Brewers win in 14th after early brawl with Pirates (Yahoo Sports) - Khris Davis delivered a big hit in a game interrupted by a punch-filled brawl, homering in the 14th inning to lift the Milwaukee Brewers over the Pittsburgh Pirates 3-2 Sunday. Ryan Braun hit a tying home run in the ninth for Milwaukee. Brewers center fielder Carlos Gomez, Pirates outfielder Travis Snider and Milwaukee bench coach Jerry Narron were ejected after a shouting match quickly escalated into a full-scale fracas in the third. The problems started when Gomez paused at the plate and flipped his bat to watch his two-out drive off Pirates starter Gerrit Cole. James, Wade lead Heat past Bobcats 99-88 in Game 1 (Yahoo Sports) - LeBron James scored 27 points, Dwyane Wade added 23 and the Miami Heat used a late charge to beat the Charlotte Bobcats 99-88 on Sunday in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference first-round series. Chris Bosh scored 13 points and James Jones had 12 for the Heat. Kemba Walker scored 20 points for the Bobcats, who led by nine early and led again in the third. He finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds for the Bobcats, who got 17 from Gary Neal and 15 from Josh McRoberts. Carter sees off debutant Xiao - Bruins top Red Wings 4-1, even series at 1-1 (Yahoo Sports) - Justin Florek and Reilly Smith scored in a three-minute span in the first period and the Boston Bruins evened their playoff series with a 4-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings in the Game 2 on Sunday. Showing more spark after not taking enough challenging shots on goal in their 1-0 loss Friday night, the Bruins had 18 shots in the first period after managing just 25 in the entire opener. Luke Glendening cut Boston's lead to 2-1 at 13:20 of the second period before Milan Lucic scored late in the second and Zdeno Chara added a power-play goal early in the third. Game 3 of the best-of-seven series between the top-seeded Bruins, who won the Presidents' Cup with an NHL-high 117 points, and eighth-seeded Red Wings is set for Detroit on Tuesday night. Donald pipped by Kuchar in RBC Heritage - England's Luke Donald finishes second, one shot behind American Matt Kuchar at the RBC Heritage in South Carolina. Kuchar rallies, chips in for RBC Heritage win (Yahoo Sports) - Matt Kuchar overcame a four-stroke deficit to finally finish on top, when his stunning chip-in on the 18th hole gave him a 64 and a victory at the RBC Heritage on Sunday. Kuchar was four shots behind Luke Donald at the start but made that up with seven birdies on his first 10 holes. Kuchar was in more trouble in a bunker at Harbour Town Golf Links' closing lighthouse hole. He missed a 28-foot birdie putt at the 17th hole, then saw his own try at a chip-in birdie slide past the cup. Span's sacrifice fly in 9th lifts Nats over Cards (Yahoo Sports) - Denard Span hit a sacrifice fly in the ninth inning and the Washington Nationals, with Bryce Harper back in the lineup and stealing his first base of the season, rallied past the St. Louis Cardinals 3-2 Sunday. The Nationals loaded the bases in the ninth against Seth Maness (0-1) when Danny Espinosa singled with one out for his third hit, Jose Lobaton singled through the right side of the infield and pinch hitter Nate McLouth walked. Prizefighter Rubin 'Hurricane' Carter dies at 76 (Yahoo Sports) - Rubin ''Hurricane'' Carter never surrendered hope of regaining his freedom, not even after he was convicted of a triple murder, then convicted again and abandoned by many prominent supporters. Instead, Carter dedicated much of his remaining life to helping other prisoners and exposing other injustices. Tigers edge sloppy Angels 2-1 (Yahoo Sports) - Rick Porcello pitched seven sharp innings, and the Detroit Tigers took advantage of four Los Angeles errors in a 2-1 victory over the Angels on Sunday. Three of those errors came on one play in the first inning, allowing Detroit's Ian Kinsler to score from first on a walk. Then in the sixth, Angels catcher Hank Conger threw wildly to first trying to pick off Austin Jackson. Nick Castellanos followed with an RBI single to put Detroit ahead 2-1. Popovich to Sager: 'I promise I'll be nice' (Yahoo Sports) - Spurs coach Gregg Popovich says he looks forward to sideline reporter Craig Sager's return and ''I promise I'll be nice.'' TNT's Sager is missing the NBA playoffs as he undergoes treatment for leukemia. So his son, Craig Sager Jr., filled in for Sunday's broadcast of San Antonio's playoff opener against Dallas, asking Popovich a few questions before the fourth quarter. Popovich is famous for his terse answers to in-game questions from Sager and other sideline reporters. Sager even joked about it in a statement Friday confirming his diagnosis: ''Too bad, I had some probing questions for Pop.'' This time, Popovich was verbose by his standards in discussing the Spurs' play.

