Craven renews contract as ESPN racing analyst

Ricky Craven agreed to a new contract with ESPN to continue as the NASCAR analyst for the network’s news show SportsCenter and other platforms.

The former Sprint Cup driver from the small Maine town of Newburgh is completing his seventh year with ESPN.

The Sprint Cup Series rookie of the year in 1995, Craven retired from racing in 2005. He lives in North Carolina with his family and maintains a home on Moosehead Lake in Maine.

FORMULA ONE: The family of injured driver Jules Bianchi said Thursday he’s still in critical condition but stable one month after his crash at the Japanese Grand Prix.

The French driver sustained a severe head injury when his car hit a mobile crane that was inside the trackside barriers to collect another car. He remains in a hospital in Japan.


PARIS MASTERS: Andy Murray clinched a spot in the ATP Finals by beating Grigor Dimitrov 6-3, 6-3 to reach the Paris Masters quarterfinals.

Up next for Murray is top-ranked Novak Djokovic, who withstood 12 aces before improving to 11-0 against Gael Monfils with a 6-3, 7-6 (2) win over the Frenchman.

Second-seeded Roger Federer kept the pressure on Djokovic in their battle for the year-end No. 1 spot, easily beating French qualifier Lucas Pouille 6-4, 6-4 to set up a meeting with Milos Raonic.

Fourth-seeded David Ferrer and No. 6 seed Kei Nishikori also advanced.


LPGA: Top-ranked Inbee Park birdied five of the last seven holes for an 8-under 64 and a share of the first-round lead in the LPGA Taiwan Championship at Taipei.

The South Korean star, playing her first round since regaining the No. 1 spot Monday, was tied with China’s Shanshan Feng after her bogey-free round at Miramar.

PGA: Sweden’s Rikard Karlberg shot a 7-under 65 for a two-stroke lead after the opening round of the CIMB Classic, a joint PGA Tour and Asian Tour event in Malaysia.

Karlberg, one of the 10 Asian Tour players in the field, birdied his final two holes at Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club to lead three players on 67.

EUROPEAN TOUR: France’s Alexander Levy had five straight birdies in the middle of his round and finished with a 7-under 65 to take the lead in the BMW Masters at Shanghai.

CHAMPIONS TOUR: Tom Pernice Jr. shot a 5-under 65 to take a one-stroke lead over Bernhard Langer and three others in the Charles Schwab Cup Championship at Scottsdale, Arizona.


MLS: Bradley Wright-Phillips scored twice in the final 13 minutes to rally host New York to a 2-1 victory over Sporting Kansas City, eliminating the defending champion and sending the Red Bulls to the conference semifinals.

n The ownership group behind the tentatively named Los Angeles Football Club, the league’s new franchise, held its first public event at a Hollywood studio, revealing a diverse lineup of investors, celebrities and sports professionals.

Vietnamese-American business mogul Henry Nguyen is the managing partner, while Malaysian billionaire Vincent Tan is a key director. Film producer Peter Guber has a prominent role, and ESPN basketball analyst Tom Penn will be the club’s president.

LAFC has no ties to Chivas USA, which was folded by MLS this week.

NORTH AMERICAN SOCCER LEAGUE: Raul, the leading scorer for Real Madrid, signed a multiyear deal to play for the New York Cosmos and will join the team for the 2015 season.