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Archive for July 1st, 2017

Major League Soccer enters into Week 18

This Week in MLS – June 26, 2017
  • More than 50,000 expected for California Clásico in Heineken Rivalry Week Edición Especial
  • Voting for 2017 All-Star Fan XI presented by Target enters final week
  • Young stars set to breakout as 16 MLS players make U.S. Gold Cup roster
  • Chicago heads to hostile territory while Sapong and BWP clash yet again in U.S. Open Cup Round of 16 play
  • Toronto FC hosts rival Montreal in winner-take-all Canadian Championship final
  • The Cowboys Connections of FC Dallas rookie defender Walker Hume
  • Jerseys for 2017 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target unveiled
  • Week 18 Game Previews

More than 50,000 expected for California Clásico in Heineken Rivalry Week Edición Especial
With a Heineken Rivalry Edicion Especial featuring the LA Galaxy against the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday, July 1 (10:30 p.m. ET, Univision/, a heartstopping California Clásico at Stanford Stadium will showcase two clubs who have been duking it out since the inaugural MLS season.

For the last five years drawing sellout crowds of more than 50,000 to Stanford Stadium, Saturday’s annual soccer showdown will mark the 70th all-time meeting between two clubs that can each claim some bragging rights. At Stanford Stadium, the Quakes are an undefeated 3-0-1. However, in all regular season meetings, the Galaxy have dominated League play by a margin of 30-20 in the win column, with 14 ties.

With rivalry regulars and a few new faces, the Galaxy (6-6-4) and the Quakes (6-6-5) have nearly identical records and will be leaning on big performances heading into Saturday. For San Jose, forward Chris Wondolowski is battle-tested with a tally of eight goals, most of any Quakes player in their history against LA, including the opening goal in the May 27 meeting. The Galaxy came back to steal a 4-2 win in that game, and will be looking to midfielder Romain Alessandrini, who has played his part in the majority of the club’s goals this season, with eight goals and seven assists on the season.

Voting for 2017 All-Star Fan XI presented by Target enters final week
There is only one week left for fans to vote their favorite MLS players to the All-Star Fan XI and on their way to Chicago. Fans can continue to vote via the online ballot, in the MLS app, and/or the EA SPORTS™ “More Than a Vote” Challenge through June 30 at 3 a.m. ET. The MLS All-Stars will face Real Madrid on August 2 at Soldier Field in the 2017 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target.

Ten players – one goalkeeper, three defenders, four midfielders and two forwards – with the highest combined votes will be named to the All-Star Fan XI. The 11th player – a forward – will be determined by the EA SPORTS™ “More Than a Vote” Challenge.

Below are the players that currently lead in All-Star Fan XI voting:

All-Star Fan XI Leaders
as of June 26, 2017

Tim Howard (Colorado Rapids)
Alec Kann (Atlanta United)
Tim Melia (Sporting Kansas City)
Joe Bendik (Orlando City SC)
Alex Bono (Toronto FC)

Greg Garza (Atlanta United)
Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
DaMarcus Beasley (Houston Dynamo)
Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City)
Leandro González Pírez (Atlanta United)

Miguel Almirón (Atlanta United)
Bastian Schweinsteiger (Chicago Fire)
Kaká (Orlando City SC)
Michael Bradley (Toronto FC)
Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas)

Nemanja Nikolić (Chicago Fire)
Sebastian Giovinco (Toronto FC)
David Villa (New York City FC)
Josef Martinez (Atlanta United)

EA Sports More Than a Vote Leaders
Top 5 in alphabetical order as of June 26, 2017

Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC)
Giovani dos Santos (LA Galaxy)
Sebastian Giovinco (Toronto FC)
Nemanja Nikolić (Chicago Fire)
David Villa (New York City FC)

Young stars set to breakout as 16 MLS players make U.S. Gold Cup roster
U.S. Men’s National Team coach Bruce Arena named 16 MLS players to his 23-player roster for the 2017 Gold Cup, with young stars getting their first chance to break through for the national team when taking on Ghana in a friendly at Nissan Stadium in Nashville on Saturday, July 1 (4:45 p.m. ET, ESPN/UniMás/UDN).

One of the breakout stars of the U.S. in the recent round of World Cup Qualifying earlier this month, FC Dallas Homegrown midfielder Kellyn Acosta shined in a 1-1 draw against Mexico at Azteca Stadium and could be a leader for the United States in the tournament. Reigning MLS Rookie of the Year Jordan Morris joins Acosta as one of six players on the roster to come through an MLS academy system.

Three MLS players earned their first call-ups to represent the United States for the first time in their careers. Sporting Kansas City forward Dom Dwyer looks to make his USMNT debut fresh off receiving his United States citizenship, with the forward scoring 57 goals since his league debut in 2012, the fourth-most of any player in MLS over that span. New England midfielder Kelyn Rowe receives his first chance for the U.S. after notching five-plus goals and assists in each of the past four seasons for the Revolution.

Rounding out the newcomer list is Seattle Sounders FC midfielder Cristian Roldan, who has emerged as a feisty two-way player for the reigning MLS Cup champions. The 22-year-old has a mere two appearances in the U.S. youth national team system but has blossomed as a main distributor in Seattle, as he currently ranks in the top five in the league in touches, tackles, and duels won, and ranks in the top 10 in successful passes.