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Swan Racing, currently fielding cars for Whitt and Kligerman, looking at NASCAR future [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: April 17, 2014, 1:23 pm]
Swan Racing said Thursday that the team was "exploring every available option" after a tough start for the team's two cars in 2014. Parker Kligerman and Cole Whitt drive for Swan and have struggled this season. Whitt is 34th in the Sprint Cup Series points standings while Kligerman in 38th. "The team has been unable to secure the kind of sponsorship required to effectively operate the team," the statement said. "As a result, the team management is exploring every available option. We hope to be in position to provide a detailed update in the near future." Brandon Davis, owner of Swan Energy, bought the team in 2012 and after parting ways with David Stremme in 2013, started putting younger drivers in the seat of the No. 30 for the rest of the season. After Whitt and Kligerman both drove for Swan down the stretch, Davis expanded to two cars for 2014. It hasn't been an easy road. Kligerman has four DNFs this season and Whitt crashed out of the Daytona 500 as well. The team signed a sponsorship deal with 50 Cent's SMS Audio before the season, but it's for a limited number of races. Swan Energy has been listed as the primary sponsor on each car for four races this season, meaning the team has run without a primary sponsor half the time. Anthony Marlowe, a minority owner in the team, tweeted Thursday that he was going to do everything in his power to keep Whitt on track for the entire season. My mission is to ensure @ColeWhitt races in every #NASCAR Sprint Cup event this season.— Anthony Marlowe (@AnthonyMarlowe) April 17, 2014 - - - - - - - Nick Bromberg is the editor of From The Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @NickBromberg

Martin Truex Jr. didn't anticipate the start to the season he's having [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: April 16, 2014, 2:32 pm]
Through eight races, Martin Truex Jr. is 28th in the points standings and has just two top-20 finishes. Did he ever envision the season could start the way it did? "I didn't, I'll be honest with you," Truex said Tuesday while participating in a tire test at Kansas Speedway. "We've been running – the car's been fast. Man, we've had everything you can imagine bad happen to us." Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch are also below 20th in the points standings, but the sting of their poor starts and bad luck have been eased by wins and likely Chase qualification. Truex doesn't have that luxury at the moment. At the season-opening Daytona 500, he lost an engine and finished 43rd. While restrictor plate engine failures are fluky, the following seven races have made Truex's look like a sign of what was to come with his new team before the season's first off week. "It's just been one of those seasons," Truex said. "The other night (at Darlington) we blew a tire for no reason at all and we were running good. A lot of crazy stuff has happened. At California we wrecked in practice because we blew a tire and we had a backup car that was really fast and in the race and I ran 23 laps and hit a piece of debris that absolutely destroyed the nose of the car. So it's like one of these days I'm waiting for a meteor to hit the car, come out of the sky and hit it. It's been one of those kinds of starts." While the meteor seems farfetched, if Truex's current rate of misfortune keeps up it may be possible. In addition to Daytona, California and Darlington, he crashed at Martinsville and Bristol. He joined Furniture Row for the 2014 season in the final weeks of 2013 after Truex lost his ride at Michael Waltrip Racing when longtime sponsor NAPA left the team. Truex was coming off what was a Chase berth until his team was penalized for the Richmond race manipulation scandal and Furniture Row was following up on its first Chase berth. It was a partnership that, while inevitable because of the lack o

