It didn’t take Ricky Craven long to find a new ride as an auto racing analyst.

Craven, a Newburgh native and a winning driver on NASCAR’s three national tours, was hired to be part of the weekend studio team for FOX Sports’ 2019 NASCAR coverage. FOX will televise the first half of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, including the Daytona 500 on Feb. 17. NBC is the primary network for the second half of the season.

Craven announced Jan. 23 he was no longer with ESPN, where he worked in a variety of roles from 2008-18. ESPN has not televised NASCAR races since 2014.


ST. PETERSBURG LADIES TROPHY: Victoria Azarenka set up a meeting with an Australian Open finalist, Petra Kvitova, after a sometimes-shaky 6-4, 6-1 win over a Russian qualifier, Margarita Gasparyan, in Russia.


Azarenka, herself a two-time Australian Open champion, struggled on serve at times and gave up three breaks to Gasparyan. But the Belarusian won six straight games from 3-4 in the first set to 3-0 in the second to get the victory.

THAILAND OPEN: American qualifier Jennifer Brady achieved her second career top-20 win when she upset Caroline Garcia of France 6-4, 7-6 (3) in the first round at Hua Hin.


YACHT RACE: A 73-year-old French sailor won an unusual, around-the-world race after 212 days alone at sea without modern instruments – his first sailing victory.

Jean-Luc Van Den Heede arrived in the harbor of Les Sables d’Olonne in western France in his Rustler 36, the first to finish the 30,000-mile Golden Globe race. Of the 19 sailors who started out last July, only five were still in the race.



ASIAN CUP: Amid shoes being thrown in insult, Qatar won its politically charged match against United Arab Emirates in Abu Dhabi, and advanced to the Asian Cup final Friday against Japan.

The Qataris, who will host the World Cup in 2022, have won all six matches and have yet to concede a goal – the first country to do that at the continental soccer championship. The second goal prompted the UAE fans to start throwing their shoes at the Qatari players, an act considered an insult.

PREMIER LEAGUE: Visiting Manchester City’s chances of retaining the title were hit after surrendering an early lead to lose 2-1 at relegation-threatened Newcastle.City’s loss kept Liverpool four points in front ahead of its home game against Leicester on Wednesday. City has 14 games to make up what could be a seven-point deficit.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s winning start as the Manchester United manager came to end at eight games as his team needed a late comeback to salvage a 2-2 tie with visiting Burnley.


MAJOR LEAGUES: Relief pitcher Jenrry Mejia, allowed back into baseball after a lifetime ban caused by three positive drug tests, agreed to a minor league contract with the Boston Red Sox.


If added to the 40-man roster, the 29-year-old Dominican right-hander would receive a one-year contract at a rate of $625,000 while in the major leagues and $90,400 while in the minors.

Infielder Freddy Galvis and the Toronto Blue Jays agreed to a $5 million, one-year contract.

The Arizona Diamondbacks gave Manager Torey Lovullo a two-year contract extension through the 2021 season.

Lovullo, 53, was a coach for Manager John Farrell in Toronto and Boston, then was hired as Arizona’s manager in October 2016.

He was voted NL Manager of the Year in his first season after the Diamondbacks went 93-69. Arizona beat Colorado in the NL wild-card game, then was swept by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the Division Series.

Arizona dipped to 82-80 last year and failed to make the playoffs.


Lovullo has a .540 winning percentage in two seasons.

General Manager Mike Hazen said in a statement that Lovullo’s “leadership and ability to connect with people … provides the foundation for the culture we continue to cultivate and grow in Arizona.”

Switch-hitting infielder Neil Walker has agreed to a one-year contract with the Miami Marlins and is expected to compete for a starting job.

Walker was among the unsigned free agents last winter who attend a free-agent training camp in Bradenton, Florida, and he agreed in mid-March to a $4 million, one-year contract with the New York Yankees.

He slumped badly, hitting .197 with 19 RBI in the first half, then improved to .247 with 27 RBI in the second half to finish at .219 with 11 homers and 46 RBI in 113 games.

Walker has a .268 career average and has reached double figures in homers every year since 2010.



WORLD CUP: Marcel Hirscher dominated a men’s night slalom at Schladming, Austria, for his 10th win of the season.

Hirscher, the seven-time overall champion from Austria, built a lead of nearly a second in the opening run and also posted the fastest time in the second to win by a massive 1.21 seconds ahead of Alexis Pinturault of France.


UFC: After an entire UFC event was moved from Las Vegas to California last month when the Nevada Athletic Commission denied to sanction Jon Jones due to a drug testing issue, the commission conditionally granted a one-fight license to the UFC light heavyweight champion.

Jones is expected to defend his 205-pound belt against Anthony Smith at UFC 235 on March 2 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: