In Brief: Long Shot Pulls Off Surprise Win in All-Star Race
Concord, c.c. — Jamie McMurray, a 40-1 long shot, had a $1 million payday Saturday night with an upset victory in the Sprint All-Star Race.
McMurray was second on the restart for the 10-lap sprint to the checkered flag. Lined up outside of pole-sitter Carl Edwards, McMurray waged a door-to-door battle with the leader for a lap around Charlotte Motor Speedway, with McMurray surging slightly ahead several times.
The two cars appeared to touch more than once, and McMurray finally cleared Edwards for the lead two laps into the fifth segment.
“A million bucks, that’s what I kept telling myself,” McMurray said.
McMurray then easily pulled away for his first victory in the event.
“For me, in the car, that was as much fun as you can have, a 10-lap shootout, me and Carl going side by side,” said McMurray, who scored the first victory of his career in 2002 at Charlotte. “Carl and I were just going for it. That’s awesome.”
Kevin Harvick finished second, Matt Kenseth was third and Dale Earnhardt Jr., who complained earlier he was driving a dump truck, was fourth.
Edwards faded all the way to fifth.
Kurt Busch was 11th after qualifying for the Indianapolis 500 earlier in the day.
“Really happy to see Jamie win, it’s always nice to see good guys win,” said Kenseth, a former teammate of McMurray’s at Roush Fenway Racing.
It seemed to be a popular victory as several drivers made a point to congratulate McMurray in their post-race interviews as the driver took his Chevrolet to Victory Lane. He was met there by team owners Felix Sabates and Chip Ganassi, who flew into North Carolina before the race after Indianapolis 500 qualifying.
It was a tough day for Ganassi in Indianapolis, where none of his five cars made it into the Fast 9 qualifying round and Scott Dixon was his fastest driver at 15th.
Kyle Busch won the first segment, but his night ended early in the second 20-lap segment when he used an aggressive move in a fast attempt to avoid running into the back of older brother, Kurt.
Kurt Busch Just Misses Indy Pole Contention
Concord, n.c. — Kurt Busch’s run at driving 1,100 miles over two races in one day won’t start from the Indy 500 pole.
Busch narrowly missed a chance to compete for the pole when he posted the 10th-fastest qualifying time Saturday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The top nine spots are eligible for the pole on today.
Ed Carpenter’s four-lap average of 230.661 mph was just ahead of Carolos Munoz for the top spot.
Busch made two attempts at Indianapolis to crack the top nine. He briefly posted one of the fastest speeds on his second run and had a grip on contention for a front row spot in the No. 26 Suretone Honda for Andretti Autosport. Not for long. He lost his spot and was on his way to North Carolina to race in NASCAR’s All-Star race.
Oosthuizen, Todd Share Nelson Lead
Irving, Texas — Louis Oosthuizen birdied four of the last five holes for a 6-under 64 and a share of the third-round lead with Brendon Todd in the Byron Nelson Championship.
Oosthuizen had the low round of the day after recovering from bogeys on two of the first four holes.
Todd had a 68, making 12 consecutive pars before holing a 4-foot birdie at No. 18 to match Oosthuizen at 10-under 200.
Mike Weir, James Hahn and Gary Woodland were a stroke back at 201. Weir shot 67, Hahn 65, and Woodland 66.
Morgan Hoffmann twice fell out of the lead after hitting drives left into the water and making double bogey, at Nos. 11 and 18. He was tied for sixth at 8 under.
Woodstock’s Keegna Bradley shot his second straight 68 and is six strokes back.
Williamsburg, Va. — Lizette Salas moved into position for her first LPGA Tour victory, playing 25 holes in 6-under par to take a three-stroke lead in the Kingsmill Championship.
South Korea’s Hee Young Park, the second-round leader, was second. She bogeyed No. 18 for a 69.
Birmingham, Ala. — Kenny Perry shot a 3-under 69 at Shoal Creek to take a one-stroke lead over John Inman after the third round of the Regions Tradition.