Jeff Gordon's daughter strapped into a quarter-midget on Tuesday [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: April 16, 2014, 9:55 am]
Jeff Gordon said his daughter's start in racing was coming soon. Apparently soon meant Tuesday. Gordon tweeted a photo of his six-year-old daughter Ella in a quarter-midget race car for the first time. Ella driving a quarter midget for the first time today. The smile says it all. pic.twitter.com/T0ajPbFQTS — Jeff Gordon (@JeffGordonWeb) April 15, 2014 In an interview with Larry King before the race at Auto Club Speedway in March, Gordon said he wasn't sure how much his daughter would take to driving.  "I don't know how much she's really going to take to it because she doesn't seem to have that passion for racing, but we'll see, and I think she should definitely get the opportunity to get behind the wheel." Gordon said at the time.  Judging by the look on her face Tuesday, Ella Gordon might be hooked. Chase Elliott may have to watch his back soon, there could be an even younger hotshot offspring of a Sprint Cup champion making waves. - - - - - - - Nick Bromberg is the editor of From The Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @NickBromberg

Jeff Gordon's daughter strapped in to a quarter-midget on Tuesday [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: April 16, 2014, 9:55 am]
Jeff Gordon said his daughter's start in racing was coming soon. Apparently soon meant Tuesday. Gordon tweeted a photo of his six-year-old daughter Ella in a quarter-midget race car for the first time. Ella driving a quarter midget for the first time today. The smile says it all. pic.twitter.com/T0ajPbFQTS— Jeff Gordon (@JeffGordonWeb) April 15, 2014 In an interview with Larry King before the race at Auto Club Speedway in March, Gordon said he wasn't sure how much his daughter would take to driving.  "I don't know how much she's really going to take to it because she doesn't seem to have that passion for racing, but we'll see, and I think she should definitely get the opportunity to get behind the wheel." Gordon said at the time.  Judging by the look on her face Tuesday, Ella Gordon might be hooked. Chase Elliott may have to watch his back soon, there could be an even younger hotshot offspring of a Sprint Cup champion making waves. - - - - - - - Nick Bromberg is the editor of From The Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @NickBromberg

Power Rankings: After his second win, Harvick is back in the fray but Gordon is still tops [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: April 15, 2014, 3:11 pm]
Our Power Rankings are far from a scientific formula. In fact, it's the perfect blend of analytics and bias against your favorite driver. And you think we dislike your favorite driver, so it makes sense, right? Direct all your complaints to us at happyhourmailbag@yahoo.com. No. 1 Jeff Gordon (LW: 1): Gordon gets to keep this spot by virtue of his seventh place finish Saturday night though it could have been better. Gordon was plagued with another case of the dreaded Gordon Restarts at Darlington. On the next-to-last restart, Gordon, who was fifth, slipped heading into turn one and the drivers behind him attempted to take advantage, leading to contact between Clint Bowyer and Kurt Busch. No. 2 Dale Earnhardt Jr. (LW: 5): If Junior had four tires he might have been able to hold off Kevin Harvick. But we're also not going to pretend it's a plausible scenario either. If Junior had four tires, he's probably not in front of Harvick to begin with. If Junior and crew chief Steve Letarte had been the only ones to take two tires, the strategy call would certainly be seen as a product of the new Chase by some. Thankfully, they weren't the only group to do it, and the discussion about the impact of the Chase format was nonexistent. No. 3 Jimmie Johnson (LW: 4): Even though Jimmie Johnson won the 2013 Daytona 500 for a second time in February, he's still somehow winless this season? Have we harped on the winless streak enough? Can we even call it a winning streak? Look, Johnson is going to get a win and he's going to get a win soon. It's not even close to time to panic. It just may not happen at Richmond, a track where Johnson has struggled at recently. No. 4 Matt Kenseth (LW: 6): Kenseth moves to fourth by finishing fourth. He's also on a 2014 winless streak too (oh no!) and it will be interesting to see which one of Johnson and Kenseth wins first. He was sixth and seventh at Richmond last year, so he may have the edge there. At Talladega and Kansas, it's a tossup. When one

