August 20, 2022

A great first ride and a sudden rain storm were all Denny Hamlin needed to claim pole position for Sunday’s Ally 400 NASCAR Cup Series race at Nashville Superspeedway. With his co-owner of the 23XI Racing team Michael Jordan watching the action, Hamlin was fastest in the first qualifying lap with a lap of 29.848 seconds (160.413 miles per hour), and when an unexpected downpour forced the cancellation of the final lap, the Toyota driver No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing earned the top starting position for the 17th event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule. Bordered Hamlin Joey Logan (160.107 mph) for pole by 0.057 seconds. Logano topped the Group B standings after Hamlin was fastest in Group A. Defending winner and defending Cup Series champion Kyle Larson qualified third at 159.963 mph, followed by Hendrick Motorsports teammate Chase Elliott at 159.931.

Justin Allgaier wins Xfinity race in rout

Justin Allgaier routed the field at Nashville Superspeedway on Saturday for his second Xfinity Series victory of the season. The JR Motorsports driver led 134 of 188 laps in his Chevrolet and beat Trevor Bayne 4.513 seconds on a hot and scorching afternoon in which temperatures inside the car reached 130 degrees. Allgaier dedicated the victory to his father, who he said suffered from health complications. Riley Herbst finished third and was followed by Ty Gibbs, Sam Mayerand Ryan Precece, winner of the Friday night Truck Series race . . . After a long work of introspection, Martin Truex Jr. decided to return to Joe Gibbs Racing for another season in the No. 19 Toyota. The affable driver from Mayetta, NJ, who turns 42 on Wednesday, won his series title with Furniture Row Racing in 2017. Since he joined JGR in 2019, Truex has racked up 12 wins but none so far this year. He is currently sixth in the Cup standings. . . Ricky Stenhouse Jr. revealed he had re-signed with JTG-Daugherty Racing in a multi-year deal, the specific terms of which were not disclosed. Stenhouse has two career wins, both recorded at superspeedways with Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing in 2017. In 16 races this season he has posted a top five finish (a second place finish at Dover) and is 24th in the series standings.

Swimming

Ress wins U.S. men’s gold in 50-meter shocker

American swimmer justin ress went through all the emotions – exhilaration, devastation, relief and shock – after winning his first individual gold medal on the final day of racing at the world swimming championships in Budapest. As fast as he won the men’s 50-metre backstroke final – 24.12 seconds – it felt like the medal had been taken from him just as quickly. Ress finished two hundredths of a second ahead of his teammate Hunter Armstrong but was disqualified for allegedly being swamped at the finish. Armstrong received gold, the 17-year-old Ksawery Masiuk of Poland was propelled to silver and the Italian star Thomas Cecon handed over the bronze. Armstrong – who set the world record of 23.71 at the team trials in April – wiped away tears after the medal ceremony. It was her first individual gold medal at these championships. Meanwhile, Ress was still in shock, trying to figure out why he had been stripped of the gold. It was only after all other races had been completed that FINA announced that the disqualification was overturned. “It was a shock the whole time,” Ress said of his first reaction to his disqualification. “Twenty minutes I was just in the chair in the team room, just paralyzed, shocked that I had been disqualified. And then obviously knockdowns rarely happen, so I pretty much gave up hope. USA team manager Lindsay Mintenko hadn’t given up hope, however, and she pushed those in charge to reconsider their decision. Officials showed him stop-motion footage of Ress’ arrival to back up their case. “That finish was definitely my best finish of the competition,” Ress said.

Soccer

Bale will make his MLS debut with LAFC

After exhausting his contract with Real Madrid and flirting with a return to his hometown of Cardiff, Wales, Gareth Bale, 32, has agreed to join Los Angeles Football Club in MLS in a move that will give him regular playing time, plenty of sunshine and up to five consecutive months of games to hone his form before kick-off of the World Cup in Qatar at the end of November. With his contract with Real Madrid expiring this summer, Bale has announced his intention to leave Spain and has been available to any team on a free transfer. A five-time Champions League winner with Madrid, who acquired him in 2013 for what was then a world record $105m, he had become an afterthought at the club in recent years, playing rarely and arguing openly with the team and its fans while rejecting any effort to move on. Bale had flirted with a move to his hometown Cardiff City in recent weeks before opting for MLS and Los Angeles.

Tennis

Tsitipas wins Mallorca championships

Stefanos Tsitsipas won the Mallorca Championships in Palma, Spain after defeating Roberto Bautista Agut in three sets as they prepared to play on the grass courts of the All England Club. Tsitsipas’ first grass-court title on the ATP Tour comes ahead of the start of Wimbledon on Monday. The second-seeded Greek withstood a late rally in the deciding set to beat Bautista Agut, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (7-2), for his 40th victory of the season at the top of the circuit. His ninth career title was also the second of the season for Tsitsipas after retaining his title in Monte Carlo in April. Tsitsipas, sixth in the world rankings, fired Alexander Ritschard of Switzerland in the first round of Wimbledon. . . Caroline Garcia won her first title in three years after coming back from a set and a breakdown to beat the 2019 US Open champion Bianca Andreescu.6-7 (5-7), 6-4, 6-4, in the Bad Homburg Open final in Germany. Garcia took a medical timeout for what appeared to be a shoulder problem early in the second set. She then lost 4-2 before winning 10 of the next 14 games to seal the match. She is 8-3 in career finals, but the Frenchwoman’s last title was almost exactly three years ago at Nottingham in the build-up to Wimbledon 2019.

Collection

Mercury and Tina Charles choose to separate

The Phoenix Mercury has announced that it has agreed to the terms of a contractual divorce with Tina Charles after 18 games. Says Mercury CEO Jim Pitman“Due to circumstances both within our control and beyond our control, our season has not gone according to our plan, and we will continue to look for all avenues of improvement.” Charles, the WNBA’s leading scorer last season who was Mercury’s second-leading scorer with 17.3 points per game, signed with Phoenix in February, a day after the Mercury was added. DeShields Diamond in a three-way exchange with Chicago and New York. The additions were to give the Mercury a huge boost to a roster that already had Diana Taurasi, Britney Grinerand Skylar Diggins Smith. Griner has been detained in Russia since February 17 after authorities at an airport outside Moscow said she had vaping cartridges containing cannabis oil in her bag. The Mercurys have struggled with injuries and without a Griner in the roster, entering Saturday’s game against Dallas near the bottom of the standings at 6-12 after reaching the Finals last season. . . The Chicago Bears signed a second-round pick Kyler Gordon on a four-year contract. The Washington cornerback became the Bears’ first selection when they took him on with the 39th overall pick. The Bears have a potential starter in front Jaylon Johnson taking on the athletic and hard-hitting Gordon. A first-team All-Pac 12 pick, he had 46 tackles and two interceptions to go along with seven pass breakups in 12 starts last season.