Kyle Busch comes out on top after wreck, 56 lead changes
Kyle Busch won under a yellow flag in a wild finish Saturday, taking the Nationwide race at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama when a crash sent Mike Wallace's car flipping upside down.
Busch won for the fourth time in seven Nationwide races this year on a day when tandem racing produced a series-record 56 lead changes, 11 cautions and two red flags to clean up all the debris.
Never miss a local story.
Even Busch got caught up in the mayhem, getting spun out in a 21-car crash. But after his crew patched up the Toyota, he hooked with Joey Logano in a powerful duo that surged past Trevor Bayne and Carl Edwards for the lead on the second attempt at a green-white-checkered finish. When Wallace got turned upside down on the final lap, that assured Busch of the win.
"I got hit a couple of times. My steering wheel got knocked out of my hands," Busch said. "I thought the thing was killed. Things were dragging and smoking. The sparks were flying."
After his big wreck, Busch actually planned to drive straight behind the wall. Fortunately for him, his pit box came up before the entrance to the garage, giving his crew a chance to assess the damage and reassure him that he could make it to the finish.
Winning was another matter.
"Who would've thought we could finish first?" Busch marveled.
But in restrictor-plate racing, where cars go much faster when they pair off rather than drafting in a big pack, it's essential to have a good partner.
For Busch, that was Logano.
"I wish we could've gotten to the checkered flag," the runner-up said. "Maybe we could've done something with Kyle. But we were committed to push him. It's a bummer that a caution came out there at the end. All I know is I saw a car go upside down in my mirror."
Senior clinches softball sweep
The Kentucky softball team pulled off a doubleheader sweep thanks to some heroics from senior Samantha DeMartine in the second game against Tennessee Tech on Saturday on a windy day at the UK Softball Complex.
DeMartine blasted a solo, walk-off home run in the bottom of the 10th for a 4-3 win and sweep for UK, ranked 20th by USA Today. Kentucky captured a 9-0 victory in five innings in the opening game.
Junior pitcher Chanda Bell worked 72⁄3 innings of relief to win the second contest. Bell (11-5) matched her own single-game record with 16 strikeouts, while allowing one hit.
"Chanda came in and did a great job for us," UK coach Rachel Lawson said. "She really pitched well and kept us in the game long enough for Sam to come through with her home run."
With the two victories, UK improved its record to 31-10 and reached the 30-win mark for the third consecutive season, the first such streak in school history.
Tennis men clinch 3 seed with rally
Trailing 3-1 with three singles matches still on the court, the No. 13 Kentucky men's tennis team won three consecutive points, including a three-setter from sophomore Anthony Rossi to give the Wildcats a 4-3 victory at No. 29 Vanderbilt in their regular-season finale Saturday.
"Just another close, come-from-behind effort for us today," UK Coach Dennis Emery said. "I am very proud of our guys."
With the win, Kentucky (24-7, 8-4 Southeastern Conference) clinched the No. 3 seed in the SEC Tournament next week in Gainesville, Fla. The Wildcats will get a bye in the first round before facing either South Carolina or Auburn on Friday morning at 9 p.m.
■ Kentucky freshman golfer Stephen Powers continued his strong play this spring by scoring a 1-over 71 in the second round to tie for sixth heading into the final round of the Southeastern Conference Championships at Sea Island Golf Club's Seaside Course on Saturday in Georgia. Kentucky is ninth as a team.
■ The Kentucky women's golf team, led by sophomore Betsie Johnson, improved by 10 strokes Saturday in the Southeastern Conference Women's Golf Championships at Auburn and was in 10th place heading into Sunday's final round. Johnson, a sophomore from Nicholasville, shot a 2-over 74 Saturday to move into a tie for 23rd place. The Wildcats were at 17-over-par 305.
Kansas freshman to transfer
Kansas freshman Royce Woolridge says he will transfer to another school because he wants to play more. The 6-foot-3 Woolridge scored nine points in 16 games for the Jayhawks, averaging just 2.8 minutes of playing time. Coach Bill Self said he talked to Woolridge after the season about his role with the team. After visiting with his family, Woolridge told Self on Thursday he wanted to transfer.
Self said in Friday's release from the school he wishes Woolridge nothing but the best. Woolridge, the son of former NBA player Orlando Woolridge, averaged 30.2 points during his senior year at Sunnyslope High School in Phoenix.
Rainey, Jakes star in WKU scrimmage
Western Kentucky's Bobby Rainey started off the Red-White Game with a 76-yard kickoff return to the 23-yard line, but his Red team was forced to kick a 40-yard field goal and ended up losing 27-11. The White team scored 27 unanswered first-half points Saturday at a chilly L.T. Smith Stadium.
White team quarterback Kawaun Jakes was named the game's MVP after completing 10 of 16 passes for 157 yards and two touchdowns. He also picked up 40 rushing yards on nine carries.
"Our guys went out there and competed, which was exciting to see," said Hilltopper head coach Willie Taggart. "I thought it was an evenly matched game, but the White team came out with a purpose and really wanted to win this game — and it paid off for them."
Ducks' Ryan suspended for foot stomp
The NHL suspended Anaheim left winger Bobby Ryan for two games Saturday for stomping on Predators defenseman Jonathon Blum's foot, meaning one-third of the Ducks' top line will miss Games 3 and 4 in Nashville.
Ryan was caught by TV cameras using his left foot to step on Blum's skate while they battled for the puck against the boards with 3:25 left in Anaheim's 5-3 victory Friday night to even the opening playoff series. Ryan clinched the win with an empty-net goal in the final minute.
Footage spread quickly on YouTube, and a hearing was held Saturday while the Ducks skated in Nashville. Ryan caught a cab from the team hotel and joined the Ducks' practice. He heard the news during a drill.
"Oh, I don't agree with it. Not much to say," Ryan said. "Obviously came down right on top of his foot. I saw it 10-15 times today and watched it before the meeting. Don't see a two-game suspension, but it is what it is and it's his call. I'll be a good teammate and move forward."
The last word
South Carolina football coach Steve Spurrier said he wraps up spring practice by giving his players a workout plan — and then holds his breath:
"We've tried to teach our players, 'Here's what you need to do all summer. Some guys do it. Some go drink beer all summer."