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Sunday, December 15, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Auto racing: Joey Logano makes big play for NASCAR championship with win at Martinsville

Joey Logano gets out of his car after winning a NASCAR Cup Series race in Martinsville, Virginia. (Steve Helber / Associated Press)
Joey Logano gets out of his car after winning a NASCAR Cup Series race in Martinsville, Virginia. (Steve Helber / Associated Press)
Associated Press

Joey Logano earned a shot at NASCAR’s Cup title by using an old fashioned bump-and-run on Martin Truex Jr. to win at Martinsville Speedway in Martinsville, Virginia. Truex slid sideways across the finish line and promptly declared Logano won’t take his title from him this year.

Logano won Sunday’s opening race to the third round of the playoffs by using the bumper on his Ford to shove Truex out of his way on the final lap. The contact caused both cars to wiggle, but Truex’s slide was nearly sideways while Logano corrected after a swerve and straightened himself out as hurtled across the finish line.

Eight drivers started the day vying for the four spots in the season-finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Now one of the slots is gone, to Logano of Team Penske, and NASCAR’s so-called “Big 3” is still trying to lock down a berth. Truex, along with Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch, dominated the regular season and as a trio were expected to make it to Miami to race for the winner-take-all title.

Instead, Truex wound up third and was among the fans jeering Logano as he was interviewed post-race on the address system.

“We should be in victory lane right now,” said Truex, who stood on pit road alongside his Toyota and gave Logano a double thumbs-down gesture as the crowd booed the winner.

“He may have won the battle, but he ain’t winning the damn war. I’m not going to let him win it (the championship.) I’m going to win it.”

Formula One

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen went from fast to furious to winner in Mexico City.

The 21-year-old Verstappen had dominated practice and looked set to become the youngest driver in Formula One history to win pole position until Ricciardo snatched it away on his final lap. Infuriated, Verstappen returned to the track determined to get the win and defend his 2017 race victory.

“Amazing,” said Verstappen. “To be honest with you, I didn’t sleep very well last night.”

Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton secured his fifth career championship with a fourth-place finish.

NHRA

Steve Torrence won his first Top Fuel season championship during eliminations and won the NHRA Toyota Nationals in Las Vegas for his fifth straight victory and 10th of the year.

Torrence beat Leah Pritchett in the final with a 3.751-second run at 326.32 mph in the fifth of six playoff events in the Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship.

J.R. Todd won in Funny Car, Bo Butner in Pro Stock, and Hector Arana Jr. in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

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