Wednesday, June 20, 2018
Sports

Truex takes Sprint Cup victory at Darlington

DARLINGTON, S.C. — Martin Truex took the lead with 28 laps to go and held off Kevin Harvick on the final restart to win the Southern 500 on Sunday night.

Truex started the summer season by leading an astounding 588 of 600 miles to win at Charlotte on Memorial Day weekend. He closed the season by outracing Harvick on Labor Day weekend for his second crown jewel win of the season and his first Sprint Cup victory at the old, egg-shaped oval.

Truex pulled to the inside wall to greet his crew, then took off for some celebration donuts at "The Track Too Tough To Tame."

Truex stamped himself as a contender to be reckoned with when the Chase for the Championship starts in two weeks.

"We're hungry. We're working hard," Truex said. "This is just the beginning for us, I think."

Harvick had the dominant car — he led 214 of 367 laps — but this run was cut short by slow pit stops. At one point, Harvick fell 11 spots from first to 12th after a 16.6-second stop. He battled back but could not catch Truex.

Last week's winner at Michigan, Kyle Larson, finished third and Denny Hamlin was fourth. Joey Logano was fifth, followed by Matt Kenseth, Kasey Kahne, Ryan Newman, Brad Keselowski and Chase Elliott.

Truex moved past leader Newman on Lap 339 to take the lead and stayed in front on a final restart to win another of what was once considered one of NASCAR's most-prized races.

"This is unbelievable," Truex said. "I've always loved this racetrack. I've led a lot of laps here, and I feel like something always happens. I'm proud to get to Victory Lane with this group."

It's the second time in the past six Southern 500s that single-car Furniture Row Racing wound up in Victory Lane. Regan Smith stunned the Sprint Cup garage in 2011 with his win here.

Harvick could not overcome his shoddy pit showing and was frustrated with his team.

"We have championship cars and we're just mediocre on pit road. It's been that way for a few years," he said.

Jimmie Johnson had troubles at a track where he has won three times.

He was called for a pass-through penalty after his crew made a modification on pit road NASCAR didn't like, then fell two laps down. On Lap 214, Johnson spun out and slid into the inside wall. His crew brought the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports machine behind the wall for a 33rd-place finish.

It was Johnson's ninth finish outside the top 10 in his past 12 races — not the form his team hoped to have in chasing a seventh Sprint Cup title.

Three-time series champ Tony Stewart, making his final run at Darlington before he retires, was trying to get past the lapped car Brian Scott just past the midway point.

When that didn't work at first, Stewart looked like he nudged Scott's bumper and sent him spinning. Scott thought Stewart was mad at him and ran into him on purpose. "I'm not sure if he thought I was trying to hold him up. I wasn't," Scott said.

The move also caught NASCAR's interest. Officials called Stewart and crew chief Mike Bugarewicz to their hauler at the end.

When told of NASCAR's demand, Stewart said, "Hey man, made it 25 races, I'd say that's pretty good."

Stewart's race ended early when an overheating engine expired 49 laps from the end. He finished 35th.

The race featured throwback paint schemes for almost the entire field, appropriate at a venue where NASCAR first raced in 1950. Stewart drove the red-and-gold Coca-Cola car patterned like the one Bobby Allison steered to victory at the Southern 500 in 1971 and '72.

Comments
Rays’ Kevin Kiermaier returns, with energy to spare

Rays’ Kevin Kiermaier returns, with energy to spare

HOUSTON — Energy.That's what Kevin Kiermaier said he felt he'd provide most in rejoining the Rays Tuesday against the Astros after missing two-plus months recovering from thumb surgery."I like to think I bring energy on both sides of the ball, ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Rays journal: Blake Snell outlasts Justin Verlander in 2-1 win

Rays journal: Blake Snell outlasts Justin Verlander in 2-1 win

HOUSTON — The starting pitcher walked seven over seven otherwise solid innings Tuesday. That seemed weird enough for the Rays. Then the next pitcher they brought in was the one who started Monday's game. Even more bizarre.And then there was thi...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Norris Trophy could be good consolation for Lightning’s Victor Hedman

Norris Trophy could be good consolation for Lightning’s Victor Hedman

Victor Hedman is talking from a hotel room in Las Vegas and admits he's a little jet-lagged."Actually, very jet-lagged," Hedman says.That's what happens when you take a flight from Sweden to the party capital of the world.But he knows exactly what he...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Rays-Astros

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Rays-Astros

This is how odd LHP Blake Snell's night was — he became the first pitcher to work seven or more innings and walk at least seven since Edwin Jackson threw his 149-pitch, eight-walk no-hitter at the Rays on June 25, 2010.If you weren't aware of t...
Updated: 8 hours ago

Sports on TV/radio for Wednesday, June 20

TODAYBaseballDodgers at Cubs2 p.m.MLBMarlins at Giants3:30 p.m.FSFMariners at Yankees7 p.m.MLBRays at Astros8 p.m.Fox Sun; 620-AMCollege baseball, World SeriesOregon State vs. North Carolina7 p.m.ESPNGolfPGA Professionals Championship6:30 p.m.GolfHor...
Updated: 8 hours ago
For starters: Rays at Astros, with Kiermaier back and an ace-high matchup

For starters: Rays at Astros, with Kiermaier back and an ace-high matchup

UPDATE, 6:45: Cash said Smith will continue to play a lot, getting time in LF and RF, meaning something of a rotation system for rookie Johnny Field and veteran Carlos Gomez.UPDATE, 4:49: Kiermaier is batting leadoff and playing center as expected, w...
Published: 06/19/18
Zero Bucs players on NFL top 100 list for 2018

Zero Bucs players on NFL top 100 list for 2018

Just to preface this, the NFL Network's annual countdown of the league's top 100 players is a made-for-TV deal, good for summer offseason conversation but not carrying any huge amount of real significance.Having said that, it's worth noting that for ...
Published: 06/19/18
Big Ten reaps recruiting bounty in Tampa Bay

Big Ten reaps recruiting bounty in Tampa Bay

Largo High defensive back Solomon Brown had plenty of college options with offers from 20 Division I-A schools. Still, the three-star recruit did not need to go through a prolonged process to figure out where he wanted to go.Two weeks ago, Brown comm...
Published: 06/19/18
Skyway 10K returning in March 2019, renewed for 5 more years

Skyway 10K returning in March 2019, renewed for 5 more years

ST. PETERSBURG — After raising $560,000 for its inaugural run on March 4, St Petersburg’s Skyway 10K will be returning in 2019 and will have the support of governmental agencies for years to come, run organizers said Tuesday.The run, which had around...
Published: 06/19/18
So, how exactly did the Rays end up losing Monday?

So, how exactly did the Rays end up losing Monday?

The Rays lost Monday's game when Sergio Romo failed them in the ninth inning.Called on to protect what was whittled to a one-run lead from 4-0, Romo got off to a bad start, walking the first batter on four pitches and then allowing a single to the se...
Published: 06/19/18