USMNT Gold Cup Roster
GOALKEEPERS (3): Brad Guzan (Atlanta United), Bill Hamid (D.C. United), Sean Johnson (New York City FC)

DEFENDERS (8): Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca/MEX), Matt Hedges (FC Dallas), Eric Lichaj (Nottingham Forest), Matt Miazga (Chelsea), Justin Morrow (Toronto FC), Jorge Villafaña (Santos Laguna/MEX), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)

MIDFIELDERS (9): Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas), Paul Arriola (Club Tijuana/MEX), Alejandro Bedoya (Philadelphia Union;), Joe Corona (Club Tijuana/MEX), Dax McCarty (Chicago Fire), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders FC), Kelyn Rowe (New England Revolution), Kenny Saief (Gent/BEL), Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy)

FORWARDS (3): Juan Agudelo (New England Revolution), Dom Dwyer (Sporting Kansas City), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC)

Chicago heads to hostile territory while Sapong and BWP clash yet again in U.S. Open Cup Round of 16 play
Thirteen MLS clubs will continue their quests to capture the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup title this week with five contests in Round of 16 play pitting MLS clubs against each other.

In one of the three matchups with an MLS team facing off against a lower-division club, the Chicago Fire travel to USL side and MLS expansion hopeful FC Cincinnati on Wednesday, June 28 in a nationally televised match at Nippert Stadium (8 p.m. ET, ESPN2). The Fire are in red-hot form entering the match, carrying a nine-game undefeated streak with wins in seven of its past eight contests. Chicago will play in front of what is expected to be a hostile Nippert Stadium crowd, as FC Cincinnati drew more than 30,000 fans in its last U.S. Open Cup contest two weeks ago.

In other Open Cup play, the New York Red Bulls host I-95 rival Philadelphia Union on Wednesday at Red Bull Arena for the teams’ third matchup this season (8 p.m. ET). The clubs split the first two matches of the season, both at Talen Energy Stadium, behind the offensive firepower of their star strikers. Union forward CJ Sapong scored a hat trick in the Union’s 3-0 victory on May 6, while Red Bulls forward Bradley Wright-Phillips scored a brace on June 18 for a 2-0 New York victory.

Toronto FC hosts rival Montreal in winner-take-all Canadian Championship final
More than bragging rights will be on the line on Tuesday when Toronto FC hosts rival Montreal Impact in the second and decisive leg of the Canadian Championship final at BMO Field (7:30 p.m. ET, TSN/RDS). As winners of the 2016 Canadian Championship, Toronto could lock up a spot in the 2018 CONCACAF Champions League by capturing a second consecutive domestic title, while a win by Montreal would force a playoff between the two clubs for the CCL spot.

In the first leg at Stade Saputo on June 21, Montreal and Toronto played to a 1-1 draw with Matteo Mancosu and Jozy Altidore each scoring first-half goals for their respective clubs. The draw was the first meeting between the two bitter rivals since an epic showdown in the Eastern Conference Finals of the 2016 MLS Cup Playoffs.

Montreal currently sits at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, but has come away with points in four of its previous five MLS regular season matches. Toronto, meanwhile, sits atop the Supporters’ Shield standings with a 9-1-1 record in its previous 11 matches.

Toronto will look for its second consecutive Canadian Championship title, with the club winning a record five times in the tournament’s history.

Canadian Championship Winner by Year
2016: Toronto FC
2015: Vancouver Whitecaps FC
2014: Montreal Impact
2013: Montreal Impact
2012: Toronto FC
2011: Toronto FC
2010: Toronto FC
2009: Toronto FC
2008: Montreal Impact

The Cowboys Connections of FC Dallas rookie defender Walker Hume
Walker Hume, the 6-foot-5 rookie defender for FC Dallas, has played soccer his entire life, but his bloodlines are in football. Born in Dallas and raised in San Angelo, Hume has many family connections to the Dallas Cowboys.

His grandfather was Tom Franckhauser, a member of the first Cowboys team when they joined the NFL in 1960. Franckhauser is credited as the first person to touch a football in a game for the Cowboys. Selected by the Cowboys in the Expansion Draft from the Los Angeles Rams, Franckhauser returned the opening kickoff in the team’s first regular season game. The cornerback played two seasons for Dallas. Hume’s grandmother, Beverly Franckhauser, attends Walker’s games for FC Dallas.

The Cowboys connections do not end there for Hume. His grand-uncle was Frank Glieber, an announcer on Cowboys radio broadcasts in their first two seasons and a longtime sportscaster for CBS. Walker’s uncle, Craig Glieber, is currently the Cowboys’ assistant director of operations.

Walker Hume was selected by FC Dallas in the second round of the 2017 MLS SuperDraft after a standout collegiate career at North Carolina. He has started two games so far for FC Dallas this season.

Jerseys for 2017 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target unveiled
MLS and adidas have today unveiled the jerseys for the 2017 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target. The jerseys will be worn by the biggest stars in MLS as they take the field against Real Madrid on August 2 at Soldier Field in Chicago.

The design for the jersey is inspired by the famous 1994 U.S. Men’s National Team World Cup “denim” jerseys, with faded star and maple leaf graphics across the front of the blue shirt.

The limited edition authentic adidas 2017 MLS All-Star jersey will be available at select retailers and to fans in attendance at the 2017 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target. For replica jerseys and other MLS All-Star merchandise, visit


Week 18 Game Previews
Thursday, June 29
Minnesota United FC at New York City FC, 7:30 p.m.

  • NYCFC have now won three games in a row, following the club’s first win ever at Red Bull Arena in a 2-0 defeat of the Red Bulls. The club record is four wins in a row. Jack Harrison scored his seventh goal of the season, his third goal over the last five matches.
  • Both Minnesota United goals vs. Vancouver came from defenders as Francisco Calvo and Jêrome Theisson scored their first career MLS goals, MNUFC now undefeated in their last three games at home following a 2-2 draw with Vancouver Whitecaps FC at TCF Bank Stadium.

Friday, June 30
Orlando City SC at Real Salt Lake, 9:30 p.m. (ESPN)

  • Real Salt Lake saw their road losing streak extended, falling 2-1 to the San Jose Earthquakes at Avaya Stadium. It was a sixth consecutive loss on their travels for RSL, dating back to April 29; Real have won their last three at Rio Tinto Stadium.
  • Orlando City saw their road winless streak extended to six games, matching their season-high with four goals conceded in a 4-0 loss to the Chicago Fire.

