NASCAR And ESPN Collaborate To Rally Fans Behind Their Favorite Driver For The Launch Of The 2014 Chase For The NASCAR Sprint Cup

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (August 23, 2014) –- NASCAR today will unveil the biggest, most engaging marketing campaign in the history of the sport to promote the all new Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup™. At the heart of the effort is a collaboration with ESPN that features five original television spots, an educational video, and an extensive social media push that will rally fans, teams, tracks, and partners around The Chase® like never before.

The national marketing initiative will underscore the drama and excitement of NASCAR’s premier series’ new 10-race playoff format unveiled earlier this year.

“We made a bold decision at the beginning of the season to make our Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup all about winning,” said Brent Dewar, NASCAR chief operating officer. “Now that we’re just weeks away from the start of The Chase, NASCAR, working closely with ESPN, is going to market with a creative platform that is just as innovative and reflective of how important this moment is for our sport.”

The creative team tapped the star power of some of the sport’s most compelling drivers and was inspired by their respective legions of loyal fans. The most integrated marketing effort the sanctioning body has ever put forth highlights the passion, language and motifs of competition – establishing drivers, automotive manufacturers and their corresponding teams as unique “nations,” with the fans as their loyal followers.


The fully integrated collaboration between NASCAR and ESPN is the first of its kind with a broadcast partner for the sanctioning body. Working with one agency, Ogilvy & Mather New York, NASCAR and ESPN achieve a singular vision and narrative that will extend from the track to the race broadcast.


“The campaign celebrates this bold and transformational moment in NASCAR’s history, taking fans along for the ride and accentuating the drama and intensity of the new elimination format as each round unfolds.” said Scott Parker, vice president of marketing at ESPN.


The first creative element to be released was an online video titled “Spreading the Word,” which NASCAR drivers Jimmie Johnson, Carl Edwards, Kurt Busch and Kyle Busch shared across social media on Aug. 18. The two-minute video educates fans about the new Chase format, introduces The Chase Grid and begins to call together the drivers’ nations.


Today, the first of five spots will be released, which follows the teams, drivers and fans from every corner of NASCAR as they gear up for The Chase. Subsequent 30-second spots will be released for each round of The Chase. The spots, which will air throughout NASCAR’s postseason on ESPN and ABC, include the voices of Marty Smith, Allen Bestwick, Nicole Briscoe, Ryen Russillo, Jamie Little, Barney Hall, Scott Van Pelt, Mike Greenberg, Brad Daugherty and Rusty Wallace. The Chase kicks off at Chicagoland Speedway on Sept. 14 (2 p.m. ET on ESPN).

Fans, drivers, teams and sponsors are invited to pledge their allegiance to their favorite Chase drivers by sharing content on social media using the hashtag #MyChaseNation. Lucky fan winners will be picked to have their Twitter handle featured on their favorite driver’s car at select races during The Chase.

Additionally, The Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup marketing will include at-track signage as well as print and digital promotional assets that will allow tracks, team sponsors and NASCAR Official Partners to extend the campaign theme. Tying the concept together are unique flags that represent each Chase driver and their nation. The flags will be woven into the various campaign elements, including digital banners and fan memorabilia, among others, and will serve to rally fans and inspire spirited rivalry.


In January, NASCAR announced that The Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup will be expanded for 2014 and beyond to include 16 drivers, and divided into four rounds – the Challenger Round, Contender Round, Eliminator Round and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship. A race win in the first three rounds automatically qualifies a driver for the next round. 


NASCAR will crown its 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion at the Ford Ecoboost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16 (3 p.m. ET, ESPN). The top finisher among the four remaining Chase drivers will win the championship

UFC Fight Night 54: Paige VanZant undergoing therapy for spinal injury, not yet cleared to train

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That means her UFC debut against Kailin Curran, which is set for October 4, 2014, could be in jeopardy.

Paige VanZant’s Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) debut looks to be in jeopardy, as the 20-year old Strawweight revealed via her Facebook page that she is currently undergoing physical therapy to take care of a spinal injury and has not been cleared to train.

That means that her fight against Kailin Curran, which is scheduled to go down on Oct. 4, 2014, at UFC Fight Night 54 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, could hang in the balance.

Check it out:

“WHERE IS PAIGE VANZANT?

Dear fans I know quite a few of you are wondering why I am not in my training camp. I left Sacramento to come back to my home state and have been in intense physical therapy from a spine injury. I do not have insurance coverage in California and I have not been giving the okay to train at this time. I am working hard to get better. Prayers up for a good recovery. Thank you so much for all your kind words it is such a blessing to have such an amazing team behind me.”

Urijah Faber recently revealed that he had been trying to get a hold of VanZant to see what forced her to abruptly leave Team Alpha Male behind.

Mystery solved.

