Friday, January 19, 2018
Sports

Kahne captures Bristol in Sprint Cup

BRISTOL, Tenn. — Kasey Kahne's bumper-banging battle with Brad Keselowski was just the warmup act in Sunday's action-packed Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Former teammates Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano exchanged words after the race — in person and on Twitter — after Hamlin spun Logano as Logano was racing for the lead.

A flat tire knocked Jeff Gordon and Matt Kenseth out of the race while they were running 1-2.

Typical Bristol, right?

It looked that way as Kahne and Keselowski staged a spectacular battle for the lead in the Food City 500, before a caution flag put them side-by-side for a restart with 40 laps to go.

Keselowski either spun his tires or the Hamlin-Logano feud disrupted his start, and Kahne sailed away for his first career victory at Bristol.

"Feels really good to win at this place," Kahne said. "Such a tough track over the years. This is a big race for me. When you race in the Sprint Cup series, Bristol is a race you want to win."

Tempers flared after the race when Logano leaned inside Hamlin's window to confront him. Hamlin had spun Logano as the latter tried to pass Gordon for the lead.

Logano was pulled away from Hamlin's car by crew members for both drivers in a classic post-Bristol clash that delighted the crowd. "They're fighting! It's Bristol!" yelled Clint Bowyer, who saw the action on the infield big screen — and probably hasn't forgotten the melee late last season when his crew and Jeff Gordon's fought after a wreck at Phoenix.

Logano indicated there's no love lost between the former Joe Gibbs Racing teammates.

"Probably the worst teammate I've ever had," Logano said of Hamlin. "I have a scorecard and I'm not putting up with that. … I had to put up with him for years, so whatever."

Hamlin shrugged it all off.

"He said he was coming for me," Hamlin said. "I usually don't see him, so it's usually not a factor."

The two sparred briefly on Twitter after the Daytona 500, when Hamlin complained Logano ruined the closing laps. But he said Sunday's flap was not a carryover.

"It didn't have anything to do with that," Hamlin said. "You've really got to control your car and he slipped up into me. Really, he would have been in the garage with no radiator in it if I had not checked up twice. I meant to run into him. I didn't mean to spin him out, but his day was fine. We finished bad and he finished bad. It's even."

But they continued sniping on Twitter. Logano, who finished 17th, posted: "Hey @dennyhamlin great job protecting that genius brain of yours by keeping your helmet on." To which Hamlin responded: "Why's that. What would u do?"

Their feuding might have played a role in the outcome of the race, too.

Keselowski led on the final restart as he lined up next to Kahne. Hamlin was behind Keselowski, with Logano behind Hamlin. When the flag waved, Keselowski didn't go and Kahne rocketed to the lead and never looked back.

Though it appeared Keselowski spun his tires, he was adamant after the race about what happened — "I got ran over!" — and that prevented him from breaking away on the restart.

Hamlin, who finished 23rd, backed up Keselowski's account.

"The (No.) 22 (Logano) ran into me and shoved me into (Keselowski)," Hamlin said. "Sorry to the (No.) 2, but I was the pinball in the sandwich. Once he throttled up, the 22 lifted me up and just flat out pinned me up against the 2."

Logano seemed to think Keselowski spun his tires, but Keselowski believed he had help from behind.

"I haven't seen the replay, I just know my rear tires were off the ground before I got to the restart zone," he said.

Meanwhile, Kahne drove his Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet to the win by 1.7 seconds over Kyle Busch.

Keselowski took the Sprint Cup points lead by coming in third; he's the only driver to open with four top-five finishes. Kurt Busch finished fourth, followed by Bowyer and Dale Earnhardt Jr.

The race changed dramatically with 110 laps to go in a crash between Gordon and Kenseth. Gordon was leading when he suddenly lost a tire and his car darted up the track into the wall. Kenseth, running second, could not avoid him, causing heavy damage to both cars.

Neither returned; Gordon finished 34th, Kenseth 35th.

"I hate that for Matt Kenseth," Gordon said. "He was coming, and it was just a matter of time before he caught us."

Tampa's Aric Almirola fell out after an accident and finished 37th, falling from 10th to 20th in points. David Reutimann of Zephyrhills was 39th. Danica Patrick finished five laps down in 28th.

 
Comments
Lightning journal: Cory Conacher ready to take advantage of J.T. Brown’s departure

Lightning journal: Cory Conacher ready to take advantage of J.T. Brown’s departure

TAMPA — The loss of wing J.T. Brown to Anaheim will be a gain for some Lightning forwards in terms of ice time. Whether those players are currently with the team or still at AHL Syracuse has yet to be determined.For now, C Cory Conacher will try to t...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Lightning falls to Golden Knights

Lightning falls to Golden Knights

TAMPA — The door to the Lightning dressing room remained closed a little longer than usual Thursday night, and that wasn’t surprising.After the kind of performance displayed in its 4-1 loss to the expansion Golden Knights, this had players-only meeti...
Updated: 4 hours ago

Friday’s sports on TV/radio

TODAYAutosNASCAR Hall of Fame induction ceremony8 p.m.NBCSNCollege basketballBuffalo at Western Michigan7 p.m.ESPNUSt. Bonaventure at Davidson7 p.m.ESPN2Canisius at Manhattan9 p.m.ESPNUIllinois at Wisconsin9 p.m.FS1College gymnasticsFlorida at Kentuc...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Strong ties: USF vs. Louisville

Strong ties: USF vs. Louisville

TAMPA — USF has scheduled a three-game football series with Louisville — coach Charlie Strong’s former team — starting in 2022, giving his Bulls nine games against Power Five teams over the next seven years.USF visits Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium on ...
Updated: 4 hours ago

High school scoreboard for Jan. 18

Thursday’s scoreboardGirls basketballNortheast 64, Largo 24Boys soccerIndian Rocks Chr. 3, Berkeley Prep 2Palm Harbor U. 7, Tarpon Springs 0Girls soccerCountryside 5, Pinellas Park 0Palm Harbor U. 5, Tarpon Springs 1...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Djokovic wins in rising heat

Djokovic wins in rising heat

MELBOURNE, Australia — On a day when shade was a valuable commodity in the searing heat at Melbourne Park, Roger Federer played it cool at the Australian Open. Six-time champion Novak Djokovic, however, complained about the brutal conditions during h...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Sports in brief

GymnasticsUSA gymnastics Ends deal with KAROLYI ranch tainted by SEX abuse allegationsINDIANAPOLIS — The long relationship between USA Gymnastics and the Karolyi Ranch is over. The organization announced Thursday that it has terminated its agreement ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Star battle: Team LeBron versus Team Stephen

Star battle: Team LeBron versus Team Stephen

Team LeBron against Team Stephen is the NBA’s new All-Star matchup. Cleveland’s LeBron James and Golden State’s Stephen Curry will go head-to-head again, this time as captains who pick teams for the revamped All-Star Game. James and Curry received th...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Bruins continue climb up Atlantic Division

Bruins continue climb up Atlantic Division

NEW YORK — Patrice Bergeron scored three goals to lead Boston to a 5-2 victory over the Islanders on Thursday night, giving the Bruins at least a point for the 15th consecutive game. Brad Marchand had a goal and two assists as Boston improved to 11-0...
Updated: 5 hours ago
McIlroy returns from injury, trails by 3 in first round of European Tour event

McIlroy returns from injury, trails by 3 in first round of European Tour event

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — Rory McIlroy’s patience was tested Thursday on his comeback, needing three late birdies to shoot 3-under 69 that left him three strokes behind first-round leaders Tommy Fleetwood and Hideto Tanihara at the Abu Dhabi ...
Updated: 5 hours ago