Thursday, June 21, 2018
Sports

Joey Logano wins again; Earnhardt Jr. among four eliminated from Chase

TALLADEGA, Ala. — As Joey Logano made his third straight trip to Victory Lane, questions swirled about reigning Sprint Cup champion Kevin Harvick's late-race tactics.

Several competitors accused Harvick of intentionally causing a race-ending caution in Sunday's Campingworld.com 500 at Talladega Superspeedway, where Logano completed a sweep of the second round of NASCAR's playoffs.

It came at the expense of Dale Earnhardt Jr., who was eliminated from the Chase for the Championship at his best track for the second consecutive year. Earnhardt led a race-high 61 laps, but settled for second in a race he had to win when the Harvick-triggered crash ended the race under caution.

NASCAR's most popular driver did not question his fate.

"When the race is over, I can live with the result as long as everyone else is going by the same rules," Earnhardt said. "I felt like per the rule book, it sorted out and I finished second. I'm okay with that."

NASCAR said last week it would make just one attempt at Talladega to finish the race under green instead of the usual three tries in a nod toward creating a safer racing environment.

Eliminated Sunday were Earnhardt, Ryan Newman — the runnerup to Harvick last year — and Joe Gibbs Racing drivers Matt Kenseth and Denny Hamlin. JGR was considered a heavy favorite in this Chase after a dominant regular season. Both eliminated JGR drivers were furious with Harvick.

Harvick had radioed to his crew under caution that a mechanical issue was preventing him from accelerating. But if he moved out of the way, he risked falling to the back of the field and potentially being knocked out of the Chase. So he stayed put, and when his car failed to take off on the restart, he hit Trevor Bayne as Bayne tried to dart around him, triggering a wreck. Earnhardt was unable to race Logano for the win once the caution was called.

"It was a pretty tough ending. (He) knew he was blowing up and told everybody he was going to stay in his lane," Kenseth said.

Denny Hamlin was even less diplomatic on Twitter after the race-ending accident, which ended with him climbing from his flaming car.

"What a joke we have a car with no motor wreck the field to end the race. Complete (junk). Sorry to anyone who spent $ coming to this circus," Hamlin's Twitter page read.

NASCAR reviewed video of the final restart several times and president Mike Helton said officials did not find anything amiss from Harvick.

Harvick said his issue was a broken exhaust pipe and "at the end, I was trying to get out of the way."

Logano's car was showered in beer — a show of disdain from the pro-Earnhardt crowd — as he entered Victory Lane.

"I was aiming for them … it's kind of a cool explosion when you hit beer cans," he said. "Kind of a shame they're throwing their beers full. It was like it was raining out there. But that's okay. Everyone's passionate about their driver. That's what makes our sport great."

Comments
Rays journal: 7 pitches, 3 straight homers prove too much in loss to Astros

Rays journal: 7 pitches, 3 straight homers prove too much in loss to Astros

HOUSTON — The Rays were engaged in a third straight tight, go-either-way battle with the defending champ Astros on Wednesday.Until they were not.A brutal seven-pitch sequence by starter Nathan Eovaldi changed everything, as he gave up three con...
Updated: 23 minutes ago
Rays see the results of keeping a good, young core group together

Rays see the results of keeping a good, young core group together

HOUSTON — The Rays saw a lot on the weeklong trip that ended with Wednesday's game against that Astros, beyond the street hustlers prowling in Times Square and the urban cowboys and girls parading through H-town.There was an impressive debuting...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Kevin Knox poised to become Tampa Bay’s highest NBA draft pick

Kevin Knox poised to become Tampa Bay’s highest NBA draft pick

Kevin Knox Sr. was watching the NFL draft 24 years ago when the phone rang. Buffalo coach Marv Levy was on the other line."Marv said they were taking me," said Knox Sr., a standout receiver at FSU.Soon after, Knox Sr. saw his name scroll across ESPN'...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Lightning’s Victor Hedman wins NHL’s Norris Trophy

Lightning’s Victor Hedman wins NHL’s Norris Trophy

Victor Hedman, a relentless part of the Lightning's push to the Eastern Conference final last season, was honored Wednesday night with the Norris Trophy, given to the NHL's top defenseman."To the Lightning organization, Mr. Jeff Vinik, Steve Yzerman ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Wednesday’s Rays-Astros game

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Wednesday’s Rays-Astros game

RHP Nathan Eovaldi said before his rough start Wednesday against the Astros that he was pitching better than his numbers showed. Well … In four starts since his six no-hit innings debut, he's 0-3 with a 6.17 ERA, allowing eight homers, four Wed...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Sports on TV/radio for Thursday, June 21

TODAYBaseballRed Sox at Twins1 p.m.MLBMets at Rockies (in progress)4 p.m.MLBCubs at Reds7 p.m.MLBBlue Jays at Angels10 p.m.MLBCollege baseball, World SeriesFlorida vs. Texas Tech8 p.m.ESPNUGolfPGA: Traveler’s Championship3:30 p.m.GolfHorsesRoyal Asco...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Report: Bucs QB Jameis Winston bracing for suspension from NFL

Report: Bucs QB Jameis Winston bracing for suspension from NFL

Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston could be suspended for up to three games  next season following the league's investigation into allegations he groped a female Uber driver in Arizona in 2016, a Tallahassee radio station reported.Jeff Cameron, a&#...
Updated: 2 hours ago
For starters: Rays at Astros, with a different look

For starters: Rays at Astros, with a different look

UPDATE, 6:43: Cash said the key to how the pieced the lineup together was the opportunity to give Cron (who is struggling) and Duffy (who is doing well) back to back days off. … Looking ahead to the weekend, the Rays will use RHP Ryne Stanek as...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Phil Mickelson apologizes four days after hitting moving ball at U.S. Open

Phil Mickelson apologizes four days after hitting moving ball at U.S. Open

NEW YORK — Phil Mickelson has apologized four days after intentionally violating golf rules by hitting a moving ball on the green at the U.S. Open, saying his frustration got the best of him. The apology came Wednesday in a statement released by his ...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Tough questions are mere child’s play for Kevin Knox

Tough questions are mere child’s play for Kevin Knox

Growing up, Kevin Knox II watched videos or listened to motivational tapes during car rides to and from school so he could learn how to expand upon answers in interviews.That was all by design.His father, Kevin Knox Sr., knew about the spotlight as a...
Updated: 11 hours ago