Other Sports

NASCAR at Kentucky: everything you need to know about racing this weekend

kentucky-nbcsw.png
Christopher Hanewinc/USA Today Images

NASCAR at Kentucky: everything you need to know about racing this weekend

After a historic weekend in Daytona, NASCAR travels to the bluegrass state and Kentucky Speedway for round 19 of the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season.

Here's what we're watching for on Saturday night in the Quaker State 400 (7:30 p.m. EST on NBCSN).

KENTUCKY STATISTICS
Kentucky Speedway: 1.5-mile tri-oval in Sparta, Ky.
Race information: 267 laps, 400.5 miles
Stage lengths: 80 laps, 80 laps, 107 laps
Defending winner: Martin Truex Jr.
Most wins: Brad Keselowski (3)

WEEKEND SCHEDULE

KENTUCKY SPEEDWAY

Thursday, July 11

9:35 – 10:25 a.m. – Truck practice (No TV)

11:05 – 11:55 a.m. – Final Truck practice (No TV)

3:05 – 3:55 p.m. – Xfinity practice (NBC Sports App)

4:05 p.m. – Truck Series qualifying; single truck/one lap (FS1)

6 – 6:50 p.m. – Final Xfinity practice (NBC Sports App)

7:30 p.m. – Buckle Up in Your Truck 225; 150 laps/225 miles (FS1, Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Friday, July 12

11:35 a.m. – 12:25 p.m. – Cup practice (NBCSN)

1:35 – 2:25 p.m. – Final Cup practice (NBCSN)

4:15 p.m. – Xfinity qualifying; single car/one lap (NBCSN)

6:05 p.m. – Cup qualifying/impound; single car/one lap (NBCSN, Performance Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

7:30 p.m. – Alsco 300; 200 laps/300 miles (NBCSN, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Saturday, July 13

7:30 p.m. – Quaker State 400; 267 laps/400.5 miles (NBCSN, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

What Haley's Upset Means

A few days removed from the biggest upset in NASCAR history, the stock car world is still buzzing following Justin Haley's shocking victory.

Call it a fluke, call it luck, call it whatever you want. That doesn't change the fact that Haley and the No. 77 Spire Motorsports team are the ones who left Daytona International Speedway with the check and the trophy.

The win had some bigger implications for the 20-year-old, who felt as if he was owed one following a questionable penalty in last season's summer Daytona race in the Xfinity Series, and came home runner-up in this year's NXS event.

Much of the talk has been surrounding Spire Motorsports, a new team who purchased the charter of now defunt Furniture Row Racing for a reported amount of $6 million. Spire Sports & Entertainment, an organization that represents a number of drivers across all three national series. Haley is represented by Spire, and drives the No. 77 car on a limited basis because he pays the agency to represent him.

The win from Spire is being looked at as a conflict of interest by some. Examples have been crafted of MLB superagent Scott Boras to buy a team or Jay-Z being forced to sell his ownership stake in the Nets when Roc Nation Sports came into existence.

This is a much bigger conversation to have. If you're interested, both sides were argued from Autoweek's Matt Weaver and Motorsport.com's Jim Utter.

Can Hendrick Take The Next Step?

The once mighty and powerful organization of Hendrick Motorsports has fallen back to earth in recent years.

But after a rough patch, the team may be on it's final step back to the top of the NASCAR mountain. Key word: may.

Sure, two of their four drivers have won this season in Chase Elliott and Alex Bowman, with reigning Rookie of the Year William Byron coming off a career-best finish of second and seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson has scored back-to-back top five finishes for the first time in 2019.

But all four drivers and team owner Rick Hendrick will tell you that there is still much more to gain in order to catch up to the likes of Joe Gibbs Racing and Team Penske. Long run speed over multiple weeks with all four cars, Johnson snapping the longest winless drought of his career and Byron earning his first career win would go a long way in helping return HMS to the top.

More Of The Same? 

15 of the 18 races this season have been won by either Joe Gibbs Racing or Team Penske. They're that far ahead of the pack in 2019.

The other three have been won by Hendrick Motorsports (Chase Elliott and Alex Bowman) as well as the upset victory by Justin Haley. Three of the four JGR drivers and two of the three Penske drivers have won (Erik Jones and Ryan Blaney being the odd drivers out) and all those cars have been running well consistently throughout long green flag runs this season.

The likes of Stewart-Haas Racing, Chip Ganassi Racing, Richard Childress Racing, etc. have yet to earn checkerd flags, with Kevin Harvick, Kyle Larson, Kurt Busch and Clint Bowyer still winless. Although most of those notbale winless drivers are in good shape playoff position wise, a win would go a long way in dethroning Penske and Gibbs atop the NASCAR throne this year.

