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HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- NASCAR chairman Brian France staunchly defended Sunday the health of the sport, saying that it is in a good spot to replace Sprint as an entitlement sponsor amid television ratings and attendance declines.In his first general news conference with motorsports media since January, a feisty France also staunchly defended his commitment to diversity, a commitment that was challenged when he endorsed Donald Trump earlier this year.Nobody wants to hear my political views ... so I wont be talking about that, France said before the season-ending race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. But on diversity, nobody in this company has worked harder, done more and resourced it better than me.I founded [NASCARs] diversity council. I fought for every single thing that makes sense because thats my core belief: Diversity is very, very important. I talk about it frequently. And my efforts there should never be challenged no matter what my political view. Thats a ridiculous thing to do.With all but two of the Chase for the Sprint Cup race television ratings down at least 10 percent, the track public-operating companies reporting admission revenue down 9 percent after the Daytona 500 and potentially seven of NASCARs charters (its version of franchises) changing hands as teams still have trouble finding sponsorship, France said the sport is in a better position than those numbers indicate.We are still very pleased with our position in sports, France said. The audience isnt going away at all. Its sliding to different places, consuming in different ways. ... Our digital consumption is off the charts.Multicar teams Richard Petty Motorsports, Roush Fenway Racing and Stewart-Haas Racing are among well-established teams that are still seeking significant sponsorship to field one of their cars in 2017 that they fielded in 2016.You have some teams that for whatever the reasons cant compete at such a high level and they have some problems, and thats throughout history, France said. Its not abnormal at all.The other hurdle for NASCAR this year has been finding a replacement for Sprint, which will leave this year after 13 seasons of sponsoring the sport. NASCAR has not announced a new sponsor. Industry insiders have indicated Monster Energy is the leading candidate. Monster Energy sports marketing director Mitch Covington said last week he would not respond to rumors.Its taken a little longer than I thought, France said. But its also a big agreement, and its an important agreement. Its not just dollars and cents. Its a fit for us. ... Im confident were going to end up in a very good spot.France also said that NASCAR will look at rewarding the regular-season champion and that discussions continue to bring additional manufacturers into the sport.Would I like to have everything perfect? Of course I would, France said. Thats sports and thats a competitive business, and the model is changing a little bit, too. ... Were pleased with the health of the sport. Ecco Mens Dress Shoes Brown . -- Charlie Graham stopped 67 shots as the Belleville Bulls edged the visiting Guelph Storm 6-5 on Saturday in Ontario Hockey League action. ECCO Cool 2.0 Sale . The deal is pending a physical, assistant general manager Bobby Evans said. Traded from Seattle to Baltimore on Aug. 30, Morse also can play first base and right field to give manager Bruce Bochy some flexibility in writing his lineup. http://www.eccosandalsaustralia.com/ecco-jack-sneaker.html . LOUIS -- Rookie Tavon Austin has missed another day of practice, lessening the odds hell be ready for the St. Ecco Soft 8 White . Wall made the comment in a speech to a Regina business crowd that included Lesnar. The U.S. wrestler and retired mixed martial artist says he was visiting his brothers farm in Saskatchewan and decided he wanted to hear what the premier had to say. Ecco Mens Boots Sale . Ashley Youngs cross was inadvertently headed by Chester into his own net in the 66th minute, allowing United to claim a third straight league win. "We had to dig deep with our fighting spirit and weve done that," United striker Wayne Rooney said. The Newcastle Jets search for a striker is over with Finnish forward Aleksandr Kokko signing a two-season deal with the club.Kokko, 29, becomes the Jets fourth visa player ahead of the new A-League season.Kokko is a former youth international for Finland who has played for top-flight club Rovaniemen Palloseura (RoPS) since 2012, scoring 54 goals in 102 league appearances.The Jets are yet to announce the signing but RoPS confirmed Kokkos departure on their website, quoting him as saying he was looking forward to experiencing football outside the Finnish Veikkausliiga for the first time in his career.Kokko stands at a towering 189cm and replaces Milos Trifunovic, who fizzled as Newcastles first-choice frontman last season.He will play two more matches in Finland, where the league has been running since April, before linking up with the Jets and coach Scott Miller.It is the third time this year Jets have turned to Scandinavia for players - in January, they signed Dane Morten Nordstrand, while English import Wayne Brown came to Newcastle via Finnish club SJK Seinajoki and shares the same agent as Kokko.ddddddddddddKokko joins Brown, Nordstrand and Mateo Poljak as Newcastles foreign recruits, with the fifth and final spot likely to be used on a Chinese development player.He will become the second Finn to have played in the A-League, following eight-cap international striker Juho Makela, who had an underwhelming stint with Sydney FC in 2011-12.The Jets, who crashed out of the FFA Cup in a 3-1 defeat to Melbourne Victory on Wednesday, will face Central Coast Mariners in a trial game next weekend in Tamworth. 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