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NASCAR All-Star lineup: Starting order, pole for Texas race & All-Star Open

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NASCAR All-Star lineup: Starting order, pole for Texas race & All-Star Open

The starting lineup and pole for Sunday’s NASCAR All-Star Race at Texas Motor Speedway were set by random draw among the drivers who automatically qualified for the event. 

The starting grid for the race at Texas (8 p.m. ET; FS1, TSN3, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) will be led the hottest driver in the Cup Series. The random draw set the positions for the first 17 spots in the 21-car field. 

Watch the NASCAR All-Star Race live with fuboTV (7-day free trial)

Three of the final four spots in the All-Star Race field will be determined by the results of the All-Star Open (6 p.m. ET; FS1, TSN3, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), which will be run before the All-Star Race. The fourth and final open spot will go to the winner of an online fan vote. 

Below is the starting lineup for Sunday’s NASCAR All-Star Race and All-Star Open at Texas and how the Open field was set.

Who won the pole for the NASCAR All-Star Race at Texas?

Kyle Larson, the hottest driver in the series, drew the No. 1 position for the All-Star Race. The Hendrick Motorsports driver has won the previous two Cup Series races, at Charlotte and at Sonoma, and won every stage of both races. Larson is tied for the series lead with three wins this season. He won the All-Star Race in 2019.

To his right will be Kyle Busch, a two-time Cup Series champion and the 2017 All-Star Race winner.

Both drivers know how to get around intermediate tracks like Texas’ 1.5-mile oval. Larson completed a four-stage sweep at Charlotte in the Coca-Cola 600 two races ago, while Busch has a win (at Kansas), four top-fives and five top-10s in five races on 1.5-mile tracks in 2021. He also has a third-place finish at the 1.366-mile Darlington Raceway.

The second row consists of Christopher Bell (Joe Gibbs Racing) and Cole Custer (Stewart-Haas Racing).

NASCAR All-Star Race lineup at Texas

The NASCAR drivers who automatically qualified for the 2021 NASCAR All-Star Race field earned eligibility in three ways:

— Won a NASCAR Cup-Series points-paying race in 2020 or 2021. Michael McDowell, (Daytona 500) and Christopher Bell (Daytona Road Course) qualified with wins in ’21.

— Won a NASCAR Cup Series championship. There are seven past Cup champions in the All-Star Race field: Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Chase Elliott, Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano and Martin Truex Jr.

— Won a past NASCAR All-Star Race. Eight previous race winners are in the field: Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Elliott, Denny Hamlin, Harvick, Larson, Logano and Ryan Newman. Harvick is two-time All-Star Race winner (2007, 2018).

The draw for the starting lineup took place Tuesday. Below are the results:

Start pos. Driver Car No. Team
1 Kyle Larson 5 Hendrick Motorsports
2 Kyle Busch 18 Joe Gibbs Racing
3 Christopher Bell 20 Joe Gibbs Racing
4 Cole Custer 41 Stewart-Haas Racing
5 Austin Dillon 3 Richard Childress Racing
6 Chase Elliott 9 Hendrick Motorsports
7 Joey Logano 22 Team Penske
8 William Byron 24 Hendrick Motorsports
9 Brad Keselowski 2 Team Penske
10 Martin Truex Jr. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing
11 Michael McDowell 34 Front Row Motorsports
12 Kevin Harvick 4 Stewart-Haas Racing
13 Kurt Busch 1 Chip Ganassi Racing
14 Ryan Newman 6 Roush Fenway Racing
15 Alex Bowman 48 Hendrick Motorsports
16 Denny Hamlin 11 Joe Gibbs Racing
17 Ryan Blaney 12 Team Penske

NASCAR All-Star Open lineup at Texas

The All-Star Open starting grid was set by owner points among the drivers who did not automatically qualify for the All-Star Race. Richard Childress Racing’s Tyler Reddick, who is 13th in the point standings, was awarded the pole position for the All-Star Open. Chris Buescher of Roush Fenway Racing will join him on the front row.

