Le Mans Driver Dies in Accident

Paris — Danish driver Allan Simonsen died yesterday following a crash at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the first driver fatality at the high-speed endurance event since 1997.

Race organizers said the 34-year-old Simonsen was taken to the hospital after his Aston Martin No. 95 crashed about 10 minutes into the race. The Dane spun at high speed and his car skidded into the barrier at the Tertre Rouge corner where cars typically reach speeds of up to 170 kph (105 mph).

Simonsen died at the hospital soon after arrival “due to his injuries,” organizers said.

Sebastien Enjolras lost his life in pre-qualifying in 1997. The last driver fatality in the 24-hour race was Jo Gartner in 1986.

The worst crash in Le Mans history occurred in 1955 when Pierre Levegh’s Mercedes flew into the crowd, killing more than 80 spectators.

Aston Martin Racing, which had entered five Vantage V8 cars between the GTE-Pro and GTE-Am classes, will continue in the race at the request of Simonsen’s family.

McMurray Fronts
Sonoma Field

Sonoma, Calif. — Jamie McMurray was the surprise pole-winner at Sonoma Raceway.

McMurray topped favorite Marcos Ambrose with a fast lap around the 1.99-mile course. NASCAR for the first time used group qualifying and McMurray and Ambrose were together in the final group.

Ambrose first took the pole, was passed by McMurray and made one additional attempt to win the pole. He said after his motor sputtered right before he took the green flag, causing him to lose all his momentum.

Carl Edwards qualified third and was followed by teammate Greg Biffle as Ford drivers took three of the first four spots.

Defending race winner Clint Bowyer qualified fifth.

It was McMurray’s ninth career Sprint Cup pole, but first of the year. He also won the pole at Sonoma in 2007.

Track and Field

Rollins Hurdles Record

Des Moines, Iowa — Just 21 years old, Brianna Rollins is already running faster than some of the best hurdlers in history.

Rollins set an American record in the 100-meter hurdles at the U.S. track championships on a sweltering day yesterday, one of several big performances by less-than-familiar names.

Rollins, a standout at Clemson before turning pro this month, finished in 12.26 seconds to break the mark of Gail Devers in 2000. It is also the fastest time in a 100 hurdles race in 21 years.

Not to be outdone, 17-year-old Mary Cain finished second in the 1,500 meters to earn a spot at the world championships in Moscow in August. She was edged at the line by training partner Treniere Moser.

On a busy day at nationals, other winners included Nicole Bush (3,000 steeplechase), Brigetta Barrett (high jump), Janay DeLoach Soukup (long jump), Matthew Centrowitz (1,500), Maria Michta (20,000 race walk), Michael Tinsley (400 hurdles) and Natasha Hastings (400).

Hanover, N.H., native Russell Brown (ninth) and Norwich, Vt.’s Andrew Wheating (12th) were not factors in the 1,500, although Brown set the pace for the first two laps of the four-lap race.

Golf

Watson Slips Into Tie

Cromwell, Conn. — Bubba Watson made three bogeys in his last six holes Saturday to help create a three-way tie after three rounds at the Travelers Championship.

Watson, Graham DeLaet, who tied for the low round of the day with a 65, and Charley Hoffman are all at 10-under par heading into Sunday’s final round at the TPC of River Highlands. Watson shot an even-par 70.

Justin Rose, less than a week after his U.S. Open victory, sits at 7-under par and in a tie for seventh place after a second straight 68.

Woodstock, Vt., native Keegan Bradley is six shots back.

Watson made three birdies on his opening nine holes and was ahead by four shots after the third. But bogeys on Nos. 13, 15 and 17 brought the 2011 Masters champion back to the field.

Watson, who won the 2010 Travelers, is trying to become the seventh player to win this event at least twice. Arnold Palmer and Phil Mickelson have also done it.

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LPGA Tour

Associated Press

ROGERS, Ark. — Stacy Lewis made four straight birdies and eight overall to shoot a 6-under 65 and join a group of four players atop the leaderboard at 10 under after the second round of the LPGA NW Arkansas Championship.

Lewis, the world’s No. 2 player, earned an unofficial win at the rain-shortened event as an amateur in 2007. She is the local favorite this week, having played collegiately at Arkansas.

Chie Arimura and Beatriz Recari both equaled Lewis’ 65 and are tied entering the final round with So Yeon Ryu.

I.K. Kim and defending champion Ai Miyazato tied for the lowest round of the day, each shooting a 7-under 64.

First-round leader Mika Miyazato shot a 70 and is three shots back.

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European Tour

MUNICH (AP) — Frenchman Alexander Levy overcame two bogeys to shoot a 4-under 68 in the third round to pull into a three-way tie with Ernie Els of South Africa and Sweden’s Alex Noren atop the leaderboard of the BMW International Open.

The trio was even at 15-under 201 heading into Sunday’s final round.

Els, who began the day with a one-stroke lead and shot a second consecutive 69, remains confident he can claim the title.

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Champions Tour

GLENVIEW, Ill. (AP) — Craig Stadler grabbed the lead at the Encompass Championship on Saturday with birdies on three of the four par-5s in a 65 that put him two shots ahead of Bob Tway and Jeff Sluman.

Stadler’s second round at North Shore Country Club included an inward nine of 4-under 32 that left him at 12-under 132. Tway also scored 65 and Sluman had 66 that included eight birdies and two bogeys.

David Frost was fourth three strokes back after a 67 that included six birdies.

Steve Pate, Mark Calcavecchia, Tom Lehman and Bernhard Langer are tied for fifth at 8 under. Calcavecchia and Langer added 69s to their opening 67s, while Pate and Lehman scored shot 66 in the second round.

Stadler had a share of the overnight lead with a Langer and Duffy Waldorf.