Red Sox pitcher Matt Barnes suspended four games for throwing at Machado

Red Sox pitcher Matt Barnes has been suspended four games and fined for throwing a fastball past the head of Baltimore star Manny Machado.The commissioner’s office issued the penalty Monday. The right-hander is 2-0 with a 3.60 ERA in nine games this season.On Friday night at Camden Yards, Machado made a late slide that injured Boston second baseman Dustin Pedroia.On Sunday, Machado batted in the sixth inning and dodged out of the way when Boston starter Eduardo Rodriguez threw three pitches down and in around the knees. Machado came up again in the eighth and Barnes’ fastball whizzed behind his helmet.The Orioles and Red Sox play again next Monday at Fenway Park. The Red Sox are off and Barnes is appealing, meaning the reliever can continue to pitch until the process is done. Barnes was ejected Sunday after sailing a fastball past Machado’s helmet at Baltimore.

Oilers prepare for ‘big and physical’ second round against Ducks

They use the body (and) their D are strong,” said Maroon.“It’s going to be big and physical,” said Maroon.Ducks defenceman Cam Fowler, out for the last three weeks with a knee sprain, has been skating in practice, and is expected back at some point in the Edmonton series. The Ducks won the Pacific Division with 105 points, two up on the Oilers, but the Oilers won the season series 3-2.Anaheim is the hottest team in hockey, winning its last 18 regulation games, including four straight over the Calgary Flames in the first round.The Oilers with league scoring leader McDavid, ranked eighth in goals scored this year, while Anaheim was third overall on defence, allowing just 197 markers.The Oiler power play was killer at almost 23 per cent (ranked fifth) while the Ducks were a wall on the penalty kill (84.7 per cent and ranked fourth).Talbot had a .927 save percentage in the first round. And in the last game we got up early and we protected (the lead) down the stretch,” he said.“It showed we can play any kind of game, and I think that benefits us going forward.”It was not only the first taste of NHL postseason for key Oilers Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Oscar Klefbom, Jordan Eberle, and Nugent-Hopkins, it was also the first time the Oilers had been in the playoffs in a decade.The Ducks, like the Sharks, are a veteran team with a lot of playoff miles, led by Ryan Getzlaf, Ryan Kesler, Kevin Bieksa and Corey Perry.The numbers suggest a long series between two evenly matched teams. Klefbom missed the third period of Game 6 against San Jose with the flu and didn’t skate Monday, but head coach Todd McLellan said he will be in the lineup for Game 1. We just went through a round,” Oilers centre Ryan Nugent-Hopkins said Monday after practice at Rogers Place.“It gives us confidence now that we’re a legit team and we can play against anybody.”

The Oilers open the second round of the NHL playoffs Wednesday in California’s Orange County against the Anaheim Ducks.The Oilers, who have adopted the slogan “Orange Crush” for their playoff run, dispatched a veteran San Jose Sharks team in six games over the weekend.They won despite a lineup of young players, and even some veterans, with little to no playoff experience at the NHL level.The Oilers got a big boost from goaltender Cam Talbot. In his first NHL playoff series as a starter, Talbot recorded two shutouts and turned back the Sharks when they attacked in waves in the deciding game, a 3-1 Oilers win.Talbot said they experienced everything in that series.“We were up, we protected leads, we were behind, we came back, we won in overtime, we got blown out and we learned lessons from that. Anaheim’s John Gibson was .926.The Oilers were 22-14-5 on the road this year (seventh) but the Ducks won 29 of 41 at home at Honda Center, good for third in the NHL.The marquee matchup will be McDavid against Kesler, the Ducks shutdown super-pest and finalist for this year’s Selke Trophy as best defensive forward.The series will also see former Duck Patrick Maroon play against his old teammates. In the forthcoming battle of Orange Crush versus Orange County, the Edmonton Oilers say they can no longer be characterized as green.“We’ve got playoff experience now. Maroon, traded from Anaheim last season, has been playing on a line with McDavid and Draisaitl for much of the year, although he got bumped down the lineup for the speedster Drake Caggiula as the San Jose series progressed.“(The Ducks) are going to get on the forecheck.