The draw for the starting lineup took place Tuesday. Below are the results:

Start pos. Driver Car No. Team
1 Tyler Reddick 8 Richard Childress Racing
2 Chris Buescher 17 Roush Fenway Racing
3 Matt DiBenedetto 21 Wood Brothers Racing
4 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 47 JTG Daugherty Racing
5 Ross Chastain 42 Chip Ganassi Racing
6 Bubba Wallace 23 23XI Racing
7 Daniel Suarez 99 Trackhouse Racing Team
8 Erik Jones 43 Richard Petty Motorsports
9 Chase Briscoe 14 Stewart-Haas Racing
10 Aric Almirola 10 Stewart-Haas Racing
11 Corey LaJoie 7 Spire Motorsports
12 Anthony Alfredo 38 Front Row Motorsports
13 Quin Houff 00 StarCom Racing
14 James Davison 15 Rick Ware Racing
15 Josh Bilicki 52 Rick Ware Racing
16 Austin Cindric 33 Team Penske
17 Cody Ware 51 Petty Ware Racing
18 BJ McLeod 78 Live Fast Motorsports
19 Justin Haley 77 Spire Motorsports
20 Garrett Smithley 53 Rick Ware Racing
21 Timmy Hill 66 MBM Motorsports
22 David Starr 13 MBM Motorsports

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Golden years: Olympic team selection of Sue Bird, Diana Taurasi reinforces 2021 as prime time for aging athletes

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Golden years: Olympic team selection of Sue Bird, Diana Taurasi reinforces 2021 as prime time for aging athletes

When Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi won their first Olympic gold medals, there were no iPhones, Chipotle had a few more than 300 restaurants spread across the country and Netflix still was sending DVDs of motion pictures through the mail.

Oh, my, here we go: Another story of some extraordinary “AARPthletes.”

Bird and Taurasi were named Monday by USA Basketball to the senior women’s national team that will attempt to earn a seventh consecutive gold medal when the 2021 Olympic Games begin July 23 in Tokyo. This will be fifth Olympics for Bird, who is 40, and for Taurasi, who passed her 39th birthday earlier this month.

In a year filled with them, they represent two more examples of athletes extending their excellence well past what had been considered “retirement age” in the past, joining Super Bowl champion Tom Brady (43), PGA champion Phil Mickelson (50) and Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves (46), as well as soccer star Carli Lloyd, aiming to make her fourth Olympic team at 39 and sprinter Allyson Felix, who qualified for her fifth Olympics by finishing second in the 400-meter dash Sunday at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene, Ore., and will turn 36 in November.

“It’s just been a tremendous journey – playing for that long, and playing aside pretty much family, my friend. It means everything to us,” Taurasi said during the announcement on the Today show Monday. “I think sometimes you get caught up in the history of where this team has been, and we’re trying to take it to the next generation, the younger players. I think we’re just really focused on what we have to do to come home with gold.”

Taurasi and Bird were teammates for two seasons at Connecticut, and in 2001-02, their squad went 39-0 and capture the NCAA championship.

Given the overwhelming strength of the U.S. women’s basketball program and the value of Bird’s experience, she might have been a worthwhile inclusion just to be available in emergencies and to provide leadership through the tournament process and during practices and games.

MORE: Lochte comes up short for in bid for fifth Olympics

That’s not what this is, though. Bird remains among the best point guards in the WNBA, averaging 11.4 points on 52.3 percent shooting and 47.9 percent 3-point accuracy, as well as 6 assists per game, for the team that won the 2020 league championship and is 12-2 and in first place in the Western Conference in the 2021 season.

Taurasi, who can play both backcourt positions, averaged 18.7 points and 4.5 assists last season for the Phoenix Mercury. She has been limited to four games this season because of a chest injury but still has averaged 15.8 points and 3.8 assists.

“I think the most important thing is for the 12 players on the roster to stay healthy,” head coach Dawn Staley said. “There are a lot of players that aren’t on this list that have helped us along the way, This has been a three- to four-year process for us. But you need a great mix.

“When you have the core group of players who have played in multiple Olympic Games, you have to add a mix of youth. And the youth that we’ve added certainly has made it known they want to be a part of the Olympic team, and they put the work in behind it.

“We don’t want to be the team that ends this streak.”

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Bryson DeChambeau explains US Open meltdown: ‘I didn’t have the right breaks happen at the right time’

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Bryson DeChambeau had to fly back to Wells Fargo Championship after thinking he missed weekend cut

For a moment, it looked like the reigning U.S. Open champion would make it a second straight title. 

Bryson DeChambeau shot a birdie on the par-3 eighth hole during the final round to put him at 5-under par and move him into the lead with 10 holes remaining. It all fell apart from there. 

