Furious Hamlin won’t pay NASCAR fine
Denny Hamlin was fined $25,000 by NASCAR on Thursday for criticizing the new Gen-6 race car after last week’s race at Phoenix, and the furious driver said he won’t pay. Hamlin compared the new race car unfavorably with last year’s car after his third-place finish, angering NASCAR officials who are concerned about the Gen-6 car’s public perception. Although Hamlin’s brief comments were barely noticed last weekend, NASCAR leveled a significant fine against him before Thursday’s open test of the new car at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. ‘‘Ultimately, I’m not OK with it,’’ Hamlin said. ‘‘This is the most upset and angry I’ve been in a really, really long time about anything that relates to NASCAR.” Hamlin added: ‘‘And so as far as I’m concerned, I’m not going to pay the fine. If they suspend me, they suspend me at this point.’’ According to NASCAR rules, unpaid fines may be deducted from a driver’s purse or point fund earnings. NASCAR vice president of competition Robin Pemberton said Hamlin is allowed to appeal his fine. ‘‘We give them quite a bit of latitude, but you can’t slam the racing,’’ Pemberton said. ‘‘You can’t slam the product. That’s where it crosses a line.’’
BU’s Alford wins America East award
Boston University senior Chantell Alford and Albany senior Ebone Henry became the first Co-America East Players of the Year since 1994. Alford, a guard from West Haven, Conn., is the first three-time winner. She leads the conference in scoring at 16.6 points per game. Maine freshman Liz Wood and Albany freshman Shereesha Richards were both honored as Co-Rookies of the Year. Alford was joined by BU guard Mo Moran and BU forward Rashidat Agboola on the all-conference first team . . . Notre Dame guard Skylar Diggins, UConn forward Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, and South Florida guard Andrea Smith were unanimous selections to the All-Big East team. They were joined on the first team by UConn’s Stefanie Dolson. Huskies guard Kelly Faris was named the conference’s defensive player of the year . . . Maryland’s Alyssa Thomas and Duke’s Chelsea Gray were named the ACC women’s basketball players of the year . . . Akron suspended point guard Alex Abreu after he was arrested and charged with possession and trafficking of marijuana. A spokesman for the team says the indefinite suspension is pending the outcome of a police investigation. Abreu is averaging 10.3 points and six assists per game.
Suns’ Gortat (foot) could miss season
Suns center Marcin Gortat probably is out for the rest of the season after spraining his foot during Wednesday night’s loss to Toronto. Gortat will be sidelined 3-4 weeks, much of that time in a cast. The Polish center has appeared in every game since he came to the Suns on Dec. 18, 2010 . . . Cavaliers coach Byron Scott said he will consider shutting down All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving, who recently missed three games with a hyperextended right knee . . . The Bobcats announced that guard Ramon Sessions , who is averaging a career-high 14.4 points per game, will miss 2-4 weeks with a second degree MCL sprain in his left knee.
Former lead Pistorius detective quits
The former lead detective in South Africa’s investigation of the murder case against Olympian Oscar Pistorius resigned from the force, police said. The decision by detective Hilton Botha to quit followed criticism for his bungling of the investigation into Pistorius’s shooting of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Feb. 14, as well as the revelation that he faced attempted murder charges for a 2011 case in which he fired at a vehicle. Also Thursday, a South African PR company said it will no longer represent Pistorius . . . Former NHL MVP Chris Pronger, who hasn’t played for Philadelphia since Nov. 19, 2011 and still suffers from lingering effects of multiple concussions, said he wouldn’t rule out attempting a return if physically possible. A specialist recently advised he stay out of the game . . . US women’s soccer goalie Jill Loyden broke a bone in her left hand during training and will miss three months. Starter Hope Solo is also out with a wrist injury . . . Four-time champion Martin Buser took the lead when he was the first musher to leave the checkpoint in the ghost town of Iditarod, Alaska at 2 p.m. local time Thursday. He’s already taken his 24-hour mandatory layover.