In Brief | Nation and World March 18
Kasey Kahne wins 1st career race at Bristol
BRISTOL, Tenn. — Kasey Kahne won his first career Sprint Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway after Brad Keselowski struggled on the final restart.
Tempers flared after the race when Joey Logano leaned inside the car window of former teammate Denny Hamlin to complain about Hamlin spinning him during the race. At the time, Logano was racing Jeff Gordon for the lead. Logano was pulled away from Hamlin’s car by crew members for both drivers in a classic post-Bristol clash that delighted the crowd.
“They’re fighting! It’s Bristol!” yelled Clint Bowyer, who saw the action on the infield big screen.
Logano wouldn’t discuss what he told Hamlin.
“That is for me to know and Denny to know. Frustrating,” he said. “I had a really fast ... Ford and I felt like it was capable to win the race.”
Nadal and Sharapova win Indian Wells titles
INDIAN WELLS, Calif. — Rafael Nadal watched Juan Martin del Potro’s last shot sail wide on his fourth match point and collapsed flat on his back. He wasn’t down for long, bouncing back up to celebrate his third title in four tournaments since coming back from a knee injury.
Nadal rallied from a set and 1-3 down in the second to win 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in the BNP Paribas Open final on Sunday, capping an amazing 1 1/2-month run since his seven-month layoff ended in February.
“Seriously, it’s impossible to have better comeback, no?” he said, smiling. “Happy for everything.”
Nadal improved to a career-best 17-1 on the year, including 14 straight match wins. He’s won three titles — two on clay while runner-up in another on his favorite surface — and now his first on hard courts since Tokyo in October 2010. He had lost six previous finals on the surface.
“That’s makes emotional week for me,” he said. “Very important victory for me, winning against the best players of the world on a surface that is good for them.”
Maria Sharapova defeated Caroline Wozniacki 6-2, 6-2 to win her first title of the year in the women’s final between two former top-ranked players.
Sharapova dictated from the opening game, when she broke Wozniacki at love with groundstrokes that had the Dane running from side to side. Sharapova faced just two break points on her serve in the nearly 1 1/2-hour match.
Jets owner open to listening to Revis offers
PHOENIX — New York Jets owner Woody Johnson said the team is open to listening to trade offers for Darrelle Revis, but added the star cornerback is not being shopped around.
Johnson told reporters at the NFL meetings Sunday that the Jets would like to keep Revis, the subject of rampant trade rumors, “but we’re trying to make the team better. He’s on the team right now.”
There has been speculation during the past several weeks that the Jets will try to deal Revis, who is recovering from a torn knee ligament and has one year remaining on his contract.
“We would be open to a conversation,” Johnson said. “But we’re not actively out there beating the bushes, because he’s on the team and we expect him to be on the team.”
Puerto Rico beats Japan, reaches first WBC final
SAN FRANCISCO — Alex Rios hit a two-run homer, Mike Aviles singled twice and drove in a run, and Puerto Rico eliminated two-time reigning World Baseball Classic champion Japan with a 3-1 win Sunday night to reach the final.
Puerto Rico will play in Tuesday night’s championship against either the Netherlands or the Dominican Republic. Those teams meet in the tournament’s second semifinal tonight.
A Puerto Rico team that didn’t even gather as a full squad for the first time until March 4 in Fort Myers, Fla., reached the championship round for the first time.
Unlike the previous WBC winners from Japan, this team was devoid of major leaguers and couldn’t pull off a three-peat. Hirokazu Ibata drove in the team’s lone run with an eighth-inning single before a costly baserunning blunder.
By wire sources