Sports briefs: More foul play suspected in run-up to NASCAR's Chase

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AUTO RACING • Tiny Front Row Motorsports asked for a deal from Penske Racing in the closing laps of last weekend's race at Richmond and then helped make sure Penske's Joey Logano made the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship by having one of its drivers back off, according to an Associated Press review of radio communications.

David Gilliland's spotter tells his crew that Logano's team wanted Gilliland's spot on the track "and they said they'd probably be able to help us in the future," according to the review of Front Row's radio communications.

A short time later, Logano passed Gilliland on a restart and finished 22nd — good enough for a berth in the Chase field.

Trading favors on and off the track is common in NASCAR, but the series is already trying to rebound from the embarrassment of another team manipulating the outcome at Richmond. Earlier this week, NASCAR punished Michael Waltrip Racing and three of its drivers for shenanigans over the final seven laps and took the unprecedented step of pulling one of them, Martin Truex Jr., out of the Chase field.

NASCAR said it was aware of the communications "and is looking into it."

SEC payment benefit allegations

college football • A report says five Southeastern Conference players received impermissible benefits during their college careers.

Yahoo Sports reported that text messages and financial records show former Alabama defensive end Luther Davis was a go-between for NFL agents and financial advisers for former Alabama offensive tackle D.J. Fluker, Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray, defensive end Maurice Couch, Mississippi State defensive tackle Fletcher Cox and wide receiver Chad Bumphis.

• Injured Buckeyes quarterback Braxton Miller's status is still uncertain heading into No. 4 Ohio State's game at California. Coach Urban Meyer said Miller got in a little work at Wednesday's practice.

From wire reports