Del., in January. Barrett has not ruled out a return to the mats after Wesley.
Soccer -- D.C. United and the New York/New Jersey MetroStars will play the opening game of the 2006 Major League Soccer season April 2 at RFK Stadium in a celebration of the 10th anniversary of the league. The rest of the MLS schedule will be released later.