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Sports Log

Denny Hamlin wins NASCAR Cup Series pole at Nashville

Denny Hamlin, driver of the No. 11 Toyota, poses after winning the pole award during qualifying for Sunday's NASCAR Cup Series Ally 400 at Nashville Superspeedway.Meg Oliphant/Getty

A great first lap and a sudden rainstorm were all Denny Hamlin needed to win the pole position for Sunday’s Ally 400 NASCAR Cup Series race at Nashville Superspeedway. With his 23XI Racing team co-owner Michael Jordan watching the action, Hamlin was fastest in the first round of qualifying with a lap in 29.848 seconds (160.413 miles per hour), and when an unexpected downpour forced cancellation of the final round, the driver of the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota earned the first starting position for the 17th event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule. Hamlin edged Joey Logano (160.107 m.p.h.) for the pole by .057 seconds . Logano topped the chart in Group B after Hamlin was fastest in Group A. Defending race winner and reigning Cup Series champion Kyle Larson qualified third at 159.963 m.p.h., followed by Hendrick Motorsports teammate Chase Elliott at 159.931.

Justin Allgaier wins Xfinity race in rout

Justin Allgaier routed the field at Nashville Superspeedway on Saturday for his second Xfinity Series victory of the season. The JR Motorsports driver led 134 of the 188 laps in his Chevrolet and beat Trevor Bayne by 4.513-seconds on a hot, steamy afternoon in which in-car temperatures inched toward 130 degrees. Allgaier dedicated the win to his father, who he said has been suffering from health complications. Riley Herbst finished third and was followed by Ty Gibbs, Sam Mayer, and Ryan Preece, winner of the Truck Series race on Friday night . . . After considerable soul-searching, Martin Truex Jr. decided to return to Joe Gibbs Racing for another season in the No. 19 Toyota. The affable driver from Mayetta, N.J., who will turn 42 on Wednesday, won his series title with Furniture Row Racing in 2017. Since joining JGR in 2019, Truex has accumulated 12 victories but none so far this year. He’s currently sixth in the Cup standings . . . Ricky Stenhouse Jr. revealed he had re-signed with JTG-Daugherty Racing in a multiyear deal whose specific terms were not disclosed. Stenhouse has two career victories, both recorded on superspeedways with Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing in 2017. Through 16 races this season, he has posted one top five (a runner-up finish at Dover) and is 24th in the series standings.

Swimming

Ress wins US men’s gold in 50-meter shocker

United States swimmer Justin Ress went through all the emotions — elation, devastation, relief, and shock — after winning his first individual gold medal on the last day of racing at the world swimming championships in Budapest. As quick as he won the men’s 50-meter backstroke final — 24.12 seconds — it seemed to him the medal was taken away just as quickly. Ress finished two-hundredths of a second in front of teammate Hunter Armstrong but was disqualified for allegedly being submerged at the finish. Armstrong was awarded gold, the 17-year-old Ksawery Masiuk of Poland was bumped up to silver and Italy star Thomas Ceccon handed the bronze. Armstrong — who set the world record of 23.71 at team trials in April — wiped away tears after the medal ceremony. It was his first individual gold medal at these championships. Meanwhile, Ress was still in shock, trying to comprehend why he was stripped of the gold. Only after all other races were completed did FINA announce that the disqualification was overturned. “It was shock the whole time,” Ress said of his initial reaction to being disqualified. “Twenty minutes I was just in the chair in the team room, just paralyzed, shocked I got DQ’ed. And then, obviously the overturns rarely happen, so I pretty much lost all hope.” US team manager Lindsay Mintenko hadn’t lost hope, however, and she pushed officials to review their decision. The officials showed her frame-by-frame footage of Ress’s finish to back up their case. “That finish was definitely my best finish of the meet,” Ress said.

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Soccer

Bale to make MLS debut with LAFC

After running out his contract with Real Madrid and flirting with a return to his hometown of Cardiff, Wales, Gareth Bale, 32, agreed to join Los An,geles Football Club in MLS in a move that will offer him regular playing time, plenty of sunshine and as many as five consecutive months of matches to sharpen his form before the World Cup kicks off in Qatar in late November. With his Real Madrid contract expiring this summer, Bale announced his intent to leave Spain and has been available to any team as a free transfer. A five-time Champions League winner with Madrid, which had acquired him in 2013 for what was then a world-record fee of $105 million, he had become an afterthought at the club in recent years, playing rarely and feuding openly with the team and its fans all while rejecting any effort to move on. Bale had flirted with a move to Cardiff City in his hometown in recent weeks before choosing MLS, and Los Angeles.

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Tennis

Tsitipas wins Mallorca Championships

Stefanos Tsitsipas won the Mallorca Championships in Palma, Spain, after beating Roberto Bautista Agut in three sets as they prepared to play on the grass courts of the All England Club. Tsitsipas’s first grass-court title on the ATP Tour comes before Wimbledon starts on Monday. The second-seeded Greek held off a late rally in the decisive set to beat Bautista Agut, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (7-2), for his tour-leading 40th win of the season. His ninth career title was also Tsitsipas’s second of the season after he retained his Monte Carlo title in April. Tsitsipas, sixth in world rankings, has drawn Alexander Ritschard of Switzerland in the opening round of Wimbledon . . . Caroline Garcia won her first title in three years after coming back from a set and a break down to beat 2019 US Open champion Bianca Andreescu.6-7 (5-7), 6-4, 6-4, in the Bad Homburg Open final in Germany. Garcia took a medical timeout for what seemed to be a shoulder problem early in the second set. She then went 4-2 down before winning 10 of the next 14 games to seal the match. She is 8-3 in career finals but the Frenchwoman’s last title was almost exactly three years ago in Nottingham in the buildup to 2019 Wimbledon.

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Miscellany

Mercury, Tina Charles opt to part ways

The Phoenix Mercury announced they agreed to terms on a contractual divorce with Tina Charles after 18 games. Said Mercury general manager Jim Pitman: “Due to circumstances both in and out of our control, our season has not gone according to our plan, and we will continue to pursue all avenues for improvement.” Charles, the WNBA’s leading scorer last season who was the Mercury’s second-leading scorer at 17.3 points per game, signed with Phoenix in February, a day after the Mercury added Diamond DeShields in a three-team trade with Chicago and New York. The additions were expected to give the Mercury a huge boost to a roster that already had Diana Taurasi, Britney Griner, and Skylar Diggins-Smith. Griner has been detained in Russia since Feb. 17 after authorities at an airport outside of Moscow said she had vape cartridges containing cannabis oil in her bag. The Mercury have struggled with injuries and without Griner in the lineup, entering Saturday’s game against Dallas near the bottom of the standings at 6-12 after reaching the Finals last season . . . The Chicago Bears signed second-round draft pick Kyler Gordon to a four-year contract. The cornerback from Washington became the Bears’ first selection when they took him with the No. 39 overall pick. The Bears got a potential starter opposite Jaylon Johnson by taking the athletic and hard-hitting Gordon. A first-team, All-Pac 12 pick, he had 46 tackles and two interceptions to go with a team-high seven pass breakups in 12 starts last season.

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