Saturday, July 1
D.C. United at Montreal Impact, 7 p.m. (TSN; TVAS)

  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Ballou Tabla scored the game’s lone goal after 13 minutes to give the Impact the victory, May 6 at RFK Stadium.
  • Anthony Jackson-Hamel scored his fifth goal of the season – all as a substitute – but the Impact conceded a season-high four goals in a 4-1 defeat by Columbus Crew SC.
  • D.C. United suffered a third consecutive away defeat, all by shutout, now 299 minutes since their last goal scored on their travels, following a 1-0 loss at the Philadelphia Union.

Portland Timbers at Sporting Kansas City, 7 p.m. (ESPN)

  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Dom Dwyer scored the game’s lone goal in the 53rd minute to give Sporting the victory, April 15 at Providence Park. The road team has won five of the 11 meetings all-time in the series.
  • Sporting Kansas City extended their undefeated streak to four games, defeating the LA Galaxy 2-1 at StubHub Center on Saturday evening, ending their road winless streak at six matches.
  • Fanendo Adi scored the 50th goal of his MLS career, but the Timbers saw their winless run extended to three games, hauled back into a late 2-2 draw with arch-rivals Seattle Sounders FC at Providence Park.

Vancouver Whitecaps FC at Chicago Fire, 7 p.m. (TSN)

  • The Fire won their third game in a row, their seventh victory in their last eight matches, and extended their home winning streak to seven games, one game shy of the club record, with a 4-0 win against Orlando City SC at Toyota Park.
  • David Accam scored a hat trick, the Fire’s first since 2014, and Nemanja Nikolic scored his league-leading 14th goal of the season for the Fire.
  • Cristian Techera scored for a second consecutive game, now with five goals on the season, as Whitecaps FC extended their undefeated run to three games with a second consecutive draw, reaching a 2-2 result with Minnesota United FC.

Toronto FC at FC Dallas, 7 p.m. (TSN)

  • Maximiliano Urruti scored for a second consecutive game, now with nine goals on the season, as FC Dallas reached a second consecutive draw with their winless run extended to three games, playing to a 1-1 result with the Houston Dynamo at BBVA Compass Stadium.
  • Sebastian Giovinco scored his seventh goal of the season and Victor Vazquez collected his league-leading ninth assist of the season as Toronto FC won their second consecutive game, defeating the New England Revolution 2-0 at BMO Field. It was a club-record seventh straight home win for TFC, recording a third consecutive home shutout.

Atlanta United at Columbus Crew SC, 7:30 p.m.

  • The teams are meeting for the second time. Hector Villalba, Miguel Almíron and Josef Martínez all found the back of the net as Atlanta United claimed a 3-1 meeting June 17 at Bobby Dodd Stadium, the first meeting ever between the clubs.
  • Federico Higuaín scored a pair of goals, now with a career-long four-game goal scoring streak, and Kekuta Manneh set an MLS record by scoring a goal and adding an assist within three minutes of coming on the field as a substitute in Crew SC’s 4-1 win against the Montréal Impact, ending a two-game losing skid.
  • Josef Martínez scored the game’s only goal, his seventh goal of the season, as Atlanta United have won their last four games at Bobby Dodd Stadium following a 1-0 win against the Colorado Rapids.

Houston Dynamo at Colorado Rapids, 9 p.m.

  • The Dynamo remained undefeated at BBVA Compass Stadium, but were held without multiple goals for the first time at home this season, playing to a second draw in nine games as hosts following a 1-1 draw with FC Dallas. Erick Torres scored his 11th goal of the season, second in the MLS Golden Boot standings.
  • The Rapids are the only team remaining in MLS without a point on the road this season, their away losing streak now at eight games dating back to last season, following a 1-0 loss at Atlanta United.
  • The Dynamo haven’t won at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park since 2008, the Rapids now undefeated in their last seven home meetings with Houston (5-0-2).

LA Galaxy at San Jose Earthquakes, 10:30 p.m. (Univisión)

  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Giovani dos Santos scored a pair of goals as the Galaxy claimed a 4-2 win May 27 at Avaya Stadium, just theGalaxy’s second win in the last 14 regular season meetings in northern California.
  • The Quakes put an end to a three-game winless slide, as Danny Hoesen scored a goal and set up the second in a 2-1 win against Real Salt Lake at Avaya Stadium. It was the final game in charge for Quakes head coach Dominic Kinnear, who was relieved of his duties following the victory.
  • The Galaxy saw their eight-game undefeated run put to an end, suffering a 2-1 loss to Sporting Kansas City at StubHub Center. The Galaxy are now winless in their last five home games, matching the club’s longest streak since 2005.

Sunday, July 2
New England Revolution at Philadelphia Union, 5 p.m. (FS1)

  • Union put an end to a three-game losing slide, defeating D.C. United by the game’s only goal at Talen Energy Stadium, their fourth win in their last five home games. Fafa Picault scored his fourth goal of the season, his second in the last three matches; all four of his MLS goals have come over the last seven matches.
  • The Revolution have suffered back-to-back losses for the first time since dropping the opening two games of the season March 4-18, falling 2-0 to Toronto FC at BMO Field.
  • The teams met twice a year ago, and Union won both by heavy margins, a 3-0 win March 20 at Talen Energy Stadium, and a 4-0 win Aug. 13 at Gillette Stadium.



NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series at Daytona tonight

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series

Next Race: Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola

The Place: Daytona International Speedway

The Date: Saturday, July 1

The Time: 7:30 p.m. ET

TV: NBC, 7:30 p.m. ET, NASCAR America Saturday, NBCSN, 5 p.m.

