Sadler gets 2nd Nationwide win in three weeks at Bristol
Elliott Sadler went almost 14 years without a victory in the Nationwide Series, but he picked up his second in three weeks Saturday when his crew chief left him out on the track on old tires during the final caution at Bristol Motor Speedway in Tennessee. The call put Sadler in the lead on the final restart, with 28 laps remaining, and he easily held off Kasey Kahne and Brad Keselowski. Before his win two weeks ago at Phoenix, Sadler had not won in the Nationwide Series since Oct. 31, 1998, at Rockingham. That also was the last season he won multiple races in the Nationwide Series, and the year he scored his only other win at Bristol in the second-tier series.
"To win two of the first four races is awesome, and we've got to keep adding to them. There's blood in the water," said Sadler, the Nationwide Series points leader. "After what I've been through the last couple of years in racing, this damn sure feels good."
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Sadler raced to his first career Sprint Cup victory at Bristol in 2001, when he stayed out on old tires and pulled off an improbable victory. Crew chief Luke Lambert was a senior in high school watching that race from the grandstands, and he decided Saturday to borrow the strategy. Kyle Busch brought out the final caution with 38 laps to go, and most everyone headed to the pits. Lambert left Sadler on the track, even as Sadler protested the decision.
"That was a great call by Luke. He reminded me I won a race here in 2001 by doing the same thing" Sadler said. "I wanted this one worse than anything because I love this racetrack so much."
Manning works at 'game pace' for Titans
Peyton Manning worked out for Tennessee on Saturday in Knoxville, and Titans General Manager Ruston Webster said he thought Manning "looked comfortable throwing the ball, and we had a good visit. This is another important step in the process." Manning spent eight hours meeting with Tennessee executives on Wednesday. Saturday was Manning's third workout for teams this week. On Friday, the four-time NFL MVP worked out at Duke for Denver. Tuesday night, he worked out at the Blue Devils' facilities for San Francisco. Manning has been rehabbing in North Carolina following a string of neck surgeries. And Duke football coach David Cutcliffe said Manning looks good. Cutcliffe — Manning's offensive coordinator at the University of Tennessee — said Saturday morning that Manning has been throwing at "game pace." After Duke's scrimmage, Cutcliffe said the quickness of Manning's release has impressed him.
"He never ceases to amaze me," Cutcliffe said.
Peyton out of picture, Miami turns to Flynn
Former Packers backup quarterback Matt Flynn is being courted by the Dolphins. Flynn visited Miami on Saturday after the team was eliminated from consideration by Peyton Manning. Flynn was a backup the past four years for Green Bay, where his offensive coordinator was Joe Philbin, the Dolphins' new head coach. Flynn has two NFL starts, but he set franchise records with 480 yards passing and six touchdowns to help the Packers beat Detroit 45-41 in last year's regular-season finale. He visited the Seahawks earlier this week.
■ The Bengals on Saturday signed veteran guard Travelle Wharton, who spent his first eight NFL seasons with Carolina. The 6-foot-4, 312-pound Wharton started all 99 games in which he played with the Panthers. A third-round draft selection in 2004, Wharton could replace Nate Livings, who signed with Dallas.
Phils lose 3rd All-Star with Polanco's injury
Another injury to an All-Star infielder left Manager Charlie Manuel feeling a bit edgy. Hector Luna's RBI single in the 10th inning lifted the Phillies over a Blue Jays split squad 4-3 on Saturday. The game was irrelevant, though. The concern for Manuel was that third baseman Placido Polanco left the game after injuring his left ring finger diving back into first base on a pickoff attempt. There was no immediate word on the results of Polanco's X-ray. The Phillies are already missing Ryan Howard and Chase Utley. If Philadelphia has to play without any of their top players, Manuel doesn't want just anyone filling in.
"I don't want to hear 'body' (nonsense)," he said. "I want somebody in here who can play. Like we talk about winning the World Series, getting to the playoffs and winning the World Series. I don't particularly like that. Don't say 'body' to me. I'm not a mediocrity kind of guy."
Lin leads Knicks to third straight win
Jeremy Lin scored 19 points to help the Knicks defeat the host Pacers 102-88 on Saturday night and improve to 3-0 under interim coach Mike Woodson. Lin also had seven rebounds and six assists. Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire each scored 16 points for the Knicks, who won on the road for just the eighth time this season. New York has won all three games by an average of 23.7 points since Woodson took over for Mike D'Antoni.
■ Chris Paul finished with 23 points, including a go-ahead layup with 24.6 seconds left, leading the host Clippers to a 95-91 win over the Rockets and putting them within 2½ games of the idle Lakers in the race for first place in the Pacific.
Goosen plays through pain for share of lead
Retief Goosen felt so much pain in his lower back that he decided to pull out of next week's tournament and get treatment. One day later, he found himself atop the leader board in the Transitions Championship in Palm Harbor, Fla. Goosen ran off three straight birdies late in his round Saturday for a 6-under 65, giving him a share of the lead with Jim Furyk with more than just another PGA Tour victory at stake. Sunday is Goosen's last chance to qualify for the Masters. Furyk, coming off his worst season since he was a rookie, hit a 6-iron to 3 feet for birdie on the par-3 15th hole and had the lead to himself until a three-putt bogey up a steep slope on the 18th. He had a 66. The two past champions at Innisbrook were at 11-under 202, with plenty of others behind them. There were 26 players within five shots of the lead.
High school basketball
Pikeville's Branham leads All-Star game
Pikeville standout Will Branham scored a game-high 21 points on 9-for-13 shooting, and Dontel Rice of Holmes added 19 for the East Senior All-Stars in their 124-106 win over the West at Transylvania's Beck Center on Saturday. Playing for the West shortly after his Oldham County squad lost to Scott County in the Sweet Sixteen semifinals, Tyler Wesley had seven points and seven rebounds in 17 minutes. Butler's Jalen Wesson led the West with 15 points. After an out-of-character shooting performance this week at the Sweet Sixteen, Adam Wing of Rowan County found his range, hitting three of four three-point attempts for all of his nine points and grabbing eight rebounds.
Isner blows by Djokovic into finals
John Isner fired 20 aces, including one at 135 mph on his fourth match point, to beat top-ranked Novak Djokovic 7-6 (7), 3-6, 7-6 (5) Saturday in the BNP Paribas Open semifinals in Indian Wells, Calif. Isner will take on either No. 2 Rafael Nadal or No. 3 Roger Federer in Sunday's finals, with Isner trying to become the first American winner in the desert since Andre Agassi in 2001. Nadal and Federer were to play for the 28th time but the first at Indian Wells in the other semifinal match, but rain began falling shortly after Isner left the court. Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova will meet for the women's title Sunday.
The last word
If Kurt Busch had any doubt he's stuck in a run of bad luck, it was confirmed when he hit a bird in one of the final practices for the Daytona 500, he recalled Saturday:
"It was like hitting a six-pound bowling ball."