Senators find playoff inspiration in Karlsson, Anderson, MacArthur

Battling through injuries, battling through little nicks and trying to do it for your teammates and for yourself.”“We can talk about the hockey player, but as an individual the level of maturity that he’s acquired is spectacular,” he added. “He comes here and he’s as good a pro as I’ve ever seen in my NHL career. “Not only is he one of the best players in the league, it’s also what he does as a leader and the example he sets. “The two big goals he scored in these playoffs is part of special moments. It’s a team sport, but you can’t help but be so happy for him as an individual.“The human side that he brings to our room helps so much.”While MacArthur scored the winner it was Anderson who kept the Senators in the game with timely saves as his wife Nicholle, who was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year, surprised her husband by showing up at the game. I’ve never come across a better player in my career.”MacArthur scored the overtime winner Sunday to end the series capping what has already been an emotional return for the 32-year-old.He was shut down in January by doctors after suffering four concussions in a span of 18 months and was not expected to return to action this season, if ever. He allows us to win every game.”While the trio provided plenty of inspiration the Senators performance as a whole can’t be overlooked. A lot of the players know the pain he played through.“He’s a special player. “That’s what playoff hockey is. What happened (Sunday), I don’t know how many times in my career as GM that we’ll have moments like we lived yesterday.“When you see someone who worked as hard as he did this year to come back and finally there’s a moment where everything falls into place and he’s the guy who puts the puck in the net, you’re so happy for him. “I think we scored goals when it mattered the most and fortunately that’s why we’re heading to playing hockey in May.”Ottawa is hopeful to have its full roster at its disposal for Game 1. Karlsson’s performance was earning rave reviews before anyone knew of his injury, but Dorion says it’s the star defenceman’s personal growth that’s even more impressive.“The ability that he has to play through pain and be as dominant as he has not being 100 per cent says a lot about him,” Dorion said Tuesday, two days before the Senators and Rangers open their series at Ottawa’s Canadian Tire Centre. The two hadn’t seen each other in nearly three weeks as she recuperates at their home in Florida.Dorion praised Anderson’s ability to block out everything his family is going through and perform as well as he has.“When the person you love the most on earth is going through what they’re going through and his ability to block it out, to focus on his teammates, I don’t know how I can put that into words,” said Dorion. But MacArthur resumed training after a brief hiatus and stunned the hockey world returning to the ice April 4.“Clarke is a big inspiration for us,” Dorion said. They’re a very good hockey team, they have systems in place and it was really fun watching their series.” When players were injured or struggling, Ottawa’s depth allowed them to make seamless changes.“I think we did a lot of little things well and I think at the end of the day that’s what mattered,” said Dorion. Shortly after Ottawa’s first-round playoff win over Boston, Senators captain Erik Karlsson revealed he had been playing with two hairline fractures in his left heel.Ottawa general manager Pierre Dorion called it another example, along with Clarke MacArthur’s return and Craig Anderson’s resilience, of the inspiration the Senators are finding in their own locker room as they prepare to open a second-round series against the New York Rangers. Defenceman Mark Borowiecki, who suffered a lower body injury Game 2, is making progress, as is forward Tom Pyatt who missed the last two games of the series with an upper body injury.Dorion said he watched the Rangers opening series against the Montreal Canadiens closely and knows they’ll provide a tough challenge.“The Rangers impressed me, this won’t be easy.

