Sunday, February 11, 2018

Brad Keselowski wins The Clash at Daytona as field wrecks behind him

For once, as he put it, Brad Keselowski didn’t “choke away” a chance at victory during Speedweeks at Daytona.
Just the opposite. Taking the lead on Lap 39 of the Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona International Speedway, Keselowski held it the rest of the way to win the exhibition kick-off race to the 2018 season, leading Team Penske to a 1-2-4 finish.
And Keselowski, who led 43 of the 75 laps, took the checkered flag with a large piece of debris on the nose of his No. 2 Ford Fusion, with the water temperature in the engine rising to dangerous levels.
“I was worried about the run (of cars behind him), but the car was way overheating there at the end, and I was more worried about it blowing up than anything else,” Keselowski said. “(Engine builder) Doug Yates and his guys did a good job giving me something real durable to take all that and keep digging.
“I’m really proud of the whole effort here. What a way to start Speedweeks, putting the Miller Lite Ford in Victory Lane. I’m really proud of my team… I felt like we were due today.”
Keselowski has five victories at Talladega, but his only other superspeedway win came in the July 2016 race at Daytona. During February, the 2012 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion was batting .000, making Sunday’s start to Speedweeks a special occasion.
“It means a lot,” Keselowski said. “I’ve never won anything here during Speedweeks, and I feel like I’ve choked them away, to be quite honest. You need one to break through. Hopefully, this is our breakthrough.”
Last year’s Clash winner, Joey Logano, finished second to his teammate, with Kurt Busch running third and Team Penske newbie Ryan Blaney fourth—with Ford drivers sweeping the top four positions.
Austin Dillon, who started from the pole, came home fifth in the No. 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet, avoiding a last-lap melee that started when contact from Kyle Larson’s Chevrolet turned Jimmie Johnson’s No. 48 into the outside wall on the backstretch.
Johnson failed to finish the Clash for the seventh straight year.
After Keselowski grabbed the lead, the field gradually strung out to single file in the top lane, with smaller groups of cars unable to make significant runs on the bottom. On the final lap, however, Kurt Busch darted past Blaney, who had dropped to the inside in a last-ditch effort to win the race.
Behind the lead cars, Larson tagged Johnson and turned him into the wall, collecting the cars of Chase Elliott, Kyle Busch, Kasey Kahne and defending series champion Martin Truex Jr. in the wreck.
Kurt Busch, the defending Daytona 500 winner, was pleased with his third-place result and what it might portend for his defense in the “Great American Race.”
“Project number one was to do all the laps so that we could understand more about our tires and our setup and the way that the car was going to handle,” Busch said. “Then step number two was to have fun. I had a blast.
“I wanted to make another move on the last lap but ran out of steam because the guys behind me got too wide. I couldn’t jump in there and go after the Penske guys. It’s a good day for Ford and good day for us and Billy Scott, my new crew chief. Now we’ll go back and debrief about our car.”  


