The Latest: NASCAR pit crew benched for positive COVID tests

Sports

Fans wearing protective face masks watch the Formula One Portuguese Grand Prix at the Algarve International Circuit in Portimao, Portugal, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020. (Jose Sena Goulao, Pool via AP)

The Latest on the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on sports around the world:

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The pit crew for NASCAR driver William Byron has been benched because of multiple positive tests for COVID-19.

The regular Hendrick Motorsports crew for the No. 24 did not participate in Wednesday night’s race at Texas Motor Speedway and will also miss Sunday’s race at Martinsville Speedway.

The crew for Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was used on Byron’s car at Texas and will again service the car at Martinsville. The No. 47 crew is staffed by Hendrick Motorsports employees.

“Hendrick Motorsports has implemented detailed procedures to protect the health of our team members and follows recommendations from the CDC, OSHA and NCDHHS regarding the handling of positive COVID-19 tests,” Hendrick Motorsports said in a statement.

Also, one member of the No. 95 crew for Leavine Family Racing missed the race at Texas because he was not feeling well. The crew member did not test positive for COVID-19, so the rest of Christopher Bell’s crew was unchanged.

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Two Women’s Six Nations rugby matches scheduled for Sunday featuring France vs. Ireland and Wales vs. Scotland have been postponed because of the novel coronavirus.

French players tested positive, forcing tournament organizers to call off the match in Dublin to prevent further infections within the team. The match was originally set to be played in Villeneuve d’Ascq, but France offered to travel to Dublin to help ease quarantine issues for the Ireland players.

The Wales-Scotland game in Cardiff was also postponed after four Scottish players had to withdraw because they were identified as “close contacts” with members of the French team they played last Sunday and who have since tested positive.

Also, one member of the Scottish squad tested positive on Thursday.

Six Nations organizers said new dates for the matches will be announced later.

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The Ontario Hockey League’s next season is slated to start Feb. 4 and will be shorter because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The league announced Thursday its season will have 40 games, down from the usual 68, and the playoffs will have eight teams instead of the usual 16.

The OHL is the last of Canada’s three major junior hockey leagues to announce plans for next season. The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League season started earlier this month, but the schedule has been affected by several COVID-19 outbreaks as well as provincial government restrictions. The Western Hockey League plans to start its season on Jan. 8.

All WHL teams are scheduled to play exclusively within their divisions, which means the five American-based teams won’t have to cross the border.

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Four of the New York Giants’ five starting offensive lineman did not practice after one of them tested positive for COVID-19 and went into isolation.

Left guard Will Hernandez, who has started every game since being drafted in 2018, was placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list late Thursday afternoon. He is in isolation.

Three other starters were told to stay home: tackles Andrew Thomas and Cam Fleming and center Nick Gates. Two backup linemen also were told to stay away: center Spencer Pulley and rookie guard Shane Lemieux.

The only starter at practice was right guard Kevin Zeitler.

Coach Joe Judge is hoping to get most of his linemen back for Monday night’s game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The team practiced wearing face shields and masks. The post-practice meeting was held virtually.

The Giants learned of the positive result Wednesday night and contact tracing began.

On Tuesday, Judge said he had spoken with quarterback Daniel Jones and several other players about a video taken last weekend in which they were shown without masks in public. Judge said the team would handle the matter internally.

Jones, injured running back Saquon Barkley, receiver Sterling Shepard and other players had dinner at a New York City restaurant in private. Afterward, some went to a closed bar at the invitation of the owner. They were filmed there without masks. None of those players is involved in the current COVID-19 incident.

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The Arizona Cardinals will be allowed to have 4,200 fans in the stands for their next two home games — against the Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills.

That’s an increase from the 1,200 that were allowed to attend the Cardinals’ 37-34 win over the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.

The seats will be available for season ticket-holders and be sold in groups of two. Masks are mandatory and the seats are spread between the east and west sidelines and the north end zone.

The Cardinals are in the middle of a bye week. They host the Dolphins on Nov. 8 and the Bills on Nov. 15.

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An unidentified Los Angeles Chargers player tested positive for COVID-19, but the team facility remains open leading to Sunday’s road game against the Denver Broncos.

The team was notified Wednesday night and said the player immediately went into quarantine. The Chargers identified the player’s close contacts, and they will remain home. All team meetings will be held virtually.

This is the first time a Chargers player has tested positive since the league’s daily testing started during training camp. Coach Anthony Lynn had COVID-19 in June.

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The Canadian Football League is examining all options for a 2021 season. Playing before no fans or limited spectators are among the possibilities.

CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrosie hopes to have more details next month.

In August, the CFL canceled the 2020 season because of the pandemic.

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The Detroit Lions for the first time this season will allow a limited number of fans for a game at Ford Field.

The team says capacity for guests of coaches and players will be capped at 500 for the game Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts.

There were no fans in the stands for its first two home games because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lions President Rod Wood says this is a step toward the goal of welcoming fans back to Ford Field for games later this year. Wood says the organization is working with local, state and national health officials on safely increasing capacity for remaining games.

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The Paris Masters tennis tournament will be held without fans next week as France enters a second lockdown amid the coronavirus pandemic.

French President Emmanuel Macron has said the national lockdown will begin at midnight and last until at least Dec. 1.

The indoor tournament at the Bercy Arena in Paris from Nov. 2-8 was initially allowed to have 1,000 fans for day sessions and none at night. That was the same number of fans allowed each day at the French Open.

The French Tennis Federation says fans who bought tickets will get refunds.

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