First round of NHL playoffs was a battle of the goaltenders

Only Holtby has moved on to the second round and he didn’t play his best game of the series until the end. Besides, head man Joel Quenneville is second only to Scotty Bowman in coaching victories and thus bullet-proof. Louis Blues and Minnesota Wild series as an example. This is wildly uncommon in the NHL – telling the truth about what’s going on rather than faking a mild groin injury to explain a player’s short-term absence. Elliott was exceptional in 18 playoff games last year, but nothing went right for him this year.And last year’s Stanley Cup-winning goaltender, Matt Murray, is on the sidelines with an injury, leaving it to 2009 Stanley Cup champion Marc-André Fleury to ride to the rescue and get Pittsburgh into the second round.If playoff pedigree matters, then Pittsburgh should be favoured. He was the main reason St. Your hands are effectively tied. Louis Blues and the Nashville Predators – have never won the Stanley Cup before, while three others – the Oilers, the Ottawa Senators and the New York Rangers – have not won in this century. Eighteen (of 42) games went to overtime – the most of any round in the history of the Stanley Cup playoffs – which tells you something about how close the games were. What a curiously unpredictable opening round of the 2017 NHL playoffs.Four of the top seven regular-season teams are on the outside looking in, including the Chicago Blackhawks – the betting favourite going in and, by most objective standards, far and away the best team in the Western Conference. Ottawa’s last win came back in 1927, with Dave Gill outcoaching Boston’s Art Ross in the last Cup final to include tie games.Playoff upsets are a way of life in the NHL. Louis – Mike Yeo in as head coach, Martin Brodeur asked to work full time with the goalies – Allen went from being a liability to arguably the hottest goaltender in the league.In the opening round, Minnesota won all the territorial battles – except the one that counts: goals. They selected Carey Price of Montreal, Braden Holtby of Washington and Sergei Bobrovsky of the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Blackhawks responded to their early, unexpected demise Monday by firing assistant coach Mike Kitchen on the grounds that you have to do something to mark such a puzzling failure. Teams are even more susceptible to them in an era of parity, when there really isn’t much separating the majority of teams. Louis moved on, in the same way Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne was the main reason Nashville moved on and Cam Talbot was the main reason Edmonton moved on.Calgary’s Brian Elliott was the biggest single reason they made the playoffs, but his performance at key times in the series against Anaheim was so poor that the Flames now have to ponder their goaltending options.Last week, the NHL announced the three finalists for the Vézina Trophy, awarded annually to the best goalie as chosen by the league’s general managers. But what must be particularly maddening for the architects of all these teams is how fickle the goaltending has been and how the shifting netminding sands had such a critical impact on the outcome of pretty much every series.Take the St. And yet, it worked magically. At this stage of the season, the question isn’t even if a goaltender is good or bad any more. It’s more a matter of who’s hot and who’s not. In January, if someone had promised you that Blues-versus-Wild was a first-round match-up and furthermore that it would be decided by the play of the goaltenders, you would have nodded knowingly and picked Minnesota. You can’t. After all, Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk was in the midst of a Vézina Trophy-calibre season back then, while Blues goalie Jake Allen was playing so poorly that the team gave him a few days off in the midseason to get his head together. But not a single series went the distance, which also tells you something about momentum – specifically how difficult it is to get back once a team has lost it. As the first round proved once again, if it happens to be your week, it could also be your year. The happy byproduct of the latter development is that the second round gets under way early, with two games Wednesday, including the Edmonton Oilers in Anaheim to play the Ducks in another too-close-to-call series.Of the eight remaining contenders, three – the Washington Capitals, the St. Chicago’s Corey Crawford has won before, but he was just so-so this year. And while fans in Ottawa and Edmonton are hoping one or the other can end Canada’s 24-year championship drought, the marquee match-up of the second round features the defending champs against the two-time President’s Trophy winners from Washington, a team that’s been knocking on the door for a while.The series will feature Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin on the Pittsburgh side pitted against Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom on the Washington side.But if the first round is any indication, even with all that star power up front, the series will ultimately be decided by the goaltending battle. The Penguins have won four titles since 1991 – more than the other seven remaining teams combined in that span. Price was good for Montreal, but New York’s Henrik Lundqvist was better. You just have to hope for better next year. Dubnyk was good, but Allen was so much better. Coupled with the coaching changes in St. They’re all good. As for Bobrovsky, who is heavily favoured to win the award, he stands tied with Elliott for last place on the NHL playoff goaltending charts, picked apart by Pittsburgh’s sharp shooters in the opening round.If you’re an NHL GM sifting through the ashes of a first-round exit, how do you react to a subpar goaltending performance from an all-star goaltender?