So how many tweets did Bubba Wallace get for Bubba Watson's Masters win? [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: April 14, 2014, 10:16 am]
People can be easily confused. Just look at the number of people who thought Jimmie Johnson won the rain-delayed 2014 Daytona 500 when Fox was showing the 2013 Daytona 500 to fill time in February. Did the confusion happen again on Sunday with NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Bubba Wallace and Masters champion Bubba Watson? Watson won 2014's first golf major by three strokes Sunday, prompting this tweet by Wallace, NASCAR driver. Hell yeah I won the masters!!!!!!!....???? Wrong bubba peeps. Can't even break 100!— Darrell Wallace Jr (@BubbaWallace) April 13, 2014 Did a ton of people congratulate Wallace on the Masters? Well, based off a search of Wallace's mentions on Twitter, no. He got just one, and it looks to be a sarcastic congratulatory tweet. Could John have been confused and really thought it was Wallace at Augusta National Golf Club? Sure, it's possible. But with the usage of caps and the kudos to IndyCar driver Mike Conway winning at Long Beach, we're not going to bet on it. (And of course, the congratulatory tweets took off after Wallace's tweet.) It's also entirely possible that Wallace could have gotten some congratulatory texts and messages via another medium as well. But we're also guessing that's not likely. If people who would know him well enough to contact him another way were confused, surely that confusion would have spread to Twitter, right? We're not faulting Wallace for making the joke, we appreciate Daytona mixup references, and we're now wondering who the best golfer among NASCAR drivers is. But rest easy, this wasn't even close to the level of Twitter racing confusion we experienced eight weeks ago. - - - - - - - Nick Bromberg is the editor of From The Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @NickBromberg

Jimmie Johnson finished third at Darlington after an inauspicious beginning to the race [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: April 12, 2014, 10:09 pm]
Jimmie Johnson's car was just flat out not good in the early stages of Saturday night's race at Darlington. And yet he still finished third. Johnson and crew chief Chad Knaus were briefly befuddled with the handling of the No. 48. Johnson didn't qualify well on Friday, but instead of deliberately carving his way through the field from the drop of the green flag, he was as stagnant as two-month-old pond water. At one point while the sun was still up he was racing Josh Wise and Parker Kligerman for 28th spot. No offense to either Wise or Kligerman, but it doesn't happen to often that the six-time champion is racing them for position. But after some adjustments, Johnson was quickly on his way to the front. He broke into the top 10, and then the top five, and was then second to eventual race-winner Kevin Harvick as the laps counted down. When the caution flag came out with 10 laps to go, Knaus and Johnson decided to go for track position and beat Harvick, who was taking four tires, out of the pits. It almost worked. Johnson had the lead when the green flag waved, but wasn't able to hold on to it. "I thought we had a shot at a win," Johnson said after the race. "I think if things stayed green after our last pit stop, we had a good chance at it, good shot at it. I'm happy with Chad's decision to go with two, and there were enough cars that took two that it gave us a little bit of a cushion, maybe enough of a cushion to make it four or five laps there." "(It was a) solid performance, granted we struggled in qualifying.  We struggled the first run or two of the race, but we got the car turning for me and came to life and really did it the old‑fashioned way and kind of drove up through the field before the last pit stop, so proud of the hard work." Had the race stayed green after the restart with five laps to go, Johnson would have likely been in victory lane. But two caution flags came after it, giving Harvick the opportunity to capitalize with his fresher tires. As the

Kevin Harvick dominates and takes lead at white flag for win at Darlington [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: April 12, 2014, 9:12 pm]
For a few brief moments Saturday night, pit strategy looked like it was going to swipe a win from Kevin Harvick. But after his Stewart-Haas teammate Kurt Busch crashed on the backstretch to set up a second green-white-checker finish, Harvick had just one car to pass for the win. And he got it done, blowing past Dale Earnhardt Jr. as the white flag waved to win at Darlington. Harvick had the race's strongest car by far, leading 239 of the race's 374 laps after starting on the pole. He was out front with 10 laps to go when Joey Logano's smoking car caused a caution. The field headed to pit road and Harvick and crew chief Rodney Childers took four tires. However, four cars ahead of them took two tires. When the race went green with five laps to go, Harvick was pinned to the inside and the four cars ahead of him pulled ahead.. Time was running out, but a caution flag flew with three laps to go saved him. When it came out, Harvick was fourth, meaning he was on the second row for the ensuing restart, a row ahead of where he was previously. Then, a half-lap after that restart, Busch crashed on the backstretch after a bump from Clint Bowyer. When Busch smacked the wall, Harvick was in second. With no cars in front of him and Junior on two fresh tires to his inside, Harvick just needed to pick a spot to make a pass when the race went green again. "I needed those green-white-checkers," Harvick said. "The last one is the one I probably needed the most just for the fact that I was able to get really good restarts and able to time the restarts really well. And those guys had older tires and were spinning the tires." He made the pass in turns three and four, accelerating around Junior on the high side. "He had the best car and the best tires," Junior said. "I wasn't looking in the mirror, I couldn't tell where anyone was, but (spotter T.J. Majors) said he was coming and so I maybe should have run the top there in three and four and made him run the bottom to come around ... but w

