In brief: Newman, Gordon to start up front
NASCAR: Jimmie Johnson finally wasn’t flawless at Martinsville.
The points leader and winner in five of the past six NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races on the smallest, tightest oval in the series qualified 15th Friday.
Ryan Newman won the pole for Sunday’s race in Martinsville, Va., with a lap at 96.795 mph, followed by Jeff Gordon at 96.519.
In all, only four of the 12 participants in the Chase for the championship qualified ahead of Johnson. Most chose to focus on their racing setup with prospects for additional practice sketchy. Heavy rain fell early at the speedway, and more is forecast for today.
The results, still, were a source of hope for Johnson’s Hendrick teammates and closest pursuers, especially Gordon, with only five races left to close a 90-point gap.
The top 10 also includes Martin Truex Jr., starting third, and Mark Martin, David Reutimann, Casey Mears, Loey Logano, Bobby Labonte, Reed Sorenson and Kevin Harvick.
Redskins: Zorn won’t be fired this season
NFL: The Washington Redskins front office capped a week of high drama with an unexpected vote of confidence in coach Jim Zorn.
Redskins executive Vinny Cerratio said on his radio show that the team will not fire Zorn during the season.
The news follows a week of rampant speculation over Zorn’s job status that began when the coach was asked to give up his play-calling duties following a 14-6 loss to the previously winless Kansas City Chiefs.
•Cable thankful for decision: Oakland Raiders coach Tom Cable made his first public comments since learning he would not be charged for an alleged assault against a former assistant, saying he was thankful for the district attorney’s decision.
Napa County (Calif.) district attorney Gary Lieberstein said Thursday he would not pursue charges against Cable for allegedly breaking Randy Hanson’s jaw in August, citing inconsistencies in Hanson’s story that were not corroborated by the three assistant coaches in the room at the time.
•Boldin practices, questionable for game: Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Anquan Boldin is questionable for Sunday night’s game at the New York Giants after going through a limited practice Friday.
It was the first time all week that Boldin had participated in practice after spraining his right ankle in last Sunday’s victory.
•Edwards out for Bills: Bills starting quarterback Trent Edwards won’t play in Buffalo’s game at Carolina on Sunday because of a concussion.
Ryan Fitzpatrick will get the start for Edwards, who will miss his first game of the season.
Fowler, Owen share Frys.com lead
GOLF: Rickie Fowler, the 20-year-old former Oklahoma State standout, in his second PGA Tour event since turning pro, shared the lead with Englishman Greg Owen halfway through the Frys.com Open in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Both shot 6-under-par 64s in the second round in ideal conditions on the Raptor Course at Grayhawk Golf Club to reach 11-under 129.
•Pair lead at Champions Tour event: Champions Tour rookies Keith Clearwater and Russ Cochran both shot 5-under 66s to share the first-round lead in the AT&T Championship in San Antonio, the final full-field event of the season.
•Every in lead of Nationwide Tour finale: Matt Every shot a course-record 9-under 63 to take a one-stroke lead in the season-ending Nationwide Tour Championship in Charleston, S.C.
Alex Prugh (Spokane) shot a 4-under 68 and is tied for 28th place, nine shots off the pace.
Crosby scores twice, adds SO winner
Hockey: Sidney Crosby scored twice in the third period and had the only goal in the shootout, and the Pittsburgh Penguins overcame a two-goal deficit to win their seventh straight game, 3-2 over the visiting Florida Panthers.
Crosby had a power-play goal and a short-handed score in regulation, then beat Tomas Vokoun with a nifty deke.
•Tucker hurt in Avs win: After watching injured teammate Darcy Tucker taken off the ice on a backboard, Milan Hejduk and Wojtek Wolski scored goals in quick succession and the Colorado Avalanche went on to beat the Carolina 5-4 at Denver.
Tucker was checked into the boards by Carolina forward Tuomo Ruutu as he tried to play the puck in the Hurricanes’ end at 14:34 of the second period.
Jamison to miss up to 13 games with injury
Basketball: Antawn Jamison’s ailing shoulder will keep him off the court well into the regular season.
The Washington Wizards announced an estimated recovery time for Jamison’s injury, saying he’s likely to miss the first eight to 13 games.
•Refs will return to work: The NBA and its referees union have reached agreement on a two-year contract, ending a lockout of more than a month.
No details of the vote were provided, nor were terms of the agreement.
The referees will have a training camp this weekend and be ready when the regular season starts Tuesday.
•Former Kings guard retires: Bobby Jackson is retiring from the NBA.
The 12-year veteran guard, who spent six seasons with Sacramento, made the announcement before the Kings’ preseason finale against the Utah Jazz.