Raptors dunk their way to 3-2 series lead over Bucks

He concluded the night with eight points and seven rebounds to Monroe’s 11 points and two boards.Toronto never lost control, although Antetokounmpo still had many marvellous moments and finished the night with 30 points and nine rebounds, while Malcolm Brogdon had 19.Carroll said the difference since Toronto was throttled in Game 3 has been a weekend film session that was very difficult but really productive.“It was just a heated film session,” said Carroll. Then we kept building from it.” Game 5 was never in doubt, and Toronto’s bench players finished the game. Powell was remarkable in his second straight start, recording four 3-pointers, four rebounds, three assists, three steals and thrilled with dunks and hustle plays.“It’s all about giving myself up for the team,” said Powell. “I’m trying to get better, whether it’s coming off the bench, cheering for Kyle and DeMar, the guys on the floor, going in there, making hustle plays, focusing on defence, pushing the ball in transition….just trying to accomplish the things that I have set out for myself within the aspect of the team.”Five other Raptors scored in double digits, including Kyle Lowry (16), Serge Ibaka (19), DeMar DeRozan (18), DeMarre Carroll (12), and Cory Joseph (10), who also had 10 assists.Lowy started the game, even though he sat out Monday morning’s shoot-around due to stiffness in his back. He was visibly in pain at some points in the game, and was lying on the floor when he was out.“Once you stop and sit down, it sucks. Carroll finally found his shot, while Powell drained a pair of threes and kept Middleton in check. With a victory on Thursday in Milwaukee, Toronto would earn a rematch with the Cavs, the team that ended their playoff run last year in the Eastern Conference finals.The Raptors returned home after splitting games on the road with Milwaukee, and had a dominant win. “Heated film sessions can go one of two ways – bad or good. The Bucks only scored 16 points in the quarter, but 13 of them were from Antetokounmpo, from driving layups to dunks and floating jumpers. Fans ended the night chanting, “Raps in six, Raps in six!”Should a Game 7 be needed after the two teams tangle on Thursday in Milwaukee, that would take place Saturday in Toronto. To that point the game was peppered with dominant Toronto moments. You’ve got to just keep going,” said Lowry. At the other end of the floor, the two got face to face, and the Toronto faithful rose to their feet in excitement, chanting, “JV-JV-JV” – to which the fiery Lithuanian flexed his muscles and encouraged the applause.“The fans were great,” said a pleased Valanciunas when asked about the incident. Ibaka was hot, DeRozan nabbed a turnover and took it coast to coast, deking Greg Monroe out of his shoes, and delivered a monster dunk. It was a bounce-back night for him.The Raptors built a commanding 15-point lead before the first quarter was over. Milwaukee chipped Toronto’s 19-point lead down to nine.This was far from the dominant Bucks team who had trapped the Raptors hard in Games 1 and 3, played with more physicality and stalled Lowry and DeRozan with their defensive schemes.Valanciunas added perhaps the first bite of real hostility to the series by going nose to nose with Monroe in the third quarter. “I just want to be out there with my guys.”The Raps went with the same starting lineup that produced a win on Saturday – Powell starting at small forward to guard Khris Middleton, while Jonas Valaniunas came off the bench.Ibaka, who had 10 points on mediocre 4-of-16 shooting in Game 4, hit three of Toronto’s first four buckets on Monday – a three, a jumper and a big dunk – and held down Milwaukee’s Thon Maker. The two had tangled aggressively under the hoop, and Monroe came down on Valanciunas’s back, so the big man appeared to land him to the ground with a strong box out. The Toronto Raptors are just one win away from a second-round meeting with LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.Led by 25 points from Norman Powell in the best playoff performance of his young career, the Raptors beat the Milwaukee Bucks 118-93 in Game 5 Monday, taking a 3-2 lead in their first-round best-of-seven series. What’s more, they were keeping a thumb on Giannis Antetokounmpo – the Bucks start began one for six.The Raps led 31-20 after the quarter.In the second quarter, the Greek star was finding his groove. We came together and we saw the problem. “I’m an emotional player.”Both players were assessed technical fouls.Valanciunas was inciting the crowd each time he touched the ball after that, including a big fourth-quarter slam dunk that sent the Air Canada Centre fans into a frenzy.