Kevin Harvick wins pole for Southern 500 at Darlington [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: April 11, 2014, 5:19 pm]
Kevin Harvick is starting one spot better than he did at Texas. A week after starting second, Harvick has the pole for Saturday night's Southern 500 at Darlington. He starts alongside Joey Logano, who once again continued Team Penske's good run of qualifying. Logano led a Ford brigade in the top five too. The first five starters are rounded out by Aric Almirola, Marcos Ambrose and Brad Keselowski. Defending Darlington winner Matt Kenseth and Jimmie Johnson didn't make it out of the first round of qualifying and into the top-24. After starting second last week, Harvick had an engine expire in the early stages of Monday's race and finished 42nd. He's 26th in the standings despite a win at Phoenix thanks to a myriad of issues.   - - - - - - - Nick Bromberg is the editor of From The Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @NickBromberg

Gene Haas has officially received his Formula 1 license [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: April 11, 2014, 12:14 pm]
Just like Bernie Ecclestone said at Bahrain, Gene Haas is able to go Formula 1 racing. Haas confirmed that he had received his team license to be on the F1 grid in 2015. Haas is a co-owner of Stewart-Haas Racing with Tony Stewart. "Obviously, we're extremely pleased to have been granted a Formula One license by the FIA," He said in a statement. "It's an exciting time for me, Haas Automation and anyone who wanted to see an American team return to Formula One. Now, the really hard work begins. It's a challenge we embrace as we work to put cars on the grid. I want to thank the FIA for this opportunity and the diligence everyone put forth to see our license application come to fruition." The statement nails it. Now that the team has the license, it's just the beginning. You're allowed to have some skepticism after the failings of USF1 to get to the Formula 1 grid in 2010. There was a lot of optimism surrounding the team's launch and possibility, but the optimism never materialized into reality. With Haas's track record in NASCAR, there's a greater chance of success. But remember, this is F1. The big-talking Ecclestone, the boss of F1, said Haas may need $1 billion over four years of racing. Whether it's Bernie being Bernie or a realistic number, we'll find out if Haas gets on the grid. But the mere mention of dollar amounts that large is proof this is no small undertaking. - - - - - - - Nick Bromberg is the editor of From The Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @NickBromberg

Kyle Larson and Austin Dillon pancaked the wall during practice at Darlington [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: April 11, 2014, 11:56 am]
Kyle Larson went to a backup car after bashing into the wall off of turn two during Friday's first practice session at Darlington. Austin Dillon did the same thing, but he didn't hit the wall as hard. While the right side of his car was pancaked, it wasn't to the extent of Larson's. Don't let the title of the video fool you. These were not Darlington stripes. These were almost accidents. After Larson hit the wall, NASCAR even threw a caution to check the track for debris. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Martin Truex Jr. and Alex Bowman hit the wall too, but not as severely as the other two drivers. Theirs were probably the closest to a Darlington stripe, a sight we'll see a lot on Saturday night. - - - - - - - Nick Bromberg is the editor of From The Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @NickBromberg

Matt Kenseth says he's (sort of) watching the points standings [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: April 10, 2014, 4:20 pm]
Matt Kenseth is winless. Through seven Sprint Cup Series races, it's hardly a shocking statement. Jimmie Johnson is winless too. So is Tony Stewart. And Jeff Gordon. Kasey Kahne, too. But with seven different winners in the first seven Sprint Cup Series races, it may be jarring to some to see Kenseth's name not on the list after he won seven races last year. However, when you look through the list of seven winners, there aren't any surprises. It's not like someone has jumped up and snagged an unexpected win or two unless you thought Dale Earnhardt Jr. was in the midst of another four-year winless streak. Kenseth isn't surprised either. “I can’t say I’m totally shocked, I think whenever you throw a pretty big rules change at everybody some people are going to pick up on it sooner than others," he said Thursday. "I think it always spreads the field out a little bit because some guys are going to hit it and some guys are going to miss it and I think that always creates passing and mixes the field up and makes the racing more interesting in my mind. I think that everybody every week is probably gaining on it and the field is going to get closer together as we keep rolling through the year here.  It’s been interesting because there’s been a lot of different winners and been some guys that have won a lot that haven’t won yet.” He won last year's race at Darlington after taking the lead after a late restart. It was his third win of the year, though Darlington was the 11th race of the season in 2013 and not the eighth. Even as he's winless this season, he's higher in the points standings now than he was at this point a year ago. However, Kenseth said he isn't staring at the standings. It's more of a quick look. "I don’t know about close attention, you always kind of know where you’re at once the week is over you maybe glance at the standings," Kenseth said. "They always park in order of points so when you show up parked the next week you kind of know wher

