Motorsports: Denny Hamlin went from last to first to the top seed in NASCAR’s race for the Sprint Cup championship.
Hamlin snapped a monthlong slump Saturday night with another win at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway, his home track, by holding off Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch in a dominating victory.
It was Hamlin’s series-best sixth win of the season and pushed him past four-time defending champion Jimmie Johnson for the top seed in the Chase. The points were reset after the race, and Hamlin goes to the Chase opener next week at New Hampshire with a 10-point lead over Johnson.
Regular-season points leader Kevin Harvick took the third seed, 30 points behind Hamlin. Busch, also 30 behind Hamlin, gave Toyota and JGR a 1-2 finish.
Kurt Busch, winner of the inaugural 2004 Chase, is the fifth seed, followed by Tony Stewart and Greg Biffle. Biffle was guaranteed a spot in the Chase by finishing 42nd or better. He wound up 32nd.
Jeff Gordon will be seeded eighth, the first of five drivers winless this season that will start the Chase 60 points behind Hamlin.
Clint Bowyer was the only real driver on the “bubble” at the start of the night, but he had a stout car, led 33 laps and finished sixth to grab the final Chase spot.
• Alonso marks Ferrari debut with pole win: Fernando Alonso marked his Ferrari debut at the Italian Grand Prix by taking pole position for the Formula One race at Monza, Italy.
The two-time world champion from Spain set the pace with a lap of 1 minute, 21.962 seconds. Defending world champion Jenson Button of McLaren finished just over one-tenth of a second slower and will start on the front row today.
Moore takes lead at BMW Championship
Golf: Ryan Moore eliminated the mistakes that held him back the previous day at Cog Hill, making only one bogey in building a one-shot lead over Dustin Johnson, Matt Kuchar and Charlie Wi at the BMW Championship in Lemont, Ill.
Moore shot a 5-under-par 66 and sits at 8-under 205. A dozen players are within four shots of his lead, including Ernie Els, Ian Poulter and Paul Casey.
That group does not include Tiger Woods. He finally broke par with a 3-under 68, but at even-par 213 he is some seven shots behind where he needs to finish to advance to the FedEx Cup finale.
• Strong front nine helps Wie take lead in Arkansas: Michelle Wie shot a 7-under 64 – playing her first nine holes in 7-under 28 – to take the second-round lead in the Northwest Arkansas Championship at Rogers, Ark. Wie finished at 10 under, three strokes ahead of Juli Inkster (66), Yani Tseng (68) and Na Yeon Choi (68).
Wendy Ward (Edwall) shot a 1-over 72, leaving her in a tie for 49th place with a two-round total of 1-over 143.
• Funk seizes sole lead in South Korea: Fred Funk shot a 5-under 67 to take the lead at the rain-soaked Posco E&C Songdo Championship at Incheon, South Korea. Funk stands at 8-under 136.
Tom Pernice, Jr., Russ Cochran and John Cook were two shots behind in a three-way split for second at 138.
Source: Union mulls decertification vote
NFL: The NFL Players Association is handing out voting cards to the players that could lead to decertification of the union.
A person familiar with the union’s plans told the Associated Press that players from all 32 teams will be asked to consider decertification, which could prevent the owners from locking out the players after the collective bargaining agreement expires in March.
The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the union has not announced its plans.
Should the union decertify, it could have the right to sue the league under antitrust laws if the players are locked out.
• Former tight end Kramer dies: Former Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions tight end Ron Kramer has died at age 75. The University of Michigan said Kramer died at his home. It did not release the cause of death.
Kramer caught two TD passes from Bart Starr in Green Bay’s 1961 NFL championship victory over the New York Giants. He had his most productive season in 1962 with 37 receptions for 555 yards and seven touchdowns and was an All-Pro.
Klitschko stops Peter to retain boxing titles
Miscellany: Wladimir Klitschko kept this one from going to the scorecards.
Five years after he was knocked down three times in a tough victory over Samuel Peter, the IBF and WBO champion battered and bloodied the Nigerian challenger in Frankfurt, Germany, before finally stopping him with 1:22 left in the 10th round of another dominating performance.
Klitschko (55-3, 49 KOs) unleashed a flurry of blows to send Peter (34-4) to the canvas, an uppercut and left hook doing the final bit of damage.
• Penn State’s record winning streak ends: The Penn State women’s volleyball team’s record match winning streak ended at 109 with a 28-26, 25-12, 25-18 loss to Stanford at Gainesville, Fla. Penn State’s streak was the second longest in Division I team sports.
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