Harvick wins at Darlington as NASCAR returns to tracks
DARLINGTON, S.C. — Kevin Harvick was the winner as NASCAR resumed its Cup schedule following a 10-week layoff.
Harvick took the lead from Alex Bowman on a late restart and pulled away over the final 30 laps at Darlington Raceway. Bowman finished second, followed by Kurt Busch, Chase Elliott and Denny Hamlin.
Harvick is the only drive to finish in the top 10 in each of the Cup Series' five races this season. He emerged from his car in victory lane wearing a black face mask -- what could become NASCAR's new normal.
It was the first Cup race in 71 days since the schedule was halted due to the coronavirus pandemic. The event was run without fans and with an emphasis on masks and social distancing. Roughly 900 people were approved to be inside the gates, all considered essential.
Ricky Stenhouse crashed exiting the second turn on the first lap, calling the wreck embarrassing. His crumpled car was spitting flames as he drove to the garage, ending his race without completing a single lap.
Seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson wrecked while leading on the final lap of the first stage at Darlington Raceway. The mishap took Johnson out of the race and allowed William Byron to take the first stage.
NASCAR chose Darlington, the oldest speedway on the Cup circuit, as the safest place to restart the season after eight events were postponed. Sunday marked the first of 20 races across seven Southern states between now and June 21.
McIlroy has key shot in exhibition at Seminole
JUNO BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Rory McIlroy delivered the money shot in the TaylorMade Driving Relief exhibition that raised over $5 million for COVID-19 relief funds. With the match down to a closest-to-the-pin contest after regulation, McIlroy barely stayed on the shelf left of the pin, measured at 13 feet to beat Matthew Wolff’s attempt by five feet. The final carryover gave McIlroy and Dustin Johnson $1.85 million for the American Nurses Foundation.
Wolff and Fowler made $1.15 million for the CDC Foundation. Fowler had seven birdies.
PGA Tour Charities allowed for online donations during the telecast, raising more than $1 million. The donations will continue until Tuesday.
When the exhibition ended, more than $5.5 million had been pledged, starting with the $3 million guarantee from UnitedHeath Group.
Cal. State teams could play football as scheduled
UNDATED (AP) — The California State University system’s plan for a mostly virtual fall semester due to the coronavirus pandemic doesn’t necessarily close the door on football at its three schools that play in the far-flung Mountain West Conference.
San Diego State athletic director John David Wicker says the school is looking at having football players return to campus no earlier than July 7 and is making plans to play the season as scheduled. SDSU is proceeding because it envisions a fall schedule that includes a hybrid model of classes, in which some students will be on campus for in-person instruction such as labs while other classes will be held online.
The Mountain West also includes Cal. State schools Fresno State and San Jose State. Fresno State AD Terry Tumey says it’s too early to determine when athletes could return to campus, adding that the safety of the community, the players and support staff is paramount. San Jose State said in a statement that it continues to work on timelines.
NCAA President Mark Emmert said recently that campuses must be open “in one fashion or another” in order to have sports this fall.
In other developments related to the coronavirus pandemic:
— Former major league manager and infielder Art Howe has been released from a Houston hospital after a stay in intensive care because of the pandemic. The 73-year-old Howe will be isolated at home for another week or two.
— English Premier League clubs will try on Monday to agree on protocols to allow a return to training during the pandemic. Teams already have started checking players and coaches for COVID-19, with a total of 1,600 weekly tests anticipated across the 20 clubs in England's top division. Monday’s meeting comes two days after the German league resumed its schedule.
— All Spanish league clubs can begin group training sessions this week despite stricter lockdown restrictions remaining in place in parts of Spain because of the pandemic. Cities like Madrid and Barcelona have not been allowed to loosen confinement measures like most of the country, but teams such as Real Madrid and Barcelona have been given the go-ahead to move into the second phase of training. The league has told clubs that on Monday all players can start small group sessions regardless of the lockdown phase in their regions. Players had only been allowed to train individually across Spain until now.
— Park Hyun-kung shot a final-round 67 to win the Korean Ladies Professional Golf tournament by one stroke. Park had a four-round total of 17-under 271 on the Lakewood Country Club course. Lim Hee-jeong carried a three-stroke lead into the final round before falling into a second-place tie with Bae Seon-woo. The tournament was played without fans and with players using hand sanitizers and following social-distancing rules. Caddies wore masks but players were allowed to play without them.
— Russia has relaxed border restrictions for athletes and coaches in a move that will help soccer to restart in the country next month. Russia has barred most foreign arrivals since March in a bid to stem the spread of the coronavirus. Now the government says athletes and coaches will be allowed in if they have a contract with a Russian sports team or organization. They will have to spend 14 days in isolation on arrival and will be observed by doctors.
Two drown at property owned by ex-outfielder Carl Crawford
HOUSTON (AP) — A 5-year-old boy and a woman drowned in the backyard pool of former LA Dodger player Carl Crawford's Houston home Saturday afternoon. That’s according to reports from The Houston Chronicle.
The paper says Houston police were called for a reported drowning at a north Houston home that property and business records list as belonging to Crawford. A police spokeswoman told the Chronicle that the boy was swimming in the pool when he began to have trouble breathing, and the woman jumped in to save him. Both were unresponsive when police arrived and later declared dead at a hospital, according to the spokeswoman.
No further details were immediately available.
The police department did not immediately respond Sunday to a request for comment from The Associated Press. Contact information for Crawford could not be immediately found.
Baker, Dunbar released after posting bond
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — NFL cornerbacks DeAndre Baker and Quinton Dunbar were released from Broward County Jail on Sunday, a day after surrendering on felony charges stemming from a cookout at a Miramar home.
Baker posted a $200,000 bond after a Zoom hearing with Broward Circuit Judge Michael Davis. The New York Giants defender is charged with four counts of armed robbery with a firearm and four counts of aggravated assault with a firearm.
Dunbar is charged with four felony counts of armed robbery. The Seattle Seahawks player posted a $100,000 bond.
The warrant said Baker and Dunbar were attending the cookout Wednesday night when a fight broke out and Baker pulled out a handgun. Witnesses told investigators that Baker, Dunbar and two other men began robbing people of thousands of dollars, watches and other valuables.
The players’ lawyers say they have witnesses who will clear them.
NFL-BILLS PLAYER ARRESTED
Buffalo Bills player charged with drunken driving in Texas
HOUSTON (AP) — Authorities say Buffalo Bills defensive lineman Ed Oliver was arrested during a traffic stop in the Houston area and charged with drunken driving and illegally carrying a handgun.
Montgomery County sheriff’s deputies pulled Oliver over Saturday night after receiving reports of someone driving recklessly in a construction area. A statement from the Montgomery County Constables says Oliver failed a sobriety test and deputies found a small caliber pistol in his truck.
The Houston Chronicle reports that Oliver was released from jail after posting bond.
Oliver was selected by the Buffalo Bills in the first round of the 2019 draft.
SOUTH KOREA-SEX DOLLS
Korean soccer club apologizes for putting sex dolls in seats
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — A South Korean professional soccer club has apologized after being accused of putting sex dolls in empty stands during a match in Seoul.
In a statement, FC Seoul expresses “sincere remorse” over the controversy. It insists that it used mannequins, not sex dolls, to mimic a crowd at the Seoul World Cup stadium.
The country’s top-flight K-League returned to action on May 8 without spectators following weeks-long postponements because of the coronavirus.
Professional baseball has resumed under similar conditions. The leagues plan to ban fans until the risks of infections are meaningfully lowered.