Sunday, December 17, 2017
Sports

Up next races on major auto racing circuits

Sprint Cup

What: Toyota Owners 400

Where/when: Today, practice (Speed, noon), qualifying (Speed, 5:30 p.m.); Saturday, race (Ch. 13, 7:30 p.m.); Richmond, Va.

Fast facts: Sprint Cup driver Matt Kenseth ripped NASCAR a day after the governing body penalized his Joe Gibbs Race team. Kenseth's team was hit Wednesday with some of NASCAR's harshest penalties after his race-winning engine Sunday at Kansas failed a postrace inspection. The failure came because one of eight connecting rods in the engine was too light — by 2.7 grams, according to Kenseth, who said the rods collectively weighed more than necessary by about 2.5 grams each. "I think the penalties are grossly unfair," Kenseth said. "I think it's borderline shameful." Kenseth was docked 50 driver points in the standings — two more than he earned for the victory. But he says he's angrier about the penalties given to Gibbs and crew chief Jason Ratcliff. Both were suspended six weeks. Gibbs also had his owner points frozen, and Ratcliff was fined $200,000. The team is appealing. The part found to be too light was installed by Toyota Racing Development, which builds engines for JGR at a shop in Costa Mesa, Calif., Kenseth said. "They show up on a truck or an airplane, get taken out and bolted in the car," he said. TRD president Lee White said the company took full responsibility for the mistake and confirmed that JGR had nothing to do with it. He also said the lighter part gave Kenseth no advantage. … Denny Hamlin of nearby Chesterfield is sitting out his fourth straight race after fracturing a vertebra in a last-lap wreck. Hamlin, 32, wishes he didn't need medical clearance to race. "I'd rather just do it," Hamlin said about getting back in the car. "Honestly, I know everyone is trying to protect me from myself, but I would have raced at Martinsville two weeks ago." Brian Vickers is making his third start in Hamlin's No. 11 Toyota.

Standings: 1. Jimmie Johnson, 311; 2. Kasey Kahne, 274; 3. Brad Keselowski, 273; 4. Greg Biffle, 264; 5. Dale Earnhardt Jr., 263; 6. Carl Edwards, 262; 7. Kyle Busch, 257; 8. Clint Bowyer, 247; 9. Paul Menard, 240; 10. Jamie McMurray, 227

Nationwide

What: ToyotaCare 250

When/where: Today, practice, qualifying (ESPN2, 4 p.m.), race (ESPN News, 7:30 p.m.); Richmond, Va.

Fast facts: Jeffrey Earnhardt is making his first start for uncle Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s JR Motorsports, driving the No. 5 Chevrolet.

Standings: 1. Sam Hornish, 221; 2. Regan Smith, 219; 3. Austin Dillon, 213; 4. Justin Allgaier, 212; 5. Brian Scott, 212

NHRA

What: Spring Nationals

When/where: Today, qualifying; Saturday, qualifying (ESPN2, 3 p.m.); Sunday, final eliminations (ESPN2, 2 p.m.); Baytown, Texas

Standings: Top Fuel — 1. Tony Schumacher, 479; 2. Antron Brown, 405. Funny Car — 1. Matt Hagan, 399; 2. Cruz Pedregon, 349. Pro Stock — 1. Mike Edwards, 494; 2. Allen Johnson, 410. Pro Stock Motorcycle — 1. Hector Arana, 248; 2. Scotty Pollacheck, 155

Trucks

Next: North Carolina Education Lottery 200, May 17, Charlotte Motor Speedway, Concord

Standings: 1. Matt Crafton, 162; 2. Johnny Sauter, 149; 3. Jeb Burton, 149; 4. Ryan Blaney, 141; 5. Ty Dillon, 135

IndyCar

Next: Sao Paulo Indy 300, May 5, Streets of Sao Paulo, Brazil

Standings: 1. Helio Castroneves, 99; 2. Takuma Sato, 93; 3. Scott Dixon, 89; 4. Marco Andretti, 87; 5. Justin Wilson, 81

