September 1, 2014

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NASCAR the big winner with Jeff and Junior on top
Written by Associated Press   
Tuesday, August 05, 2014 8:15 PM


Associated Press


CHARLOTTE, N.C. — It was Jeff Gordon’s championship to lose just a week ago after his record fifth win at the Brickyard. Then Dale Earnhardt Jr. completed a season sweep at Pocono and now he’s the guy to beat.

Jeff and Junior, two of NASCAR’s biggest stars heating up during this lazy summer stretch of racing. NASCAR really couldn’t ask for anything more.

Well, it wouldn’t hurt if Tony Stewart threw his hat into the ring, too. As of Tuesday, it will be one year since the broken leg that ended his season and Stewart has now gone 14 months without a victory. He is on the outside looking in on the Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship field.

Stewart is one of the very few drivers who move the needle for NASCAR and has just five races remaining to grab a win he desperately needs to make him automatically eligible to race for the championship. For now, the only noise Smoke is making on the track is his constant sniping against blocking (do as he says, not as he does) but it might be time for him to block his way into Victory Lane.

That would give NASCAR the trifecta for its highly-anticipated Chase, which for the first time will feature elimination rounds and a winner-take-all finale. Picture the glee on Brian France’s face in Phoenix if it’s some combination of Junior and Jeff, Smoke and Jimmie Johnson, Brad Keselowski, Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick all jockeying to make the Final Four showdown at Homestead.

Maybe Stewart makes it, maybe he doesn’t — and really, he needs to be in the Chase because the intensity is always higher when Smoke is involved — but that’s just another element of this win-win time for NASCAR.

Bizarre play, Cueto help Reds down Indians
Written by Associated Press   
Tuesday, August 05, 2014 8:15 PM

Associated Press


CLEVELAND — Johnny Cueto threw his fourth complete game of the season and the Cincinnati Reds, aided by a bizarre play in which a Cleveland runner was fooled by a second ball on the field, defeated the Indians 9-2 on Tuesday night.

The Indians, trying to mount a comeback in the seventh, had a rally squelched after an errant warmup pitch from Cincinnati’s bullpen came on the field.

Yan Gomes’ double cut the lead to 6-2 and moved David Murphy to third as a ball thrown by reliever Jumbo Diaz rolled behind second base. Murphy mistakenly thought that ball was live and edged off third. He was tagged out after the ball that was in play was thrown to Santiago.

Indians manager Terry Francona spoke briefly with the umpires but the call stood.

The unusual play, along with Cueto’s strong performance and a rare big offensive day by the Reds, helped Cincinnati break a 10-game losing streak at Progressive Field.

Cueto (13-6), who hasn’t lost since July 2, allowed two runs in winning his fifth straight decision.

Ramon Santiago hit a 3-run homer in the second off Josh Tomlin (5-8) to break a 1-all tie for his first home run since Aug. 16 last season while playing for Detroit.

Cincinnati, which has been playing without All-Stars Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips, is 6-12 since the break, as it struggles to stay in the NL playoff chase.

Michael Brantley had an RBI single for the Indians, whose four-game winning streak ended.

Cincinnati scored in the first on a dropped relay throw by third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall.

Clinic owner tied to MLB scandal to plead guilty
Written by Associated Press   
Tuesday, August 05, 2014 8:08 PM


Associated Press


MIAMI — The former clinic owner accused of selling performance-enhancing drugs to Alex Rodriguez has agreed to plead guilty in what prosecutors called a wide-ranging conspiracy to distribute steroids to both major league ballplayers and high school athletes.

The charges filed Tuesday against former Biogenesis of America owner Anthony Bosch and six others marked one of the biggest salvos yet in a case that has dragged on for nearly two years. The case has sparked lawsuits, mudslinging and suspensions against numerous major-leaguers, including Rodriguez.

Also charged was Yuri Sucart, 52, a cousin of Rodriguez who the New York Yankees third baseman has said provided him with steroids from 2000-03 when he played for the Texas Rangers.

