Dale Earnhardt Jr.

was docked 100 points yesterday and his crew chief was fined $100,000 and suspended for six races for an illegal part at Darlington Raceway in South Carolina.

The penalty, for illegal modifications to the rear wing on Earnhardt's Car of Tomorrow, is a significant setback in his team's bid to win a Nextel Cup title before racing's most popular driver leaves after the season.

Dale Earnhardt Inc. will appeal, team president Max Siegel said. Crew chief Tony Eury Jr., who is Earnhardt's cousin, is expected to work Saturday night's all-star race because suspensions do not begin until the appeals process is heard.

The penalty knocked Earnhardt from 12th to 14th in the standings.

NASCAR also penalized Bill Davis Racing for allowing an unlicensed driver behind the wheel of Johnny Benson's truck during a test session last week.

Mike Lichty, a friend of Benson's, took some laps in Benson's truck during Thursday's test at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte, N.C. Lichty wrecked, and NASCAR kicked the team out of the test.

Benson was fined $10,000 and docked 50 points, and crew chief Trip Bruce was suspended for two races.


Syracuse assistant

Mike Hopkins

will officially be named

Jim Boeheim's

successor as head coach, ESPN.com said. There is no timetable for Hopkins to replace Boeheim, 62.

Elsewhere: Penn junior Annie Kinsey was named the Ivy League softball player of the year. The second baseman hit .450 with 37 RBIs in 42 games. . . . La Salle's Ryan Moseley was named the Atlantic Ten Conference male student-athlete of the year in track and field. Moseley holds a 3.75 grade point average as a computer science major. . . . Michigan hired former Penn State head coach Jerry Dunn to be the Wolverines' associate head coach.


The U.S. Soccer Federation will name interim coach

Bob Bradley

the permanent coach, federation president

Sunil Gulati


Bradley was hired on an interim basis on Dec. 8. Since then, the Americans have gone 3-0-1 in exhibition games.

Elsewhere: American midfielder DaMarcus Beasley is leaving Manchester City and heading back to Dutch league champion PSV Eindhoven.


American entry BMW Oracle Racing rallied to beat Italian boat Luna Rossa to even the best-of-nine Louis Vuitton Cup semifinal series after two flights in sailing off Valencia, Spain.

The Italian cycling federation suspended Ivan Basso, and the Italian Olympic Committee's anti-doping prosecutor accused Basso of reneging on his promise to provide information about the Operation Puerto doping scandal in Spain.

The cycling federation suspended another Italian rider, Michele Scarponi.

Madison Pressel, the 15-year-old sister of LPGA Nabisco champion Morgan Pressel, advanced to sectional qualifying for the U.S. Women's Open in Naples, Fla.

Marika Lendl, daughter of tennis great Ivan Lendl, qualified Monday.

Serena Williams overcame a slow start before beating Michaella Krajicek, 6-4, 6-1, in the second round of the Italian Open in Rome.

Elsewhere: Andy Murray retired with an injured right wrist while leading Italy's Filippo Volandri, 5-1, in the first round of the Hamburg Masters in Germany.