Harvick nips McMurray at Talladega

April 26, 2010


— Kevin Harvick executed the pass exactly how his team drew it up in the playbook.

With a last-second slingshot past Jamie McMurray, Harvick snapped a 115-race winless drought with an overdue victory Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway. It was the payoff for perfect strategy devised in conversations over the weekend with crew chief Gil Martin and their Richard Childress Racing team.

Harvick lurked behind in traffic, trying to move his way into second place as the race hit the closing laps. His plan was to set himself up for one attempt at the lead, which he made roughly 500 yards from the finish line by sliding inside of McMurray then drag-racing him to the checkered flag.

“We made a plan, and I’m telling you, every piece of it played out exactly how we wanted to play it,” Harvick said. “Coming into to the last lap, that’s exactly how we planned it out on paper.”

The win gave Harvick his first victory since the 2007 season-opening Daytona 500, and it came in the longest Talladega race in Sprint Cup history. Because NASCAR’s new overtime rule allows for three attempts at its version of overtime, the race went 12 laps past the scheduled distance of 188 trips around the 2.66-mile superspeedway.

It covered a record 88 lead changes among a record 29 drivers, and the final pass was the one that had everyone talking.

Juan Pablo Montoya, teammates with McMurray at EGR, finished third.

Denny Hamlin finished fourth and was followed by Mark Martin, David Ragan and Clint Bowyer. Kurt Busch was eighth, while Kyle Busch and Mike Bliss rounded out the top 10.

Auto racing

Keselowski wins

Talladega, Ala. — Brad Keselowski won the Nationwide Series race at Talladega Superspeedway in a wild end to a NASCAR doubleheader Sunday.

It was nearly a replay of the Sprint Cup finish that saw Kevin Harvick nip Jamie McMurray at the finish line. McMurray got loose on the green-white-checkered laps, triggering a wreck that nearly sent Dennis Setzer over the fence.


Bohn wins Zurich Classic

Avondale, La. — Jason Bohn won the Zurich Classic for his second PGA Tour title, birdieing three of the final four holes Sunday at TPC Louisiana for a 5-under 67 and a two-stroke victory over Jeff Overton.

Bohn, who completed a third-round 71 in the morning in the weather-plagued tournament, finished at 18-under 270. The 37-year-old Bohn also won the 2005 B.C. Open.

O’Meara, Price triumph

Savannah, Ga. — Mark O’Meara got the help he needed to win for the first time on the Champions Tour, teaming with Nick Price to beat Joey Sindelar and John Cook on the second hole of a playoff in the better-ball Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf.

O’Meara, the 1998 Masters and British Open winner, won for the first time since the PGA European Tour’s 2004 Dubai Desert Classic.

Fraser ends drought

Jeju, South Korea — Australia’s Marcus Fraser broke a seven-year title drought, shooting a 3-under 69 to complete a wire-to-wire victory in the weather-shortened Ballantine’s Championship.


K.C.’s Fields to have surgery

Kansas City, Mo. — Josh Fields’ first season in Kansas City could be over before it ever got started.

Hampered by stiffness since spring training, Fields will have surgery on his right hip, a procedure the Royals say could end his season.

McGregor remembered

Denver — Colorado Rockies president Keli McGregor was remembered as a devoted father and husband and a one-of-a-kind chief executive during an emotional memorial service Sunday at Coors Field.

Several thousand people were in attendance on a windy, brisk day, filling the stands behind home plate, which was covered with a podium surrounded by purple flowers and greenery. Also on the podium were photos of McGregor, his wife, Lori, and their four children, and a large wooden cross.

Rockies OF Hawpe out

Denver — Colorado Rockies outfielder Brad Hawpe has been placed on the 15-day disabled list due to a strained left quadriceps.

Pirates pitcher on DL

Houston — Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Chris Jakubauskas was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a concussion and head contusion after he was struck in the head by a line drive in Saturday’s game.

Fan falls in Milwaukee

Milwaukee — A spectator fell about 14 feet from the lower level in left field while the Cubs took batting practice about an hour before their game with the Milwaukee Brewers.

The man wearing Cubs gear and believed to be in his 20s was reaching out over the railing down the left field line attempting to catch foul balls Sunday when he tumbled headfirst over the rail and onto the hard dirt below.

Brewers spokesman Tyler Barnes said privacy laws prevented them from releasing any detailed information about the person or the incident.

Horse racing

Derby favorite out

Louisville, Ky. — Likely favorite Eskendereya is out of the Kentucky Derby. Trainer Todd Pletcher pulled the 3-year-old colt out of next weekend’s race due to swelling in his left front leg.


U.S. still alive in Fed Cup

Birmingham, Ala. — Bethany Mattek-Sands beat Ekaterina Makarova, 6-4, 2-6, 6-3, to keep the United States’ Fed Cup title hopes alive.


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