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 400 miles (160 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on lap 40),

Stage 2 (Ends on lap 80), Final Stage (Ends on lap 160)


Next Race: Coca-Cola Firecracker 250

The Place: Daytona International Speedway

The Date: Friday, June 30

The Time: 7:30 p.m. ET

TV: NBCSN, 7 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 250 miles (100 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on lap 30),

Stage 2 (Ends on lap 60), Final Stage (Ends on lap 100)


NASCAR Camping World Truck Series

Next Race: Buckle Up In Your Truck 225

The Place: Kentucky Speedway

The Date: Thursday, July 6

The Time: 7:30 p.m. ET

TV: FS1, 7 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 225 miles (150 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on lap 35),

Stage 2 (Ends on lap 70), Final Stage (Ends on lap 150)

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series

Parity Party: 11 Different Winners In First 16 Races

Heading into Saturday’s Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola (7:30 p.m. on NBC, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), 11 different drivers have visited Victory Lane through the first 16 races of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season.


With a number of NASCAR’s current and upcoming stars still searching for wins, there’s a realistic chance 16 different drivers will have at least one win at the conclusion of the 26-race regular season. In the modern era, the record for the most different winners through the first 26 races is 16.
Previous winners still trying to visit Victory Lane in 2017 include: Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth, Denny Hamlin, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jamie McMurray, Kasey Kahne, Clint Bowyer, Chris Buescher, Trevor Bayne, Kasey Kahne, Paul Menard, AJ Allmendinger, Aric Almirola and David Ragan.


Some young up-and-coming stars who have proven they’re not far from a win are Chase Elliott, Erik Jones and Daniel Suarez.


Remember to never rule out a dark horse driver at restrictor-plate Daytona International Speedway or the road course at Watkins Glen International.


Past winners by remaining regular season tracks without capturing a checkered flag in 2017 are listed below:


Daytona: Kenseth, Hamlin, Earnhardt Jr., McMurray, Ky. Busch, Bayne, Almirola, Ragan

Kentucky: Ky. Busch, Kenseth

New Hampshire: Ky. Busch, Kenseth, Bowyer, Hamlin, Kahne

Indianapolis: Ky. Busch, McMurray, Menard

Pocono: Hamlin, Kenseth, Earnhardt Jr., Kahne, Buescher

Watkins Glen: Hamlin, Ky. Busch, Allmendinger

Michigan: Ky. Busch, Hamlin, Earnhardt Jr., Kenseth, Kahne

Bristol: Ky. Busch, Hamlin, Kenseth, Earnhardt Jr., Kahne

Darlington: Ky. Busch, Hamlin, Kenseth

Richmond: Ky. Busch, Hamlin, Kenseth, Bowyer, Earnhardt Jr., Kahne

Dale-Tona: Earnhardt Ready To Roll At Daytona, May Compete In Another Great American Race

With win totals of six and four at Talladega and Daytona, respectively, Dale Earnhardt Jr. is NASCAR’s current restrictor-plate wins leader.


Saturday’s Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola was initially believed to be Earnhardt’s final race at “The Birthplace of Speed,” but Earnhardt did not rule out running another Daytona 500 during his media availability at Sonoma last week.


“I am just retiring from full-time racing,” Earnhardt said. “I am going to run some XFINITY races next year. I don’t know that I won’t ever run the Daytona 500 again if the right deal comes along. All these tracks you have memories at all of them, Daytona included.”


In addition to his four Daytona wins, Earnhardt claims 13 top fives and 19 top 10s in 35 starts at the 2.5-mile track. His 14.3 average finish and 94.2 driver rating rank second-best among active drivers there.


Positioned 22nd in the standings, Earnhardt sits 134 points behind Clint Bowyer for the final playoff spot and virtually must win to get into the postseason and make a run at his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship.


Click Here For A By The Numbers Look Of Earnhardt’s Career At Daytona International Speedway
Keselowski Goes For Daytona Summer Repeat

Last season’s summer Daytona winner Brad Keselowski will attempt to defend his 2016 win on Saturday. A skilled restrictor-plate racer, Keselowski has four wins at Talladega to go along with his one at Daytona.


He’ll try to join the back-to-back club of Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola winners that includes Fireball Roberts (1962-63), A.J. Foyt (1964-65), Cale Yarborough (1967-68), David Pearson (1972-75) and Tony Stewart (2005-06).


In 16 starts at the 2.5-mile track, the No. 2 Ford driver also owns three top fives and four top 10s.


At the moment, Keselowski ranks fifth in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series points standings (140 points behind leader Kyler Larson) on the strength of two race wins, two stage wins, nine top fives and 11 top 10s.


Busch Goes For First Daytona Sweep Since 2013

Daytona 500 champion Kurt Busch will go for the first track sweep since Jimmie Johnson won twice at the 2.5-mile track in 2013.


In February, Busch led only the final lap to take the checkered flag in NASCAR’s crown jewel event.


Although he has only one Daytona win, Busch ranks third among active drivers there in driver rating (90.6) and average finish (15.2).


Four other drivers in addition to Johnson have swept the Daytona races: Bobby Allison (1982), LeeRoy Yarborough (1969), Cale Yarborough (1968) and Fireball Roberts (1962).


Young Guns Prepared To Shine Again At Daytona

Many of the young guns in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series produced strong performances in the Daytona 500. They’ll try to put on a show again in Saturday’s Coke Zero 400 Presented by Coca-Cola.


Ryan Blaney, 23, headlined the effort with a runner-up showing, while Joey Logano, 27, placed in the top 10 with a sixth-place finish. Matt DiBenedetto, 26, came in ninth, while Trevor Bayne, 26, took 10th.


Kyle Larson, 24, placed 12th in “The Great American Race,” but led on the final lap before running out of fuel. Chase Elliott, 21, finished 14th, but led 39 laps until he ran out of fuel, as well.

