Weekend Sports in Brief
TALLADEGA, Ala. (AP) — A noose was found in the garage stall of Black driver Bubba Wallace at the NASCAR race in Alabama on Sunday, less than two weeks after he successfully pushed the auto racing series to ban the Confederate flag at its tracks and facilities.
NASCAR announced the discovery late Sunday and said it had launched an immediate investigation. It said it will do everything possible to find who was responsible and “eliminate them from the sport.”
The noose was discovered on the same day NASCAR’s fledgling flag ban faced its biggest challenge. The ban took effect before last week’s race near Miami, but there were only about 1,000 military members admitted into that race. At Talladega, in the heart of the South, as many as 5,000 fans were allowed in, even though rain postponed the race until Monday.
TALLADEGA, Ala. (AP) — Justin Haley took the lead on the final lap — with help from Kaulig Racing teammate Ross Chastain — and held on Saturday at Talladega Superspeedway for his first Xfinity Series victory.
Haley passed Jeb Burton, who held the lead on a restart with three laps to go, on the outside with a push from Chastain and finished 0.299 seconds ahead.
Burton finished third.
NEW YORK (AP) — An email from baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred to union head Tony Clark led to a balk in the drawn-out talks to start the pandemic-delayed season, which now won’t begin by July 19.
The executive committee of the players’ association was set to vote and reject Major League Baseball’s latest offer for a 60-game season on Sunday.
“I really believe we are fighting over an impossibility on games,” Manfred said in the email, a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press. “The earliest we will be ready for players to report is a week from Monday, given the need to relocate teams from Florida. That leaves 66 days to play 60 games. Realistically, that is the outside of the envelope now.”
Players want 70 games and $275 million more than teams are offering. They are worried that if a resurgence of the new coronavirus causes the 2020 season to be cut short, the deal being negotiated would lock in innovations for 2021 and lessen the union’s bargaining power.
Players didn’t take a vote and will consider their next move Monday.
—By Baseball Writer Ronald Blum.
NEW YORK (AP) — Tiz the Law has won an unprecedented Belmont Stakes, claiming victory Saturday at the first race of a rejiggered Triple Crown schedule and crossing the finish line in front of eerily empty grandstands.
The 3-year-old colt from upstate New York charged to the lead turning to the frontstretch and now can set his sights on the Sept. 5 Kentucky Derby and Oct. 3 Preakness. All three legs of this year’s Triple Crown schedule were postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Belmont, usually the series capper, was initially scheduled for June 6.
Tiz the Law gave New York a hometown champion in its first major sporting event since the coronavirus pandemic seized the area. He’s the first New York-bred horse to win the Belmont since Forrester in 1882.
NEW YORK (AP) — Gamine led all the way in winning the $300,000 Acorn Stakes for 3-year-old fillies by 18 3/4 lengths at Belmont Park.
Trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, Gamine ran one mile in 1:32.55, fastest in the 90-year history of the race. Her time was just off the track record of 1:32.24 set by Najran in 2003.
Gamine earned 50 qualifying points for the Kentucky Oaks on Sept. 4 at Churchill Downs.
ARCADIA, Calif. (AP) — A horse injured after crossing the finish line of a race at Santa Anita was euthanized, making it the 15th fatality at the track since late December.
Strictly Biz, a 4-year-old colt, fractured his right knee while galloping past the finish of the sixth race Saturday. The attending veterinarian determined it was an unrecoverable injury.
Ridden by Jose Valdivia Jr., Strictly Biz finished sixth among eight horses in the $51,000 race on the turf.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Hall of Famer Bill Mott has become the seventh trainer in historywith 5,000 wins.
Moon Over Miami won the third race at Churchill Downs on Saturday by a length after being saddled by Mott’s assistant Kenny McCarthy. Mott was at Belmont Park in New York, where he was overseeing Modernist in the Belmont Stakes.
Mott ranks seventh in all-time wins behind retired leader Dale Baird, who had 9,445.
HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. (AP) — Webb Simpson celebrated another victory on Father’s Day, this time with a tartan jacket instead of a U.S. Open trophy.
In a wild sprint to the finish after a three-hour storm delay, Simpson ran off five birdies in a six-hole stretch on the back nine at Harbour Town and closed with a 7-under 64 for a one-shot victory over Abraham Ancer.
Simpson won the U.S. Open at Olympic Club in 2012.
The RBC Heritage filled the spot on the schedule and Simpson, now a father of five, became a winner for the second time this year with a record score at Harbour Town. He finished at 22-under 262, breaking by two the tournament record set by Brian Gay in 2009.
Simpson, who won the Phoenix Open in February, moved to No. 5 in the world. He also moved to the top of the FedEx Cup.
ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. (AP) — Chris Kirk won the Korn Ferry Tour’s King & Bear Classic on Saturday at World Golf Village, a year after taking a leave of absence from the PGA Tour to fight alcohol abuse and depression.
