Castroneves pleads not guilty

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Race car driver and “Dancing With the Stars” winner Helio Castroneves pleaded not guilty Friday to federal tax evasion charges and declared outside the courtroom that he would treat the case like a race against the Internal Revenue Service.

“I’m a race car driver,” the two-time Indianapolis 500 winner said. “This is a very difficult situation. I’ll be strong, and I’ll win this race.”

Castroneves, 33, spoke after his release on $10-million bail following a court appearance in which he was shackled in handcuffs and leg chains and was visibly weeping into a wad of white tissue.

Afterward, Castroneves hopped into a waiting car and headed for a flight to Atlanta to participate in this weekend’s Petit Le Mans race. Terms of Castroneves’ release allow him to travel for work in the United States but not abroad.

Former football star Lawrence Phillips was sentenced to 10 years in prison, two years after he was convicted of assault with a deadly weapon.


The sentencing was repeatedly delayed while Phillips fought to withdraw a guilty plea in a domestic abuse case that could have led to a stiffer sentence.

The 33-year-old former Nebraska and NFL running back has been jailed since August 2005, when he drove onto a field near the Los Angeles Coliseum and his car struck three boys, ages 14 and 15, and a 19-year-old man, who suffered cuts and bruises. The car narrowly missed three other people, prosecutor Todd Hicks said.

Lawyers for former quarterback Michael Vick asked a federal bankruptcy judge to appoint a mediator to help settle his debts to creditors, saying a third party might expedite a resolution in the case.


Overton shoots 69 and leads by one shot

Jeff Overton shot a three-under-par 69 to take a one-shot lead over Tag Ridings (68) in the second round of the PGA’s Turning Stone Resort Championship at Verona, N.Y.

Na Yeon Choi of South Korea shot a one-under 71, giving her a four-under 140 total and a two-stroke lead after the second round of the Samsung World Championship at Half Moon Bay, Calif.

Angela Stanford, who is tied for second with three other golfers, had a double eagle on the par-five, 481-yard fourth hole -- only the second one this year on the LPGA Tour and the 30th in tour history.

South Korea’s Kim Wi-joong shot a four-under 67 to take a one-stroke lead in the Korea Open at Seoul. American Ryder Cup star Anthony Kim followed his opening 64 with a 73 to drop three shots back.


Venus defeats Safina to reach semifinals

Venus Williams reached the Porsche Grand Prix semifinals, defeating third-seeded Dinara Safina, 6-4, 6-2, at Stuttgart, Germany.

Serena Williams has pulled out of next week’s Kremlin Cup because of an ankle injury.

Juan Martin Del Potro upset top-seeded David Ferrer, 6-1, 7-5, to advance to the semifinals of the Japan Open at Tokyo. Second-seeded Andy Roddick cruised to a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Viktor Troicki.


Windward’s Stover commits to UCLA

Anthony Stover, a 6-foot-9 senior center from Los Angeles Windward High, committed to UCLA, according to his mother, Rena.

Rena Stover said UCLA assistant Scott Garson played a big role in the UCLA choice.

“Scott showed an interest early in Anthony,” Stover said. “It took Coach [Ben Howland] a little bit of time to come around, but once he had the chance to see Anthony play in person he was on board.”

College coaches are prohibited from commenting publicly about recruits until they have officially signed national letters of intent.

According to Greg Hicks of, Stover is one of the top center prospects on the West Coast and is a particularly strong shot blocker.

-- Diane Pucin

Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s No. 88 Chevrolet blew an engine in the first practice at Talladega, Ala., and blew a tire in the second, costing him any shot of starting in the front of the field for Sunday’s Sprint Cup race.

Super-flyweight world champions Cristian Mijares and Vic Darchinyan will fight a title unification bout Nov. 1 at the Home Depot Center in Carson, promoters announced. Tickets go on sale Wednesday.

-- Lance Pugmire

Manager Jerry Manuel was given a two-year contract by the New York Mets.


Eddie Brinkman, 66; former shortstop

Eddie Brinkman, a record-setting shortstop during a 15-year career in the majors and a former high school teammate of Pete Rose, has died. Brinkman was 66. Story, Section B.