The finish of Monday’s rain-delayed Geico 500, as thrilling as it was, was still a secondary storyline behind what happened before the race.
NASCAR came together to support Bubba Wallace, the lone Black driver in the Cup series, a day after a noose reportedly was found in Wallace’s garage stall at Talladega Superspeedway. Drivers and team members walked with Wallace and pushed his car to the front of the line in prerace ceremonies.
Wallace led briefly midway through the final stage but eventually ran out of gas in the closing laps. Meanwhile, his best friend, Ryan Blaney, was good on fuel and strong enough to get to the line first by inches. Blaney edged past Ricky Stenhouse Jr. in a wild overtime for his second consecutive win at the track, both in photo finishes.
Below are the complete results from Monday’s race at Talladega, which was delayed by weather (rain Sunday and a storm Monday) twice.
Who won the NASCAR race at Talladega?
Ryan Blaney edged out Ricky Stenhouse Jr. by a nose (officially, seven one-thousandths of a second). Just before that, Blaney shoved Erik Jones out of the way in the drag race to the start-finish line.
“I just kind of blocked, just trying to block the best we could,” Blaney told reporters. “Ride the top, ride the bottom. The 20 (Jones) got to my outside, and I tried to go up there to slow him down and . . . I’m not sure, I don’t know . . . three-wide, I hate that I hit him, but just kind of trying to beat and bang to the line and things like that.”
Aric Almirola, who also wrecked at the finish, crossed the line backward in third place. Denny Hamlin was fourth and Jones finished fifth.
NASCAR at Talladega results
Blaney ran most of the race up front in a tight pack with his Team Penske teammates Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski. All three represented a strong threat to win even as the lead changed 56 times among 19 drivers. Blaney led the most laps in the race with 63.
Wallace moved into contention late in the race, taking the lead with 27 laps to go. He quickly fell back after being passed by Logano and then later ran out of fuel, which ended his quest for a victory. He finished 14th.
|2||(20)||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||Chevrolet||191|
|8||(22)||John Hunter Nemechek #||Ford||191|
|20||(16)||Tyler Reddick #||Chevrolet||191|
|22||(28)||Cole Custer #||Ford||191|
|23||(1)||Martin Truex Jr||Toyota||191|
|27||(32)||Quin Houff #||Chevrolet||190|
|29||(35)||Christopher Bell #||Toyota||190|
|35||(27)||Brennan Poole #||Chevrolet||178|
# Rookie. (i) Ineligible for series points.
Average speed of race winner: 146.933 mph.
Time of race: 3 hours, 27 minutes, 28 seconds. Margin of Victory: 0.007 seconds.
Caution flags: 8 for 33 laps.
Lead changes: 56 among 19 drivers.
Lap leaders: M. Truex Jr 1-4; D. Hamlin 5-7; J. Logano 8-10; D. Hamlin 11-14; J. Logano 15-17; D. Hamlin 18-22; J. Logano 23-26; M. DiBenedetto 27; J. Logano 28-35; K. Busch 36; J. Logano 37-39; W. Byron 40; D. Hamlin 41-42; J. Logano 43; D. Hamlin 44-45; A. Bowman 46; J. Logano 47-49; A. Bowman 50; J. Logano 51; T. Reddick # 52; J. Logano 53-55; T. Reddick # 56-60; R. Newman 61; A. Bowman 62-64; R. Blaney 65; J. Johnson 66; K. Busch 67; R. Blaney 68-69; K. Busch 70-71; R. Blaney 72-73; K. Busch 74; R. Blaney 75-96; B. Poole # 97; R. Blaney 98-105; R. Stenhouse Jr 106; R. Blaney 107-111; R. Stenhouse Jr 112; R. Blaney 113-118; R. Stenhouse Jr 119-121; C. Buescher 122-125; K. Harvick 126; R. Preece 127; C. Elliott 128-130; D. Hamlin 131; R. Blaney 132-142; C. Bell # 143-146; D. Hamlin 147; J. Logano 148-150; W. Byron 151-160; B. Wallace 161; J. Logano 162; R. Preece 163-164; A. Bowman 165-171; T. Reddick # 172-184; R. Blaney 185-189; K. Harvick 190; R. Blaney 191.
Leaders summary (Driver, times leading, laps led): Ryan Blaney 10 times for 63 laps; Joey Logano 11 times for 33 laps; Tyler Reddick # 3 times for 19 laps; Denny Hamlin 7 times for 18 laps; Alex Bowman 4 times for 12 laps; William Byron 2 times for 11 laps; Kyle Busch 4 times for 5 laps; Ricky Stenhouse Jr 3 times for 5 laps; Martin Truex Jr 1 time for 4 laps; Christopher Bell # 1 time for 4 laps; Chris Buescher 1 time for 4 laps; Ryan Preece 2 times for 3 laps; Chase Elliott 1 time for 3 laps; Kevin Harvick 2 times for 2 laps; Bubba Wallace 1 time for 1 lap; Brennan Poole # 1 time for 1 lap; Matt DiBenedetto 1 time for 1 lap; Jimmie Johnson 1 time for 1 lap; Ryan Newman 1 time for 1 lap.