2019 NASCAR STANDINGS

Next week, NASCAR heads to the granite state and New Hampshire Motor Speedway for the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 on Sunday, July 21 at 3 p.m. EST on NBCSN.

Justin Lee throws no-hitter to lead Loudoun South in dominant Little League World Series win

Justin Lee throws no-hitter to lead Loudoun South in dominant Little League World Series win

The first team from Virginia to make the Little League World Series in 25 years is certainly making the most of its opportunity. Loudoun South threw its second no-hitter in as many games in a dominant 11-0 win over the Midwest Region champion out of Minnesota on Sunday.

Justin Lee enjoyed another dominant start. In the team’s first win on Friday, Lee pitched 2.2 innings in the combined no-hitter. On Sunday, he was able to go the distance. Lee pitched the full four innings with six strikeouts and two walks in 54 pitches.

As dominant as the pitching was, however, the bats were there to match.

Loudoun South did not wait long to take control. A double by Liam Thyen in the first inning brought in three runs giving the team a 3-0 lead they would never relinquish. A five-run second inning further cemented the dominant lead.

The bats were hot all day for Loudoun South who finished with nine total hits in just four innings. Thyien finished the game with five RBIs.

With the win, Loudoun South advances to within one game of the United States Championship. They will play the winner of the West and Mid-Atlantic champs on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.

Beyond the Scoreboard: Raiders in Vegas updates, plus Loudon United and more

usatsi_13009311.jpg
USA TODAY Sports

Beyond the Scoreboard: Raiders in Vegas updates, plus Loudon United and more

By Rick Horrow

Podcast edited by Tanner Simkins

LISTEN TO THE FULL PODCAST HERE

  • Raiders, Allegiant agree on a naming rights deal for Las Vegas Stadium. The Raiders and Allegiant announced an agreement for the naming rights to Las Vegas Stadium, the future home of the Raiders and UNLV Football. Sources said that Allegiant is likely paying between $20-25 million in “cash and in-kind services a year to put its name on the building.” This partnership with the Raiders presents a global branding opportunity for the Las Vegas-based airline company as Allegiant will have its name showcased on the 1.75 million-square-foot, state-of-the-art domed stadium that will also host many world-class major sports and entertainment events. Said Raiders President Marc Badain, “As the hometown airline, Allegiant is the perfect partner to showcase the incredible support we continue to receive from the Southern Nevada community.” Allegiant Stadium will also serve as the home for UNLV football in addition to serving as the site of the Las Vegas Bowl beginning in 2020, as well as the 2020 and 2021 Pac-12 football championship games.
  • Loudoun United christens new Segra Field home. D.C. United last Friday night opened the gates to a new venue for its second-division team in Leesburg, Virginia. USL club Loudoun United “announced a sellout crowd of 5,015” for its draw against the Charlotte Independence at Segra Field, according to the Washington Post. A week ago Saturday, however, the club welcomed numerous local dignitaries and representatives from D.C. United for an official ribbon cutting ceremony. Among the guest speakers at the event were Dave Johnson, longtime television voice of D.C. United, D.C. United CEO and managing general owner Jason Levien, Loudoun United Chief Operations Officer Adam Behnke, and Loudoun County Department of Economic Development Executive Director Buddy Rizer, along with almost every Loudoun County supervisor. Real estate firm JLL secured the deal to manage the venue, its fourth in the D.C. region. The stadium will be joined next year by a new training facility that will be shared by Loudoun United and D.C. United, with the $15 million development set to be completed next summer. 
  • Joe Maddon’s Try Not to Suck Celebrity Golf Classic returns. For the fourth year, Chicago Cubs’ manager Joe Maddon will hold his annual “Try Not to Suck” Celebrity Golf Classic on Monday, August 19 at Bryn Mawr Country Club in Lincolnwood, Illinois. The event benefits Joe and Jaye Maddon’s Respect 90 Foundation which provides assistance to at-risk children and families in the areas Joe and Jaye call home including Chicago; Tampa, Florida; Hazleton, Pennsylvania; Mesa, Arizona;  and Southern California. Respect 90 provides children and families opportunities to develop championship attitudes through sports, academics, and community involvement. The total proceeds from four years of the Maddon Celebrity Golf Tournaments (including this year) will approach $1 million dollars. The field includes dozens of former Cubs players, front office staff, and local and national celebrities – and Rick is proud to continue to participate in the event. On Sunday, the longtime Chicago skipper reassured Cubs fans that his level of optimism about returning to the Cubs is “very high” as he enters the final seven weeks of his current five-year deal.