I hope you’re ready for the NASCAR season to start because this Sunday Chase Elliott will lead the field to the green flag on the pole for the Daytona 500. Elliott who’s a rookie and is taking over the #24 car from Jeff Gordon ran a lap of 196.314 m.p.h. just narrowly edging out Matt Kenseth who ran a lap of 196.036 m.p.h. and will start 2nd. Elliott who is just 20 years old used the same chassis as Gordon did last season and got the same result Gordon got last year; the pole position. Elliott and Kenseth are the only drivers whose positions for the Daytona 500 are now locked in. The balance of the field will be filled and ordered in Thursday night’s 150-mile Can-Am Duel qualifying races. Elliott’s first Sprint Cup pole was a milestone in many other respects. At 20 years, 2 months and 17 days, he is the youngest-ever winner of a Daytona 500 pole, supplanting Austin Dillon (23 years, 9 months 27 days in 2014). This was the 10th Daytona 500 pole for Hendrick Motorsports and the third for the #24 Chevrolet, with Gordon winning the previous two in 1999 and 2015. The qualifying times of the #4 and #14 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolets, driven by Kevin Harvick and Brian Vickers, were disallowed after NASCAR discovered track bar infractions during post-qualifying inspection. Those cars will start from the rear in their respective Duels. Another car with qualifying issues was The #78 Furniture Row Toyota of Martin Truex Jr. Truex Jr. failed to post a time after NASCAR inspectors noticed that one of the roof flaps was out of compliance. The car was on the 5-minute clock at the time and the problem could not be corrected in time to make a qualifying run. As a consequence, Truex will start from the rear of the field in the second Can-Am Duel. Chris Olmstead from http://www.BeyondtheFlag.com will join The Big Jack and Mr. Fantasy during the Sunday morning edition of Sports Time Radio to breakdown Sunday’s Daytona 500 and give you his Top 3 drivers you might see in victory lane.
The NBA doesn’t take the court for action until Thursday, but the trading deadline is also Thursday and we’ve had a couple of deals already. The Detroit Pistons sent Brandon Jennings and Ersan Ilyasova to the Orlando Magic for Tobias Harris. Both teams are currently out of playoff position and have been looking to get back in. With Harris, who is 23 and averaging 13.7 points and 7.0 rebounds this season, the Pistons get a young power forward with shooting range, but the team will also take on the rest of the 4-year, $64 million deal he signed last year. Detroit is 27-27, a 1/2 behind Charlotte in the competition for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The Pistons expect Harris to bolster their chances of reaching the postseason for the first time since 2009. The Magic, who had one of the youngest rosters in the league, get veterans to help with a run toward the playoffs, which 1st coach Scott Skiles has been pushing for in recent weeks. They are expected to have additional trade talks about adding more veteran players.
Bare with me here as there was also a 3-team deal and I’ll try to explain it the best I can. The Miami Heat received Brian Roberts from the Charlotte Hornets. The Memphis Grizzlies received Chris Andersen and a 2nd round pick from the Miami Heat. The Grizzlies also received P.J. Hairston and a 2nd round draft pick from the Charlotte Hornets. While Courtney Lee went from the Grizzlies to the Hornets. Okay; so Miami got 1-player, Charlotte got 1-player and Memphis got 2-players and 2-draft picks.
The question is will we see a big name player get dealt. Dwight Howard’s name has been mentioned quite a few times this week; so maybe he’s the guy to go. While it’s difficult to find a quality big man in the NBA is Howard the guy to get a playoff contender over the top. If Howard is dealt to an Eastern Conference team like most of the rumors are; can he help the team he’s traded to get past the Cleveland cavaliers in the playoffs? The other big name that may or may not be on the trading block is the Los Angeles Clippers Blake Griffin. There was a lot of talk about Griffin going to the New York Knicks for Carmelo Anthony, but Anthony has a no trade clause in his contract. Anthony also came out this week and said he won;t be going anywhere; so I’m guessing that deal isn’t going to happen. I really think that the best landing spot for Griffin would be the Cavaliers. A Griffin for Kevin Love deal might work well for both teams. The Cavaliers are looking to play a more up tempo style and Griffin would fit right into that. While Griffin isn’t the outside shooter that Love is he could take up some room in the paint and allow LeBron James to spend some more time on the perimeter. While Love might not look like the best fit for the Clippers style Imagine Chris Paul leading the break for Los Angeles and there’s nothing there. Love would be the perfect fit to trail that play and hit a 3-pointer in transition. Cleveland has said that they wouldn’t deal Love unless they got a star player in return and Griffin fits that bill. Love played his college basketball at UCLA and was born in Santa Monica, California. Would a return home to another contending team be alright with Love? Griffin could probably use a fresh start after his incident with the assistant equipment manager that saw Griffin break his hand. I guess we just have to wait and see if either team tries to make this deal before Thursday’s deadline.
Shayne Gostisbehere of the Philadelphia Flyers extended his record point streak by an NHL rookie defenseman to 13 games Tuesday with a first-period goal against the New Jersey Devils . Gostisbehere scored with 2:37 remaining in the period. Gostisbehere 13 game point streak is the second-longest in the NHL this season, behind the 26 games of Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane. It is the longest by an NHL defenseman in almost 20 years, since Brian Leetch had a 14-game streak for the New York Rangers.and the longest by any Flyers rookie. The longest point streak by an NHL rookie since 1987-88 is 20 games by forward Paul Stastny of the Colorado Avalanche. Colorado Rockies defenseman Barry Beck held the rookie defenseman record with two 10-game point streaks during the 1977-78 season.
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