Sports Minute: NASCAR Chase Changes, Vickers Cleared, Clippers Hot

By Jim McCoy Thu 30th January SportsBrian VickersLA ClippersNASCARNBA
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - NASCAR has overhauled its championship format to create an elimination, winner-take-all system designed to reward "the most battle-tested" driver at the end of the season. The 16-driver Chase field will be cut by four after every three races in the championship series. The title goes to whoever finishes first among the four remaining drivers in the season finale. CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Brian Vickers says he is off blood thinners and plans to run the entire Sprint Cup schedule this season, beginning with next month's Daytona 500. The 30-year-old missed the final five races last season after doctors discovered a blood clot in his right calf in October. He also missed the final 25 races of 2010 because of blood clots and heart surgery. KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Royals agreed to terms with left-hander Bruce Chen on one-year deal Thursday, giving them a versatile veteran pitcher. The 36-year-old is coming off perhaps the finest year of his 15-year career, going 9-4 with a 3.27 ERA while making 15 starts and 19 appearances out of the bullpen for the Royals. OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - The Clippers are rolling again after a mid-season slump, winning four in a row and nine of their last eleven. The Pacific Division leaders hit the road tonight to visit Golden State. The Clippers are five games ahead of the third-place Warriors in the Pacific Division. NEW YORK (AP) - Mark Tatum will become the NBA's new deputy commissioner when Adam Silver succeeds David Stern as commissioner on Saturday. NBA owners unanimously approved the appointment of Tatum, who is a 15-year veteran of the league office, currently serving as executive vice president of global marketing partnerships.

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