Thursday’s Sports In Brief

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Question of the Day

Should Congress make English the official language of the U.S.?

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AUTO RACING

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - NASCAR overhauled its championship format, creating a winner-take-all elimination system designed to reward “the most worthy, battle-tested” driver at the end of the season.

An expanded 16-driver field will be whittled down to a final four through three rounds of eliminations. The remaining four drivers will go into the season finale with an equal chance to win the championship: The first of the four to cross the finish line will be crowned Sprint Cup champion.

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PRO BASKETBALL

NEW YORK (AP) - The Portland Trail Blazers and Houston Rockets each had two players picked as reserves for the NBA All-Star game, while the Indiana Pacers had to settle for just Roy Hibbert despite the league’s best record.

LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard made it from the Trail Blazers, who have been among the Western Conference leaders all season.

Dwight Howard, who was passed late in fan voting for a starting spot, was chosen along with Houston teammate James Harden.

Old reliables Chris Paul, Tony Parker and Dirk Nowitzki round out the West reserves for the Feb. 16 game in New Orleans.

NEW YORK (AP) - Mark Tatum will become the NBA’s new deputy commissioner when Adam Silver succeeds David Stern on Saturday.

NBA owners unanimously approved the appointment of Tatum, a 15-year veteran of the league office. He will also have the title of chief operations officer.

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BASEBALL

Infielder Michael Young is retiring after a 13-year major league career, nearly all of it with the Texas Rangers.

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