Sunday, December 17, 2017
Sports

Dale Earnhardt Jr. wins NASCAR race at Pocono

LONG POND, Pa. — You've been warned by Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Danger lies ahead.

Earnhardt passed Brad Keselowski with four of 160 laps remaining in Sunday's Pocono 400 to earn his first Sprint Cup victory at Pocono Raceway and his second series win of the season.

It's the first time since 2004 — when he won six times — that Earnhardt has had a multiple-win season, and the first during his six-plus year tenure at Hendrick Motorsports.

"We're doing some of our best work, certainly, right now,'' Earnhardt said. "We should — we have a lot of passion and there's a lot of emotion, considering this is (crew chief) Steve (Letarte's) last year, and I think that also adds some drive and determination to the team to do as well as we can.

"So, that can be dangerous, I think, for everybody else if we win to get better. We're still not the best team. We can always improve."

Earnhardt and his No. 88 Chevrolet team were not the best fie most of Sunday, but good enough to be in the right position at a critical time.

Keselowski seemed to have the victory in hand on a restart with 11 laps remaining, but debris on his front grille spiked his engine temperatures.

Keselowski attempted a daring move to slide in behind the lapped car of Danica Patrick in hopes the air would nudge the debris free, but the only thing he accomplished was allowing Earnhardt to pass him for the lead with four laps left.

Earnhardt also had debris on his grille but he and Keselowski made it to the finish incident-free, leaving fans in the grandstands on their feet in celebration long after the race was over.

"I don't know what his temperatures were, but they must have been very, very hot for Brad to do that," said Earnhardt, who earned his 21st career victory.

"I knew right then when he did that, he was so slow, I thought, 'We're going to pass him, we're going to take the lead.' I thought if I just run tidy corners, he would have trouble with the dirty air and wouldn't be able to get (back) to us."

Keselowski, who led a race-high 95 laps, said he was in a difficult situation: He didn't believe his engine would make it to the finish without a quick fix.

"It was definitely a mistake because the engine made it, but it probably shouldn't have," he said. "It was one of those deals, I think I was going to get passed because I was really down on power down the straightaway."

Kurt Busch finished third. Jeff Gordon, who finished eighth, reclaimed the series points lead and leads Matt Kenseth by 16.

"I don't have much to do (today)," Earnhardt said, grinning. "(Sunday night's) going to be a long one."

Comments
Why Jon Gruden was the best mistake the Bucs ever made

Why Jon Gruden was the best mistake the Bucs ever made

Warren Sapp pointed to the sky. And then he dropped Kurt Warner to the ground.The Bucs had just intercepted Warner for the fourth time. Sapp’s block cleared the way for Derrick Brooks to cross the goal line and clinch the win.Before Tampa Bay p...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Lightning wins at Avalanche with four-goal second period

Lightning wins at Avalanche with four-goal second period

DENVER — The Lightning left for Las Vegas Saturday for the first of four nights in Sin City.But Tampa Bay’s first regret came before it boarded the charter flight; the Lighting lamented making Saturday’s 6-5 win over the Avalanche much more thrilling...
Updated: 12 hours ago

Joe Smith’s takeaways from Lightning-Avalanche

Could tell just how much Ryan Callahan meant in the Lightning dressing room by hearing teammates talk about his latest injury. Steven Stamkos said he was "sick to my stomach." Brayden Point called him a "heart and soul player." Teammates all saw how ...
Published: 12/16/17
Lightning journal: No easy answers on replacing injured Ryan Callahan

Lightning journal: No easy answers on replacing injured Ryan Callahan

The good news for the Lightning is that GM Steve Yzerman is hopeful RW Ryan Callahan will be ready to go in 3-4 weeks when his upper body injury is re-evaluated. The hard part, however, is finding someone to replace the veteran wing. "I don’t know if...
Published: 12/16/17
Melo cheered, then booed as Knicks spoil his return

Melo cheered, then booed as Knicks spoil his return

NEW YORK — Carmelo Anthony got the cheers but the Knicks got the win, shutting out their former All-Star in the second half and beating the Thunder 111-96 Saturday night for their fourth straight victory. Michael Beasley tied his season high with 30 ...
Published: 12/16/17
Rangers stay hot against a favorite opponent, the Bruins

Rangers stay hot against a favorite opponent, the Bruins

BOSTON — Mats Zuccarello scored a power-play goal 1:56 into overtime to lift the Rangers to a 3-2 victory over the Bruins on Saturday. Michael Grabner and J.T. Miller also scored for the Rangers, who won for the ninth time in 13 games (9-3-1) overall...
Published: 12/16/17

Sports in brief

MLBTRADE SENDS KEMP BACK TO L.A.OF Matt Kemp was reacquired by the Dodgers on Saturday as part of a five-player trade with the Braves. The Dodgers sent 1B Adrian Gonzalez, LHP Scott Kazmir, RHP Brandon McCarthy, INF Charlie Culberson and cash to Atla...
Published: 12/16/17
Mistakes doom Ducks in new coach’s debut

Mistakes doom Ducks in new coach’s debut

LAS VEGAS — Cedrick Wilson caught 10 passes for 221 yards and a touchdown, safety Kekaula Kaniho returned an interception 53 yards for a score and No. 25 Boise State beat Oregon 38-28 in the Las Vegas Bowl on Saturday. Brett Rypien threw for 362 yard...
Published: 12/16/17

Bucs’ Gerald McCoy, Lavonte David out for Monday’s game vs. Falcons

TAMPA — As if containing All-Pro Julio Jones and the Falcons offense isn’t challenging enough, the Bucs will try to do so Monday night without perhaps their top defensive players, tackle Gerald McCoy and linebacker Lavonte David.On Saturday, Bucs coa...
Published: 12/16/17

Sunday’s sports on TV/radio

TODAYCollege basketballWomen: Florida State at Texas12:30 p.m.FS1Women: Georgia Tech at Georgia1 p.m.SECStony Brook at Providence2:30 p.m.FS1North Carolina at Tennessee3 p.m.ESPNSavannah State at Baylor3 p.m.Fox SunWomen: USF at Florida International...
Published: 12/16/17