It’s important to note that VanZant did not mention pulling out of the fight and UFC officials have yet to comment on the situation. But chances are, if she has yet been given the green light to start her training camp, the mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion will likely have no other choice than to find another opponent for Curran.

Main Events Inks Another Russian Powerhouse, Welterweight Dmitry “The Mechanic” Mikhaylenko

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Totowa, NJ:    Main Events has signed yet another Russian powerhouse to its already impressive stable with the signing of Dmitry “The Mechanic” Mikhaylenko (17-0, 6 KO’s).  The 28 year old Mikhaylenko, is from Gelendzhik, Russia.  He made his U.S. debut this past Saturday night on the undercard of the Kovalev-Caparello show at Revel Casino Hotel in Atlantic City, NJ defeating Sechew Powell via an eight round unanimous decision at junior middleweight.  He said, “First of all I would like to thank Main Events for giving me this opportunity and trusting in me. I am very happy of signing promotional agreement to Main Events and I know they can help me to go the right way as they did for many fighters. I am very motivated and ready 100% to prove and to show what I am capable of in the ring. To come and fight in America was always my dream.”

Powell & Mikhaylenko
Photo Credits: Rich Graessle/Main Events

Mikhaylenko is managed by Egis Klimas, who also manages WBO Light Heavyweight Champion Sergey Kovalev, WBO Featherweight Champion Vasyl Lomachenko, IBF North American Heavyweight Champion Czar Glazkov and many more.  Klimas said, “Dmitry is an action fighter and very interesting to watch, you never get bored when he is in the ring. He throws a lot of punches and always busy. I can see him becoming a Champion in 147LB. division and I am proud to be his manager and help him to lead in right direction.”

 

Dmitry Mikhaylenko
Photo Credits:
Rich Graessle/Main Events

Dmitry is co-promoted by Titov Promotions. When German Titov was asked about the signing he said, “I am very happy and excited to work with such a good promotional company Main Events on co-promoting Dmitry “The Mechanic” Mikhaylenko. Dmitry is a world class fighter and he is fun to watch in the ring. I think together we will walk him into a champion bout within a short period of time.”

Main Events’ CEO Kathy Duva is excited to add yet another hot prospect to her already remarkable stable.  She said, “Dmitry is a non-stop action fighter and we are so pleased to have him on board with us.  He joins our already impressive team of top-notch fighters and should fit right in.”

ATP Roders Cup Tennis Results

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RESULTS – WEDNESDAY, 6 AUGUST 2014 Singles – Second Round[1] N Djokovic (SRB) d G Monfils (FRA) 62 67(4) 76(2)
[4] T Berdych (CZE) d Y Lu (TPE) 67(4) 64 64
[5] D Ferrer (ESP) d [Q] M Russell (USA) 64 26 61
[6] M Raonic (CAN) d [WC] J Sock (USA) 46 76(2) 76(4)
[7] G Dimitrov (BUL) d D Young (USA) 46 62 63
[8] A Murray (GBR) d [WC] N Kyrgios (AUS) 62 62
J Benneteau (FRA) d [11] E Gulbis (LAT) 76(4) 63
[12] R Gasquet (FRA) d I Karlovic (CRO) 57 76(5) 63
[13] J Tsonga (FRA) d J Chardy (FRA) 76(6) 64
[15] M Cilic (CRO) d [LL] M Jaziri (TUN) 46 60 76(4)
K Anderson (RSA) d [16] F Fognini (ITA) 75 62
[17] T Robredo (ESP) d G Simon (FRA) 75 64
F Lopez (ESP) d [Q] T Smyczek (USA) 75 64
I Dodig (CRO) d A Seppi (ITA) 64 36 76(5)

Doubles – Second Round

M Cilic (CRO) / S Gonzalez (MEX) d [1] B Bryan (USA) / M Bryan (USA) 62 64
[2] A Peya (AUT) / B Soares (BRA) d D Ferrer (ESP) / G Garcia-Lopez (ESP) 64 61
[3] D Nestor (CAN) / N Zimonjic (SRB) d N Djokovic (SRB) / S Wawrinka (SUI) 64 64
[4] I Dodig (CRO) / M Melo (BRA) d F Fognini (ITA) / M Fyrstenberg (POL) 63 76(9)
[5] J Benneteau (FRA) / E Roger-Vasselin (FRA) d R Bopanna (IND) / A Qureshi (PAK) 75 64
R Gasquet (FRA) / J Tsonga (FRA) d [6] L Paes (IND) / R Stepanek (CZE) 76(1) 64
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SCHEDULE – THURSDAY, 7 AUGUST 2014
STADIUM start 11:00 am


[3] S Wawrinka (SUI) vs K Anderson (RSA)
Not Before 1:00 pm
[1] N Djokovic (SRB) vs [13] J Tsonga (FRA)
[12] R Gasquet (FRA) vs [8] A Murray (GBR)