Canadian duo Carruthers, Courtney lose to Czech Republic at mixed curling worlds

1 goal,” Carruthers said. “I had a shot for four in the fourth end and threw it just a little bit too heavy, and that would have been a game-changer. Canada lost its first match at the world mixed doubles curling championship, falling 7-5 to the Czech Republic in Monday’s late draw.The Canadian duo of Edmonton’s Joanne Courtney and Winnipeg’s Reid Carruthers began the day with a 14-0 win over Kazakhstan.But the Czech Republic tandem of Zuzana Hajkova and Tomas Paul stole crucial single points in the third and fourth ends en route to victory, leaving the Czechs alone in first place in Group D with a 4-0 record. Canada dropped to 3-1. “If we win one or two more of our games, then we’ll be in a real good spot to make the playoffs, and we’ll go from there.”The results in Lethbridge will help determine the seven countries that will join host South Korea when mixed curling makes its Olympic debut at the 2018 Pyeongchang Games. But we’re learning the ice, getting more comfortable out there, and it was still close in the end.”That fourth end would prove pivotal as Canada was sitting second, third and fourth shot, with a Czech stone protected, but accessible with the right weight. But Courtney’s tap was heavy and went by, leaving the Czechs with the steal.Canada, coached by Jeff Stoughton, plays Germany’s Julia Meissner and Andy Buttner (2-2) on Tuesday.Carruthers suggested Monday’s late result won’t detract from Canada’s objective at the tournament.“We have to make the playoffs – that’s the No. Canada was sitting shot rock behind cover in the eighth end when Hajkova made a hack-weight pick to remove the Canadian counter.“They played fantastic and we just had a few too many misses,” said Courtney.

Nastase says he’ll be the ‘bad boy’ if he says more about Serena Williams

Just to have a scandal? But the way he talked, I didn’t like and I cannot accept that.” He’s a member of the International Tennis Hall of Fame.On Monday, Williams wrote on Instagram that she was disappointed “to know we live in a society where people like Ilie Nastase can make such racist comments towards myself and (my) unborn child.”Williams is black. I don’t know if he will be our captain even if he is not banned.“I liked how he was with me on the court the first match. Ilie Nastase said he would be considered the “bad boy” if he says anything more about Serena Williams, and then later said more in a separate interview.Nastase, the captain of Romania’s Fed Cup team, last week speculated about the skin colour of the baby the pregnant Williams is expecting.When asked Tuesday about Williams’ response, Nastase told The Associated Press: “Anything I say, I am the bad boy.”

Nastase also questioned the legitimacy of writing about his initial comments ahead of the Fed Cup series against Britain.“Why write a news story like this? Her fiance, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, is white.Williams also referred to Nastase’s “sexist comments against my peers” — a reference to his verbal abuse directed at British player Johanna Konta, British captain Anne Keothavong and the chair umpire during Fed Cup matches over the weekend. But it also described his game, which earned him two Grand Slam singles titles and more than 100 ATP titles. He was very positive and he supported me. He was ejected from the contest and provisionally suspended by the International Tennis Federation.Romania won the best-of-five series 3-2.Simona Halep, a member of Romania’s Fed Cup team, said she could not defend the things Nastase has said.“What he did was wrong,” Halep said Tuesday in Stuttgart at the Porsche Grand Prix. “I don’t know if he will be able anymore to be captain. There are many more important things going on,” Nastase said in a telephone interview from Budapest, Hungary.In an interview with Romanian website published Tuesday after the AP interview, Nastase again denied that his comments were racist.“If I said she would have an ugly, black (baby), that would have been racist,” he said.Nastase earned the nickname “Nasty” for his on-court outbursts and gamesmanship in his playing heyday in the 1970s.

