Monday, June 25, 2018
Sports

Second isn't close enough for NASCAR's Kevin Harvick

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Kevin Harvick is leading the Sprint Cup standings and appears on his way to another run at a NASCAR championship. He also could be laying the groundwork for another maddening season in which he dominates on the track until it's time to collect the hardware.

Harvick finished second a frustrating 13 times last season, including the finale at Homestead when he lost the championship to race winner Kyle Busch.

Harvick's 2015 numbers were astounding: 2,294 laps led, a 97 percent completion rate and 23 top-five finishes in 36 races. But in the winner-take-all format, being consistently second-best doesn't earn many trophies.

Harvick has had one of the strongest cars each week this season, but he has just one victory, at Phoenix, to show for 485 laps led. He was second at Fontana, where he led a race-high 142 laps. He led a race-high 131 laps at Atlanta but finished sixth.

Now the series shifts to Texas Motor Speedway, one of just four active tracks where Harvick has yet to win a Cup race, for tonight's Duck Commander 500.

Harvick isn't bad at Texas, and has won five times on the 11/2-mile oval in the Xfinity series and once in trucks. He just hasn't made it to Victory Lane in the Cup series despite six top-five finishes. He has led a combined 109 laps in his past three starts at Texas and has three consecutive finishes of third or better.

"I just don't think we've ever had a whole day come together for whatever reason at Texas," Harvick said of his Cup futility. "We've had good runs there in the past but just haven't gotten to Victory Lane. We just have to figure out how to get in there."

Edwards on pole: Carl Edwards became the seventh pole-sitter in seven Sprint Cup races this season, posting a lap of 194.609 mph Friday in the final round of qualifying for tonight. He has won three times at Texas. "My confidence level was pretty decent, but now it's really good," Edwards said. "It's up there." Joey Logano and Martin Truex both had qualifying laps of 193.306 mph. Logano starts on the front row beside Edwards, with Truex third. Rookie Chase Elliott and Ricky Stenhouse fill out the top five spots. It is Edwards' 17th career pole, his second in 23 starts at Texas.

No more money: An upshot of the Sprint Cup's charter system is NASCAR's new policy of withholding drivers' earnings in race box scores, the Charlotte Observer reported. The charter system was announced in February and guarantees 36 Cup teams a certain amount of revenue in addition to prize money.

Comments
A local hockey draftee? Mitchell grad Nathan Smith is just that

A local hockey draftee? Mitchell grad Nathan Smith is just that

TAMPA — Every year during draft season, players from the Tampa Bay area are selected in the NFL, MLB and even NBA drafts.But NHL?Sure enough, in the third round of Saturday's NHL draft, the Jets selected Nathan Smith, a forward who was born in ...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Sports on TV/radio for Monday, June 25

TODAYBaseballAngels at Royals4 p.m.MLBNationals at Rays7 p.m.Fox Sun; 620-AMDiamondbacks at Marlins7 p.m.FSFYankees at Phillies7 p.m.MLBCubs at Dodgers10 p.m.ESPNCollege baseball, World SeriesBest-of-3 championship, Game 1: Oregon St. vs. Mississippi...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Rays season turning into good one

Rays season turning into good one

ST. PETERSBURG — The Tampa Bay Rays are not the best team in baseball. They are not going to win the World Series this year. Heck, they probably won't even make the playoffs.But I tell you what. This team is a heck of a lot of fun to watch.And ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Rodney Pageís takeaways from Sundayís Rays-Yankees game

Rodney Pageís takeaways from Sundayís Rays-Yankees game

The catwalks at Tropicana Field are arguably the worst feature, but they  came in handy for the Rays on Sunday. Yankees pinch-hitter Clint Frazier hit what looked to be a ninth-inning home run that would've given them a one-run lead. Instea...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Rays beat Yankees in 12 innings on Jake Bauers homer

Rays beat Yankees in 12 innings on Jake Bauers homer

ST. PETERSBURG — Rays first baseman Jake Bauers sat at his locker after Sunday afternoon's 7-6, 12-inning win over the Yankees and thumbed through his text messages. There was no way he could get through them all. That's what happens when ...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Rays journal: Yarbrough comes through, Venters to DL, support for Ramos

Rays journal: Yarbrough comes through, Venters to DL, support for Ramos

ST. PETERSBURG — Ryan Yarbrough was only supposed to throw on Sunday if it was an emergency. In the 12th inning with the score tied 6-6 and a runner on first, there was an emergency.Jonny Venters tweaked his right hamstring trying to cover firs...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Rays sweep Yankees with Bauers walk-off in 12 innings

Rays sweep Yankees with Bauers walk-off in 12 innings

Tampa Bay Rays first baseman Jake Bauers (9) hit a walkoff homerun during the Tampa Bay Rays game against the New York Yankees at Tropicana Field on June 24, 2018, in St. Petersburg, Fla. The Rays won 7-6.Tampa Bay Rays first baseman Jake Bauers (9)...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Rays team up to beat Yankees again 4-0

Rays team up to beat Yankees again 4-0

ST. PETERSBURG — With all that's been said, tweeted, ranted and written on these pages and elsewhere about the Rays' odd, unorthodox, weird and some days downright wacky pitching plan, this might be the craziest thing yet:It's working.Like, rea...
Published: 06/23/18
Greg Auman answers your questions about NFLís investigation into Jameis Winston

Greg Auman answers your questions about NFLís investigation into Jameis Winston

There are many unanswered questions and discrepancies about the story of Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston and the March 2016 Uber ride in Arizona that has led to his upcoming three-game suspension for violating the NFL's conduct policy.The Bucs won't ...
Published: 06/23/18
Will this be Jameis Winstonís last season in a Bucs uniform?

Will this be Jameis Winstonís last season in a Bucs uniform?

A t his introductory news conference after being drafted No. 1 overall by the Bucs in 2015, Jameis Winston said to judge him on his actions moving forward."Actions speak so much louder than words, or what they may have read or what they may have hear...
Published: 06/23/18