Review Category : National Sports

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Confident Headed into Watkins Glen

Jamie Squire/Getty Images(WATKINS GLEN, N.Y.) — After winning last weekend at Pocono, Dale Earnhardt Jr. is more hopeful going into the second road course as the Sprint Cup series heads to Watkins Glen International on Sunday.

“I definitely have more confidence going into the Glen then I do Sonoma,” said Earnhardt Jr., who has three wins this season. “Sonoma is a much more technical track and a lot more challenging for me as a driver. When we run the Glen, it’s straightaway then turn, straightaway then turn. I think I can be more of an asset to [crew chief] Steve [Letarte] and help him with the car more so then I can at Sonoma.”

“I’m looking forward to it. I’m not going to get too overly confident. We are just going to go there with no pressure and have fun and try to get a great finish,” he continued.

Jeff Gordon is also competing Sunday. He has four career wins at Watkins Glen and two wins this season. He said he knows exactly how to drive on the course.

“While Sonoma is a finesse track, Watkins Glen is a track where you have to be aggressive and attack. It’s a very challenging track, but it’s fun and it’s fast,” Gordon added. “Double-file restarts really changed things, too. It changed things on the ovals, but it really changed things on the road courses because it gives you that extra opportunity to be aggressive, to get the position and to take some extra chances to try to get that position or maintain a position — and that causes a lot of incidents.”

“But that has also made the road course events some of the most exciting races we have on the circuit,” he added.

Jimmie Johnson is seeking his fourth win of the year, but has never taken home a checkered flag on this tough road course.

“Watkins Glen is one of the four tracks I’ve not won a race at in my career,” Johnson said. “It’s a great race, lots of strategy plays out, and it would be nice to check that one off the list this year. I like going there, the area is beautiful and we usually enjoy a good group bike ride on Saturday after the garage closes. After last weekend at Pocono, we need a good solid finish.”

Tony Stewart has the most wins among active drivers with five. Kyle Busch won last year’s race.

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NBA Suspends Felton 4 Games

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images(DALLAS) — Dallas Mavericks guard Raymond Felton was suspended by the NBA Thursday for the first four games of next season.

The suspension is in response to Felton pleading guilty July 23 to attempted criminal possession of a weapon and criminal possession of a firearm while he was in New York. He also admitted he knowingly had a large-capacity ammunition magazine and a semi-automatic pistol without a license.

By admitting his guilt, Felton avoided jail time but was sentenced to 500 hours of community service and charged a $5,000 fine.
“I demonstrated poor judgment and I take full responsibility for my actions,” Felton said in a statement. “Moving forward, I’m eager to get to Dallas, to start fresh and make a positive impact in the Dallas metropolitan area.”

The 30-year-old Felton was traded to from the Knicks to the Mavericks in June.

The fifth pick of the 2005 NBA Draft, Felton has averaged 13.1 points, 6.5 assists, 3.3 rebounds, and 1.4 steals per game throughout 10 NBA seasons.

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Dodgers Trade for SP Roberto Hernandez

Ron Vesely/MLB Photos via Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) — The Los Angeles Dodgers acquired starting pitcher Roberto Hernandez from the Philadelphia Phillies Thursday in exchange for two players to be named later.

The 33-year-old Hernandez, who used to go by the name Fausto Carmona, has thrown 121 innings this season, compiling a 6-8 record, 4.62 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 55 walks, and 75 strikeouts.

According to ESPN.com, Hernandez will take Josh Beckett’s place in the rotation. Beckett has been pitching with a torn labrum in his hip.

“Roberto provides us with another big league starting pitcher, who has pitched well this year, particularly the last seven starts,” Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said. “He has postseason experience and helps fortify the rotation down the stretch.”

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Cardinals Cut LB Ernie Sims

Darrin Klimek/Thinkstock(GLENDALE, Ariz.) –The Arizona Cardinals released veteran linebacker Ernie Sims Thursday.

The 29-year-old was signed by the Cardinals on June 3, but he was having trouble adjusting to the team’s 3-4 defense.

“I think (as) a veteran you owe him the respect to find a team that he can fit,” Cardinals Bruce Arians said when explaining why he cut Sims two days before the team’s first preseason game. “I like where some of the young guys are, so I let him go so that he could hopefully catch on real quick somewhere else.”