Jays not ‘clicking as a unit,’ Gibbons says after Toronto falls to Angels

Said Scioscia: “The four walks were a little uncharacteristic of the way Jesse normally goes about things. It was his second of the season.The Blue Jays have scored four runs or less in 14 of their 18 games this season.“We’re not clicking as a unit,” said Blue Jays manager John Gibbons. “It’s just a matter of using my size and athleticism, stretch as long as I can,” Maybin said. But he made pitches when he had to.”Double ejectionGibbons was ejected for the second time this season, and in two games, unhappy about the strike zone on Liriano and a strike three called against Martin. Said Gibbons: “I thought it was kind of a moving zone. The Angels’ winning rally in the fifth came against Francisco Liriano (1-2) after Maybin’s leadoff single. “I felt good, felt normal.”Bud Norris pitched a scoreless ninth to earn his second save.Martin’s solo home run in the fourth accounted for Toronto’s only run. He fired home, but Maybin avoided the tag by Martin.“I wasn’t sure if I got the plate or not right away, so I just went back and touched it,” Maybin said. Gibbons said he did speak to his third baseman from Anaheim Monday and Donaldson said from the team’s training facility he was feeling better.Angels: The team reinstated right-hander Vicente Campos from the disabled list and optioned him to Triple-A Salt Lake City. “That’s the bottom line.”The Angels tied the score in the bottom of the fourth when a Mike Trout double turned into a triple after right-fielder Jose Bautista slipped. Cameron Maybin stood at third base in the tie game, eyed the infield playing in and then immediately broke on contact.He dove head-first into home, slid his out-stretched left hand around catcher Russell Martin’s tag and scored what proved the final run Monday night in the Los Angeles Angels’ 2-1 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays. Albert Pujols singled to score Trout. He has not allowed an earned run in the combined 13 innings of his last two starts.Angels: JC Ramirez (0-2) is scheduled to make his third start for the Angels Tuesday at home against the A’s. “I have about a 6-8, 6-9 wing span. Chavez (2-3) walked four but struck out seven.“Today was just a normal day,” Chavez said. The converted reliever has struggled in his first two starts (6.97 ERA) but will be pitching with an extra day’s rest. “But he held them down and gave us a shot.”The victory allowed the Angels to split the four-game series against Toronto.Trainer’s roomBlue Jays: Josh Donaldson (right calf strain) was eligible to come off the disabled list Monday, but remains out with an uncertain return. That’s something you learn from playing basketball – how long your arms are.”Right-hander Jesse Chavez, who came in relief to take the loss in Friday’s 13-inning loss to Toronto, went six innings for the Angels, holding the Blue Jays to one run on four hits. The Angels hope he has better luck there than at Single-A Inland Empire, where Sunday he gave up three runs on two homers in 1 2/3 innings.Return engagementChavez coming back three days as a starter after appearing as a reliever against the same team is an oddity, but Angels manager Mike Scioscia said his right-hander handled it well. It didn’t look like (Liriano) was moving it everywhere.”Up nextBlue Jays: Marco Estrada, who has the lowest ERA (2.63) in the Toronto rotation, will start Tuesday in St. “(Martin) never touch me.”Liriano went 5 1/3 innings, allowing the two runs on five hits and four walks, with two strikeouts.“His stuff was good, but his balls-to-strikes ratio wasn’t,” Gibbons said. A walk and sacrifice bunt put runners at second and third.The Blue Jays played the infield in and Yunel Escobar hit a bouncer to second baseman Devon Travis. Louis.

