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Sports Digest: NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace agrees to contract extension


AUTO RACING

Bubba Wallace and 23XI Racing announced a multiyear contract extension Friday that keeps Wallace in the No. 23 Toyota that was the foundation of Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan’s NASCAR Cup Series team. The organization was launched around the only Black driver competing at NASCAR’s top level and the many partners Wallace signed in 2020 when he became a central figure in the national reckoning on racial and social justice issues.

Wallace needs a win in one of the next three races to have a chance to qualify for the 16-driver field for the Cup Series playoffs for the first time. He’s coming off his first pole of the season last week at Michigan International Speedway and then a second-place finish, falling just short of his second career win.

SOCCER

SPAIN: Working against the clock, Barcelona sold off even more of its club assets so it could meet the Spanish league’s financial rules and clear Robert Lewandowski and other summer signings to play in its season opener.

The troubled Spanish club was able to ensure that Lewandowski, its star signing, will be available against Rayo Vallecano on Saturday after it sold 24.5% of its Barca Studios production hub to Orpheus Media in a deal worth 100 million euros ($103 million).

That improved its financial balance enough to satisfy the Spanish league, which added Lewandowski and fellow newcomers Raphinha, Franck Kessie and Andreas Christensen to the list of players eligible to play following a transfer to a Spanish club this summer.

But, by late Friday, the league had yet to declare eligible all the players that Coach Xavi Hernandez wanted at his disposal. France defender Jules Kounde, who arrived from Sevilla last month, and Ousmane Dembele and Sergi Roberto, who are considered new players by the league because they signed new contracts after their old deals expired, still haven’t been cleared to play.

HOCKEY

NHL: The Chicago Blackhawks agreed to one-year contracts with defenseman Caleb Jones and forward Philipp Kurashev.

Jones and Kurashev were restricted free agents. Jones’ deal carries a $1,350,000 salary-cap hit, and Kurashev’s contract is worth $750,000.

Jones, 25, set career highs with five goals and 10 assists in 51 games in his first season with Chicago. Kurashev, 22, had six goals and 15 assists in 67 games last season.


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