Veteran rider and 2008 PBR World Champion Guilherme Marchi (Tres Lagoas, Brazil), the athlete with the most qualified rides in PBR (Professional Bull Riders) history, went a perfect 3-for-3 to win the 25th PBR: Unleash The Beast, Caterpillar Classic at Sprint Center in Kansas City Sunday afternoon. Marchi used an 83.75-point ride in the championship round to propel him past Marco Eguchi (Poa, Brazil) for his victory of the season.
Marchi, the winningest rider in Kansas City, now with four titles in the City of Fountains, earned 470 points, catapulting from No. 23 to No. 7 in the world standings.
Marchi began the day with an 83.75-point ride aboard Hy Test (Phenom Genetics) in Round 2 before racking up the same score of 83.75 points on Smooth Air (GT Bucking Bulls) during the championship round. With the three rides, Marchi continues to add to his totals as he now has 622 qualified rides, the most in the 25-year history of the PBR. Marchi was the only rider to be flawless inside the Sprint Center.
“I appreciate these wins more,” Marchi laughed. “My body is not the same as it was, I’m sore all the time but it makes it so much better when I do win.”
Watch Marchi’s championship round ride here.
Eguchi finished second after an 87-point trip on Milky Jones (Phenom Genetics/JCL Bucking Bulls) but was unable to take the victory when he bucked off Old Fort Days (K-C Bucking Bulls/Spark-lin Acres) in 3.93 seconds in the championship round.
The 28-year-old earned 390 world points along with $18,480.00. Eguchi is now ranked No. 16 in the world.
The No. 1 rider in the world, Dener Barbosa (Paulo de Faria, Brazil) finished in third place after an 85.75-point ride aboard Breaking Bad (Broken Arrow Bucking Bulls) in the championship round. He earned 340 points towards the world standings and takes home $16,250 for the weekend. Barbosa extended his lead over fellow Brazilian and No. 2 Claudio Montanha Jr. (Ribeir√£o dos √ćndios, Brazil) to 419.17 points.
Derek Kolbaba (Walla Walla, Washington) finished fourth, earning 215 world points. Unable to compete in Round 1 of the Caterpillar Classic on Saturday due to travel issues, Kolbaba made up for that with two rides on Sunday.
He covered Chute Boss (Owens/Wyatt) for 87.25 points in Round 2 before riding Smooth Wreck (Owens/Wyatt) for 83.5 points in the championship round. Kolbaba takes home a paycheck for $10,950, and is now ranked No. 11 in the world.
2017 Rookie of the Year Jose Vitor Leme (Ribas do Rio Pardo, Brazil) rounded out the Top-5, collecting 115 points towards the world standings along with $7,480. Leme covered Pile Driver (Dakota Rodeo-Chad Berger/Clay Struve/Ken Barnhard) for 88.75 points in Round 2, but was unable to record a qualified ride on Cochise (Jane Clark/Gene Owen) in the championship round.
Leme is ranked No. 13 in the world standings.
The YETI “Built for the Wild” Bull of the Event was Fearless (D&H Cattle Co.), who dispatched Luciano De Castro (Guzolandia, Brazil) in 3.57 seconds in Round 1 on Saturday night.
The Top 35 bull riders in the world will now head east on I-70 for the St. Louis Invitational presented by Express Employment Professionals next weekend at Scottrade Center. The action will begin on Saturday, February 17 at 6:45 p.m. and will wrap up on Sunday, February 18 at 1:45 p.m.
In other PBR action over the weekend, Ueberson Duarte (Itambacuri, Brazil) won the Real Time Pain Relief Velocity Tour (RVT) Youngstown Invitational event in front of a sold-out crowd at the Covelli Centre in Ohio.
During the championship round of the two-day event, Duarte rode Otis (Mike Miller Bucking Bulls) for 87 points after an 84-point ride in Round 2 on Down Draft (C Check Bucking Bulls). He earned $6,000 and 120 points towards the world standings.
Winners of each RVT event in 2018 will be guaranteed at least one opportunity to compete at a regular-season PBR 25th: Unleash The Beast event. Thanks to his victory in Youngstown, Ueberson earned an invitation to the Badboy Mowdown in North Little Rock, Arkansas March 2-3.
Bryan Titman (East Barnard, TX) snagged his first event win of the season at the PBR’s RVT Greenville Invitational Saturday night at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville, South Carolina.

Titman took the buckle after scoring 84 points aboard Bad Check (Circle J & K Cattle) in Round 1 and then covered Bugle Boy (Rickey West Bucking Bulls) in the championship round for 86 points. The 29-year-old picked up 120 points toward the world standings and $6,500 along with an invite to the Duluth Invitational on March 10-11.
Real Time Pain Relief Velocity Tour 
Youngstown Invitational Event Results
Name, Round 1-Round 2-Round 3-Aggr. Score-Total Points-Money Earned

1. Ueberson Duarte, 0-84-87-171-$6,000
2. Kache Moosman, 84.5-0-83.5-160.5-$5,066.67
3. Daniel Tinsman, 83.5-77-0-170.5-$2,566.67
4. Chandler Bownds, 0-86-0-86-$1,533.33
5. Randy Brubacker, 0-86-0-86-$1,533.33

Real Time Pain Relief Velocity Tour 
Portland Event Results
Name, Round 1-Round 2-Aggr. Score-Total Points-Money Earned

1. Bryan Titman, 84.0-86.0-170-$6,550
2. Reese Cates, 87.5-0-80.5-168-$6,050
3. Lachlan Richardson, 86.5-0-86.5-$3,000
4. Joe Johnson, 84.5-0-84.5-$1,570
    Junior Cezar Quaresma, 84.5-0-84.5-$1,570