Not Before 6:30 pm
[6] M Raonic (CAN) vs J Benneteau (FRA)
[15] M Cilic (CRO) vs [2] R Federer (SUI)

GRANDSTAND start 11:00 am
J Murray (GBR) / J Peers (AUS) vs [7] M Granollers (ESP) / M Lopez (ESP)

Not Before 1:00 pm
[17] T Robredo (ESP) vs [7] G Dimitrov (BUL)

Not Before 3:00 pm
[5] D Ferrer (ESP) vs I Dodig (CRO)

Not Before 6:30 pm
F Lopez (ESP) vs [4] T Berdych (CZE)

COURT 1 start 2:00 pm
[8] M Llodra (FRA) / N Mahut (FRA) vs J Rojer (NED) / H Tecau (ROU)

Perfect!!!’ Dana White reacts to Jon Jones vs Daniel Cormier stage-exploding brawl

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When the boss is away, superstar fighters will play … with fire.

Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier came face-to-face for the first time during at today’s (Aug, 4, 2014) media day to promote their upcoming Light Heavyweight title fight at UFC 178on Sept. 27, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

And what resulted was an utterly insane brawl between the two bitter rivals that began after Jones got too close for comfort, prompting “DC” to shove him back. Wasting no time, “Bones” dropped his 205-pound title belt and proceeded to swing on Cormier before the stage exploded and the melee spilled on to the MGM Grand Garden Arena floor.

See the MUST-WATCH video right here.

While the mixed martial arts (MMA) community was unhinged, UFC President Dana White, on the other hand, reacted to the unprecedented scuffle — most likely sarcastically — from the lap of paradise via Twitter.

Indeed, White is usually the middle man that keeps fighters from getting too close to prevent situations as this from happening. Filling in for White was Dave Sholler, UFC’s Director of Public Relations, who was no match for Jones as the Light Heavyweight champion tossed him aside with ease to get at Cormier (see the hilarious romoshop here).

It’s safe to assume that this might be the last time UFC allows these two men to get so close to each other before the actual fight without serious back up.

No word yet on whether or not Jones and/or Cormier will be punished and/or reprimanded for their actions.

NSAC requests Jon Jones vs Daniel Cormier fight footage, UFC prepared to levy ‘sanctions’ for Code of Conduct breach

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Sometimes, these things happen in MMA. Wait, no they don’t!

Josh Koscheck-Diego SanchezB.J. Penn-Nick DiazAnderson Silva-Vitor Belfort and heck, Conor McGregor-Diego Brandao. The list of intense Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) staredown encounters is long, extensive and anything but distinguished.

In each of those encounters, however, punches were never thrown. The stages on which they mean-mugged each other didn’t crumble. And for heaven’s sake, company officials weren’t steamrolled, while the general public in attendance — including women and children — for a “fan-friendly” event weren’t endangered.

That all changed earlier this afternoon when Light Heavyweight champion Jon Jones and his opponent at UFC 178Daniel Cormier, got into an amazingly insane scuffle ahead of of their title match on Sept. 27, 2014. To watch complete video highlights of pandemonium running wild recklessly inside MGM Grand Garden Arena’s LOBBY in Las Vegas, Nevada, earlier today click here.

While UFC officials tried to wrap their heads around the unprecedented incident, including vacationing company president Dana White, who joked that it was a “perfect” public relations disaster (albeit likely promising for ticket sales), there were real questions as to whether or not Jones and Cormier would be punished for their unsanctioned, unprofessional melee.

Several hours later, with the dust seemingly settled, it appears we now have an answer via UFC’s Chief Legal Officer, Kirk Hendrick:

“This is certainly not a proud moment for the UFC organization. We expect more from our athletes, especially these two gentlemen, who are very well-trained and highly educated professionals. Their actions were clearly a violation of the UFC’s code of conduct. The Nevada State Athletic Commission has requested a video copy of the incident, and the UFC is cooperating fully with them in order to come to a quick resolution when it comes to possible penalties for both fighters…. We are going to reserve our right to penalize both fighters after the commission has made a decision. We expect more from our athletes and we are prepared to levy sanctions to reinforce the appropriate behavior. There are going to be ramifications. Whether you’re the champion, or this is your first fight in the UFC, there are going to be ramifications from the UFC for these actions.”

Moments after Jones and Cormier nearly incited a riot, the pair appeared on ESPN’s “Sportscenter” (watch it here) to continue promoting their match, as well talk about what the hell happened in “Sin City” this morning. Jones was in full damage “con-troll” mode, apologizing, but pretending as if nothing major really went down.

That’s clearly not the case, with NSAC looking to get involved in addition to punishment from UFC. Regardless of what happens, let’s just all hope it was worth it once fight night rolls around.

