AUTO RACING

Nobody did anything to get fired or lose a sponsor in this week’s edition of NASCAR virtual racing.

William Byron won his second consecutive NASCAR virtual race on Sunday by holding off Timmy Hill – the driver who moved him out of the way to win an earlier iRacing event – in a race low on dramatics.

Matt DiBenedetto was parked after twice crashing at virtual Richmond Raceway with Ryan Preece, the second incident clearly intentional. It triggered a Twitter spat between the two, with DiBenedetto demanding Preece’s address to go to his house to fight and Preece replying he’d give it to him if DiBenedetto showed up in the giraffe costume he wore while competing Sunday.

Jimmie Johnson manually disconnected his simulator rather than wait out late-race repairs, and Kevin Harvick ate his lunch from the seat of his rig while he was in a 20-minute hold for repairs.

But that was about it in terms of controversy on a day NASCAR desperately needed a drama-free event.

Kyle Larson was fired this week for using a racial slur during a non-NASCAR sanctioned iRacing event last Sunday night, and drivers and fans are showing signs of losing some of the excitement that initially engulfed this virtual racing league when it launched during the coronavirus pandemic.

FORMULA ONE: Charles Leclerc won his second straight F1 Virtual Grand Prix, taking the checkered flag on the Shanghai track.

The Ferrari driver started the Chinese GP in pole position and finished ahead of Red Bull’s Alex Albon and Guanyu Zhou, who races for UNI-Virtuosi Racing in Formula 2.

HOCKEY

NHL: Wayne Gretzky is optimistic the NHL will be able to resume at some point this summer.

“The Great One” told The Associated Press on Sunday he’s hopeful hockey and other sports will be able to come back from the coronavirus pandemic and serve as a positive sign that conditions are improving.

“I really believe somehow, someway, that the leadership in this country and in Canada, that we’re going to figure this out,” said Gretzky, who lives in California. “And I really believe that we’ll see hockey and some sort of other sports in June, July and August, albeit in a different way, but I really see it coming to fruition. I think it’s going to happen.”

BASEBALL

MLB: Major League Baseball will inform teams on Monday that they can furlough or reduce the pay of coaches, managers, scouts and some front-office personnel as soon as May, according to a report from The Athletic.

Though ballclubs aren’t required to shave payroll, Commissioner Rob Manfred’s planned May 1 suspension of Uniform Employee Contracts permits teams to make cuts at their discretion to manage plummetting revenues.

SOCCER

ITALY: Players and coaches at Roma have waived their salary for four months to help the Italian club get through a crisis sparked by the coronavirus outbreak.

With Roma having not played a competitive match since March 1 because of the pandemic, the players and coaching staff will forgo salaries due to them for March, April, May and June.

Roma added that players and coaches also have agreed to top up the wages of Roma employees who have been placed on the Italian government’s social safety-net scheme, ensuring they will still receive their full regular salaries.


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