25th PBR Unleash The Beast
Caterpillar Classic
Sprint Center, Kansas City, Missouri
Event Leaders (Round 1-Round 2-Round 3-Event Aggregate-Event Points)
1. Guilherme Marchi, 86.25-83.75-83.75-253.75-475 Points.
2. Marco Antonio Eguchi, 89.75-87-0-176.75-390 Points.
3. Dener Barbosa, 89.25-0-85.75-175.00-340 Points.
4. Derek Kolbaba, 0-87.25-83.5-170.75-215 Points.
5. Jose Vitor Leme, 0-88.75-0-88.75-115 Points.
6. Emilio Resende, 83.5-86.25-0-169.75-75 Points.
7. Fabiano Vieira, 87.25-0-0-87.25-60 Points.
8. Claudio Montanha Jr., 85-84.25-0-169.25-50 Points.
(tie). Chase Robbins, 87-0-0-87.00-50 Points.
10. Stetson Lawrence, 0-86.5-0-86.50-40 Points.
(tie). Cody Nance, 0-86.5-0-86.50-40 Points.
12. Joao Ricardo Vieira, 86.5-0-0-86.50-35 Points.
13. Cody Teel, 82.25-84-0-166.25-20 Points.
14. Dakota Buttar, 0-86.25-0-86.25-15 Points.
15. Valdiron de Oliveira, 0-84.25-0-84.25-5 Points.
16. Eduardo Aparecido, 0-84-0-84.00
17. Cody Campbell, 0-83.5-0-83.50
18. Ramon de Lima, 0-82.75-0-82.75
19. Keyshawn Whitehorse, 81.75-0-0-81.75
20. Mason Lowe, 81.5-0-0-81.50
21. Edgar Durazo, 0-80.5-0-80.50
22. J.B. Mauney, 73-0-0-73.00
Kaique Pacheco, 0-0-0-0.00
Luciano De Castro, 0-0-0-0.00
Brennon Eldred, 0-0-0-0.00
Brady Oleson, 0-0-0-0.00
Tye Chandler, 0-0-0-0.00
Lindomar Lino, 0-0-0-0.00
Rubens Barbosa, 0-0-0-0.00
Paulo Ferreira Lima, 0-0-0-0.00
Silvano Alves, 0-0-0-0.00
Wallace Vieira de Oliveira, 0-0-0-0.00
Colten Jesse, 0-0-0-0.00
Juan Carlos Contreras, 0-0-0-0.00
Ricky Aguiar, 0-0-0-0.00
Stormy Wing, 0-0-0-0.00

2018 Professional Bull Riders 25th PBR: Unleash the Beast World Standings
(Place, Rider, Events, Wins, Top 5's, Points, Total Winnings)
1. Dener Barbosa, 13, 1, 7, 1,455.00, $67,675.00
2. Claudio Montanha Jr., 12, 0, 5, 1,035.83, $59,341.67
3. Ryan Dirteater, 6, 1, 1, 825.00, $55,490.00
4. Cooper Davis, 8, 1, 3, 820.00, $105,984.14
5. Ramon de Lima, 11, 1, 2, 750.00, $46,690.00
6. Gage Gay, 3, 1, 1, 700.00, $109,425.50
7. Guilherme Marchi, 7, 1, 1, 678.33, $53,853.33
8. Stetson Lawrence, 9, 0, 3, 670.00, $37,311.78\
9. Cody Nance, 7, 1, 1, 593.33, $85,462.27
10. Valdiron de Oliveira, 11, 0, 3, 574.16, $26,031.67
11. Derek Kolbaba, 11, 0, 3, 535.00, $81,429.32
12. Luciano De Castro, 7, 0, 1, 515.00, $27,733.50
13. Jose Vitor Leme, 11, 1, 4, 507.50, $46,649.58
14. Kaique Pacheco, 10, 2, 2, 492.50, $49,911.66
15. Eduardo Aparecido, 9, 0, 2, 463.33, $30,286.66
16. Marco Antonio Eguchi, 6, 0, 1, 430.00, $21,900.00
17. Cody Teel, 10, 0, 2, 397.50, $68,595.95\
18. Joao Ricardo Vieira, 10, 0, 1, 375.00, $32,378.11
19. Jess Lockwood, 7, 0, 1, 345.00, $19,505.00
20. Dakota Buttar, 9, 0, 1, 332.50, $25,134.30
21. Brennon Eldred, 6, 0, 2, 270.00, $64,698.54
22. Fabiano Vieira, 9, 0, 0, 252.50, $22,308.39
23. Brady Oleson, 10, 1, 5, 245.83, $22,577.29
24. Chase Robbins, 10, 0, 4, 230.00, $29,740.94
25. Tye Chandler, 14, 2, 4, 217.50, $17,991.09
26. J.B. Mauney, 4, 0, 1, 210.00, $13,500.00
27. Cody Campbell, 11, 1, 1, 198.33, $17,165.00
27. Keyshawn Whitehorse, 12, 1, 3, 198.33, $17,872.73
29. Lindomar Lino, 10, 2, 3, 190.00, $14,687.20
30. Emilio Resende, 6, 0, 1, 180.00, $12,575.00
31. Aaron Kleier, 6, 2, 3, 170.00, $15,077.97
32. Lucas Divino, 4, 2, 2, 160.00, $10,325.81
33. Rubens Barbosa, 12, 0, 3, 150.00, $22,629.61
34. Paulo Ferreira Lima, 8, 1, 4, 145.83, $19,045.81
35. Silvano Alves, 9, 0, 1, 145.00, $15,426.66
36. Tanner Byrne, 9, 0, 0, 142.50, $12,675.50
37. Edgar Durazo, 6, 1, 1, 135.00, $14,325.87
38. Alex Marcilio, 7, 0, 1, 120.00, $9,472.24
38. Colten Jesse, 8, 1, 1, 120.00, $7,793.33
38. Wallace Vieira de Oliveira, 12, 1, 1, 120.00, $22,286.07
38. Ueberson Duarte, 2, 1, 1, 120.00, $6,000.00
38. Bryan Titman, 6, 1, 1, 120.00, $6,550.00
43. Juan Carlos Contreras, 7, 0, 0, 105.00, $10,187.92
43. Bailey Woodard, 5, 1, 3, 105.00, $6,087.18
45. Ricky Aguiar, 13, 0, 1, 100.00, $7,380.00


