Junior set for new season
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- While Dale Earnhardt Jr. would just as soon forget last season, the lessons he learned have him eager to start this season.
Right now his confidence is soaring.
"I think we're going to come into the Chase being top three in the points," Junior said.
The third-generation NASCAR star will get his first chance to show that the No. 8 Chevrolet is going to be a leader instead of a follower tonight in the Budweiser Shootout (8:30 p.m., TNT), a 70-lap race for the previous year's pole winners and former Shootout winners.
Junior won only one race and failed to qualify for the 10-race, playoff-style Chase in 2005.
U.S. splits with Romania
SAN DIEGO -- After Andy Roddick grew nauseated and lost his match, James Blake won in straight sets Friday to give the United States a 1-1 tie with Romania in the opening round of Davis Cup play.
Blake defeated Victor Hanescu 6-4, 7-6 (5), 6-2 following Andrei Pavel's 6-7 (2), 2-6, 7-6 (8), 6-2, 6-4 upset of Roddick. Twins Bob and Mike Bryan will try to give the U.S. the lead in the best-of-five matches when they play Pavel and Hanescu in doubles today.
* Missouri basketball coach Quin Snyder resigned Friday, one day after saying he planned to finish what had become a disappointing season (10-11 overall). Associate head coach Melvin Watkins will be the interim coach.
*Former Ohio State star tailback Maurice Clarett was indicted on charges of robbery and carrying a concealed weapon, the latest setback for the player who helped the Buckeyes win the 2002 national championship.
*Pete Weber defeated Lockport's Brad Angelo in seven games in the round of 16 at the PBA West Virginia Championship in Parkersburg, W.Va.
*Pitcher Shawn Chacon and the New York Yankees agreed to a $3.6 million, one-year contract and avoided a salary arbitration hearing.
*Rookie Clark MacArthur scored twice in regulation, then once in the shootout, to help lift the Rochester Americans to a 4-3 victory over the Hamilton Bulldogs in the AHL action.