Update on the latest sports
Hamlin seeks historic 3rd straight Daytona 500 victory
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Denny Hamlin is trying to become the first driver to win the Daytona 500 three consecutive times. He is an 8-1 favorite heading into Sunday’s race but faces plenty of competition. That includes Bubba Wallace, who now drives for the new team started this year by Hamlin and Michael Jordan.
Austin Dillon is attempting to drive the No. 3 to the victory on the 20th anniversary of Dale Earnhardt’s death.
The Ford group has strong contenders in Aric Almirola, Kevin Harvick, Ryan Blaney and Joey Logano.
Hendrick Motorsports swept the front row in qualifying with Alex Bowman and William Byron, but Byron crashed in the qualifying race and will fall to the back in a backup car at the start of the 500.
Chase Elliott is the reigning series champion but hasn’t had enough time to show if he’s a contender for his first Daytona 500 victory. It’s also unclear how Kyle Larson, new to the Hendrick stable this season after last year’s NASCAR suspension for using a racial slur, is adapting to his new team.
Kevin Harvick is looking to rebound after falling short of the series title in last year’s nine-win season.
Due to the pandemic, only 30,000 spectators will be permitted at “The Great American Race.”
Nadal, Barty among those in action on Day 8
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Rafael Nadal will play Italian veteran Fabio Fognini (FAH’-bee-oh fohn-YEE’-nee) for a place in the Australian Open quarterfinals on Day 8 at Melbourne Park. Nadal has been bothered by back stiffness but has come through three rounds without dropping a set and is starting to feel OK. He’s aiming for a men’s record 21st major title.
ATP Cup winners Daniil Medvedev (DAN’-ihl MEHD’-veh-dehv) and Andrey Rublev could set up an all-Russian quarterfinal if they advance through the fourth round. Fourth-seeded Medvedev will take a 17-match winning streak into his match against Mackenzie McDonald. Rublev is playing Casper Ruud in the subsequent match on Margaret Court Arena.
Top-ranked Ash Barty will continue her quest for a drought-breaking win for Australian women at the national championship when she takes on American Shelby Rogers in a night match. The last Australian woman to win the title was Chris O’Neil in 1978.
Two other American women are involved in the fourth-round matchups: No. 22 Jennifer Brady is playing No. 28 Donna Vekic and Jessica Pegula is against fifth-seeded Elina Svitolina. No. 18 Elise Mertens takes on Karolina Muchova in the other match.
On Sunday, eight-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic (NOH’-vak JOH’-kuh-vich) beat Milos Raonic (MEE’-lohsh ROW’-nihch) in four sets to advance to the quarterfinals and register his 300th win in a Grand Slam match. The top-ranked Djokovic is just the second player to reach the 300-win milestone after Roger Federer.
Whether Djokovic would be able to play Raonic had been in doubt after he hurt a stomach muscle when he fell during his third-round victory over Taylor Fritz. But the defending champion went onto Rod Laver Arena without showing any signs of trouble. He was wearing tape above his right hip.
The 7-6 (4), 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 win extended Djokovic’s unbeaten streak to 12 straight against Raonic, the 2016 Wimbledon finalist.
Djokovic says he’s going to prepare as best as he can for his next match against Alexander Zverev.
Also Sunday, Serena Williams returned to the quarterfinals by getting past No. 7 seed Aryna Sabalenka in three sets. The 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 victory put Williams one step closer to her record-tying 24th Grand Slam title overall and eighth championship at Melbourne Park. Her most recent major trophy came at the Australian Open in 2017.
BOBSLED WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
Double gold: Humphries finishes off historic bobsled sweep
ALTENBERG, Germany (AP) — Kaillie Humphries wasn’t sure if she would get a chance to race this season. She ended up on top of the world — twice.
Humphries ended her international racing season Sunday by rallying to win the inaugural women’s monobob world championship in Altenberg, Germany, adding that gold medal to the one she and Lolo Jones combined to claim on the same track last weekend.
And now, there is no question about who the gold-medal favorite is going into the Olympic season, with two medal events awaiting women’s bobsledders at next winter’s Beijing Games for the first time.
This is her fifth world championship and her third in as many tries since getting her release from the Canadian program and beginning to slide for the United States in 2019. Humphries is a two-time Olympic gold medalist who is married to an American and now calls San Diego home. If she is going to race for the U.S. in next winter’s Beijing Games, she needs to obtain citizenship in the coming months.