Harvick Revved Up For Daytona After First Win

Kevin Harvick picked up his first win of the season, leading 24 laps on his way to Victory Lane at Sonoma. He’s now won at least one race in the last eight seasons.


A mainstay at the top of the standings the last few seasons, Harvick finds himself there again. He ranks third in points – 111 markers below leader Kyle Larson. For the year, he also claims three stage wins, eight playoff points, six top fives and 10 tops 10s.


In 32 Daytona starts, Harvick claims two wins, nine top fives, 14 top 10s and a 16.3 average finish.


Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, Etc.

NASCAR Returns To NBC: This weekend, the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series returns to the NBC family of networks for the rest of the season. Rick Allen serves as the lead race announcer and is joined in the booth by 21-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race winner Jeff Burton and Daytona 500-winning crew chief Steve Letarte.


The pre-race show is hosted by Krista Voda, three-time Daytona 500 champion Dale Jarrett and auto racing icon Kyle Petty. Reporters Marty Snider, Kelli Stavast, Dave Burns and Parker Kligerman provide pre- and post-race coverage from pit road and the garages.


A new features reporter, four-time Olympic medalist Ato Boldon, joins the team. Rutledge Wood will continue to report features as well. lead motorsports writer Nate Ryan handles breaking news.


Saturday’s pre-race coverage will include a special essay on Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his final race at Daytona, voiced by legendary broadcaster and member of 2018 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Ken Squier.

NASCAR Decades Premieres on NBCSN: NASCAR Productions and NBC are teaming up to celebrate the sport’s unique culture, moments and characters in two original documentaries highlighting some of NASCAR’s most iconic eras. Premiering this Thursday at 9 p.m. ET on NBCSN,NASCAR Decades: The 70s incorporates interviews and rare NASCAR archival material to feature everything from the hairstyles to the paint schemes that distinguished the time period.


Personalities including Ric Flair, Larry Webster and Tim Dugger are featured alongside current drivers and NBC talent, such as Dale Earnhardt Jr., Clint Bowyer, Steve Letarte and Rutledge Wood, among numerous others.


The second era-themed special, NASCAR Decades: The 80s, premieres on July 7 at 11 p.m. ET following the NASCAR XFINTY Series race on NBCSN.


Watch the trailer here.



Taking The Stage: Stage Points Key To JR Motorsport’s Dominance

Stage racing has not only out brought out great action on the track through varying strategies, but it has also provided a new element in the NASCAR XFINITY Series driver standings that allows the competitors to accumulate points by finishing in the top 10 at the end of each stage. Above all other contenders this season, JR Motorsports drivers Elliott Sadler (standings leader), Justin Allgaier (second in points) and William Byron (third in points) have taken advantage of the new system the best, and it is showing dividends.

Current standings leader Elliott Sadler has yet to win this season, but has been quite consistent, posting the series-most top fives (six) and top 10s (12) through 14 races. Sadler sits 25 points ahead of his teammate Justin Allgaier in the standings, but is second to him in stage points. This season, Sadler has amassed 113 stage points; which is 22.5% of his total driver standings points (502). Sadler also leads all championship challengers in stage wins with three, which translates to three playoffs points. Two of Sadler’s three stage wins were at Daytona in the season opener and the third was at Michigan.

You can call him the XFINITY series stage points master, as Justin Allgaier is second in the driver standings (-25 from the leader), but he is first in accumulation of stage points this season with 116; which is 24.3% of his total driver standings points total (477). Allgaier is having a career-best season; he has posted a win (Phoenix), four top fives and seven top 10s through 14 races. Allgaier also leads the series in playoff points with seven – five from the win at Phoenix and two from stage wins at Richmond and Talladega.

He might be third in the standings, 32 points back from second place, but he is the most recent winner of the JRM bunch, and Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender William Byron is no slouch in stage points gathering either.  The 19-year-old from North Carolina, has accrued the third-most stage points this season with 82; which is 18.4% of his driver standings points total (445). Coming off his victory last weekend at Iowa and now locked into the playoffs, Byron is having a strong showing in his rookie campaign. In 14 starts this season he has a win, four top fives and eight top 10s – currently second-most in the series.

The JR Motorsports drivers have set themselves apart from their nearest competitors. In the driver standings, third-place William Bryon is 89 points ahead of fourth-place Daniel Hemric. Hemric also has the fourth-most stage points this season at 53; which is 29 points less than Byron.

At Daytona in the season opener in February, Sadler dominated the event early on, leading the most laps (40), but it was Byron with the best finish (ninth), as Sadler (24th) and Allgaier (30th) were caught in late-race incidents.

Break Out The Broom: Ryan Reed Looks For Sweep In Returns To The Sunshine State

Earlier this season, Roush Fenway Racing’s Ryan Reed became the ninth different driver to post multiple wins in the NASCAR XFINITY Series at the ‘World Center of Racing’ Daytona International Speedway, and this weekend he is looking to join Dale Earnhardt Jr. (2003) as just the second driver in series history to sweep both Daytona events in one season.

Back in February, Reed led just nine laps and won the 2017 season opener at Daytona and in the process grabbed his second Daytona win (2017, 2015) and joined Dale Earnhardt (seven), Tony Stewart (seven), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (six), Darrell Waltrip (three), Randy LaJoie (three), Geoff Bodine, Joe Nemechek and Matt Kenseth (two each) as a multiple series race winner at DIS.

Reed is currently fifth in the series driver standings, 155 points back from the leader Elliott Sadler. In 14 starts this season, he has posted a win, two top fives and four top 10s.

In seven starts at Daytona, Reed has posted the second-best driver rating (93.7) and average running position (11.6) among championship contenders.  Plus, two wins, three top fives, four top 10s and an average finish of 8.4 – series-best among title contenders.