It better be fucking great.

NASCAR ALERT: Kasey Kahne’s aggravation

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Kasey Hoping To Be A Dandy Kahne At Pocono
Kasey Kahne’s aggravation spilled with every word uttered in his post-race interview on ESPN following Sunday’s race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
In regards to needing a win to enter the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, Kahne said: “Yeah, no kidding. I know that. We have five more good tracks for us and six more races, so hopefully we can get one.”
The look on Kahne’s face was one of missed opportunity, after leading the most laps (70) at the Brickyard. But he immediately looked on the bright side – “five more good tracks.” And one of those, unquestionably, is Pocono Raceway, site of Sunday’s GoBowling.com 400 (1 p.m. ET, ESPN, MRN Radio, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
Kahne is the defending winner of this one, and with two wins overall and a runner-up finish in the August race two years ago, the driver of the No. 5 has headline writers frothing at the mouth to use the old “Kahne Is Able” headline sometime around 5 p.m. on Sunday.
A victory would catapult Kahne squarely onto the 16-driver Chase Grid. He’d be the 12th different winner this season, with only five regular season races remaining. “Comfortable” would be a good word to describe the position a win would give Kahne.
His solid runs have put him in position to “back” into the Chase Grid, though he’s currently on the outside looking in. With 555 points this season, Kahne is only four points behind Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender Austin Dillon, who currently resides in the 16th spot on the Chase Grid Outlook.
Statistically speaking, Kahne is among the hottest drivers in the series. In the last six races, since race No. 15 at Michigan, Kahne has scored four top-10 finishes. His average finish of 10.5 over the stretch ranks fourth in the series. And his driver rating of 101.4 ranks second only to teammate Jeff Gordon (105.0).
 
How Sweep It Could Be For Dale Jr.
With six regular season races left until the start of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has but one essential task and that’s to ensure his spot in the Chase. The third generation driver has already locked in two of the three criteria (multiple wins and a clinch of a top-30 position in points) to make the Chase. All he has to do now is attempt to qualify for the remaining regular season races and he’s in NASCAR’s playoffs for a fourth consecutive season.
But Earnhardt wants more, and this weekend at Pocono Raceway he has the opportunity to pull off the season sweep at the ‘Tricky Triangle’ and pad his Chase bonus points total. 
Earnhardt is looking to become the seventh driver in series history to sweep both races in a single season at Pocono Raceway, joining Bobby Allison (1982), Bill Elliott (1985), Tim Richmond (1986), Bobby Labonte (1999), Jimmie Johnson (2004) and Denny Hamlin (2006). Not since 2002 at Talladega has Dale Jr. swept both races at a track in a single season (that also happens to be the lone instance he’s accomplished the feat). In 29 starts at Pocono he has posted one win, eight top fives, 12 top 10s and a pole.  
Earnhardt is currently seeded fourth in the Chase standings, but if he were to win at Pocono he could possibly jump to the top of the Chase seeding chart.
In Earnhardt’s last eight starts this season, he has finished inside the top 10 in all but one (Daytona, a 14th-place run). In 2014, Earnhardt is on pace to post a career-best average finish. He’s currently averaging a finish of 10.2; his season long best is 10.9 in 2012.
 
Six Chase Spots Clinched, 10 To Go
Four more drivers cleared the two toughest hurdles for entry into the 2014 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, joining Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Brad Keselowski, both of whom locked up a spot on the Chase Grid at New Hampshire.
At Indianapolis, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Carl Edwards and Joey Logano all either scored a second win (Gordon) or clinched a top 30 points spot (Johnson, Edwards and Logano). Now, those six drivers need only to attempt to qualify for the remaining six races to “officially” earn a spot in the Chase.
As a reminder, any driver with multiple wins guarantees himself a spot in the top 15 winners (or top 16, if the points leader after race No. 26 has a win). Any driver who left Indy with a 289 point lead on 31st place clinched a top 30 points spot.
Now, the series heads to Pocono Raceway, where four more drivers have a chance to clinch a spot in the Chase.
This weekend, the magic number is 241 – any driver 241 points ahead of 31st place clinches a top 30 spot. If a driver does that, and has multiple wins, he clinches a spot.
Those who can do it this weekend: Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch and Aric Almirola. Harvick’s two wins mean he needs only to clinch a top 30 spot – a near certainty, as he needs to score only eight points at Pocono to do so (and that’s if 31st place David Gilliland wins and leads the most laps). Busch has clinched a top 30 spot, but needs another win to clinch. Hamlin has yet to clinch a top 30 spot. He would clinch with a win and some help.
Almirola would need to win this weekend to clinch, and get a good bit of help to also lock up a top 30 spot.
 
