Daytona Beach, Fla. — Jamie McMurray held off Dale Earnhardt Jr. to win the Daytona 500 on Sunday, a finish so thrilling it just about made up for a pothole that nearly derailed the Super Bowl of NASCAR.
NASCAR needed two stoppages of well over two hours total to patch a pesky pothole between turns 1 and 2 of Daytona International Speedway. The setback brought the biggest race of the season to a frustrating halt and had NASCAR executives fretting over the potential fallout.
In the end, though, the hole inadvertently improved the racing.
“I can’t really put it into words the way it feels,” McMurray said. “I’m trying to be genuine and as sincere as I can and not sound cliche: As a kid growing up, this is what you dream of, of being able to win the Daytona 500.”
Johnson repeats at Pebble
Pebble Beach, Calif. — Dustin Johnson became the first player in 20 years to win back-to-back titles at the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, making a short birdie putt on the final hole Sunday for a one-shot victory over David Duval and J.B. Holmes.
Couples edges Armour
Naples, Fla. — Fred Couples earned his first Champions Tour victory Sunday, overcoming a record-tying round by Tommy Armour III to win the ACE Group Classic.
Couples, who had a five-shot lead at one point, had to make a five-foot birdie putt on No. 17 and a tap-in par on the final hole for his first victory since 2003. Armour shot an 11-under 61, but Couples (8-under 64) won by a stroke.
Dodt prevails in India
Gurgaon, India — Australia’s Andrew Dodt shot a final-round 68 on Sunday to hold off Englishman Richard Finch by a stroke and win the Avantha Masters.
Verdasco knocks off Roddick
San Jose, Calif. — Second-seeded Fernando Verdasco rallied to beat top-seeded Andy Roddick, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4, Sunday in the SAP Open, earning his fourth career title.
Verdasco had lost 15 straight matches against top-10 players before breaking through against seventh-ranked Roddick.
Ferrero rolls to Brazil title
Costa Do Sauipe, Brazil — Top-seeded Juan Carlos Ferrero beat Lukasz Kobut of Poland, 6-1, 6-0, to win the Brazil Open on Sunday.
D’backs sign RHP Jackson
Phoenix — Right-hander Edwin Jackson and the Arizona Diamondbacks agreed to a $13.35 million, two-year deal, avoiding an arbitration hearing.
Arizona announced the deal Sunday. Jackson went 13-9 with a 3.62 ERA in 33 starts for the Tigers last season.