Happy Hour: SAFER (again), Harvick and some ridiculousness [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: April 10, 2014, 11:49 am]
Throughout the week you can send us your best questions, jokes, rants and just plain miscellaneous thoughts to happyhourmailbag@yahoo.com or @NickBromberg.We'll post them here, have a good time and everyone's happy. It's Darlington week! I love the track's uniqueness, even as races can tend to go on and on for four hours. It's an endurance race, not a sprint, and it's fun to see cars with torn up right sides at the end of the night. I realize it's a short week with a Monday race going into a Saturday race, but it feels even shorter than that. It was nice of NASCAR to make sure we could all watch the final round of the Masters and the Long Beach Grand Prix uninterrupted. OK, so maybe I'll be one of the few people watching both races Sunday afternoon, but I'm looking forward to IndyCar and the Cup Series not running at the same time this week. Let's get to it. When you think about the amount of money that had to be spent to install SAFER barriers at every track on the Cup schedule between 2002 and 2005. It makes "cost" being used a reason for sections, like the 100ft+/- area Dale Junior impacted Monday, still existing inexcusable. - Darrell Inexcusable is about the only way to put it. I'm baffled why this still hasn't been taken care of from NASCAR's side. Tracks aren't going to spend money for things that aren't mandated. But we're now to the point where someone needs to make a public stand and say his or her track will have every exposed wall (save for pit road) covered by SAFER barrier. It'd be a great announcement of common sense. Junior's accident is also magnified by the money that Texas Motor Speedway poured into the Big Hoss TV. Are we still talking about this if he crashed into that same uncovered section at Charlotte? Definitely. But when you have tangible proof that a track has the money to spend on a luxury like a a TV, you know SAFER everywhere is possible. And guess what? SAFER barrier isn't a luxury at this point. Come on NASCAR, you can do yourself a

Power Rankings: Where does Joey Logano fit in? [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: April 8, 2014, 3:14 pm]
Our Power Rankings are far from a scientific formula. In fact, it's the perfect blend of analytics and bias against your favorite driver. And you think we dislike your favorite driver, so it makes sense, right? Direct all your complaints to us at happyhourmailbag@yahoo.com. 1. Jeff Gordon (LW: 4): We'll start by saying that Gordon assumes the top spot this week by process of elimination. There's really no one else who you could put here, sans for Joey Logano, and he's already made a nice enough leap. But we're also not going to let the "last man standing" idea diminish the race that Gordon had Monday. His car was fast the entire weekend, he just wasn't race-winning fast, though he did his best to fight off Logano for the lead as the white flag flew. If more people would have gone for two tires, Gordon might have been in victory lane. 2. Joey Logano (LW: 9): Logano assumed the lead of Monday's race on lap 225 and just drove away from the field. If Gordon or someone else would have taken the checkered flag after the green-white-checker finish was set up by Kurt Busch's tire incident, it would have deprived Logano of a win he looked all but certain to get. Which seems pretty similar to Gordon at California, no? And as you see endlessly this week that seven different drivers have won the first seven races, ask yourself something: did you expect any of the seven winners to not win this year? 3. Carl Edwards (LW: 2): Did you know that Edwards went a lap down twice over the last half of the race? After starting fifth, Edwards' car tailed off considerably and he got the Lucky Dog over the final two caution flags. That allowed him to finish 14th and ahead of four other drivers on the lead lap. The bizarre Roush issue of one driver and one driver only succeeding continued as well too. Greg Biffle was strong and ran in the top 10 all day while Edwards faltered and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was an absolute nonfactor. 4. Jimmie Johnson (LW: 3): Johnson gets to drop just one spot here