Bonus Baby: Gordon Now Aims For Extra Chase Points
Jeff Gordon’s record-setting fifth victory at Indianapolis Motor Speedway clinched him a spot in the 2014 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup (see above), assuming he starts the remaining six races in the regular season.
Now what? Now, he goes full bore, with one goal in mind: More “Winner” decals, and the three bonus points that go with each once the Chase starts. Each Chase participant will have their points reset to 2,000, with three bonus points tacked on for each win during the 26-race regular season.
Arguably, those bonus points are more important than ever, especially in the first round – the Challenger Round. The bonus points are applied only to that round, rather than across the entire Chase, as in past years. So, each point is three times as important over those first three races. And entering NASCAR’s playoffs with a bevy of bonus points would greatly enhance a driver’s ability to advance to the Contenders Round.
As the series heads to flat Pocono, coming off flat Indianapolis, there’s a notion that those who excel at one will likewise excel at the other. That’s true, sort of.
Pocono has followed Indianapolis on the series schedule in every season since 2007. Since then, the average finish of the Brickyard winner at the following race at Pocono is 10.3. The best finish at Pocono by the Brickyard winners was third by Jimmie Johnson in 2008. Ryan Newman followed last year’s Brickyard victory with a fourth-place run at Pocono. (Jamie McMurray’s Pocono finish of 22nd was the lowest of the reigning Brickyard winners.)
Gordon owns the stats to suggest a strong follow up to his Brickyard victory. His six Pocono wins are most all-time, and he’s finished in the top 10 in three of the last four races (including a win in 2012).
 
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Etc.
Jeff Gordon’s win at Indianapolis Motor Speedway was also his 445th career top-10 finish in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, which is fourth all time. Conceivably, Gordon could reach 454 top 10s by season’s end, putting him second on the all-time top 10 list. The current top 3: Richard Petty (712), Mark Martin (453) and Bobby Allison (447). … Testing, Testing: Next Tuesday and Wednesday (Aug. 5-6), Richard Childress Racing and Germain Racing will both test at Atlanta Motor Speedway. … At Indy last weekend, there were 3,327 total green flag passes, the second-highest figure at the Brickyard since the inception of loop data in 2005. Only the 2011 edition had more passing (3,450).
 
Dillon Closing In On Sought-After Points Lead                                                                                        
Edging out one of the most competitive fields of the year, Ty Dillon posted his first career NASCAR Nationwide Series win at the historic 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway. In doing so, he claimed Nationwide Insurance’s $100,000 Dash 4 Cash check and also closed the gap (-15) between he and the points leader, Chase Elliott. Dillon became the 12th different winner through 19 races this season, the most at this point since 2007.
Dillon has quietly formulated a solid season thus far. He is fourth in the standings, 15-points back from the lead after posting one win and 13 top 10s. Though under the radar earlier this season, this past weekend’s victory at Indianapolis thrusts Dillon into the spotlight of championship contention. Dillon has an average finish of 9.5 and a season-to-date Driver Rating of 96.2 (seventh-best in the series) in 2014.
Returning to Iowa, Dillon looks to capitalize on his recent success and make it two wins in a row. Dillon made his series track debut at Iowa earlier this season where he started 13th and finished eighth. 
“Iowa has always been one of my favorite race tracks,” Dillon said. “I really think it fits my driving style because it’s fast, but a shorter track. It’s important that we qualify well and stay smart. We’ve got all the momentum in the world right now,” said Dillon.  
The 22-year-old has fixed his sights on standings leader Elliott, who has set the bar high this season. Elliott has three wins, eight top fives and 13 top 10s in 19 starts.  Elliott finished fourth in his series debut at Iowa earlier this season.
Dillon will have to leap frog two formidable opponents in the series standings to get to Elliott, however. Currently third in the standings just four points ahead of Dillon is Elliott Sadler. Sadler has made seven starts at Iowa, winning once and posting six top-five finishes. His average finish of 3.9 at Iowa is his career best among series tracks on the schedule. 
Ahead of Sadler is Regan Smith, second in the series standings, 11 points ahead of Dillon. Smith is having a career season. In 19 starts he has a career-best average finish of 9.0, has led the standings multiple times and won the season-opening race at Daytona. In three starts at Iowa, Smith has posted an average finish of 7.0, including finishing third earlier this season.
 
