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Lowe's ends sponsorship of Carolina track

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Lowe's will end its 11-year deal as the Lowe's Motor Speedway's title sponsor, the company confirmed Thursday.

It was rumored earlier this month that the Mooresville, N.C., home-improvement retailer would remove its name from the Concord, N.C., track after its agreement, worth $35 million over the past decade, expires at the end of the year.

It's unclear what the track will be called after the contract expires, though it's been speculated that it would become the Charlotte Motor Speedway unless Speedway Motorsports Inc. lines up another title sponsor.

"When Lowe's entered into this marketing relationship in 1999, it was during the time of our company's rapid national expansion, and Lowe's Motor Speedway gave us the platform to introduce the Lowe's brand to millions of NASCAR fans and consumers across the country," Robert Gfeller, senior vice president of marketing and advertising at Lowe's, said in a news release issued Thursday. "... However, marketing strategies change, and it was time after 11 years to direct our marketing resources in other areas."

In the same statement, speedway president and general manager Marcus Smith said Lowe's has been a "tremendous partner" and that the track would continue working with the retailer to accomplish its marketing goals.

Lowe's spokeswoman Chris Ahearn said officials from both companies are still discussing what future sponsorship opportunities could look like.

Roenick retires from NHL after 20 years

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Jeremy Roenick was playing golf when he received a call from San Jose general manager Doug Wilson asking about the possibility of playing for the Sharks.

"Sometimes friends come and save you," Roenick said of his former Chicago teammate. "Just when I thought that it was all over, Doug Wilson asked me to fly to San Jose and talk about playing for the Sharks. He asked me if I could still play the game and I told him I know I could still play."

Roenick recalled that story on Thursday, announcing his retirement after 20 years in the league.

"In Phoenix, I wasn't able to say goodbye to the game," Roenick said. "Doug Wilson and the San Jose Sharks gave me my life back. I can sit here and make my own decision to hang them up and move on."

Roenick, choking up throughout his farewell speech, leaves the game as one of four Americans who scored at least 500 goals. He finished with 513.

"This is a great day for me," Roenick said. "I had the greatest career I could possibly imagine. My body can't do it any more even though my head and my passion are still in the game. I know, truly in my heart, it's time to leave the game."

Pitcher sentenced to 30 days in jail

DAYTON, Ohio — A minor league pitcher who threw a baseball that went into the stands and injured a fan during an on-field melee in Ohio last year has been sentenced to 30 days in jail and three years probation.

Julio Castillo could have been sentenced to as long eight years in prison. Montgomery County Common Pleas Court Judge Connie Price said he had expressed that he was sorry about hurting someone.

"The court does believe that he is remorseful," she said at Castillo's sentencing Thursday.

The judge also ordered Castillo to get anger management counseling, write a letter of apology to the injured fan, stay employed and work toward a high school equivalency degree. She warned him that violating any conditions of his probation could bring a 3-year prison sentence.