Saturday, January 20, 2018
Sports

Johnson wins No. 8 at Martinsville in NASCAR

MARTINSVILLE, Va. — Jimmie Johnson dominated Martinsville Speedway again.

Johnson led a career-best 346 laps and pulled away on a restart with eight laps to go to take the STP Gas Booster 500 on Sunday.

"It was just a long, fought day," Johnson said. "Martinsville, it stays the same over the years. You just have to dig in and get your own rhythm. Fortunately, the fastest car won the race."

Johnson has won eight times at the 0.526-mile track, the shortest in the Sprint Cup series. That's fewer than only Richard Petty's 15 and Darrell Waltrip's 11.

It made Hendrick Motorsports the winningest team in Martinsville history with 20, breaking a tie with the Petty organization.

The win also put Johnson atop the point standings, six ahead of Brad Keselowski. Dale Earnhardt Jr., who started the day atop the standings, finished 24th to fall to third, 12 behind Johnson.

Johnson picked the inside line for the final restart with Clint Bowyer on the outside, Hendrick teammate Jeff Gordon behind him and Kyle Busch to his outside. And Johnson got a clean break for the lead into Turn 1.

Bowyer slid into second. Busch, who tried to make a move on the outside line, instead got hung up out there as Gordon and his Hendrick teammate Kasey Kahne, who restarted fifth, went underneath to take fourth.

Nothing changed the rest of the way.

"I think the last stop or two, we really got our car adjusted right," Johnson said.

Gordon, who has seven wins at Martinsville, said he knew it would be a tough day when Johnson won the pole for the second race in a row at the track because of the pit road advantage.

"You give him that No. 1 pit stall here at Martinsville, it's almost impossible," Gordon said.

Though Johnson dominated, there were times it looked as if the race might go in another direction. Matt Kenseth, who has struggled at Martinsville throughout his career, passed Johnson and led 96 laps.

Mark Martin, driving for the injured Denny Hamlin and equally disdainful of the track, moved into fourth after taking just two tires on a pit stop. But he faded quickly. Martin, mindful of Hamlin's four career victories at Martinsville, finished 10th.

"I did not fill Denny Hamlin's shoes," he said. "I can tell you that much."

Danica Patrick, whose boss, Tony Stewart, said last week that he thought it would be funny to watch her try to navigate her way around the track, got passed by his rookie driver with 19 laps to go. Patrick finished 12th, five spots ahead of Stewart.

That was despite an early spin that put her a lap down, a long green-flag run that put her another lap down and some bumping and banging that caused her to send Earnhardt spinning into the wall.

"I felt a little funny racing really hard for position there with Tony at the end," Patrick said. "And then to get in front of him, that was a little victory for me because he's so good.

"I'm going to go over to his bus after this and see what he has to say about it."

Comments
Andrei Vasilevskiy: ‘I have to be better’

Andrei Vasilevskiy: ‘I have to be better’

The rest of the Lightning players had already left the ice Friday afternoon, heading into the dressing room for a quick change before the team's charter flight to Minnesota.But goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy, 23, stayed on late, facing about 15 minutes mo...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Sophomore Tulio Da Silva leaves USF basketball team

Sophomore Tulio Da Silva leaves USF basketball team

USF redshirt sophomore F Tulio Da Silva, one of three remaining Bulls scholarship players signed by former coach Orlando Antigua, has left the program in what was described as a mutual decision."I met with Tulio and his family this week to discuss hi...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Why free agency hasn’t turned out fun (yet) for ex-Rays pitcher Alex Cobb

Why free agency hasn’t turned out fun (yet) for ex-Rays pitcher Alex Cobb

RHP Alex Cobb never expected to be going into late January without knowing where he was going for spring training.The longtime Ray's first foray into free agency hasn't gone as planned, much like the 150-plus others waiting for something to give in a...
Updated: 9 hours ago

Captain’s Corner: Live baits outperforming artificials

Amberjack have been the hot topic in the area since their season opened Jan. 1. Anglers have been targeting wrecks and other large structures in depths of 80-120 feet for these tackle-testing monsters. Although amberjack are caught on a wide variety ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Fennelly: Lightning needs a reset on the road … pronto

Fennelly: Lightning needs a reset on the road … pronto

TAMPA — Vegas has left the building.Wasn't the Lightning just arranging place settings for next weekend's NHL All-Star Game party?With that in mind, I headed to the home dressing room at Amalie Arena late Thursday after the Lightning was manhan...
Published: 01/19/18
Updated: 01/20/18

Saturday’s sports on TV/radio

TODAYCollege basketballWomen: La Salle at Rhode Island11 a.m.CBSSNPurdue at IowanoonESPNFlorida State at Virginia TechnoonESPN2; 1010-AMWichita State at HoustonnoonESPNUVillanova at ConnecticutnoonCBSSt. John’s at GeorgetownnoonFS1Ohio State at Minne...
Published: 01/19/18
Golden Knights move within one point of Lightning for top spot in NHL

Golden Knights move within one point of Lightning for top spot in NHL

SUNRISE — Aaron Ekblad scored 40 seconds into overtime to lift the Panthers to a 4-3 victory over the Golden Knights on Friday, spoiling Vegas coach Gerard Gallant’s return to Florida. By gaining a point, Vegas moved within one point of the Lightning...
Published: 01/19/18

Well Humored ready to get back on a dirt track

OLDSMAR — It is time for Well Humored to get dirty again.The WinStar Farm homebred makes her first start on the Tampa Bay Downs main track Saturday afternoon in the $50,000 Wayward Lass, one of three stakes events on the Skyway Festival Day 11-race p...
Published: 01/19/18
Star-struck Kyrgios stays cool on court

Star-struck Kyrgios stays cool on court

MELBOURNE, Australia — With Will Smith in the crowd and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga across the net, Nick Kyrgios was in his element as the main attraction for a night at the Australian Open. Time to put on a show. One of his favorite actors — Smith was making...
Published: 01/19/18

National Hoopfest: Berkeley Prep proves to be no pushover

TAMPA —  Berkeley Prep's four-game win streak came to end Friday.That was expected.The Buccaneers faced West Oaks Academy, an independent powerhouse from Orlando that plays a national schedule, during Friday's National Hoopfest tournament....
Published: 01/19/18