NASCAR introduced the country to iRacing with some of the sports biggest stars. Denny Hamlin, the three-time Daytona 500 winner, beat Dale Earnhardt Jr. off the final corner Sunday at virtual Homestead-Miami Speedway to win the spectacle. Hamlin, racing barefoot on an elaborate rig in the living room of his North Carolina home, had said last week he’d donate $5,000 to Miami families affected by COVID-19 if he won the race. The race, called the Dixie Vodka 150, was 100 laps around the virtual 1.5-mile Homestead oval. Dixie Vodka said it would donate $10,000 to The NASCAR Foundation, which is centralizing charitable donations in the NASCAR industry to support those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Hamlin was heavily involved in putting together Sunday’s pretend race, which was broadcast live on Fox Sports 1 and called by its regular team of Mike Joy and Hall of Famer Jeff Gordon. NASCAR suspended racing until at least May 9 because of the coronavirus, and with literally nothing else to do, series executives and iRacing put together the inaugural eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series in roughly one week. It was Hamlin’s 31st victory in iRacing. Drivers showed immediate interest — even those with little to no simulator racing experience. Some rushed to purchase “rigs’’ to get into the 35-driver field, and the show-and-tell on social media of the setups provided an entertaining build-up to the event.
Seahawks to add OL Warmack
The Seattle Seahawks continue to stockpile offensive linemen in free agency, agreeing to terms with former first-rounder Chance Warmack, according to a person with knowledge of the deal. The person spoke to the Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because the agreement had not been announced by the team. Warmack has not played since 2018 when he appeared in nine games for Philadelphia. He sat out last season to reportedly get healthy after a series of injuries. Warmack, 28, was part of the 2013 draft class and was considered the best interior offensive lineman that year coming out of Alabama. He was drafted 10th overall by Tennessee and started 46 of 48 possible games his first three seasons for the Titans.
Broncos, Vannett agree to deal
The Denver Broncos agreed to a two-year free agent deal with former Seattle and Pittsburgh tight end Nick Vannett that’s worth $5.7 million, a person with knowledge of the deal told the Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because NFL teams aren’t announcing signings until all the paperwork is filed, a process that’s complicated by the coronavirus pandemic that has forced the league to ban all free agents from visiting team facilities. At 6-foot-6 and 261 pounds, Vannett will be Denver’s biggest tight end, and while he’s primarily built a reputation as a blocker, he did catch 29 passes for Seattle in 2018 and had a combined 17 receptions for the Seahawks and Steelers last season. He’ll pair with 2019 first-round pick Noah Fant in the Broncos’ two-tight end sets, and his addition could spell trouble for fellow Ohio State alum Jeff Heuerman, who’s been plagued by injuries during his five-year career and is due nearly $4 million next season, none of which is guaranteed.
Desir to join Jets
The New York Jets and former Indianapolics Colts standout cornerback Pierre Desir agreed to terms on a one-year deal, said two people with direct knowledge of the contract. Financial terms weren’t immediately available. The 29-year-old defensive back spent the past three seasons with Indianapolis, where he had 161 total tackles, five interceptions, 26 passes defensed, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery in 37 games, including 29 starts. The Jets and former Carolina Panthers guard Greg Van Roten agreed to a three-year contract, two people with direct knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press on Saturday night. The people spoke on condition of anonymity because teams can’t announce deals until they are officially signed, per NFL rules. That news came a few hours after New York also agreed to terms with veteran offensive lineman Josh Andrews, agent Brett Tessler announced on Twitter … Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Darius Slay is switching his number to 24 in honor of city native Kobe Bryant, the Los Angeles Lakers great who, along with his daughter and seven others, was killed in a Jan. 26 helicopter crash … The Atlanta Falcons are signing former Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Laquon Treadwell. Treadwell was a first round pick in 2016 and played 13 games last season for Vikings
Harvard’s Towns picks Ohio State
Former Harvard forward Seth Towns, regarded as the best graduate transfer on the market, committed to Ohio State over Duke on Saturday night. He will be eligible immediately next season and should have two seasons of eligibility. Towns, a Columbus, Ohio native, was the Ivy League Player of the Year in 2018, averaging 16 points and 5.7 boards while shooting 44.1 percent from three, but he missed the past two seasons with knee injuries … Syracuse forward Elijah Hughes is entering the NBA draft. Hughes, who led the Atlantic Coast Conference in scoring, made the announcement Saturday on Instagram. Hughes, who has one year of eligibility remaining, averaged 19 points, five rebounds, and ranked second on the Orange in assists with 109 (3.4 per game). Syracuse finished 18-14 in his second year as a starter after transferring from East Carolina.