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RICHMOND RENOVATION PLANNED
RICHMOND, Va. -- Richmond International Raceway is now Richmond Raceway and is due for $30 million in redevelopment over the next 15 months.
Track President Dennis Bickmeier and International Speedway Corp. CEO Lesa France Kennedy made the announcements Tuesday.
ISC has already made major changes at its flagship, Daytona International Speedway, and has a project at Phoenix International Raceway that should be completed by 2018, Kennedy said. She said ISC decided to make improvements at Richmond because it "has a very special personality, and it needs to continue. I think it's really important that we continue to upgrade all of our facilities."
The redeveloped infield will include a covered garage for teams to work on their cars while fans can watch from a nearby fenced-off walkway. There are also two suites and several covered areas for fans to socialize before a race, watch inspections up close and then the race. There will be an 80-person club with rooftop access near a new victory lane. Drivers will need to pass through fan areas to get to prerace ceremonies.
The project will give about 8,000-10,000 fans infield access at a cost comparable to a $50 pit pass, the track said.
NASCAR has seen a drop in attendance most everywhere, and the changes are "an opportunity to put people at the ground level of the sport," Bickmeier said. "We're going to be able to immerse people in the sport in a way that's not happened here before."
It won't quite be Richard Petty on a bulldozer tearing up the track for a redesign, as he did in 1988, but the project will begin after the September race, Bickmeier said. Next spring's race will be run "in a little bit of a construction zone," Bickmeier said, and the ribbon will be cut on the completed project before Richmond moves from the last race to make the 10-race playoffs into the playoffs in the fall of 2018.
DJOKOVIC NOT HAPPY WITH WIMBLEDON COURTS
LONDON -- Bothered by what he called a "hole" at Centre Court, Novak Djokovic complained about the condition of the grass at Wimbledon on Tuesday.
Djokovic, who defeated Adrian Mannarino in the fourth round, said the courts are among the worst he's played on in his 13 years at the All England Club.
"(The) courts, honestly, are not that great this year and many players feel the same, but it is what it is," Djokovic said in a television interview after his match ended. "I'm sure they're trying their best, but I've played on better courts."
Djokovic, a three-time Wimbledon champion and 12-time Grand Slam winner, initially expressed his disappointment with the court condition following a third-round victory over Ernests Gulbis on Saturday.
On Tuesday, playing with the roof closed, Djokovic could be seen after points picking up or kicking away small portions of grass that had loosened up on the baseline.
The second-seeded Serb lodged his disappointment with chair umpire Carlos Bernardes during the match and pointed out the issue afterward.
"He wanted me to show him, so I showed him," Djokovic said at a news conference. "His reaction wasn't that great."
Mannarino, who had not played on Centre Court until he faced Djokovic, said his only concern about the surface was that he had to make sure he didn't slip during the match.
"To me, the Centre Court (was) really good, actually," Mannarino said. "Maybe he was complaining a little bit, but compared to the other courts I've been playing on before, it was good."
Tuesday was the first day persistent rain moved over southwest London since Wimbledon started. Because of the dry conditions, the 18 courts saw nearly uninterrupted play over the first seven days of the tournament, which led to consistent wear.
Neil Stubley, the club's head of courts and horticulture, said on Saturday that the measurements his staff had taken over the first week of play showed that the grass was considered to be healthy and within the acceptable standards of use.
He also expressed confidence that the surface at Centre Court would be able to hold up over the second week.
MILLER FACES DAUNTING TASK IN BLOOMINGTON
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Archie Miller's trickiest summer job might be piecing together Indiana's schedule.
Inheriting only a few locked-in matchups for next season, the Big Ten's decision to play two conference games in early December, the conference tournament coming a week before Selection Sunday and the possibility of playing 20 conference games in future years have all complicated matters for the Hoosiers' new coach.
"When you look at the non-conference schedule and two Big Ten games coming the first weekend of December, it's going to be very, very taxing getting through November and December," Miller said Tuesday before one of the team's summer workouts. "I think when it's done it will be a tough non-conference schedule for us. Will it be glamorous? I don't think so. I'm not sure we can do glamorous right now."
Miller takes over a team that lost its opening NIT game and then lost three of its top four scorers -- two of them underclassmen who were NBA draft picks.
Only three players on Indiana's roster started 20 or more games last season, and the new schedule doesn't give the Hoosiers the usual two-month initiation period to get acclimated.
Indiana already has booked two road trips -- one to Seton Hall for the Gavitt Tipoff, the other to Louisville. There's also a home game against Duke in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge and a neutral court game in the Crossroads Classic against Notre Dame. Indiana fans are still clamoring for future games against Kentucky, and Miller has discussed the possibility of facing his brother, Arizona coach Sean Miller, sometime down the road.
But that may become more difficult now that the Big Ten has decided to play two conference games in three days on the first weekend of December.
"It hurts you in the ability to schedule non-conference games," Miller said. "But I think it will add a lot of excitement to it. I think you'll have some games in early December that will add some importance, and I think it will be showcase basketball for our conference."
The other end of the schedule is equally challenging.
With the Big Ten Tournament heading to Madison Square Garden in March, the championship game will no longer be the final big game of selection weekend. Instead, it will be played one week before the NCAA Tournament pairings are announced, forcing Miller and other Big Ten coaches to reassess how to handle a weeklong break.
NUGGETS WAIVE MILLER
DENVER -- The Denver Nuggets have waived 37-year-old shooting guard Mike Miller.
The team announced the news on its Twitter account Tuesday.
Miller played only 20 games last season as he served more of a coaching role from the bench for a Nuggets team that missed out on the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Over his career, Miller also played for Cleveland, Memphis, Miami, Washington, Minnesota and Orlando. He suited up in 1,032 games and averaged 10.6 points.
Miller was the sixth man of the year in 2005-06 while with the Grizzlies. He averaged 13.7 points that season and made 138 3-pointers.
In addition, Miller was named to the All-Rookie team in 2000-01 after being taken with the fifth overall pick by the Magic.