National Sports Briefs: Edwards wins race; Bowyer wins title
HOMESTEAD, Fla. ó Carl Edwards won the season-ending Ford 300 on Saturday night, but came up 21 points short in his attempt to overtake Clint Bowyer for the NASCAR Nationwide Series championship.
All Bowyer had to do to keep Edwards from winning a second straight title in the second-tier series was finish in the top eight. He did that easily, taking fifth to stay on top of the standings, right where he has been most of the year despite winning only one of 35 races.
Edwards wrested the lead from Kyle Busch late in the race and stayed out front to the end of the 200-lap event at Homestead-Miami Speedway. He earned his seventh Nationwide victory and kept Busch from recording a record 11th series win.
It was a disappointing finish for Edwards, who faces even bigger odds Sunday trying to make up a 141-point deficit against Jimmie Johnson in the Sprint Cup finale. Johnson can wrap up the title by finishing 36th or better, no matter what Edwards does.
NEW YORK ó Free-agent season opened with the New York Yankees planning to give CC Sabathia a record offer for a pitcher.
The Yankees formulated a proposal to the big lefty that would exceed Johan Santana’s $137.5 million, six-year contract with the New York Mets.
Sabathia went a combined 17-10 for Cleveland and Milwaukee this year after winning the 2007 AL Cy Young Award, and is considered the best starting pitcher in this year’s free-agent class.
BROOKSVILLE, Fla. ó Erik Compton, playing six months after a second heart transplant, failed to advance by one shot in the second stage of PGA Tour qualifying after he closed with a 1-over 73 on Saturday. Compton tied for 22nd. Only the top 20 and ties advance to the final stage of Q-school next month in California.
NEW YORK ó The NBA suspended Steve Nash and Matt Barnes of Phoenix and Rafer Alston of Houston for their roles in a fight.
The league also fined Shaquille O’Neal $35,000 and Tracy McGrady $25,000.
Nash was cited for “escalating the altercation.”
NEW YORK ó Nigel Dawes and Markus Naslund wiped out New York’s two-goal deficit in the closing minutes of the third period, and Chris Drury scored the lone goal in the shootout to give the Rangers a 3-2 victory over Boston on Saturday night.
With the victory, the Rangers snapped the Bruins’ five-game winning streak.
Devils 6, Capitals 5, SO
NEWARK, N.J. ó Zach Parise scored the only goal in the shootout, and Scott Clemmensen stopped all three Washington shooters to end New Jersey’s four-game losing streak and snap Washington’s five-game winning streak.
Penguins 5, Sabres 2
PITTSBURGH ó Jordan Staal had two goals, including the late tiebreaker, and Pittsburgh scored four third-period goals to rally for its sixth straight victory.
Canucks 4, Maple Leafs 2
VANCOUVER, British Columbia ó Pavol Demitra had three assists after missing 10 games because of broken rib cartilage, and Roberto Luongo made 28 saves for Vancouver.
Flyers 2, Canadiens 1
MONTREAL ó Scottie Upshall and Jeff Carter scored second-period goals, and Martin Biron made 24 shots for Philadelphia.
Islanders 3, Senators 2
UNIONDALE, N.Y. ó Jon Sim had a goal and assist, Joey MacDonald stopped 38 shots and New York beat Ottawa for the second straight game.