Feeling The Squeeze: Ryan Sieg and Brendan Gaughan Outside The Playoff Bubble

The NASCAR XFINITY Series playoffs are just 12 races away and the drivers outside the playoff cutoff line are starting to feel the heat as the regular season inches closer to its conclusion. Two drivers who made the playoffs last season, but are currently just outside the playoff threshold are Ryan Sieg (-24 points behind 12th) in 13th and Brendan Gaughan (-26 points back from 12th) in 14th.

RSS Racing’s driver Ryan Sieg is coming off his NASCAR XFINITY Series career-best finish after he posted a runner-up performance at Iowa Speedway last weekend. Three races ago, Sieg was 15th in points, but since then has posted a 15th-place finish at Michigan and a runner-up at Iowa, and now he is knocking on the door of playoff contention just 24 points behind 12th-place Blake Koch.

Sieg returns to Daytona this weekend riding a wave of momentum, which should continue this weekend as Sieg matched his previous best-career finish of third in this event last season. In seven starts at Daytona, Sieg has posted two top fives and three top 10s.

Richard Childress Racing’s Brendan Gaughan is just two points behind Sieg in 13th and 26 points behind 12th-place Blake Koch, but don’t count him and the No. 62 team out just yet. Gaughan won his first stage of the season this past weekend at Iowa, and in the process brought his stage points total to 38; which is 15.2% of his driver standing points total (249).

In Gaughan’s last three starts at Daytona, he has posted two top fives and three top 10s; including finishing fifth earlier this season. Plus, over the next several weeks, the series returns to some of Gaughan’s best tracks, specifically Kentucky and Road America where he has posted wins.

Can’t Stop The Youth: Average Age Of Drivers In The Top 10 In Points Has Dropped Over The Last Decade

The next generation of NASCAR XFINITY Series drivers is here, and the proof is in the stats.

Following this past weekend’s race at Iowa (13th race of the 2017 season), the average age of the NASCAR XFINITY Series driver inside the top 10 of the championship standings is a youthful 26.7 years old. When you compare that to the 2008 season, during the same timeframe a decade ago (following 13th race of the season), the average age was 31.7 years – an average age difference of 5.5 years.

Comparing the younger drivers inside the top 10 in points this season to the ones a decade ago – three drivers this season are 20 or younger (William Byron, 19; Cole Custer, 19; and Matt Tifft, 20), but in 2008, not one driver inside the top 10 in points was under the age of 23 (Kyle Busch was the youngest at 23).


Series Daytona Stats To Know: The NASCAR XFINITY Series has hosted 51 series events at Daytona International Speedway. The very first NXS race at Daytona was on February 13, 1982 (inaugural series season), and the event was won by NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt. The 51 series races have produced a total of 26 different winners and 38 different pole winners. The record for the fastest average speed of a NXS race at Daytona was set by Geoff Bodine on February 16, 1985 (157.137 mph). The fastest pole speed in the series at DIS was set by Tommy Houston (194.389 mph) on February 14, 1987. The most leaders in an NXS race at Daytona was 20 set in 2013, and the most lead changes was 41 set in 2012.

Sunoco Rookie of the Year Points Update: William Byron continues to hold the point in the rookie standings this season: William Byron (184), Daniel Hemric (153), Cole Custer (150), Matt Tifft (129), Spencer Gallagher (105) and Ben Kennedy (49).


Owner Points Update: Team Penske’s No. 22 Ford Mustang team currently is 82 points ahead of the second-place Chip Ganassi Racing No. 42 Chevrolet Camaro team following Iowa last weekend. Roger Penske is looking for his fourth owner title in the NASCAR XFINITY Series this season.


Double Duty Drivers In Daytona: Five Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers – Ty Dillon, Corey LaJoie, Daniel Suárez, Erik Jones and Joey Logano – are entered this weekend in the NASCAR XFINITY Series race and will be pulling double duty at Daytona International Speedway.


NASCAR Camping World Truck Series

Nemechek Goes Back-To-Back

NEMCO Motorsports driver John Hunter Nemechek scored his second-consecutive NASCAR Camping World Truck Series win of the season when he won the M&M’s 200 presented by Casey’s General Stores at Iowa Speedway.


Nemechek maneuvered himself past reigning NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion Johnny Sauter with six laps remaining following a late-race caution to win his second race this season.


The win was Nemecheck’s fifth career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victory and his first at Iowa Speedway. This marks the second-consecutive season that Nemechek has had at least two NASCAR Camping World Truck Series wins.


With two wins this season, Nemechek is positioning himself nicely for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series playoffs. He is tied for the most NASCAR Camping World Truck Series wins this season with Kyle Busch Motorsports driver Christopher Bell at two wins each.


Sauter Remains Points Leader Through Front Nine

2016 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion Johnny Sauter appears on track for another championship-worthy season through nine races this season.


Sauter has one win (Dover, spring), seven top fives and eight top 10s, with 290 laps led. He owns an average finish on the season of 4.2, which is impressive considering his average place differential on the year is +0.5.


The GMS Motorsports driver has finished top-three or better in seven races this season and currently leads Kyle Busch Motorsports driver Christopher Bell by 42 points in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series points standings.


Sauter also has the most NASCAR Camping World Truck Series stage wins through nine races, collecting five so far. He has one more stage win than the next closest driver, which is Bell with four.

Enfinger Earns Sunoco Rookie Lead

ThorSport Racing driver and Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender Grant Enfinger took a slight lead in the Sunoco Rookie of the Year points battle following last week’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Iowa Speedway.


Heading into Iowa, Enfinger was tied with Brad Keselowski Racing driver Chase Briscoe in Sunoco Rookie of the Year points, 104-104.


After Enfinger finished fourth at Iowa – his fourth-consecutive top-five finish – he’s taken sole possession of the Sunoco Rookie of the Year points lead, nudging Briscoe 122-117.


Following Enfinger (points leader) and Briscoe (-5), Noah Gragson (-24), Kaz Grala (-30) and Austin Cindric (-53) round out the top five in the series Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings.