 Here are three things we learned from the Caterpillar Classic at the Sprint Center this weekend.
Barbosa increases his lead atop the world standings (2-11-18)
True champions have to bounce back amidst adversity and the 8-second machine known as Dener Barbosa showed on Championship Sunday that he won’t let any buckoff throw off his mojo.
Barbosa bounced back from having the fast buckoff in Round 2 – a 1.66-second whipping from Wired Child – to win the championship round with 85.75 points into his hand on Breaking Bad.
The 23-year-old had previously ridden Breaking Bad in New York for 87.25 points and selected the bull this week with the sixth pick of the championship-round draft. 
“It was hard to find a good bull this week in the championship round,” Barbosa said with the help of Guilherme Marchi translating. “There were a lot of hard ones in there. I chose the bull because I rode him before. I knew when I rode him before I stayed right in the middle. I am happy to win this round.”
The round win was Barbosa’s first of 2018 and earned him 100 of the 340 points he notched in Kansas City with his third-place finish overall.
Barbosa, who rode Night Sweats for 89.25 points in Round 1, will take a 419.17-point lead on No. 2 Claudio Montanha Jr. into next weekend’s St. Louis Invitational, presented by Express Employment Professionals. 
Montanha had a chance at the event victory on Sunday before he was bucked off by Bad Beagle in 5.54 seconds in the championship round.
Barbosa has earned at least 115 world points in five of the season’s first six events.
The Paulo de Faria, Brazil, native’s PBR-best 18th qualified ride was easy goings as he hit the 8-second whistle and jumped off Breaking Bad right onto his own two feet.
Barbosa is 5-for-6 in the championship round and is the only rider to have qualified for every championship round this season.
“All of my dreams are coming true, but I still have one – to be a World Champion,” Barbosa concluded.
Marchi wins fourth premier series event in Kansas City
2008 World Champion Guilherme Marchi says he loves Kansas City barbeque, but he understands that at 35 years old he can’t go out and slug down some finger-lickin’ good food and win a 25th PBR: Unleash The Beast event.
Instead, Marchi ate a “very good” Cobb salad on Saturday night and churned out the fourth victory of his career in Kansas City by riding Smooth Air for 83.75 points in the championship round.
“I think it is the water here,” Marchi joked. “I don’t know. It is about you and the draws. Marco had been riding really good and picked a really good bull in the short go, but he didn’t finish strong. I picked a good bull. He didn’t have a good trip with me today, but I covered him and the 83 points is enough to win this event.”
The 35-year-old clinched the 25th victory of his career once Marco Eguchiwas bucked off by Old Fort Days in 3.93 seconds. Old Fort Days was marked 44 points in his PBR debut.
Marchi started his 3-for-3 weekend with 86.25 points on The Punisher and 83.75 points on Hy Test, who had previously bucked him off two times. 
The No. 7 ranked bull rider picked up 475 points toward the world standings and trails Barbosa by 776.67 points heading into St. Louis.
Marchi hadn’t won in Kansas City, where he is 23-for-38, since going back-to-back in 2008-09. He won his second career event in KC in 2005.
“Some events you feel good and better than other ones,” Marchi said. “I don’t know about me. I feel at home here.”
Rounding out the Top 5 behind Marchi, Eguchi and Barbosa was Derek Kolbaba (2-for-2, 215 world points) and Jose Vitor Leme (1-for-3, 115 world points).
Leme wins Round 2 and avoids close call in championship round
Jose Vitor Leme won his third round of 2018 by riding Pile Driver for 88.75 points in Round 2.