Sims was selected by the Detroit Lions with the 9th overall pick in the 2006 NFL Draft. He’s played eight NFL seasons split between the Lions, Eagles, Colts, and Cowboys, during which Sims recorded 419 tackles, 5.5 sacks, six forced fumbles, and an interception.

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Durant Withdraws from Team USA

Stephen Dunn/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Oklahoma City Thunder star forward Kevin Durant withdrew from Team USA, citing “physical and mental fatigue.”

Durant, who is the reigning NBA MVP, broke the news to Team USA managing director Jerry Colangelo and head coach Mike Krzyzewski Thursday.

“This was an extremely difficult decision as I take great pride in representing our country,” Durant said in a statement. “I know that I owe it to my USA Basketball teammates to be totally invested in the experience. After going through training camp with USAB, I realized I could not fulfill my responsibilities to the team from both a time and energy standpoint.

Durant continued, “I need to take a step back and take some time away, both mentally and physically in order to prepare for the upcoming NBA season. I will be rooting for USAB and look forward to future opportunities with them.”

Durant joins fellow forwards Kevin Love, Paul George, and LaMarcus Aldridge as players who will not play for the U.S. in the FIBA World Cup in Spain this summer.

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McIlroy One Off The Lead At PGA Championship

BananaStock/Thinkstock(LOUISVILLE, Ky.) — Despite a rough start in the first round of the PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club on Thursday, Rory McIlroy finished at five under, putting him one shot back of Lee Westwood, Kevin Chappell and Ryan Palmer for the lead.

The three-time Major champion closed out the final seven holes on the back nine with five birdies. His hot streak came after he double-bogeyed 10 and bogeyed 11.

“I’m hitting the ball great and I’m seeing good shots out there. I’m holding putts,” McIlroy said. “It’s easier to get back into the right frame of mind after something that happened on 10 and 11.”

Phil Mickelson finished at two under, while Tiger Woods was three over.

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McIlroy One Off The Lead At PGA Championship

BananaStock/Thinkstock(LOUISVILLE, Ky.) — Despite a rough start in the first round of the PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club on Thursday, Rory McIlroy finished at five under, putting him one shot back of Lee Westwood, Kevin Chappell and Ryan Palmer for the lead.

The three-time Major champion closed out the final seven holes on the back nine with five birdies. His hot streak came after he double-bogeyed 10 and bogeyed 11.

“I’m hitting the ball great and I’m seeing good shots out there. I’m holding putts,” McIlroy said. “It’s easier to get back into the right frame of mind after something that happened on 10 and 11.”

Phil Mickelson finished at two under, while Tiger Woods was three over.

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Landon Donovan Retiring From Soccer

iStock/Thinkstock(CARSON, Calif.) — L.A. Galaxy forward Landon Donovan says he will hang up his cleats for good at the end of the Major League Soccer season.

“It’s bittersweet for me as I tell people and now as I say it here,” Donovan said during a news conference on Thursday. “There’s some sadness. I’m also equally excited for what’s to come.”

In 320 games with the San Jose Earthquakes and Galaxy, Donovan has scored 138 goals and has 124 assists. He’s the top goal scorer in MLS history and has won the league’s championship five times.

The 32-year-old Donovan has scored 57 international goals and five World Cup goals. He is the top goal scorer in MLS history, with 138 goals.

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Troy Tulowitzki Is Tired of Losing

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Colorado Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki has begun to take swings as he makes his return to the lineup.

Tulowitzki was hurt after running out for a ground ball last month in Pittsburgh and has seen his team fall to last in the National League. The Rockies have dropped their last nine out of ten games.

“I think that’s why I came out numerous times and said I want to win,” Tulowitzki told the Denver Post on Wednesday. “It doesn’t mean I want out of here. It means I’m sick and tired of losing.”

Before the injury, Tulowitzki was putting up fantastic numbers leading baseball in batting average (.340) and on-base percentage (.432) while scoring 71 runs, hitting 21 homers and knocking in 52 runs.

“Something needs to change. Hopefully that comes fairly quickly,” Tulowitzki continued. “You can’t force it. But at the same time, we’re all frustrated with this year — especially me.”

“I don’t see any quit,” Tulowitzki added. “They come out here and play hard every single day. We’ve had some deficits we’ve overcome. And I think we would have (team) meetings if we didn’t sense that. We’re playing hard. And (manager) Walt (Weiss) has said the same thing.”

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