Another race, another DNF for Kevin Harvick after he loses an engine at Texas [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: April 7, 2014, 3:27 pm]
FORT WORTH, Texas – It's been the ultimate boom-or-bust season for Kevin Harvick. Or to use another cliche, we can call it a roller-coaster season. Either way, there's been a peak and a lot of valleys. He was fast again on Monday in the Duck Commander 500. Fast for the laps he was on track, anyway. After qualifying second, Harvick was running right with race leader and teammate Tony Stewart when the engine on his No. 4 car expired. The day was over and Harvick had completed 28 of the race's 334 laps. "Something happened with the engine," Harvick said. "The Jimmy John's Chevrolet was really fast. It’s frustrating. I don’t know what else I can say." Harvick ended up 42nd. Crew chief Rodney Childers' initial diagnosis was an oil pump that got knocked loose. Looks like something knocked the oil pump belt off it and then blew up about a 1/2lap later. Craziest crap ever… — Rodney Childers (@RodneyChilders4) April 7, 2014 Harvick won the second race of the season at Phoenix and finished seventh last week at Martinsville. But after the engine failure at Texas, he's either had a crash or an equipment malfunction in the other five races. He's currently 26th in the points standings. Harvick is in a similar situation to teammate Kurt Busch, who is 25th in the standings. Busch had tire issues at Texas on Sunday and was the cause of three different caution flags because of them. Because of the new win-and-you're-essentially-in points format for the Chase, Harvick and Busch don't need to panic at all. Remember, drivers with a win are eligible if they're in the top 30 in points. The two have had a myriad of issues throughout the first seven races and Harvick is still 31 points ahead of 31st place. If things are as far south as Chile right now, it'd have to be downright Antarctican for either of them to miss the Chase in the very likely in the very-likely case that 16 or less drivers win a race. It's simply implausible. The simple fact of qualification doesn't make everyt

Joey Logano regains lead on a green-white-checker finish to win at Texas [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: April 7, 2014, 2:34 pm]
FORT WORTH, Texas – Joey Logano was headed to the win of Monday's rain-delayed Duck Commander 500. Or so he thought, anyway. He had a lead of over one second through turn four on the penultimate lap. The white flag was in his sights. And then the yellow flag was. It was time for a green-white-checker finish. After Logano took four tires when the field headed towards the pits, he left in third place, behind Jeff Gordon and Brian Vickers. The win was suddenly not looking so assured. It was when he passed Gordon. After getting by Vickers on what was officially the next-to-last lap of the race, Logano made his move for the win at the white flag and pulled away from Gordon to take the checkered flag. He just needed to drive another six laps for that victory. "Talk about a lot of emotions, you feel like you're about to win the race and then the caution comes out when you're about to take the white and you're like 'You've got to be kidding me,'" Logano said. The caution was for Kurt Busch, who had a flat tire in turn two. Busch avoided the wall there, but then his left-rear tire shredded apart as he headed towards the pits in turns three and four and spewed foam and tire pieces all over the track. Had Gordon's two-tire strategy call been successful and he held on to the lead, it would have been quite the turnabout from California. Two weeks ago, Gordon was leading there and heading to the white flag when Clint Bowyer spun. Gordon took four tires on pit road and never got close to the lead again. But unlike California, only Gordon and Vickers took two tires. Logano, who easily had the best car over the race's final third, only had to contend with a single row of cars ahead of him. He took the lead for the first time on a lap 225 restart and save for two rounds of green-flag pit stops, never relinquished it until the final caution flag. After a bizarre first 40 laps, the race, which was postponed from Sunday afternoon, had a much calmer bent. The first 10 laps were under c

