Christopher Bell sped to his third Busch Light Pole of 2022 with a blistering lap in qualifying on Saturday at Kansas Speedway.
The No. 20 Toyota laid a lap of 179.575 mph around the 1.5-mile speedway to claim the No. 1 starting spot for Sunday’s race (3 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Tyler Reddick will start second with a lap of 178.855 mph ahead of Kyle Larson (178.772 mph), Austin Cindric (178.448 mph) and Kurt Busch (178.359 mph).
“We have everything we need to win the races, that is for sure,” Bell said. “Our cars are super-fast. I feel like I‘ve been driving pretty well, especially the last couple of weeks specifically. We just have to maintain our track position.”
Rounding out the top 10 on the starting grid are Kyle Busch, Aric Almirola, Alex Bowman, Martin Truex Jr. and Ryan Blaney.
Practice featured multiple on-track incidents, with the most frequent culprit being the left-rear tire. Chris Buescher, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Joey Logano each spun and crashed into the wall. Buescher and Logano will go to backup cars while Stenhouse’s primary car will undergo repairs.
“I lost the left rear going down the frontstretch,” said Buescher, whose team rolled out a backup car. “I guess, on corner entry, I started feeling a vibration, tried to slow down and didn‘t get it knocked down in time.
“…It‘s going to be a long night.”
Logano, who won last week’s race at Darlington Raceway, remained confident despite wrecking his primary car.
“As soon as I turned down off into the corner, I could feel the shaking, and I knew it was bad,” said Logano, who will start from the rear in a backup car on Sunday. “We‘ll be all right. We‘ll fight through it. I think we were pretty decent in lap times before that, I believe, on long hauls, at least.”
Other drivers who suffered flat tires were Denny Hamlin and Blaney. Hamlin incurred damage to his rear diffuser, forcing his No. 11 team to change the part and meaning he will start Sunday’s race from the rear of the field. Cody Ware also spun in the session.
Reid Spencer, NASCAR Wire Service, contributed to this story.
Jacob deGrom having follow-up MRI on Monday
The Mets said on May 10 that deGrom had started throwing, with GM Billy Eppler specifying that deGrom was “out to 60 feet at light intensity.”
If the news after deGrom’s follow-up MRI is good, the expectation is that he’ll be able to ramp up further.
The news that deGrom was throwing followed positive MRI results on his right shoulder that were revealed on April 25, and the Mets said on the 25th that deGrom would receive a follow-up MRI in approximately three weeks.
At the time, deGrom’s MRI and CT scans showed “considerable healing” of his stress reaction, which led to him being cleared to “begin loading and strengthening of the shoulder.”
DeGrom has been out since April 1 and was transferred to the 60-day IL on May 10 — the same day Eppler said he had started throwing. The 60-day move had no bearing on deGrom’s timeline since he was never returning before the second week of June anyway.
On March 31, with spring training nearing a close, deGrom reported shoulder tightness. He was placed on the IL the next day, after an initial MRI revealed the injury.
“Most scapula stress fractures that are caught early heal relatively reliably if the player strictly adheres to the rest and rehab protocol,” Deepak Chona, MD, a Stanford-trained orthopedic sports surgeon and founder of SportsMedAnalytics who does not personally treat deGrom, told SNY in April when discussing deGrom’s injury. “Any time there is an extended period off followed by a ramp back up, there is an accompanying risk of overdoing it and having a setback. However, as long as deGrom progresses slowly, you should expect a full recovery of his prior pitching performance with respect to both velocity and control.
“Furthermore, once he’s back, I wouldn’t expect this to act up again midseason. DeGrom at age 33 is not exactly young for an MLB pitcher, but he’s shown the ability to bounce back before. We have no reason to expect this to be much different.”
At the moment, the Mets’ rotation consists of Max Scherzer, Chris Bassitt, Carlos Carrasco, and Taijuan Walker. Tylor Megill, who is on the IL with biceps inflammation, could return as soon as his 15-day stint is up on May 27.