Perry is seeking his third Champions Tour major title after winning the Senior Players Championship and U.S. Senior Open in consecutive tour starts last year.
Perry had a 7-under 209 total. He had four birdies and bogeyed No. 16.
Nadal, Djokovic In Rome Final
Rome — Top-ranked Rafael Nadal and No. 2 Novak Djokovic will renew their rivalry in the Italian Open final today.
Having been stretched to three sets in his opening three matches this week, Nadal finally put in a complete performance with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Grigor Dimitrov in the semifinals on Saturday.
Earlier, Djokovic took his time before figuring out Milos Raonic’s massive serve for a 6-7 (5), 7-6 (4), 6-3 victory.
Nadal holds a 22-18 career edge vs. Djokovic, and has beaten the Serb three out of four times in Rome. However, Djokovic won their last meeting for the Sony Open title in March in Key Biscayne, Florida.
For the women’s championship, top-ranked Serena Williams will face Sara Errani, the tournament’s first Italian finalist in nearly 30 years.
Arsenal Ends Title Drought
London — Aaron Ramsey ended Arsenal’s nine-year trophy drought, completing his team’s comeback in extra time in the FA Cup final to clinch a 3-2 victory over Hull.
Saturday was shaping up as an embarrassing day for Arsenal at Wembley Stadium, when Hull scored twice in the first eight minutes. Hull has never won a major trophy in its 110-year history.
But after goals from James Chester and Curtis Davies, Santi Cazorla began Arsenal’s comeback in the 17th minute by scoring directly from a free kick.
Laurent Koscielny tied the score in the 71st minute to force the game into extra time, where Ramsey completed a slick move to score the goal that will ease the pressure on manager Arsene Wenger.
Revs Stay on Roll
Chester, Pa. — A.J. Soares, Diego Fagundez, Lee Nguyen, Chris Tierney and Patrick Mullins scored goals for New England in its 5-3 victory on Saturday over the Philadelphia Union, extending the Revolution’s winning streak to four.
The Revolution (6-3-2) pushed their unbeaten streak to six with five wins in their past six games.
It was also New England’s first win over the Union at PPL Park where it had been 0-4-2, including a 1-0 loss on March 15.
The Revolution, who have scored a total of 10 goals in their past two games, improved to 5-0-0 this season when scoring first and Soares made that happen in the 13th minute off a free kick from Tierney.
New England went ahead 2-0 in the 27th minute when the 19-year-old Fagundez scored.
At 55, Veteran Back in the Game
Fort Worth, Texas — Julio Franco is going to try to get a few more hits at age 55.
Franco is joining the Fort Worth Cats of the independent United League as a player-coach for their first homestand. He played in the major leagues until age 49.
The season opener is Tuesday.
Franco played parts of 23 major league seasons for eight teams from 1982-2007, with stints in Japan, Mexico and South Korea during that time. He was a three-time All-Star and won an AL batting title while with the Texas Rangers from 1989-93. He was the oldest active player in the majors when he played his last game for Atlanta in 2007.
He had more than 4,200 hits in professional baseball before announcing his retirement in May 2008 while in the Mexican League.
Saints Sign Paralyzed Player To Honorary Contract
Metairie, La. — The Saints sigined paralyzed former Tulane player Devon Walker to a free-agent contract, New Orleans coach Sean Payton said.
Payton, who met with Walker at the Saints’ practice fields during rookie camp Saturday, said Walker has “been an inspiration” to his community, his university and to the Saints.
Walker was paralyzed from the neck down while making a tackle at Tulsa in 2012. Now operating a motorized wheelchair with his mouth, Walker nonetheless managed to graduate on Saturday with a degree in cell and molecular biology.
In between graduation festivities, Tulane coach Curtis Johnson brought Walker, along with family and friends, to Saints headquarters to receive the honorary contract.
Walker remained part of Tulane’s football team last season, even giving speeches before home games.