Brad Keselowski Racing Rumbling

With the graduation of Daniel Hemric and Tyler Reddick to the NASCAR XFINITY Series this past off season, this left two openings at Brad Keselowski Racing in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Hemric went to Richard Childress Racing, where he’s racing full-time in the No. 21 Chevrolet. Reddick went to Chip Ganassi Racing, racing part-time in the No. 42 Chevrolet.


This opened the door for two young Sunoco Rookies.


Chase Briscoe (22) took over the No. 29 Ford F-150 and Austin Cindric (18) climbed into the No. 19 Ford F-150.


So far in 2017, both Sunoco Rookie of the Year contenders are wheeling on all cylinders.


Briscoe is currently third in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series points standings and has yet to finish outside the top-25 all season. He has two top-two finishes in his last three races and has led 105 laps this season. He’s also won two Keystone Light Poles. He remains second in the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings behind ThorSport’s Grant Enfinger.


Prior to the 2017 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season, Cindric had limited experience in the series. He started four NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races in 2016 and two races in 2015. Through nine races this season, Cindric has finished top-25 or better in every race but one. He has one top five and three top 10s, with seven laps led on the year. Cindric is fifth in the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings and 11th in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series points standings.

Gragson Grabs Another Pole

Kyle Busch Motorsports driver and Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender Noah Gragson is picking up speed… and he’s fast.


Gragson has earned two 21 Means 21 Poles in his last three races. He’s tied with fellow Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender Chase Briscoe for second-most NASCAR Camping World Truck Series poles won this season with two. They both trail Christopher Bell, who has won three poles.


He’s also scored top-nine or better finishes in six of his last seven races in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series this season.


Gragson has climbed all the way to third in the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings and is currently right on the fringe of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series playoffs as he sits ninth in the points standings.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Next Stop: Kentucky Speedway

Following Iowa, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will take a week off as the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR XFINITY Series head to Daytona International Speedway.


The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series picks back up at Kentucky Speedway for the Buckle Up In Your Truck 225 on Thursday, July 6 (7:30 p.m. ET. on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).


2016 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year William Byron is the defending race winner, while John Hunter Nemechek (second), Christopher Bell (fourth) and Johnny Sauter (fifth) all scored in the top-five.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Etc.

Burton Scores Best Finish: NASCAR Next driver Harrison Burton earned his best career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series finish at Iowa Speedway when he finished 11th in the No. 51 Toyota for Kyle Busch Motorsports. Burton has competed in three NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races this season and has finishes of 13th (Martinsville), 13th (Dover) and 11th (Iowa).


2016 Sunoco Rookie of the Year Collects First NASCAR XFINITY Series Win: 2016 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Sunoco Rookie champ William Byron won his first career NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Iowa Speedway. He’s had a strong rookie campaign in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, collecting one win, four top fives and eight top 10s.


Owner Standings Update: GMS Racing’s No. 21 Chevrolet remains in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series owner standings lead, edging out Kyle Busch Motorsports’ No. 4 Toyota by 42 points. Brad Keselowski Racing’s No. 29 Ford (-76) is in third, while ThorSport Racing’s No. 88 Toyota (-95) and No. 27 Toyota (-123) are fourth and fifth, respectively.

Manufacturer Standings Update: Following the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Iowa Speedway, Chevrolet has taken the lead from Toyota in the manufacturer championship points standings. Chevrolet now leads Toyota by six points, with Chevrolet having five wins to Toyota’s four wins. Ford remains in third in the manufacturer championship points standings and has yet to win this season.



Blue Jackets continue building depth; signs defenseman Andre Benoit

Andre Benoit during 2013-14 season by 5of7 CC BY-SA 2.0, https





COLUMBUS, OHIO — The Columbus Blue Jackets have signed defenseman André Benoît to a one-year, two-way NHL/American Hockey League contract through the 2017-18 season, club General Manager Jarmo Kekalainen announced today.  As is club policy, terms were not disclosed.


Benoit, 33, has registered 11 goals and 37 assists for 48 points with 60 penalty minutes in 181 career NHL games with the Ottawa Senators, Colorado Avalanche, Buffalo Sabres and St. Louis Blues from 2010-16.  He tallied NHL career highs with 7-21-28, 26 penalty minutes and was +2 with Colorado in 2013-14.


The St. Albert, Ontario native has collected 51-155-206, 271 penalty minutes and a +23 plus/minus rating in 391 career AHL games with the Hamilton Bulldogs, Binghamton Senators and Chicago Wolves.  He is a two-time Calder Cup champion (2007, 2011) and has posted 8-37-45 in 64 career AHL playoff games.  Benoit notched 3-15-18 in 23 games with Binghamton during the 2011 Calder Cup championship run, finishing tied for the AHL lead in postseason assists and leading defensemen in goals (tied) and points.  In his most recent AHL campaign in 2015-16, he notched 8-25-33 and 26 penalty minutes in 72 games with the Wolves.


The 5’11, 192-pound defenseman has also skated in the top professional leagues in Finland, Sweden and Russia.  In 2016-17, Benoit notched 6-18-24 and 22 penalty minutes in 52 regular season games and added 0-2-2 in 13 playoff contests with the Malmö Redhawks of the Swedish Hockey League.  Originally signed as a free agent by the Montreal Canadiens on January 9, 2006, Benoit tallied 99-200-299 and 330 penalty minutes in 324 career Ontario Hockey League games with the Kitchener Rangers from 2000-05.


Full and partial season tickets for the Blue Jackets’ 2017-18 campaign are currently available for purchase.  Information on all ticketing options can be obtained by calling (800) NHL‐COLS or by visiting




Dayton Flyers announce Ryan Mikesell to redshirt 2017-18 season to rehab from surgeries

DAYTON - University of Dayton men’s basketball coach Anthony Grant has announced that junior forward Ryan Mikesell will redshirt the 2017-18 season as he rehabs from surgeries to correct impingement injuries to both of his hips.