Own It: Gibbs, Penske Titans Of The Owner’s Title
Rivalries bring out the best in competitors each time the match-up is staged, and Iowa sets the stage for the powerhouse teams of Joe Gibbs Racing and Team Penske to have it out – as they have the past couple of seasons.
The JGR No. 54 Toyota team is currently eight points ahead of Team Penske’s No. 22 Ford team in second. Sam Hornish Jr. returns to the No. 54 Toyota to defend his Iowa win from earlier this season. Despite a DNF due to an engine failure at Chicago, Hornish has been lights out. In his five starts he has one win and three top fives. In six starts at Iowa, Hornish has posted one win, and four top fives.
Brad Keselowski, the 2010 series champion, returns to the series this weekend after taking the last two events off. Keselowski has made six starts this season posting two wins and six top fives. He has made four starts at Iowa posting two wins – including the inaugural series event – four top fives and an average finish of 2.3. Keselowski won this event last season.
Joe Gibbs leads the series in owner titles with four, but Roger Penske grabbed his first last season. Each owner has fielded teams with a rotation of drivers in an attempt to add to their title totals. With both drivers participating in limited schedules this season, this will be the first time Hornish and Keselowski will compete against each other in 2014.
 
Nationwide’s Dash 4 Cash Final Round Rolls Into Iowa
“Show me the money!” famously exclaimed by Tom Cruise in the movie Jerry Maguire, is exactly the sentiment taken by drivers and fans alike heading into this weekend’s final round of the NASCAR Nationwide Series Dash 4 Cash program. The famous cash wielding program from Nationwide Insurance reaches its fourth and final round of competition this weekend in the U.S. Cellular 250 Presented by New Holland at Iowa Speedway. While the first three rounds have packed excitement into the series for the drivers to win the money, this time around the fans also get a chance at the cash. 
Four NASCAR Nationwide Series championship contenders are eligible to compete for the chance to win the $100,000 bonus this weekend at Iowa. Ty Dillon banked the third round of Dash 4 Cash at Indianapolis Motor Speedway last weekend. By winning the award Dillon automatically qualifies for the next payout this Saturday at Iowa. He will compete against Trevor Bayne, Brian Scott and Regan Smith.
This weekend, Nationwide includes a fan element into the program. The following four sweepstakes winners are entered to win the bonus: Kathy Coffman (winner), Gonzales, LA (Hometown: New Orleans, LA); Patricia Martens (winner) Danville, CA (Hometown: Norwalk, CT); James Dennis (winner), Henry, IL; Patricia Cochran (winner), Houston, TX.
Each sweepstakes winner will be paired with a driver randomly on Saturday morning; they will also be an honorary team member during the race. If their driver wins the Dash 4 Cash they win the $100,000 dollars bonus as well.
Also every fan attending the NASCAR Nationwide Series race may join the “Dash 4 Cash Bash,” a NASCAR-style celebration immediately after the checkered flag waves, culminating the popular “Dash 4 Cash” driver and fan sweepstakes and Iowa Speedway’s 2014 race season.
“The Dash 4 Cash was created to reward the full-time drivers and their avid fans in the NASCAR Nationwide Series,” said Iowa Speedway President Jimmy Small. “It’s fitting that our loyal fans will get to party on the track to celebrate the end of our racing season and the conclusion of the wildly successful program.”
The “Dash 4 Cash Bash” will take place on the recently raced frontstretch of Iowa Speedway and feature NASCAR Nationwide Series driver appearances, music from DJ Michaelis and K&N gift certificates for the first 100 fans “over the wall.” Party goers will also have an opportunity to win prizes and giveaways, play tailgate games, grab a drink and show off their best “Robot” or “Shopping Cart” moves on the frontstretch “under the lights.”
 
Extra! Extra! Pocono Adds Mileage
Fans will be treated to an extended show this year at Pocono Raceway as the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race is scheduled for 150 miles instead of its previous 125. The extra mileage won’t be too much of an added burden to the drivers’ stamina; three of the last four races have ended with a green/white checkered finish (2010, 2011, 2013).
The longest race at Pocono was in 2010 when Elliott Sadler won a 55 lap, 137.5 mile race. Sadler is one of four different winners in four races at the “Tricky Triangle.”
Five drivers in Saturday’s lineup have logged laps in all four races, but remain winless at Pocono – Norm Benning, Matt Crafton, Ron Hornaday Jr., Johnny Sauter and Timothy Peters.
Among drivers winless at Pocono, favorites include…
Matt Crafton: The only driver to start all four races and finish inside the top 10 in each race. He has an average finish of 5.8, the fifth highest among active drivers.
Ron Hornaday: Coming off a season-best second-place finish at Eldora Speedway, Hornaday looks to capitalize on a highest finish of sixth at Pocono last season.
Kyle Larson: Makes his first career-series start and second national series start at Pocono. He has raced the track once in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, finishing fifth.
The possibility of a repeat winner still stands with Joey Coulter and Ryan Blaney entered…
Joey Coulter: Pocono is Coulter’s best track on the circuit. In three starts, he has an average finish of 3.7. He earned his first – and only – series win at Pocono in 2012 and has yet to finish outside the top 10 at the track.
 
