Sunday, December 17, 2017
Sports

Bayne's speed means he'll defend title

DAYTONA BEACH — Trevor Bayne will defend his Daytona 500 championship.

Bayne, whose No. 21 Ford didn't have enough owner points to guarantee a starting position in the opener, locked up one of the 43 spots in Sunday's qualifying. Bayne posted the fastest lap (193.615 mph) of the 14 drivers who don't have automatic spots, which belong to the top 35 in last year's owner points.

Tony Raines and David Stremme also earned their way in on speed.

Bayne did it on his 21st birthday, too.

"It's a lot of relief," Bayne said. "We're in the show for good now. We don't have to worry about that or lose some sleep at night."

Still, he might have been a contender for the front row had it not been for the wind, which got stronger toward the end of qualifying.

"I feel pretty good about the lap," Bayne said. "Last year I would have been jumping up and down about qualifying in the top 10, but I really thought we had a shot at the pole, as good as our car was Saturday (second-fastest in final practice). It's just the wind was against us. Going through (Turns) 3 and 4, I could feel it kind of gusting onto the nose of our car, so at that point, there's not much you can do."

Bayne doesn't have a full-time ride in NASCAR's Sprint Cup series. Wood Brothers Racing plans to have him run in 14 Cup races this season. He doesn't have a full-time Nationwide series ride, either. Roush Fenway Racing plans to run him in the first three races, hoping to attract potential sponsors with good results and run more races.

The exposure he should get in NASCAR's premier event could be beneficial.

"Certainly it helps," team owner Jack Roush said. "Trevor is the reigning Daytona 500 champion, and we have not managed to put together full sponsorship for either the Cup program or the Nationwide program. But we do have ongoing conversations."

Since his Daytona 500 shocker last February, little has worked out the way Bayne might have expected. He missed several weeks last season after being diagnosed with a mystery ailment that turned out to be Lyme disease. Bayne feels fine now, good enough to take a mission trip to Kenya in the offseason.

STENHOUSE SOARS: Ricky Stenhouse, the 2011 Nationwide champion, made a strong start to his Speedweeks, running eighth-fastest in time trials.

"It will definitely give you some confidence that you've got a car that is capable of being in the front and running up front for a lot of the race," said Stenhouse, who will start his first Daytona 500 and second Cup race on Sunday.

Stenhouse will start fourth in Thursday's first Duel and says, "On Thursday, our job is to keep our race car as clean as we can so we'll have it for Sunday."

BOWYER BOUNCED: Officials found Clint Bowyer's No. 15 Toyota was too low in post-qualifying inspection. He will have to start from the back in one of Thursday's two 150-mile Duel races. No additional penalties are expected. Bowyer's team is assured of a spot in the 500, based on owner points.

Elsewhere

NHRA: Antron Brown won the Top Fuel division of the Arizona Nationals at Firebird International Raceway in Chandler, holding off Don Schumacher Racing teammate Tony Schumacher in the final round with a run of 3.793 seconds at 319.82 mph. Robert Hight topped the Funny Car field and Jason Line won Pro Stock.

EAST BAY RACEWAY: Steve Francis won $10,000 by taking the finale of the Late Model Dirt Series Winternationals finale in Gibsonton. Dennis Erb Jr. earned the weeklong Winternationals title, worth $5,000.

Comments
Lightning wins at Avalanche with four-goal second period

Lightning wins at Avalanche with four-goal second period

DENVER — The Lightning left for Las Vegas Saturday for the first of four nights in Sin City.But Tampa Bay’s first regret came before it boarded the charter flight; the Lighting lamented making Saturday’s 6-5 win over the Avalanche much more thrilling...
Updated: 6 hours ago

Joe Smith’s takeaways from Lightning-Avalanche

Could tell just how much Ryan Callahan meant in the Lightning dressing room by hearing teammates talk about his latest injury. Steven Stamkos said he was "sick to my stomach." Brayden Point called him a "heart and soul player." Teammates all saw how ...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Lightning journal: No easy answers on replacing injured Ryan Callahan

Lightning journal: No easy answers on replacing injured Ryan Callahan

The good news for the Lightning is that GM Steve Yzerman is hopeful RW Ryan Callahan will be ready to go in 3-4 weeks when his upper body injury is re-evaluated. The hard part, however, is finding someone to replace the veteran wing. "I don’t know if...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Melo cheered, then booed as Knicks spoil his return

Melo cheered, then booed as Knicks spoil his return

NEW YORK — Carmelo Anthony got the cheers but the Knicks got the win, shutting out their former All-Star in the second half and beating the Thunder 111-96 Saturday night for their fourth straight victory. Michael Beasley tied his season high with 30 ...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Rangers stay hot against a favorite opponent, the Bruins

Rangers stay hot against a favorite opponent, the Bruins

BOSTON — Mats Zuccarello scored a power-play goal 1:56 into overtime to lift the Rangers to a 3-2 victory over the Bruins on Saturday. Michael Grabner and J.T. Miller also scored for the Rangers, who won for the ninth time in 13 games (9-3-1) overall...
Updated: 8 hours ago

Sports in brief

MLBTRADE SENDS KEMP BACK TO L.A.OF Matt Kemp was reacquired by the Dodgers on Saturday as part of a five-player trade with the Braves. The Dodgers sent 1B Adrian Gonzalez, LHP Scott Kazmir, RHP Brandon McCarthy, INF Charlie Culberson and cash to Atla...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Mistakes doom Ducks in new coach’s debut

Mistakes doom Ducks in new coach’s debut

LAS VEGAS — Cedrick Wilson caught 10 passes for 221 yards and a touchdown, safety Kekaula Kaniho returned an interception 53 yards for a score and No. 25 Boise State beat Oregon 38-28 in the Las Vegas Bowl on Saturday. Brett Rypien threw for 362 yard...
Updated: 8 hours ago

Bucs’ Gerald McCoy, Lavonte David out for Monday’s game vs. Falcons

TAMPA — As if containing All-Pro Julio Jones and the Falcons offense isn’t challenging enough, the Bucs will try to do so Monday night without perhaps their top defensive players, tackle Gerald McCoy and linebacker Lavonte David.On Saturday, Bucs coa...
Updated: 8 hours ago

Sunday’s sports on TV/radio

TODAYCollege basketballWomen: Florida State at Texas12:30 p.m.FS1Women: Georgia Tech at Georgia1 p.m.SECStony Brook at Providence2:30 p.m.FS1North Carolina at Tennessee3 p.m.ESPNSavannah State at Baylor3 p.m.Fox SunWomen: USF at Florida International...
Updated: 8 hours ago

Cabreras team up for first-round lead at Father/Son Challenge

ORLANDO — Two-time major winner Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the Father/Son Challenge. Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in the pop...
Updated: 10 hours ago