Daytona 500 winner Bayne charms his hometown fans
One fan asked Trevor Bayne if he was married. Another wanted to know what his favorite Bible verse is. The Daytona 500 winner grinned as he answered each question and remarked how good it was to be home. Bayne returned to Knoxville on Monday for the first time since winning the Daytona 500 on Feb. 20 for a rally sponsored by the city and Bristol Motor Speedway.
"It still hasn't hit me all the way yet," the 20-year-old said of his victory. "This is the first day that I've had a couple of hours just to kind of take it in. This is the first time I've been home. I haven't gotten to go back and watch it yet. I think the first time I get to watch the whole race through and see everything that happened, that's when it's going to sink in a little bit more."
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He said he's been wearing his championship ring on his finger every night so that when he wakes up the next morning he'll know his victory wasn't a dream. And for the record, no, he's not married and his favorite Bible verse currently is Ecclesiastes 7:14, one that reminds Bayne that good times and bad times are part of God's plan.
Bayne's Daytona 500 victory made him the youngest winner of the race in history, coming a day after his 20th birthday and in just his second start in NASCAR's elite Sprint Cup Series. His good times at Daytona were quickly followed up by a frustrating weekend at Phoenix International Raceway, where he crashed both during qualifying and in Sunday's race.
"Trevor is such a talent," said Len Wood, of Woods Brothers Racing. "He's got it going on in every direction. Well, maybe not at Phoenix yet. We struggled out there, but yeah, we'll work on it."
A few hundred fans turned out for the Knoxville rally, which was relocated last week from the city's Market Square to the much larger Civic Coliseum after a big response from fans. The crowd turned out to be much smaller than expected after severe storms moved through Knoxville on Monday afternoon.
The fans who braved the weather didn't seem to mind Bayne's 31st-place finish at Phoenix and instead were more interested in seeing the hometown racing hero with the strong faith.
"To me the Daytona 500 was always a big deal, but I was a NASCAR fan growing up," Bayne said. "I didn't realize how big of a deal it was to everybody else in the United States."
Redskins cut ties with Portis
Clinton Portis was released by the Washington Redskins on Monday, ending a charismatic and sometimes contentious seven-year stay that, for a while at least, made him the face of the franchise. Injuries and money led to Coach Mike Shanahan's decision. Portis had played in only 13 games over the last two seasons because of a severe concussion in 2009 and a torn groin muscle in 2010.
Portis was scheduled to make $8.3 million next season, and Shanahan made it clear at the NFL combine that the Redskins wouldn't keep the 29-year-old running back at that price.
"We're going to let him test the market," Shanahan said, "and see what's out there for him."
Portis is 77 yards of 10,000 career rushing yards and leaves Washington 648 shy of one of his oft-stated goals — Hall of Famer John Riggins' franchise record.
■ The Chicago Bears released veteran defensive tackle Tommie Harris, cutting loose a three-time Pro Bowl pick who had struggled in recent years because of injuries. The Bears also released linebacker Hunter Hillenmeyer and offensive tackle Kevin Shaffer.
Stallions hire ex-Bryan Station star
Jaron Brown, a former Bryan Station High School star who went on to play at the University of Pittsburgh, was named the new coach of the Kentucky Bluegrass Stallions.
"We started the season strongly, but as of late we've had a series of close and disappointing losses," Stallions President Kristin Nelson said. "As an organization we felt a change was needed. We think this move strengthens our team for the stretch run into the playoffs."
The Stallions are in sixth place in the Premier Basketball League, 2½ games out of the fourth and final playoff spot with six games left in the regular season.
"I'm very thankful and humbled to be the new head coach of the Stallions," said Brown, who had served as the team's top assistant. "We have a lot of talent on this team, and I'm confident we have a legitimate chance to make a strong playoff push."
Bat Cats' Black conference player of week
Kentucky senior shortstop Taylor Black, who batted .529 with nine RBI over five games last week, was named the Southeastern Conference's player of the week. Black scored nine runs, and had three doubles and one home run. The next game for Kentucky (4-4) is against No. 21 Rice in the Houston College Classic.
■ Sophomore women's golfer Ashleigh Albrecht fired an even-par 72 to move into the top 20 at the Allstate Sugar Bowl Intercollegiate Golf Championship in New Orleans. The Wildcats shot a 13-over 301 to remain in 15th place in the 17-team field.
Penner to Kings tops NHL trade day
Until the Los Angeles Kings made the biggest move of NHL trade deadline day by prying forward Dustin Penner away from the Edmonton Oilers, the further breaking up of the Florida Panthers dominated an otherwise dull day of dealing.
Penner was the main marquee player to change teams on Monday, in what was an out-of-character slow deadline day. The Oilers, who own the NHL's worst record, unloaded their star forward for an impressive bundle — receiving prospect defenseman Colten Teubert, a first-round pick this year, and another draft selection next year.
There were 16 deals Monday involving 35 players and 12 draft picks, nowhere near the record level of last year when 31 trades with 55 players included were completed.
The last word
The Sporting News' Russ Lande wrote this about former UK star Randall Cobb's workout Sunday at the NFL combine, where the wide receiver turned in a 4.46-second 400-yard dash:
"(He) showed excellent quickness in and out of cuts and caught the ball well. His size and receiving skills project as a perfect fit as an NFL slot receiver. Also an elite kickoff and punt returner, he could end up being a late first-round pick."