Dale Earnhardt Jr. crashes and his car catches on fire on lap 13 of Duck Commander 500 [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: April 7, 2014, 11:12 am]
FORT WORTH, Texas – The Duck Commander 500 was green for less than three laps before Dale Earnhardt Jr. was in the wall and his car was on fire. Junior looked to the inside of Aric Almirola along the frontstretch of Texas Motor Speedway and got his left front tire into the infield grass. The move to the grass jarred Earnhardt's car and ripped up the front end of it, shooting him into the outside wall, where his car subsequently caught fire after impact. After he was released from the infield care center, Junior said he simply made a mistake and didn't see the infield grass. Because of the angle of the posts on the right-front of the car, driver and NBC analyst Jeff Burton said it could be hard to see the infield. His car also hit the wall in a section of outside barrier at Texas that's not covered by SAFER barrier to help absorb impact. The SAFER barrier along the frontstretch ended past the point of Junior's impact, while the turn one section hadn't started yet. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, it needs to be repeated; SAFER barriers should be mandatory on every outside and inside wall where possible. The monstrous impact contributed to the fire, which was enhanced because of a full fuel load. While Junior's crash came on lap 13, it was only the third lap of green flag competition. After the track was damp because of rains on Sunday, Monday's rain-delayed race started with the first 10 laps under caution to ensure the track was dry. If Junior's team can't fix the damage to his car, it'll be the first time he hasn't finished a race this season. Including his win in the season-opening Daytona 500, he has four top 10s through first six races - - - - - - - Nick Bromberg is the editor of From The Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @NickBromberg

Rain postpones Duck Commander 500 to Monday [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: April 6, 2014, 5:08 pm]
A steady rain and unfavorable drying conditions postponed Sunday's Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway to Monday at Noon ET. The race can be seen on Fox. Tony Stewart is the polesitter, his first pole since 2012. Kyle Busch is the defending race winner. - - - - - - - Nick Bromberg is the editor of From The Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @NickBromberg

Esteban Gutierrez flipped after contact from Pastor Maldonado in Bahrain F1 race [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: April 6, 2014, 11:22 am]
Sauber's Esteban Gutierrez got airborne after colliding with Pastor Maldonado during Sunday's Formula 1 race in Bahrain. Your browser does not support iframes. Gutierrez was going into turn one at full speed and Maldonado had just exited the pits. As Gutierrez dove down to the inside of the corner, he obviously didn't expect Maldonado to not rescind the line and his car barrel rolled before thankfully coming to rest with its wheels up. The in-car portion of the video is dramatic and there's a good reason why it cuts off mid-flip. The piece above Gutierrez's cockpit is the camera and it was sheared off when his car bounced off the pavement upside-down. He got out of the car under his own power, and the ensuing caution set up a dramatic dash to the finish of the race, which was won by Lewis Hamilton. - - - - - - - Nick Bromberg is the editor of From The Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @NickBromberg

Formula 1 chief Bernie Ecclestone says Gene Haas will have the chance to go F1 racing [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: April 6, 2014, 7:59 am]
Things have gone from "unlikely" to likely for a 2015 Formula 1 team for Gene Haas in the mind of F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone. After previously downplaying Haas' chances, Ecclestone said Sunday at Bahrain that his bid "will be accepted." Haas, co-owner of Stewart-Haas Racing with Tony Stewart, has been vying for the chance to field a Formula 1 team (independent of Stewart). "I've spoken to (International Automobile Federation president) Jean Todt and we agreed yesterday that another two teams want to come in, we'll let them in," Ecclestone said (via Eurosport). The other team is reportedly an entry with Romanian backing. Haas has Formula 1 connections as his North Carolina wind tunnels have previously been used by F1 teams. If you're not familiar with Formula 1, it can make NASCAR look pretty reasonable financially. Earlier in the week, Ecclestone said Haas would need to be prepared to spend $1 billion over four years. Yes, that's billion with a "b." USF1 made an ill-fated attempt to join the F1 grid in 2010 but never made it to a race after a project that initially showed some promise. USF1 was even on the Formula 1 entry list as well, but the team may not have even had a car prepared. The guess is here that the Haas team has learned from USF1's mistakes. 2010 was the last time new teams entered F1, and Carterham and Marussia, who entered then, are the backmarkers of the Formula 1 field and haven't scored a point to-date in the series. Initial struggles likely won't deter Haas. Before giving Stewart half of his team in 2009, Haas teams ran 284 Sprint Cup races from 2002-2008 with one top five and 14 top 10s. (Since joining with Stewart, SHR has 21 wins in 420 races.) The last American driver to compete in Formula 1 was Scott Speed, who ran from 2006-2007. He finished on the lead lap once. If Haas' new team makes it to the grid and wants an American driver, there aren't many notable options. Conor Daly, an American driver who has competed in one race in GP2, a lower s





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