Auto racing

GORDON WINS POLE: Jeff Gordon won't have to pass Jimmie Johnson this time.

The points leader failed for 53 laps at the end of the Nextel Cup spring race at Martinsville Speedway to get around his Hendrick Motorsports teammate and wound up second as Johnson took the checkered flag on NASCAR's shortest circuit.

This time, Johnson will have to get around his teammate after Gordon won the pole for the Subway 500 at 94.974 mph on the 0.526-mile circuit on a rainy Friday.

The pole is the 63rd of Gordon's career, his seventh this season and the sixth of his career at Martinsville. He's also won seven times here, tops among active drivers, and he and his one-time protege have combined to win seven of the last nine events.

It's also bad news for the rest of the field, Gordon said.

"Qualifying, I think, throughout my career, but especially this year, too, it seems to really contribute greatly to our success," said Gordon, the four-time series champion and points leader halfway through this year's 10-race Chase.


NADAL UPSET: Rafael Nadal, coming off a five-week layoff because of ailing knees, lost to David Nalbandian 6-1, 6-2 Friday in the Madrid Masters quarterfinals.

It was Nadal's most lopsided defeat in three years.

Roger Federer downed Feliciano Lopez 7-6 (4), 6-4 to set up a matchup against 112th-ranked Nicolas Kiefer, who beat the fifth seed, Fernando Gonzalez, 7-6 (5), 6-2. Lopez, a wild card, committed 34 unforced errors against the top-ranked Federer.

Nadal, who sat out after the U.S. Open because of tendinitis, had five winners and 29 unforced errors against Nalbandian.

"It's hard to play worse, which makes it a lot easier to go forward from this," Nadal said. "I didn't go in with a clear enough idea of the match I wanted to play."

HENIN ADVANCES: Justine Henin reached the Zurich Open semifinals by defeating Polish teenager Agnieszka Radwanska 6-4, 6-2 Friday, while Svetlana Kuznetsova and a tearful Marion Bartoli withdrew because of injuries.

Henin, seeking her ninth title of the year, is 56-4 this season and has reached the semifinals in every tournament she has entered since April 2006. She will next play Nicole Vaidisova of the Czech Republic, who defeated Ukraine's Alona Bondarenko 6-1, 6-4.


LEMIEUX AWARDED $21M: Penguins co-owner Mario Lemieux will get $21 million as part of the team's settlement of its 1990s bankruptcy, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported Friday.

Lemieux was owed $32 million in deferred compensation when he retired as a player in 1997. He won't get additional money on the contract and is believed to be the only unsecured creditor to get less than 100 percent of money owed.

California businessman Ron Burkle, who shares control of the franchise with Lemieux, and the other investors who purchased a piece of it when it came out of bankruptcy in 1999, will be given varying percentages of their original outlay as part of the refinancing. The distribution of money comes with a stipulation that if the team experiences major financial problems, the investors must put their money back into the franchise. The refinancing won't not affect the ownership structure of the team.


NFL, TITANS SUED: A strip club manager paralyzed in a triple shooting is suing the NFL, the Tennessee Titans and suspended football player Adam "Pacman" Jones, claiming they're responsible for his injuries.

Former professional wrestler Tommy Urbanski seeks unspecified damages in the lawsuit filed Friday in Clark County District Court. It also names the owners of Harlem Knights, a Houston strip club that rented the Minxx Gentleman's Club in Las Vegas in February for a party the weekend of the NBA All-Star game.