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Sports Minute: Here is the latest North and South Carolina sports news from The Associated Press

DETROIT (AP) - As Danica Patrick's retirement approaches, the possibility of Hall of Fame honors for the history-making driver has become an interesting topic. Patrick's farewell race is this weekend's Indianapolis 500. She is the only woman to lead laps in both the Indy 500 and the Daytona 500. She won an IndyCar race in 2008, but she never had a top-five finish in NASCAR.

ATLANTA (AP) - The NFL has unanimously approved a $2.2 billion deal to sell the Carolina Panthers to the hedge fund founder David Tepper. He is paying an NFL-record price to buy the team from Jerry Richardson, the team's founder and only owner since the Panthers entered the league in 1995. Richardson abruptly announced he was selling the team last December after coming under investigation from the league for sexual and racial misconduct in the workplace.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - While NFL owners were unanimously approving the sale of the Carolina Panthers to hedge fund owner David Tepper in Atlanta, his new team was taking the field for the first time together this season 250 miles away in Charlotte. Tepper inherits a team that will have a noticeably new look for 2018. While core players like Cam Newton, Luke Kuechly, Thomas Davis and Greg Olsen are back, the Panthers have added a number of key players through free agency, trades and the NFL draft.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Jeff Gordon should be a lock to make the NASCAR Hall of Fame when the voting panel selects five members for the 2019 class. The other slots are wide open. Alan Kulwicki narrowly missed making the Hall of Fame last year and lost to Ron Hornaday Jr. on a tiebreaker. Davey Allison will also receive consideration. Among car owners, Jack Roush, Joe Gibbs and Roger Penske all deserve strong consideration.

NEW YORK (AP) - When Danica Patrick drives her final race in the Indy 500 she'll certainly be the only competitor with a Lego statue in her image. That won't help her win IndyCar's biggest race. But it does speak to Patrick's popularity. She wasn't a rousing success behind the wheel in open wheels or NASCAR. But she made an impact that reaches far beyond the ovals and road courses she raced.

HOOVER, Ala. (AP) - South Carolina rallied with three runs in the seventh inning to beat Missouri 4-2 in the first round of the Southeastern Conference tournament. The fifth-seeded Gamecocks (33-22) will face No. 4 Arkansas Wednesday when the tournament's format moves to double elimination.

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