Sports in Brief – Berkshire Eagle
RICHMOND, Va. — Another week, another agonizing loss for Denny Hamlin. And this time it was to Alex Bowman, who came from nowhere with 10 laps to go at Richmond Raceway to put the No.
48 Chevrolet in victory lane for the first time in nearly four years. Bowman won for the third time in his career Sunday and denied Hamlin a win in a race he had dominated to become the eighth winner in nine Cup races this season.
He dedicated the victory to crew member William “Rowdy” Harrell and his wife, Blakley Harrell, who were killed in a November car crash in Florida while on their honeymoon. “This one is for Rowdy and his family. Miss him and Blakley every day,” Bowman said.
Bowman’s victory in the No.
48 Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports came on the same day the former driver of the car, seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson, made his debut in the IndyCar Series in Alabama. It was the first victory for the No.
48 since June 4, 2017. Johnson was the only driver of the No.
48 when it was formed in 2001 and Bowman was hand-picked by sponsor Ally to replace him. Bowman overcame a penalty on lap 247 for a loose tire on pit road to rally for the win. For Hamlin, it was the third defeat in three races.
At the dirt race at Bristol Motor Speedway he didn’t do enough to move Joey Logano out of his way to earn the win, and last week at Martinsville Speedway he was caught late by Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Martin Truex Jr. In Richmond, Hamlin raced with the hashtag #fedexstrong on the back of his car and on his pit wall to honor the eight people who were fatally shot at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis on Thursday. He again had the dominant car and led 207 of the 400 laps.
He’s led 483 laps the last two weeks.
Nemechek takes Richmond Truck Series
RICHMOND, Va. — John Hunter Nemechek passed teammate Chandler Smith with 17 laps to go and outran team owner Kyle Busch to win the NASCAR Truck Series race at Richmond Raceway on Saturday. Nemechek, already the series points leader, gave Kyle Busch Motorsports its fourth consecutive victory in the series but deprived Busch of a victory at the only track where he hasn’t won in the Truck Series. Busch also was trying to become the only driver to win in all three of NASCAR’s top series on the 0.75-mile, D-shaped oval.
Tyler Ankrum passed Smith to take third, with Johnny Sauter fifth. Nemechek, who was second behind Grant Enfinger in the first stage and won the second, led a race-high 114 laps and became the first repeat winner in the series this year. He’s also won six of the 12 stages in the first six races of the season.
“Coming from 18th to second in the first stage was pretty good,” Nemecheck said, adding that seeing Busch right behind him for the last several laps was unnerving. “He definitely tried in turn three. He got to my bumper and got me loose, but I knew he wasn’t going to wreck me,” Nemechek said.
After Nemechek won at Las Vegas, Busch won at Atlanta and Martin Truex Jr. won in a Busch-owned truck on the dirt at Bristol Motor Speedway. Todd Gilliland was sixth, followed by Ben Rhodes, Enfinger, Sam Mayer and Austin Hill.
Palou earns 1st IndyCar win
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Fernando Alonso is winless so far this season in Formula One. Same with Carlos Sainz.
Over in IndyCar, though, Alex Palou scored a victory for Spain. Palou picked up his first career win — in his first race with Chip Ganassi Racing — by holding off a pair of series champions in Sunday’s season-opening race at Barber Motorsports Park. The affable 24-year-old raised his fists in the air when he realized he’d reached victory lane before his fellow countrymen, who both raced 5,000 miles away in Italy earlier Sunday.
Palou is only the second Spaniard to win in the IndyCar Series, joining Oriol Servia, who won in 2005 at Montreal. “It’s just amazing but I think it was part of the job,” he said. “When you are part of a big team and a successful team like Chip Ganassi, they give you all the tools. You have everything you need to win, and that’s why you see so many successful drivers.”
Palou then vowed to find the best fried chicken in Alabama to celebrate his achievement. “I think that 80% of the drivers will tell you that after a race we need something that is not good for our body and that’s what I’m going to take tonight if I can, fried chicken. And fries.
Lots of fries,” he said. — The Associated Press
Tsitsipas wins Monte Carlo Masters
MONACO — Stefanos Tsitsipas won the Monte Carlo Masters without dropping a set, beating Andrey Rublev 6-3, 6-3 on Sunday for his first title this year and sixth overall. Fourth-seeded Tsitsipas was in dominant form as he edged 4-3 ahead of the sixth-seeded Russian in their career meetings, having also beaten him on clay last year in the French Open quarterfinals.
“I had an unbelievable week. It is incredible that I am able to be in the position that I am … I would consider it as the best week of my life so far,” Tsitsipas said. “There were a lot of nerves coming into that match.
Playing Andrey was a very difficult thing to do today, also considering that it was a final. I am definitely proud of the way I managed to behave on the court.” Tsitsipas also clinched his first Masters title.
“It is even more special doing it here in Monte Carlo and doing it on clay, which is my favourite surface,” he said.
The 22-year-old Greek won his last title in February last year at the Open 13 indoor tournament in Marseille — just weeks before France went into lockdown for the first time because of the coronavirus pandemic.
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