Sports briefs: Drivers safe – for now

NASCAR doesn’t want to start suspending drivers for infractions committed by their pit crews. “We’d like not to get to [suspending drivers],” NASCAR chairman Brian France said. “We’d like to make the deterrent, a portion of the penalty, significant enough that that isn’t necessary for us to do. But are we willing to go there? Of course we would.”

Raiders’ Rhodes suspended

Dominic Rhodes’ Raiders career will start a little bit later than he hoped. The running back, who starred in the Super Bowl for the Indianapolis Colts and then signed a free-agent contract with the Raiders, was suspended by the NFL for the first four games of the season for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. Rhodes will still be able to report to training camp and participate in exhibition games, but he will miss the first four regular-season games. Rhodes pleaded guilty in March to reckless driving charges in a plea agreement stemming from his drunken driving arrest shortly after the Super Bowl. The NFL does not reveal the reasons behind substance abuse suspensions. Rhodes, who signed a two-year contract that could be worth up to $7.5 million, was expected to share time with LaMont Jordan as the Raiders’ top running back. The Raiders averaged just 3.9 yards per carry last season.

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