Bogeys on both the 11th and 12th holes, and a double-bogey and quadruple-bogey in the 13th and 17th holes, respectively, sunk DeChambeau’s chances of winning, ultimately leading to him falling to 3-over during the U.S. Open and tying for 26th overall. 

After the disappointing finish, DeChambeau said that it wasn’t a poor effort on his part, but rather a product of bad luck. 

“I didn’t get off the rails at all. It’s golf,” DeChambeau said, according to the Golf Channel. “People will say I did this or did that, and it’s just golf. I’ve had plenty of times where I hit it way worse than today and I won. It’s just one of those things where I didn’t have the right breaks happen at the right time.”

MORE: The best moments from Brooks Koepka vs. Bryson DeChambeau rivalry

On the 13th hole, he slipped on the drive to slice the ball into the right rough before later slipping again trying to save himself from too much damage on the hole. It resulted in a double-bogey seven that all but took him out of the running for the championship. 

The struggles on the 13 came right on the heels of a pair of bogeys. 

Later, on the 17th hole, his tee shot hit the ravine and his third shot sailed into a bunker. He overshot out of the bunker and sank to an 8 on the par-4 hole. 

“I hit a great second shot — well, third shot, and the ball just spun too much,” DeChambeau said, according to ESPN. “The wind died down and it landed short and came back off of that front edge into a really, really bad lie. I tried just chopping it out, and I caught the hosel just from a weird line.”

Perhaps even worse for DeChambeau was that when he was leading, rival Brooks Koepka was just a shot behind him. When it was all over, Koepka remained tied for fourth at 2-under for the tournament. 

But DeChambeau said he wasn’t worried about his lackluster performance down the stretch. 

“Right now, I don’t even care. I’ve changed a lot, attitude-wise and everything,” DeChambeau said, according to the New York Post. “It’s frustrating in the moment when it’s happening, but afterwards for me now, I don’t really care as much. I’ve already won [a U.S. Open].’’

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Ben Simmons admits he ‘wasn’t there’ offensively in 76ers’ Game 7 loss to Hawks

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Ben Simmons' free throw struggles contribute to 76ers' blown chance to sweep Wizards

There is plenty of blame to go around for why the No. 1 seeded 76ers fell to the No. 5 seeded Hawks in Game 7 to miss out on the Eastern Conference Finals on Sunday, but Ben Simmons is stepping up to take some of it. 

Simmons, a former No. 1 overall pick and a huge part of “The Process,” had a disappointing effort in the final game of the series, scoring just five points, and drawing criticism in particular for passing up a dunk late that could have tied the game up and given his team some momentum. 

After the game, Simmons said he just wasn’t playing his best basketball during the pivotal playoff game. 

“I ain’t shoot well from the line this series,” Simmons said, according to ESPN. “Offensively, I wasn’t there. I didn’t do enough for my teammates.

“There’s a lot of things that I need to work on.”

MORE: Ex-NBA player Josh Smith rips Doc Rivers in offensive tirade

Simmons contributed beyond the point column, racking up eight rebounds and a game-high 13 assists. But he attempted only four shots and made two of them. For a player that averaged 14.3 points per game during the regular season, the expectation was certainly that he would attempt more shots than just four when his team needed him. 

With 3:36 to play and the Sixers trailing by two, Simmons was free in the paint after a spin move. But he passed to Matisse Thybulle, who drove and was fouled. Thybulle made one of two, keeping the Sixers down one. Atlanta then went on a 5-0 run to push the lead to 93-87. 

That missed dunk opportunity was not only a focal point of criticism for fans, but also one mentioned by his teammates. 

“Man, I will be honest. I thought the turning point was, you know, when we, I don’t know how to say it, but I thought the turning point was just we had an open shot and we made one free throw and we missed the other and they came down and scored,” Embiid said. 

And Embiid, who scored 31 points with 11 rebounds, didn’t just wait until after the game to show his frustration. 

Simmons explained that he thought Danilo Gallinari was right behind him and that John Collins was coming out of the lane, which would leave open a chance for Thybulle to dunk it, according to ESPN. 

Now the biggest question in Philadelphia is whether Simmons will be a 76er by the time the next season rolls around. For Simmons, the offseason will begin for him by trying to get over this postseason. 

“The first thing I’m going to do is clear my mind and get my mental right,” Simmons said in ESPN’s report. “You got to be mentally tough. You can’t take games for granted. Especially in the playoffs. Every game matters. Every possession matters.”

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