“This is in the best interests of Ryan’s health, both short-term and long-term,” Grant said.  “By all accounts, Ryan’s two surgeries were a success.  But after a follow-up visit with his physician, it is clear that the proper course of action is to redshirt this season to allow him to fully recover.”

Ryan Mikesell

“I’d rather be on the court, so in that sense this is kind of a disappointment,” Mikesell said.  “But it’s also a relief to know that the surgeries were successful and that we have a plan for me to be at my best when I do return.  I just have to do what the doctors and Mike (UD trainer Mike Mulcahey) tell me to do.”

“Typical rehab for these procedures is six months,” Mulcahey said.  “But it’s not just a matter of Ryan being cleared medically and simply getting back on the court.  As he recovers, he will need to retrain his body in the best ways to move with his increased strength and range of motion.  Big picture, it’s not something that can be rushed and certainly not something to take shortcuts on.”

As a sophomore, Mikesell was one of only four Flyers to see action in all 32 games.  He started 24 and averaged 5.7 points, 3.9 rebounds and 20.8 minutes a game.

Dayton was 24-8 overall, and Atlantic 10 Conference regular season champions with a 15-3 league record last season.  The Flyers reached the NCAA tournament for the fourth consecutive year and set a UD Arena attendance record, averaging 13,108 fans per game.  The Flyers’ 2017-18 roster includes eight players who are listed as 6-foot-7 or taller (including Mikesell).



Only fitting that NASCAR legend Jeff Gordon drives 2017 Brickyard 400 Pace Car




To Drive Camaro ZL1

INDIANAPOLIS, Thursday, June 29, 2017 – NASCAR legend Jeff Gordon will drive the 2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Pace Car to lead the field to the start of the 24th annual Brickyard 400 on Sunday, July 23 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Gordon will return in the Pace Car to the historic, 2.5-mile oval at IMS, where he is the only driver to win the Brickyard 400 five times (1994, 1998, 2001, 2004, 2014).

California native Gordon, who grew up in nearby Pittsboro, Indiana, has served as a NASCAR analyst for FOX Sports since retiring full time from the Cup Series after the 2015 season. He competed in the 2016 Brickyard 400 for Hendrick Motorsports as part of a limited schedule while serving as a replacement for the injured Dale Earnhardt Jr.

“It’s hard to believe this is the 24th running of the Brickyard 400,” Gordon said. “This has been a very special race over the years – for me and NASCAR. Winning at the famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway was a dream of mine as a kid. I’m excited to lead the field to green at this year’s Brickyard 400, and I appreciate Doug Boles and Chevrolet for giving me this opportunity.”

Gordon’s 23-year career in the Cup Series was one of the greatest in NASCAR history. His five Brickyard 400 victories and three Daytona 500 victories are among the 93 Cup Series wins he earned during his career, third on the all-time list. His four season championships stand fourth on the all-time NASCAR list.

The incomparable career of Gordon received a huge boost when he won the inaugural Brickyard 400 on Aug. 6, 1994 at IMS. It was the first race for vehicles other than open-wheel cars at the facility since 1909 and the first race of any kind at IMS other than the Indianapolis 500 since 1916.

Gordon competed in the first 23 Brickyard 400 races, with five victories, three poles and 17 top-10 finishes.

Hoosier racing fans also remember Gordon for his success in United States Auto Club (USAC) competition before moving to NASCAR. Gordon was the 1990 USAC National Midget Series champion and followed with the 1991 USAC Silver Crown Series championship.

“Jeff Gordon is one of the greatest drivers to ever compete at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and we’re honored to welcome him back to pace the 24th annual Brickyard 400,” IMS President J. Douglas Boles said. “It’s only fitting Jeff will be out front and leading, a place where the fans of this great race are accustomed to seeing him.”

Gordon will drive a 2017 Camaro ZL1 that features:

• LT4 6.2L direct-injected, supercharged V-8

• All-new 10-speed automatic transmission

• Magnetic Ride Control

• Electronic limited-slip differential

• 20-inch forged aluminum wheels

• Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar tires

• Brembo brakes with six-piston front calipers and two-piece rotors

• 1.02g max cornering

• 0-60 mph in 3.5 seconds

• Performance Data Recorder

The only content separating the Pace Car from a production model is unique graphics and an integrated Whelen LED safety lighting system.

Chevrolet has a storied history with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Chevrolet was founded in 1911, the year of the inaugural Indianapolis 500-Mile Race, and company cofounder Louis Chevrolet, along with brothers Arthur and Gaston, competed in early Indy 500 races. Arthur Chevrolet competed in the 1911 race, and Gaston Chevrolet won it in 1920.

A Chevrolet has won the Brickyard 400 16 times, more than five times as many victories as the next-closest manufacturer.

“This year marks the 24th anniversary of NASCAR racing at the Brickyard, and it is truly special that Chevrolet has been there from the beginning racing and pacing,” said Steve Majoros, director of marketing, Chevrolet Cars and Crossovers. “The Camaro ZL1 delivers unprecedented levels of technology and track capability, and we are proud to have Jeff Gordon behind the wheel of the Camaro ZL1 Pace Car.”

Practice and qualifying for the 24th Brickyard 400 take place Saturday, July 22 at IMS, with the 160-lap race starting at 2:30 p.m. (ET) Sunday, July 23. NASCAR XFINITY Series racing also will take place during the event with the Lilly Diabetes 250. Practice and qualifying are Friday, July 21 and Saturday, July 22, with the 100-lap race starting at 3:30 p.m. Saturday.

Visit to purchase tickets for the Brickyard 400 and Lilly Diabetes 250, and for more information on the complete event schedule.




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