Kirk birdied the par-5 18th hole for a 5-under 67 and a one-stroke victory over Justin Lower in the PGA Tour’s developmental circuit’s second straight one-time event to make up for events lost to the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown. On Sunday, fellow PGA Tour player Luke List won at Dye’s Valley Course at the TPC Sawgrass.
Kirk finished at 26-under 262.
NEW YORK (AP) — Former U.S. Women’s Open champion Michelle Wie West announced on Instagram that she and her husband, Golden State Warriors executive Jonnie West, are parents of a daughter born Friday.
They named her Makenna Kamalei Yoona West. The 30-year-old Wie was born and raised in Honolulu. Kamalei is a Hawaiian for “beloved child.”
Wie and West, the son of NBA great Jerry West, were married in August. They announced her pregnancy in January.
INCHEON, South Korea (AP) — Two-time major champion So Yeon Ryu closed with an even-par 72 to win the Korea Women’s Open on Sunday in her first tournament in four months because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ryu won for the first time since the Japan Women’s Open in 2018, and it was her first victory on the Korea LPGA since 2015.
Upon winning, Ryu offered her entire prize money of just over $200,000 for coronavirus relief funds.
Ryu and Hyo Joo Kim, another regular on the LPGA Tour, matched pars on the entire back nine of Bears Best Cheongna Golf Club. Kim shot 70 to finish one shot behind.
LSU has begun asking a number of football players to self-quarantine in the past week because of instances in which some players tested positive for COVID-19 after social interactions outside of the Tigers’ training facility.
Senior Associate Athletic Director of Health and Wellness Shelly Mullenix declined to specify the number of players who’ve tested positive for COVID-19 or the precise number of those asked to quarantine, stressing that the number is fluid and can fluctuate considerable in short periods of time. But she emphasized that a single positive test could result in as many as 12 to 15 players being asked to initially quarantine because of LSU’s contact tracing procedures. Several media reports have attributing specific numbers to unnamed sources, but Mullenix called those numbers “inaccurate.”
LAS VEGAS (AP) — UFC heavyweight contender Curtis Blaydes dominated Alexander Volkov with wrestling and earned his fourth consecutive victory in the latest fan-free show for the mixed martial arts promotion.
Featherweight Josh Emmett won a unanimous decision over Shane Burgos in a thrilling joint performance during the penultimate bout.
Blaydes and Francis Ngannou are the most likely contenders to get the next shot at the UFC heavyweight title after champion Stipe Miocic completes his trilogy with former two-belt champ Daniel Cormier at UFC 252 on Aug. 15.
The event was the fourth of five consecutive UFC shows held over five weekends with no fans on its corporate campus.
MIAMI (AP) — Jim Kiick, the versatile running back who helped the Miami Dolphins achieve the NFL’s only perfect season in 1972, has died. He was 73.
The team announced the death Saturday. Kiick battled memory issues in recent years and lived in an assisted living home.
The former University of Wyoming star was part of a formidable backfield that included his best friend, Pro Football Hall of Fame fullback Larry Csonka. They earned the nicknames Butch and Sundance, inspired by the popular 1969 movie “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.”
Kiick (“Butch”) made the American Football League All-Star team in his first two seasons and played for the Dolphins’ back-to-back Super Bowl championship teams in 1972-73. Kiick had two touchdowns for the ’72 Dolphins in the AFC championship game, and also scored in the Super Bowl victory that capped their 17-0 season under Pro Football Hall of Fame coach Don Shula.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Max Tuerk, an All-America offensive lineman at Southern California who was drafted by the Chargers, has died. He was 26.
USC announced his death Sunday on Twitter, but not say when Tuerk died or provide a cause of death.
Tuerk played for the Trojans from 2012-15. He was a freshman All-American and an All-Pac-12 first-team selection in 2014. As a three-year starter, he played under three head coaches — Lane Kiffin, Steve Sarkisian and Clay Helton.
The Chargers selected Tuerk in the third round of the 2016 NFL draft, but a knee injury during his senior year affected his progress. Despite making the Chargers’ roster, he was inactive all season.
Before his second season, Tuerk was suspended four games for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances. He said he tested positive after taking over-the-counter supplements.
After being released by the Chargers, he was signed by the Arizona Cardinals in 2017 and played one game before being cut in 2018.
OSLO, Norway (AP) — Svein Arne Hansen, the president of European Athletics and longtime organizer of the Bislett Games in Norway, has died. He was 74.
The Norwegian Athletics Association confirmed Hansen’s death on Saturday, saying there had been several complications with his health after he suffered a stroke on March 15.
Hansen spent 24 years as director of the Bislett meet in the Norwegian capital, Oslo — often a venue for distance-running world records — and 12 as president of Norway’s track and field federation. He was elected president of the sport’s European governing body in 2015 and got re-elected last year.