Stage 1 Top 10: 8,88,22,48,18,12,2,1,9,24
Stage 2 Top 10: 47,12,18,2,95,22,43,41,17,24
Material from the NASCAR Wire Service was used in this report.
Reports: NHL playoffs will take place in Toronto and Edmonton – Stanley Cup of Chowder
If the NHL playoffs end up happening, it looks like all of the action is going to be north of the border.
Sportsnet reported earlier this afternoon that Edmonton and Toronto have been selected as hub cities, with a formal announcement to come sometime soon.
Other reporters have since confirmed those reports.
An #NHL team executive confirms to The Post that Toronto and Edmonton were selected as hub cities.
— Mollie Walker (@MollieeWalkerr) July 1, 2020
The Sportsnet article linked above also makes note of the fact that Elliotte Friedman reported that (sensibly) the Eastern Conference teams will be in Toronto and the Western Conference teams will be in Edmonton.
It remains to be seen where the Final will be played.
If the reports are to be believed (and when there are this many “reports,” they’re rarely wrong), this appears to be a good sense decision by the NHL.
Frankly, large swaths of the United States are in the midst of disastrous COVID-19 spikes, and even the states that are seeing encouraging trends are still a cluster or two away from falling into the same state.
Canada appears to have a better handle on the virus, and the cities above have the amenities needed to support the league’s hub plan.
While some will cry foul/favoritism, with no fans, there’s really not going to be any home-ice advantage in these series. One could argue that the Leafs will be more comfortable in their own arena, but how much impact will that really have?
Presumably, the league will still require players from the home cities to stay in the hubs/clusters/pods/whatever like the rest of the teams, so it’s not like the Oilers players will get the luxury of sleeping in their own beds every night.
Overall, another step toward resumption by the league, again with the caveat that things are fluid.
Training camps could start in just a couple of weeks, and teams would likely end up heading to their hub cities before the end of the month.
Report: NFL to cut preseason in half – TSN
The NFL will cut its preseason in half and push back the start of exhibition play so teams have more time to train following an all virtual off-season made necessary by the coronavirus pandemic, a person with knowledge of the decision told The Associated Press.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the league hasn’t announced that the preseason will be cut from four games to two.
The pandemic forced teams to conduct their entire off-season programs via videoconference. So, teams will be gathering together for the first time when training camps open July 28.
Minus the usual minicamps, on-field practices and in-person weight training from April to June, players’ conditioning won’t be what it normally is. So, eliminating the first week of preseason games Aug. 13-16 will give them more time to ratchet up their football fitness.
Teams will now play exhibitions Aug. 20-24 and Aug. 27-31 during what were originally the second and third weeks of exhibition play with all 32 teams playing one home and one road game.
Most of those games will remain the same as originally scheduled although some matchups in that second slate will have to be changed so every team gets a game at home.
The exhibition finales on Sept. 3 were also scrapped, giving teams more time to get ready for the regular season, which opens Sept. 10 with Houston at Kansas City.
There are no changes to the regular season schedule.
The league continues to draw up protocols, not only for COVID-19 mitigation but for ramping up practices during the first few weeks of training camp.
The annual Hall of Fame Game pitting Pittsburgh and Dallas on Aug. 6 was recently scrapped as the induction ceremonies were pushed back to 2021.
Follow Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on Twitter: http://twitter.com/arniestapleton
More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL
Hubmonton! Edmonton and Toronto picked as NHL hub cities, multiple sources report – Edmonton Journal
This in from NHL insider John Shannon, talking to Reid Wilkins of CHED about the NHL’s selection of Toronto and Edmonton as playoff hub cities: “It looks like Edmonton and Toronto are the two hub cities.”
On Twitter Shannon said: “All indications pointing to a “Made in Canada” for the Hubs. Amongst other things, the increased virus cases in 36 states, have Edmonton and Toronto has the hub cities for the NHL.”
And from Mark Spector of Sportsnet: “EDM gets the Hub, an obvious decision that took too long to make. Lowest COVID by far. They’ll also get Oilers and West teams, my understanding, with East playing in TOR. Makes no sense for TV to have East teams out West.”
Denver hockey writer Adrian Dater: “Vegas losing out on being a hub, to Edmonton, a last-minute shocker. But the virus made too big of a comeback in Vegas it seems. Wow.”
And on the NHL and NHLPA collective bargaining agreement, there’s also hopeful news:
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