Golf legend Tom Watson engaged to marry former CBS Sports executive LeslieAnne Wade
Golf legend Tom Watson is engaged to marry a longtime CBS Sports executive. The eight-time major champion became formally engaged to LeslieAnne Wade on May 7 while on a visit to the University of Notre Dame, where Ms. Wade was attending a reunion with her college roommates.
The couple plans to marry on July 9 in New Jersey before traveling to the Open Championship in St. Andrews. Ms. Wade confirmed the engagement and wedding date to Golfweek but declined further comment. The pair have known each other for 15 years.
Watson, 72, is a Hall of Famer and 39-time winner on the PGA Tour. His eight major titles include five Open victories, two Masters and a U.S. Open. His late wife, Hilary, died after a two-year battle with pancreatic cancer in 2019.
Ms. Wade has been a widely respected fixture in the golf world for decades. She served as a Senior Vice President of Communications at CBS Sports and currently works with the Endeavor agency and for White Tee Partners, a women-owned marketing agency she co-founded. Her first marriage ended in divorce some years ago.
Watson retired from competitive golf in 2019 after an almost 50-year career during which he won 70 titles and twice captained the United States in the Ryder Cup.
Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire: Five players who can help you with stolen bases
Does your fantasy baseball team need speed? Here are some players to add who should help in stolen bases moving forward.
Eli White, OF, Texas Rangers (2%)
White hit leadoff over the final two games of the weekend series and is up to seven steals over just 38 at bats this season. White is a 28-year-old without much long-term upside but hit well in Triple-A last season, and his current .237 batting average hides a .370 OBP and a 129 wRC+. Moreover, White’s strong defense should lead to a continued everyday role, and Texas is giving the green light, as the Rangers have the third-most SBs this year. Only seven players have more steals than White this season, and all of them have 100+ ABs (White has 38).
Jorge Mateo, 2B/SS/OF, Baltimore Orioles (39%)
Mateo is tied for the MLB lead with 10 steals, so he shouldn’t still be available in so many Yahoo leagues. The new left field dimensions have transformed Camden Yards from arguably the best park in baseball for power into arguably the worst park in baseball for homers, but Mateo possesses “80” speed and should continue to run wild on the base paths. With Adalberto Mondesi out for the season, Mateo has a real chance to lead baseball in steals.
Vidal Bruján, 2B/OF, Tampa Bay Rays (6%)
Bruján has struggled badly over a limited MLB sample, but he should get an opportunity now with Manuel Margot and Brandon Lowe on the IL. Bruján swiped 44 bags (with 12 homers) over just 103 games at Triple-A last season, and he had attempted a whopping 11 stolen bases over just 16 games there this year. Moreover, Tampa Bay is leading MLB by a wide margin in SB attempts, as they are the only team in baseball attempting more than one per game. In other words, Bruján’s SB upside is massive, which would be extra helpful in such a scarce category given how many other later speed options like Jonathan Villar, Akil Baddoo, Garrett Hampson and Victor Robles (among others) have been busts.
Nick Senzel, 2B/OF, Cincinnati Reds (4%)
Senzel is expected to begin a rehab assignment Wednesday and should be back in Cincinnati soon. He’s been a major disappointment with the Reds (and is without a steal this season), but this is still a former No. 2 pick entering his prime with a strong enough minor league resume that THE BAT X projects a .272 BA (109 wRC+) with nine homers and 11 stolen bases over 360 ABs rest of season. Senzel is 2B/OF eligible, swiped 14 bases over just 375 ABs as a rookie (and his Sprint Speed is in the 83rd percentile) and gets to play in the second-best hitter’s park in baseball, so he’s well worth stashing in fantasy leagues.
Andrew Velazquez, SS, Los Angeles Angels (1%)
Velazquez is quietly up to six steals on the year, and his elite defense at shortstop should help keep his bat in LA’s lineup. He swiped 29 bags over just 264 at bats in Triple-A last season, and the Angels are among the league leaders in SBs this season. Velazquez is more of a deep league option, but he’s a middle infielder getting regular playing time who’s running. And his .190 batting average comes with an average exit velocity that’s actually in the 72nd percentile. Velazquez is another option for those desperate for speed.
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