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Driver Kevin Harvick is seen in the pit area after winning the pole for Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup series Quicken Loans 400 auto race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Mich., Friday, June 13, 2014. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Driver Kevin Harvick is seen in the pit area after winning the pole for Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup series Quicken Loans 400 auto race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Mich., Friday, June 13, 2014. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)


Harvick wins Michigan pole with fastest lap since Elliott’s run in ’87

BROOKLYN, Mich. – Kevin Harvick posted the fastest qualifying speed in NASCAR’s top series since 1987, winning the pole at Michigan International Speedway yesterday at 204.557 mph.

Harvick’s pole-winning speed was the fastest since Bill Elliott set the record of 212.809 mph at Talladega Superspeedway in April 1987, but drivers have routinely broken 200 mph at Michigan since the track was repaved before the 2012 season.

Marcos Ambrose had a speed of 203.241 in 2012, the first time anyone won a pole at over 200 mph since Elliott did it before horsepower-sapping restrictor plates were introduced at Talladega and Daytona. Last August, Joey Logano pushed the track record to 203.949.

Harvick was even faster in winning his third pole of the year and ninth of his career. Points leader Jeff Gordon was second, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. was third.


Earnhardt leaves Newman stranded

BROOKLYN, Mich. – Ryan Newman made it to Michigan, no thanks to Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Newman thought he had arranged a ride on Earnhardt’s plane yesterday morning. The problem was that Earnhardt forgot about that and left Newman at the Statesville Regional Airport in North Carolina.

“It was just an honest mistake, I think,” Newman said. “He forgot. I don’t think it was by any means on purpose.”

Newman said he arrived before the scheduled 8:30 a.m. departure, but the plane was already gone. He was able to find former NASCAR driver Dale Jarrett’s plane and get a ride on that.

Newman was at Michigan International Speedway in time for his scheduled media availability yesterday afternoon, and well before the start of qualifying for tomorrow’s 400-mile NASCAR Sprint Cup race. Earnhardt says the takeoff time for his plane was moved up by 30 minutes because of media commitments.

“I forgot about Ryan. Even if we were taking off at 8:30 a.m. and he wasn’t there I probably would have left him,” Earnhardt said. “That was unfortunate for sure, but it happens.”


Chiefs release veteran cornerback Flowers after voluntary workouts

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Chiefs released cornerback Brandon Flowers yesterday, shortly after finishing up three weeks of voluntary workouts in which the former starter was conspicuously absent.

Kansas City has been bumping up against the salary cap, so the move to part ways with Flowers was largely expected. He was due to make $5.25 million this season, and the former starter carried a salary cap number of $10.5 million next season.

The decision to release Flowers will save the Chiefs about $7.25 million this season and $7.5 million next season. That money could be used to help the Chiefs sign quarterback Alex Smith and linebacker Justin Houston to contract extensions.


Texans’ Clowney has sports hernia surgery, will be ready for camp

HOUSTON – Jadeveon Clowney, the No. 1 overall pick in the draft by the Houston Texans, is recovering from sports hernia surgery.

Coach Bill O’Brien disclosed the procedure yesterday, saying Clowney had been struggling with a groin issue. He says the standout from South Carolina was sent to a specialist in Philadelphia and it was determined that surgery was the best option.

The surgery was performed Thursday. O’Brien said he expects Clowney to be ready for training camp, which begins in late July.


Cardinals ace Wainwright could miss start to rest elbow

ST. LOUIS – Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright said his elbow injury is not serious, but he could miss a start to allow the tendinitis to calm down.

Wainwright is tied for the National League lead in wins at 9-3 with a 2.15 ERA. He had an injection on Wednesday after an MRI exam pinpointed the trouble area in the back of his elbow.

Wainwright, who missed the 2011 season after undergoing elbow reconstruction surgery, said yesterday the sole reason for the MRI was to aid in rehab efforts. Wainwright sought to calm fans, saying the elbow was fine and the tendon was “thick as an oak tree and strong as can be.”

Both the team and pitcher kept open the possibility Wainwright could stay on his turn and pitch Monday against the Mets, but all agreed a little rest would be beneficial.


Van Dyken-Rouen’s recovery slow

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Six-time Olympic gold medal swimmer Amy Van Dyken-Rouen is still paralyzed a week after severing her spinal cord in an all-terrain vehicle accident, though doctors are not sure if it will be permanent.

Van Dyken-Rouen posted a note on Twitter yesterday refuting a report that she was no longer paralyzed and another that said she will not need more surgery.

The 41-year-old swimmer was unable to move her toes or feel anything touching her legs after the ATV she was driving near Show Low hit a curb and launched her over a drop-off on June 6.

Van Dyken-Rouen severed her spinal cord in the accident and was airlifted to a Scottsdale hospital, where she had surgery. She plans to rehabilitate at a hospital in suburban Denver.


World Peace to coach high school girls’ team in Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES – While former Lakers and Knicks forward Metta World Peace remains a free agent, he’s signed on to work as a girls’ high school hoops coach.

Palisades Charter High School Coach Torino Johnson told the Orange County Register that World Peace will be an assistant coach at the Los Angeles school.

Johnson said he first met World Peace while coaching his daughter, Sadie, when she played for the Palisades Dolphins.

From 2009 to 2013, World Peace played for the Los Angeles Lakers. Last season, the 34-year-old forward played 29 games for the New York Knicks.


Two Brown football players accused of sexual assault

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Two Brown University football players are at the center of a rape investigation in Rhode Island.

According to a police report, a Providence College student told the police in February that she believes she was drugged at a bar in November. She said she woke up in a Brown dorm room and was sexually assaulted.

The attorney general’s office said it is reviewing the case. The school said it is cooperating with law enforcement.

Court documents from last month said the students were asked to leave campus in April. The school told the AP yesterday they remain enrolled.

John Grasso, a lawyer for one of the players, said in a court proceeding in May that his client is innocent. Artin Coloian, a lawyer for the other player, would not comment on the allegations yesterday.

The AP does not identify alleged victims of sexual assault. The players are not being identified because they have not been charged.

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