Wil­liam By­ron earns pole po­si­tion for Day­tona 500

Marysville Appeal-Democrat - - SPORTS - By Edgar Thomp­son Or­lando Sen­tinel(tns)

DAY­TONA BEACH, Fla. – Wil­liam By­ron, at 21 years old, earned the pole po­si­tion for next Sun­day’s Day­tona 500.

Driv­ing the No. 24 car made fa­mous by Hall of Famer Jeff Gor­don, By­ron turned a lap at 194.304 mph to edge team­mate and 2018 pole sit­ter Alex Bow­man by fewer than two-tenths of a sec­ond. Bow­man came in at 194.153 mph.

Byson and Bow­man locked in the 1-2 po­si­tions on the front row for the Great Amer­i­can Race, set for 2:30 p.m. on Feb. 17. The rest of the po­si­tions will be de­ter­mined dur­ing Thurs­day’s Cam-am Duels.

“It’s been a great off­sea­son. We’re pre­pared. We’re ready,” By­ron said. “This is kind of the first step of our process to­gether, so hope­fully it goes well next Sun­day. We can kind of chill out through­out the Duel races and learn a lit­tle bit.

“I’m look­ing for­ward to it. This is awe­some.”

By­ron’s strong show­ing on an over­cast, misty Sun­day at Day­tona In­ter­na­tional Speed­way se­cured the pole po­si­tion for Hen­dricks Mo­tor­sports for a record fifth straight year.

“This is the deal, sit­ting up front at Day­tona,” Hen­dricks said.

In fact, the top four fin­ish­ers race for the iconic owner, whose driv­ers now have won nine poles, try­ing Petty En­ter­prises for the most dur­ing the sport’s most fa­mous race.

“It just shows how well ev­ery­one is work­ing to­gether,” Bow­man said.

Vet­eran Jim­mie John­son, a two-time win­ner of the 500, fin­ished third, a spot ahead of 22-year-old Chase El­liott. El­liott won the pole in 2016 and 2017.

Coin­ci­den­tally, By­ron now works with John­son’s long­time crew chief Chad Knaus. John­son and Knaus

It was a suc­cess­ful run at home for the Kings.

The Kings closed a sea­son-long, six-game home stand with a 117-104 vic­tory over the Phoenix Suns on Sun­day at Golden 1 Cen­ter.

Sacra­mento never trailed and led by as many as 25.

Rookie big man Marvin Ba­gley III scored a ca­reer-high 32 points to lead the Kings (30-26). Five other play­ers were in dou­ble fig­ures.

The Suns (11-47) at­tempted to rally in the fourth quar­ter but could only get as close as 13. Devin Booker led Phoenix with 27 points.

Sacra­mento went 5-1 in front of its fans. The loss was to the Hous­ton Rock­ets on Wed­nes­day, the day the team traded Iman Shumpert

OAK­LAND – Kevin Du­rant, Klay Thomp­son and Stephen Curry are re­ally good at play­ing bas­ket­ball. Du­rant scored 39 points on 16-of-24 shoot­ing, de­spite go­ing only 1-of-7 from dis­tance. Klay Thomp­son had 29 points on a 11-of-21 clip over­all and 6-of-13 mark from the perime­ter. Curry added 25 points while go­ing 9-of-18 from the field and 5-of-10 from dis­tance.

Tech­ni­cally, Demar­cus Cousins made a pair of foul shots to give the War­riors a 120118 lead with 5.4 sec­onds left. Then, Heat guard Dion Wait­ers missed a 28-footer at the buzzer. But the War­riors (40-15) col­lected their 15th win out of the past 16 games mostly by lean­ing on their top scor­ers.

Af­ter the War­riors com­mit­ted two costly turnovers. Du­rant drilled his first 3 of the night to tie the game at 118 with 44 sec­onds left. Though Curry went 1-of-4 from the field and Justin Jack­son in sep­a­rate deals, which brought Har­ri­son Barnes and Alec Burks to the Kings.

“To go 5-1 on this home stand is ter­rific,” coach Dave Jo­erger said of the Kings, who are 19-11 at home this sea­son. “We had some spe­cial per­for­mances over this home stand and again tonight by Marvin Ba­gley, who’s find­ing his way.”

It will be a while be­fore Kings fans see their team play at home – 17 days to be ex­act. It’s the long­est pe­riod be­tween home games this sea­son, one day longer than when the Kings went on a sea­son-long, six-game trip last month that started in Char­lotte and ended against the Los An­ge­les Clip­pers.

Sacra­mento has one more game be­fore the All-star break, Wed­nes­day against the Nuggets in Den­ver. Af­ter the break, the Kings play three road con­tests be­fore re­turn­ing home Feb. 27 face the East­ern Con­fer­ence­lead­ing Mil­wau­kee Bucks.

En­ter­ing Sun­day with a one-stroke ad­van­tage, Langer birdied five of his first seven holes in the fi­nal

on con­tend­ing.

“As an or­ga­ni­za­tion here, we’re re­ally lucky,” Lon­go­ria said. “This or­ga­ni­za­tion spends money. We’re never go­ing to have to worry about try­ing to put the best prod­uct on the field. But as play­ers, the fear is that there’s other or­ga­ni­za­tions that don’t care about that. That are po­ten­tially tank­ing.”

Many mem­bers of the team’s core are op­ti­mistic the club will re­bound from back-to-back los­ing sea­sons if play­ers are able to stay healthy and main­tain con­sis­tent pro­duc­tion lev­els. But even man­ager Bruce Bochy ac­knowl­edged that an of­fense that has fin­ished sec­ond-to-last in runs scored in each of the past two years is in­com­plete.

“There’s still some moves that will be made be­fore the sea­son starts,” Bochy promised.

Upon his hir­ing in Novem­ber, Zaidi was given the free­dom to over­haul the Gi­ants’ ros­ter as he sees fit. The for­mer Dodgers gen­eral man­ager promised a me­thod­i­cal ap­proach, but as the sea­son draws near, Gi­ants fans and play­ers are grow­ing restless. in the first quar­ter, he went 8-of-14 the rest of the way. And af­ter al­low­ing Du­rant and Curry to han­dle most of the work­load through the first three quar­ters, Thomp­son scored 14 fourth-quar­ter points.

The War­riors achieved this of­fen­sive utopia by en­sur­ing bal­ance in shot at­tempts to Du­rant (24), Thomp­son (21).

The Heat (25-29) fea­tured Josh Richard­son (37), Wait­ers (24), Jus­tise Winslow (22) and Dwyane Wade (10) log­ging dou­ble fig­ures. They com­bined to go 18of-43 from 3-point range.

Getty Im­ages/tns

Bern­hard Langer of Ger­many plays his sec­ond shot dur­ing the fi­nal round of the Oa­sis Cham­pi­onship at The Old Course at Bro­ken Sound on Sun­day in Boca Ra­ton, Fla

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