Stewart turns top lap at Atlanta for first Sprint Cup pole of the year
Tony Stewart turned a fast lap of 186.121 mph Friday at Atlanta Motor Speedway to win the pole for Sunday night’s NASCAR Sprint Cup AdvoCare 500 in Hampton, Ga.
The pole was Stewart’s first of the season and second of his career at the 1.54-mile tri-oval. He also was on the pole at Atlanta for the season finale in 2002, setting him up to clinch the first of his three Cup titles.
This time, Stewart hopes starting at the front helps him lock down his spot in this year’s Chase for the Sprint Cup title. He is the defending champion and, as a three-time winner this season, all but assured of at least a wild-card spot in the playoff. But if he drops below his current 10th position, he’ll lose nine bonus points that could be valuable in the quest for a second straight title.
Greg Biffle (185.648) will start second, Kyle Busch (185.493) third, Matt Kenseth (185.319) fourth and Jeff Gordon fifth (185.307).
Also: Ty Dillon passed Kyle Busch with six laps left and pulled away for a victory in the NASCAR Camping World Truck-Jeff Foxworthy’s Grit Chips 200 at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Ga. The victory was the 20-year-old’s first in a NASCAR race.
Busch, who took second, appeared to be in command, running several truck lengths ahead of the field. But Dillon quickly closed the gap and passed him going into turn one. Busch banged the wall hard a couple of times trying to keep up, damaging his truck and causing him to slow considerably.
NASCAR driver Martin Truex and primary sponsor NAPA agreed to a three-year contract extension with Michael Waltrip Racing. Truex is fifth in the Sprint Cup standings and looking to give Waltrip a spot in the Chase for the championship for the first time as a car owner.
Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel), Jack Beckman (Funny Car), Erica Enders (Pro Stock) and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle) raced to qualifying leads in the NHRA U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway in Clermont, Ind.
Skelton beats out Kolb, named Cardinals’ starting quarterback
John Skelton was named the starting quarterback for the Arizona Cardinals, beating out Kevin Kolb after a protracted competition for the job during offseason workouts and through the preseason.
Skelton is in his third season with Arizona after being drafted in the fifth round out of Fordham. He stands 6 feet 6 inches tall and has a cannon arm but sometimes struggles with accuracy.
The Cardinals made the decision despite their significant investment in Kolb, who was acquired just before last season in a trade that sent cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and a second-round draft pick to Philadelphia. Arizona then signed Kolb to a five-year, $63.5 million contract extension with $21 million guaranteed.
Also: The NFL and the NFL Referees Association began negotiating again, hoping to end the lockout that resulted in replacement officials working the preseason.
There even was some optimism surrounding Friday’s talks, as Michael Arnold, lead negotiator for the officials, said in a statement: "Reports on the economic gap between the NFL and NFLRA are inaccurate." League spokesman Greg Aiello said that statement was accurate.
Washington Redskins safety Tanard Jackson was suspended indefinitely without pay by the NFL for violating the league’s substance abuse policy – his third drugs-related suspension. Jackson can apply for reinstatement in a year.
NHL labor negotiations are at a standstill after talks broke off, significantly raising concerns the league is two weeks from its fourth labor dispute in 20 years. Negotiations that were scheduled to resume in New York next week are now in limbo after NHL Players’ Association executive director Don Fehr announced the league had asked that talks be "recessed."
U.S. soccer star Clint Dempsey was transferred from Fulham to Tottenham for a reported $9.5 million. The 29-year-old midfielder and forward scored a team-high 23 goals last season, including 17 in the Premier League, and had 60 goals in 5½ seasons with Fulham.
In other deals involving U.S. players, defender Oguchi Onyewu was loaned from Sporting Lisbon to Malaga, and forward Joe Gyau was sent from Hoffenheim to St. Pauli on a loan.