Giants rally to beat Bills 17-13 in HOF Game
Written by Associated Press   
Sunday, August 03, 2014 8:00 PM


Associated Press


CANTON — With running back David Wilson out indefinitely, rookie Andre Williams showed glimpses he can provide the New York Giants’ ground game some fresh legs.

The fourth-round draft pick and Heisman Trophy finalist out of Boston College had seven carries for 48 yards and scored on a 3-yard run in a 17-13 victory over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday night in the preseason-opening Hall of Fame Game.

Rookie receiver Corey Washington scored the go-ahead touchdown on a 73-yard pass up the right sideline from backup Ryan Nassib with 13:18 remaining. Washington reached back to catch the partly under-thrown pass, then stepped around flat-footed defender Kamaal McIlwain.

Williams’ performance was encouraging for the Giants after Wilson sustained his second neck injury in less than a year during training camp.

Getting additional playing time as the No. 2 back behind newly acquired starter Rashad Jennings, Williams provided a 1-2 punch to the Giants’ new-look running game that was slowed by injuries last season. And the two took the pressure off quarterback Eli Manning.

Though Manning lost a fumble while being sacked on the second series, Williams helped bail out the offense on the third possession. He had five carries for 37 yards, which he capped with a strong run up the middle to put the Giants ahead 7-3 in the final minute of the first quarter.

Dancer dominates ‘Run for the Rabbit’ at Limaland
Written by Information submitted   
Sunday, August 03, 2014 8:00 PM
Hud Horton (28) and Shawn Dancer battle for the lead in the “Run For the Rabbit” Travis Miller Memorial at Limaland Motorsports Park Friday night. (DHI Media/Mike Campbell Photos)



LIMA – There is an old saying in sports that “winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing.”

For veteran sprint car driver Shawn Dancer, the experience of winning a feature at Limaland Motorsports Park was the only thing he was still looking to accomplish.

That quest became a moot point for the Delphos-based racer as he went flag-to-flag on this night and won the coveted “Run for the Rabbit” 25-lap NRA Sprint Invaders showdown.

The event quickly turned into a 3-car tussle between Dancer, fellow front-row starter Hud Horton and Jared Horstman. Dancer and Horstman were content to storm around the high-side cushion of the high-banked ¼-mile, while Horton took the middle or inside line as his preferred avenue for racing. It remained a 3-car engagement with these same racers despite a pair of caution flags and a red flag to slow the race.

A harrowing end-over-end accident involving veteran Todd Heuerman occurred after he made contact with the turn four wall. The popular Leipsic racer was unable to continue due to damage with his number 18 machine. The incident did set up a 4-lap dash to the finish. Dancer simply turned it into a series of victory laps on his way to a first-ever feature-race checkered flag.

“The car was really good and my guys did a great job with the setup,” exclaimed a happy yet calm Dancer. “It’s awesome for my first win to be the ‘Run for the Rabbit.’ The family of Travis ‘Rabbit’ Miller is great for putting this on. For me after flipping at Eldora (recently) it was important to do something positive and my whole team really stepped up as this is something special!”

The Reineke Modifieds 20-lap feature proved to be a repeat of the previous two weeks as Matt Westfall and Todd Sherman continued their dual domination in the division. Westfall came from behind to edge Sherman at the finish line two weeks ago while Sherman held off Westfall in a similar scenario just last week at the famed western Ohio speed venue.

Westfall took an outside front-row starting position and propelled his number 54 entry to the early lead using the high line around the track. Sherman, celebrating a milestone 50th birthday, stayed with his traditional middle- to bottom-route line and was within range of Westfall throughout. Both racers seemed content to hold their positions although Sherman made a few attempts to get fully underneath Westfall. He was never successful as Westfall rolled mostly unthreatened to his third win of 2014.

“We had a really good car tonight and it’s always a good feeling to win,” said a matter-of-fact Westfall. “The longer the green, it seemed the top of the track was best and I didn’t feel like Todd (Sherman) was really gaining much on me.”