Formula One

Next: Spanish Grand Prix, May 12, Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona

Standings: 1. Sebastian Vettel, 77; 2. Kimi Raikkonen, 67; 3. Lewis Hamilton, 50

Comments
Jets turn tables on Blues at home

Jets turn tables on Blues at home

WINNIPEG, Manitoba — Connor Hellebuyck stopped 24 shots for his eighth career shutout, Patrik Laine got his team-high 16th goal of the season and the Jets beat the Blues 4-0 Sunday night. Adam Lowry, Mark Scheifele and Josh Morrissey also scored for ...
Updated: 25 minutes ago
Bucs fans call for Jon Gruden — why was he fired to begin with?

Bucs fans call for Jon Gruden — why was he fired to begin with?

TAMPA — The beers and the "love ya, bros" were flowing Saturday night at the Hooters in Tampa. Jon Gruden, who will be inducted into the Bucs Ring of Honor at halftime of tonight’s home game against the Falcons, worked the room, greeting family, frie...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Hed news offlead1 inch 1 inch body

Hed news offlead1 inch 1 inch body

PITTSBURGH — Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski did it to the Steelers again. One questionable decision by Ben Roethlisberger helped. A questionable call by the replay judge helped even more.Brady fed Gronkowski, his star tight end, repeatedly to set up ru...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Fennelly: Jon Gruden was one hard-working bro

Fennelly: Jon Gruden was one hard-working bro

TAMPA — It’s ridiculous that it took this long to give Jon Gruden a night all his own, given the nights he gave Bucs fans. But it will happen this evening at Raymond James Stadium, a salute to the thermonuclear source of that Super Bowl season, that ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Last-minute run rallies UNC past Vols

Last-minute run rallies UNC past Vols

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — North Carolina passed the kind of road challenge it wanted to face before starting Atlantic Coast Conference competition. Kenny Williams sank a go-ahead 3-pointer with 35 seconds left as the seventh-ranked Tar Heels rallied past No...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Lightning has goalie Peter Budaj’s back after near-collapse

Lightning has goalie Peter Budaj’s back after near-collapse

LAS VEGAS — After the Avalanche made a seemingly insurmountable Lightning lead shaky Saturday night, defenseman Victor Hedman was the first to skate toward backup goalie Peter Budaj and give an encouraging pat on the pads with his stick.Budaj’s stat ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Bucs-Falcons: Things to watch in Monday’s 8:30 p.m. game

Bucs-Falcons: Things to watch in Monday’s 8:30 p.m. game

TAMPA — The Bucs and Falcons have each won three straight games on Monday nights as they face each other on a national platform tonight at Raymond James Stadium.How can Tampa Bay continue its streak and stop Atlanta’s? It won’t be easy, but given the...
Updated: 1 hour ago

NFL playoff chase

Playoff chaseNFCPos. Team Rec Div ConfDivision leaders1. Eagles-E-* 12-2 5-0 10-12. Vikings-N-z 11-3 3-1 8-23. Rams-W 10-4 4-1 7-44. Saints-S 10-4 3-1 7-3Wild card5. Panthers 10-4 2-2 6-46. Falcons 8-5 2-1 7-2Contention7. Lions 8-6 4-1 7-48. Seahawks...
Updated: 1 hour ago
David Lee: From ending ugly streaks to title to love match

David Lee: From ending ugly streaks to title to love match

David Lee has not played a home game at Madison Square Garden for nearly eight years, but the memories don’t soon fade once a player has inhaled the rarefied air of life as a Knicks fan favorite. Lee knows this better than most.One stubborn example: ...
Updated: 1 hour ago

LeBron makes statement with shoes, play in win

WASHINGTON — LeBron James played the first half wearing a pair of shoes — one black, one white — reading "equality" in gold capital letters and finished with 20 points, 15 assists and 12 rebounds to lead the Cavaliers past the Wizards 106-99 on Sunda...
Updated: 1 hour ago