NASCAR star Dale Earnhardt Jr. to retire at end of season

But the son of the late seven-time champion has never won a Cup title.Earnhardt has driven for Hendrick since 2008 after a nasty split with Dale Earnhardt Inc., the team founded by his father but run by his stepmother. Tony Stewart retired at the end of last year.Now Earnhardt, the last of the true country boys, is following their exit. While we will miss Dale on the track next year, he loves this sport, those working in the industry and the fans too much to ever be too far away.” We’ll get in here and find out,” he said as he walked to the care centre.Earnhardt set an afternoon news conference with team owner Rick Hendrick to discuss his decision. “He has a tremendous sense of the history of NASCAR and, while he shares his father’s name, Dale has made a name for himself with his accomplishments in racing. He has 26 career Cup victories and is a two-time champion of NASCAR’s second-tier series. has had a huge impact on our sport – and you can see that every week with his legion of fans and Junior Nation,” Gordon said in a statement released by Fox Sports, where he now works as an analyst. Dale Earnhardt Jr. abruptly announced his retirement at the end of the season Tuesday, a decision that will cost NASCAR its most popular driver as the series scrambles to rebuild its fan base.Colorful, candid and talented, Earnhardt has been plagued by concussions the last several years and he missed half of last season recovering from the latest head injury. The concussions left him with nausea, double vision, anxiety and a multitude of other symptoms that he’s discussed in great detail.Earnhardt is not off to the greatest start this season, with only one top-five finish so far. Although the fan was pushed away at the time, Earnhardt found him after his stop in the care centre and later posted on Twitter that the fan got his picture.He did not seem fazed by Monday’s crash.“I feel good. His Hall of Fame father Dale won seven titles and, known as “The Intimidator,” was one of the greatest drivers in NASCAR history.Earnhardt’s grandfather, Ralph, ran 51 races at NASCAR’s highest level.“Dale Jr. The Kannapolis native is in his 18th full-time season at the Cup level and he made his 600th career series start earlier this year at California.His retirement is just the latest in a series of veterans stepping away from the sport after long and popular careers.Jeff Gordon called it quits after the 2015 season, but he was a fill-in last year as Earnhardt recovered. 88 Chevrolet, and the two-time Daytona 500 winner with deep family roots in auto racing appears ready to call it quits. He was unhappy with the direction of DEI since his father’s 2001 death in a last-lap accident at the Daytona 500, and a frosty relationship with his stepmother led him to bolt to NASCAR’s most powerful team.Earnhardt made his first career Cup Series start on May 30, 1999, at Charlotte Motor Speedway. It caused him to delay contract talks on an extension to drive the No. Hendrick Motorsports said in a news release that Earnhardt informed his team of his decision early Tuesday. I’m sure God has many other great plans for him and us!”Earnhardt has become a vocal advocate for research of sports-related brain injuries, and the hit he took last June led to months of rehabilitation that gave him a new perspective on his life. He took another hit Monday at Bristol Motor Speedway when a mechanical issue caused him to crash.In a typical Earnhardt move, a fan tried to take a selfie with Earnhardt as the driver made his way to the care centre for the mandatory checkup after his hit. Born and raised in North Carolina, Earnhardt has deep roots in NASCAR. Hendrick Motorsports said Earnhardt first discussed retirement with his boss on March 29.Earnhardt has won NASCAR’s most popular driver award a record 14 times. A third-generation racer, Earnhardt turns 43 in October, is newly married and has said he wants to start a family.His wife, Amy, posted on Twitter shortly after the announcement: “I’m so proud of Dale for working so hard to get back and even prouder for his courage & self awareness to make the decision to retire.

Drake to host first-ever NBA Awards on June 26

Drake will host the NBA’s first-ever awards show this June.The Canadian rapper will preside over the June 26 ceremony in New York, which will be televised live on TNT.The Rookie of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, Sixth Man Award, Most Improved Player and Coach of the Year will be announced during the show. Award winners have previously been announced separately throughout the post-season.Drake serves as global ambassador for his hometown Toronto Raptors and is frequently seen in courtside seats at their games. The league and Turner Sports say other awards will be open to fan voting. Those categories and finalists will be announced later this week.