Blaney Hits His Stride
Ryan Blaney has made it to the top … of the points standings that is.
In his second full-time season in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Blaney leads the championship battle for the first time in his career after taking the points lead from defending champion Matt Crafton. With a string of six consecutive top ten finishes, Blaney has catapulted from ninth to first in points, beginning with a runner up finish at Dover in May. Now, it’s four points that separate him from second place driver Crafton.
Momentum on his side, Blaney looks to extend his lead Saturday, arriving at Pocono as the defending race winner. Although the Brad Keselowski Racing driver has yet to find Victory Lane this season, a win would further solidify him as a championship contender. What better track to prove a point than the site of his second career series win? Not only would Blaney be undefeated at Pocono in his two starts there, but he would also become the first repeat winner. Statement made.
 
 

 

KBM Headlines 2014
Teammates Erik Jones and Darrell Wallace Jr. packed another 1-2 punch at Eldora Speedway. A Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender, Jones earned his first career pole while Wallace proved the driver to beat, taking home the lauded dirt track trophy in his second win this season.
Just one race before at Iowa Speedway, it was a role reversal with Wallace on the pole and Jones in Victory Lane. The two drivers have helped Kyle Busch Motorsports to eight victories in 10 races, also sharing wins with team owner Kyle Busch.
The duo of Jones and Wallace is back in action again at Pocono where Jones will make his first appearance while Wallace has one career start (he finished seventh in 2013). In its four-year history at Pocono, Kyle Busch Motorsports has earned four top-five and five top-10 finishes, including two runner-up finishes with Kasey Kahne (2010) and Kyle Busch (2011).
 
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Etc.
Thirteen drivers in the Pocono Mountains 150 field have not made a series start at Pocono. History bodes well for the first-timers as three of the four race winners won in their first start at the track.
 
East And West Battle It Out In Iowa
The NASCAR K&N Pro Series heads to Newton, Iowa, for the second East/West combination event at Iowa Speedway.  Ben Rhodes won the first combination race in May, beating out fellow rookie Nick Drake for his second win of the season. Four races and three additional victories later, Rhodes heads to the Autolite Iridium XP 150 with a chance to become the first driver to sweep both races at Iowa. With five wins, the 17-year-old NASCAR Next driver is also one victory away from tying Dylan Kwasniewski’s mark for most K&N Pro Series East wins in a season since NASCAR lowered the age limit from 18 in 2007.
Shortly after competing in the K&N Pro Series event for Rev Racing and the NASCAR Drive for Diversity in Iowa, Daniel Suárez will travel to Querétaro, Mexico, for the Queretana 200, the ninth event on the NASCAR Mexico Toyota Series 2014 calendar. With only two events remaining in the regular season, many of the series drivers will try to secure their spot in the Desafío, a five-race playoff to decide the championship. NASCAR Next driver Rubén García Jr. is currently on the outside looking in, six points away from the final Desafío spot. He finished 27th in the series’ first visit to the track earlier this year.
The NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour is back in action this weekend with the Strutmasters.com 199 from historic Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Championship points leader Andy Seuss has three wins in five events this season, but has yet to reach Victory Lane at Bowman Gray. Through six career starts, Seuss has three top fives and five top 10s at the .25-mile flat oval. Former NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion Ron Silk and rookie Tommy Barrett Jr. have entered the event as well.

UFC 181′s Vitor Belfort is ready to explode on Chris Weidman

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Vitor Belfort is now T.N.T. — he’s dynamite. He’ll win the fight, WATCH HIM EXPLODE.

Vitor Belfort was granted a conditional license to compete in Las Vegas, Nevada, last week during a successful hearing with Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC).

Immediately after, “The Phenom” was booked to take on Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Middleweight champion Chris Wiedman at UFC 181 on Dec. 6, 2014, in “Sin City.” It’s a fight that was scratched earlier this year because of Belfort’s medical issues (details) with the now-banned testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) treatment.

After finally getting the green light to compete again, Belfort recently appeared on “The MMA Hour” to clarify to all of his haters and naysayers (including this one) once and for all that he was never cheating.

His words:

“You have to understand, even though I am a public figure, those are my personal things. Everybody deserves privacy, so I was just quiet with my privacy and dealing with my things. I was just getting off TRT. I was real with everyone on that. Some guys say, ‘He was on steroids.’ I wasn’t on steroids, I was doing TRT. It wasn’t an illegal substance in my body. I was cleared, everybody knew it, I opened all of my tests. I took tests every week to see my levels. So, I was clear, open and truthful. When you are true to yourself and don’t try to cheat and beat the system; with Nevada, they have a system to do that. A lot of guys, they just talk. I deal with a true way to open up my personal things. I was on treatment. When you are on treatment, your ratios go outside and it became a big issue. I wasn’t cheating at all. I was just dealing with these problems, I spent a lot of money in testing myself. So, it is what it is, it’s gone, no more TRT and now it’s TNT.”

