National Sports Briefs
BRISTOL, Tenn. ó With three races before the field is set for NASCAR’s 10-race Chase for the championship, nine drivers are separated by 162 points in the competition for the last seven spots.
Maybe one of the sport’s diciest venues, Bristol Motor Speedway, can help sort things out.
The high-banked 0.533-mile oval is one of the most physically demanding tracks the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series visits, and one where a driver’s championship aspirations can quickly come to an end.
“When you think about the six, seven cars that are still battling that out, eight cars maybe, those eight cars are in a position where finishing 12th is way better than finishing 38th,” said Jeff Burton, who is 371 points ahead of Clint Bowyer and David Ragan, the two drivers who will start tonight narrowly outside the top 12 teams that make the Chase.
Denny Hamlin is 12th in the points race, but just 26 ahead of Bowyer and Ragan.
Hamlin was among several drivers who took a big fall in the top 12 last weekend at Michigan. He was ninth in the points race until he blew an engine with five laps to go and finished 39th. Others who dropped included Kasey Kahne, who finished 40th and fell from eighth to 11th place, just 47 ahead of Bowyer and Ragan, and four-time series champion Jeff Gordon, who was 42nd and dropped from sixth to ninth, just 82 points ahead of the two tied at 13th.
NEW YORK ó Atlanta Braves pitcher Tom Glavine underwent surgery on his left elbow and shoulder and is expected be ready for spring training.
RALEIGHó North Carolina State has finally settled on a starting quarterback: Redshirt freshman Russell Wilson.
Coach Tom O’Brien said Friday that Wilson will start in next week’s opener at South Carolina and senior Daniel Evans will be his backup.
– GREENVILLE, S.C. ó Prosecutors say Clemson safety DeAndre McDaniel will be accepted into a program for first-time offenders to resolve charges of aggravated assault and battery.
McDaniel was arrested in June. According to a police incident report, his girlfriend told police he covered her head with a comforter, punched her and pushed her down a flight of stairs.