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Press Box: NASCAR won't fine Stewart

The SportsXchange

Three-time Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart won't be fined for a post-race fight or vulgar statements about Joey Logano on Sunday at Auto Club Speedway, NASCAR announced Tuesday.

NASCAR also won't discipline six drivers who were called to the hauler following the California race for entering pit road after the checkered flag, when the pit was closed.

"A few years ago, we backed away from micro-managing a driver's emotions," Sprint Cup Series director John Darby told reporters. "You would hope in today's world that if somebody didn't win a race they would be upset about it for whatever reason. That's what our drivers do, they try to win races."

In explaining his decision, Darby said Stewart and Logano didn't place anyone at risk, like during a 2011 incident at Darlington that led to $25,000 fines for Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick. In that altercation, Harvick took a swing at Busch, who stayed in his car. In trying to pull away, Busch pushed Harvick's car into the inside retaining walls with safety workers and crew members still in the area.

The scene between Stewart and Logano never reached that point. Stewart was angry that Logano blocked him on the final restart. After the race, Stewart cut off Logano's car on pit road with his, approached him and shoved him. A scuffle ensued, and Stewart lashed out during an interview later shown on Fox, with the cuss words bleeped.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL

More success, more suitors, more of the same for Shaka Smart.

The 35-year-old Virginia Commonwealth coach again spurned lucrative deals from larger programs to remain with the Rams. He's expected to agree to an extension that will likely significantly increase his base annual salary of $1.25 million, Sports Illustrated reported.

Smart was high on the wish lists of UCLA and Minnesota. But for the third straight year, he never seriously entertained overtures to leave Richmond.

Smart has coached at VCU since 2009, leading the Rams to the Final Four in 2011.

The Rams finished 27-9 this season, second in the A-10, and won its NCAA Tournament opener. VCU lost its second game to Michigan, 78-53, and the rumor mill began to churn about where Smart might wind up in 2013.

BROADCASTING

Broadcaster Robin Roberts will receive the Arthur Ashe Courage award at the 2013 ESPYS, ESPN announced Tuesday.

Roberts, one of the first female sports anchors on ESPN in the 1990s, has worked with ABC's "Good Morning America" for two decades. She has twice overcome life-threatening illnesses, and is being recognized for the "strength and courage" she has shown in her life and career.

She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007, and allowed viewers to watch as she beat the disease. In 2012, she fought a rare blood disorder, MDS (myelodysplastic syndrome), with the help of a bone-marrow transplant from her sister, Sally-Ann Roberts.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

New Mexico and Idaho are expected to announce this week that they are joining the Sun Belt Conference in 2014 as football-only members, which would bring league membership to 12 teams and allow for a conference championship game, according to a CBSsports.com report.

Previous reports indicated that Appalachian State and Georgia Southern, both of whom are moving up to FBS classification in football, will enter the Sun Belt Conference in all sports beginning in 2015.

--Cowboys Stadium will likely be the site of the first championship game of college football's new four-team playoff format, sources told ESPN.com.

Only the North Texas and Tampa Bay communities submitted bids by Wednesday's deadline. The championship game is scheduled for Jan. 12, 2015. The BCS commissioners will meet April 23-25 in Pasadena, Calif., to officially announce the venue, as well as provide other details.

NBA

The Atlanta Hawks signed guard Shelvin Mack for the rest of the season. Mack has appeared in nine games with Atlanta, and has averaged 2.6 points and 1.2 assists in 6.7 minutes. He scored a season-high 10 points with four assists, two rebounds and a steal in 19 minutes Monday at Indiana.

NHL

Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Brian Lee was assigned to the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League. Lee, 26, has appeared in 22 games for the Lightning this season, recording 16 penalty minutes. He ranks fifth on the club in hits with 49 and sixth with 28 blocked shots.
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