Belfort then proceeded to flex. Seriously.

As far as his 185-pound title fight against “All American,” Belfort is more than confident he will defeat Weidman come fight night because at the end of the day, he’s better than the champ in all areas. Still, Belfort says it’s not about who’s better, it’s about who’s firing on all cylinders on fight night.

He explains:

“He has great skills. I think, to be the world champion of UFC, he is not lucky, man. He mad his way there and he deserves respect. I respect him, but, nothing in my vision, I don’t see anything else beside me winning that night. I’m confident in myself, I’m confident in my skills. I know I have everything in me to win and that’s what I am going to do. I’m focused on my journey. I’m fighting on another dimension, I just have to see where I have to be better, I’m always improving and that’s why I’m fighting on another dimension (I beat him) Everywhere. Remember, it’s not that the better man wins, it’s who plays better. I’m focused on playing better. I’m focused on myself. There is nothing to rely on pride, it’s work ethic. I fight myself everyday to get better. Whoever steps in that cage, I will win, and that’s how this sport has to be. You have to be confident. Not arrogant, just confident, and i am confident in me.”

Furthermore, the confident Brazilian says fight fans, as well as his upcoming opponents, can expect the same knockout artist who has been tearing it up pre-TRT ban when he steps back in the the eight-walled cage.

Because as “The Phenom” declared, TRT doesn’t teach you how to punch and kick properly, pointing to other former TRT users who didn’t share his same success while they were on the controversial treatment.

Valid point, but Belfort has yet to compete without it.

Better Know a Boxer: Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev

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Things you never knew about the WBO Light Heavyweight World Champion

 

BETTER KNOW A BOXER! SERGEY
Better Know a Boxer 
Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev

Ft. Lauderdale, FL: Main Events presents “Better Know a Boxer: Sergey ‘Krusher’ Kovalev.” This short video features a peek at the personal life of WBO Light Heavyweight World Champion Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (24-0-1, 22 KOs) as he takes a break from training for his fight with the undefeated Australian challenger Blake “Il Capo” Caparello (19-0-1, 6 KOs) on August 2nd at Revel Casino Hotel and live on HBO Boxing After Dark.

The video captures the lighter side of Krusher: his pet peeves (slow drivers in the left lane), how he met his wife, why he loves boxing and much more. When asked about his career thus far Krusher said, “Where I am now on TV is the most important. When I came to pro I waited for this moment when I go to fight with the best boxers and now I have it. I’m fighting on HBO with the best fighters – undefeated guys. In future it will be the most undefeated guys against me. Maybe this fall will be good fight. I hope. I am still waiting mega fights. I waited three years before I got this moment for boxing on TV. Now I have patience too. I need to work every day to this goal. Every day, little by little, we will be there when we want.”

About Kovalev vs. Caparello:    
The WBO Light Heavyweight World Championship between Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev, (24-0-1, 22 KOs) and Blake “Il Capo” Caparello (19-0-1, 6 KOs) is on Saturday, August 2nd at Revel Casino Hotel in Atlantic, City, NJ.  The fight will be telecast as part of a split-site triple-header on HBO Boxing After Dark beginning at 9:45 PM ET/PT.  The event is presented by Main Events in association with DiBella Entertainment.  Tickets prices are $55, $80, $160 and $250.  They are available atticketmaster.com or 800-745-3000.  Doors open at 6:30 PM and the HBO Boxing After Dark special triple header split site telecast begins at 9:45 PM.

MLB: Here’s what you need to know at a glance…

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Headley dealt to Yankees, hits walk-off single in 14th

Lincecum’s first career save caps Giants’ victory

Rays rough up Wainwright for sixth straight win

Polanco leads way as Pirates outslug Dodgers

Rockies place Tulo on DL with hip flexor strain

And a few more things you need to see:

Jack White's trip to Wrigley Field as described by Jack White songs

Jack White’s trip to Wrigley Field as described by Jack White songs

I wonder if he was staying at the Hotel Yorba.

120 Sports: Captain Milestone

120 Sports: Captain Milestone

Derek Jeter passed Lou Gehrig for first place on the Yankees’ career doubles list.

Martin's circus catch

Martin’s circus catch

Leonys Martin tracks down Brian McCann’s deep fly ball and leaps to make a great juggling grab at the wall.

Veteran surprises her husband

Veteran surprises her husband

US Marine Corps Contractor Nicolle Hernandez-Price secretly returned to surprise her husband at a Dodgers game.

David Ortiz wrapped Munenori Kawasaki in giant bear hug

David Ortiz wrapped Munenori Kawasaki in giant bear hug

We all want to hug Muni. David Ortiz is one of the lucky ones.

Sports on Earth: Open for business

Sports on Earth: Open for business

After dealing Huston Street and Chase Headley over the past week, the Padres might not be done.