“He was kind of hard inside and outside,” Leme said via Marchi. “He was moving forward away from my hand. It was very important for me to make a good ride today and make a good score and good points for the race.”
Leme is 13th in the world standings after going 1-for-3 in Kansas City.
The 21-year-old nearly got injured, though, attempting to ride Cochise in the championship round when Cochise ripped him off in 1.5 seconds before falling on top of Leme.
Leme limped out of the arena before saying he was OK following the close encounter with danger.
He is now tied with Cooper Davis and Kaique Pacheco for the most round wins of 2018 (3).
Injury Updates
According to Dr. Tandy Freeman, Keyshawn Whitehorse is questionable for St. Louis after sustaining a concussion in Round 2 attempting to ride Gravedigger (7.9 seconds).
Edgar Durazo rode Stretch for 80.5 points in Round 2 after bruising his left thigh in Round 1 on Saturday night.
Mauney returns with gritty qualified ride (2-10-18)
Two-time World Champion J.B. Mauney returned in gritty fashion following a four-week layoff with a right groin injury.
Mauney got caught being a tad bit too aggressive against Little Texas on Saturday night and almost got flung over the ABBI Classic bull’s head before he hung off the side for the remaining three seconds of his 73-point ride.
The 31-year-old was wincing as he went to pick up his bull rope and had a noticeable limp in his step. Mauney was offered a re-ride seeing as Little Texas fell down at the end, but Mauney decided to turn down the option and keep his score.
Mauney had not turned down a re-ride option since April 2016.
“(Cody) Lambert said the re-ride was hard to get out on and bad in the chute,” Mauney said. “The last time he was out he fouled himself pretty bad, so he told me I better keep the score. I listened to him.”
Mauney would have faced Striker if he had accepted the option. Striker was originally Derek Kolbaba’s bull for Round 1, but Striker became the first re-ride after Kolbaba was unable to make it to Kansas City for Round 1 because of a mechanical issue on his scheduled airplane out of Pasco, Washington, on Saturday morning.
Kolbaba said he expects to make it to Kansas City in time for Championship Sunday.
In regards to Striker, Lambert’s prediction was spot on.
Joao Ricardo Vieira was eventually given a re-ride in Round 1 after a failed trip with Big City, and he was then awarded another re-ride after being unable to get out of the chutes with Striker.
The third time was the charm for Vieira. He converted on Fire Rock in the duo’s eighth meeting all time for 86.5 points and a fifth-place finish in Round 1.
Mauney finished 12th in Round 1 and said he will be fine for his Round 2 matchup against Something Magical (3-2, PBR UTB) on Championship Sunday.
“I mean it is sore,” Mauney said. “I had been getting on a drop barrel, but it is nothing like getting on a real bull, and then him snatching on you especially when you are hanging off the side trying to make the whistle.
“I am just a little tender, but I am good to go.”
Dener Barbosa extends world lead on No. 2 Montanha
World leader Dener Barbosa knew he had a potential round-winner on his hands on Saturday night, and the 8-second magician nearly took home 100 world points when he covered Night Sweats for 89.25 points on the final ride of the night.
The ride wasn’t good enough to top Marco Eguchi’s 89.75 points on Reign Lashes Testified, but Barbosa’s PBR-leading 17th qualified ride earned him a second-place finish and 60 world points.
“I saw Jess (Lockwood) ride this bull before and I saw the bull kind of pulls up a little bit to the front,” Barbosa said with the help of Guilherme Marchitranslating. “I tried to stay square and finish strong. I made a good ride after trying with everything I can on that bull.”
Barbosa extended his lead atop the world standings to 184.17 points on Claudio Montanha Jr., who finished Round 1 in seventh-place (five world points) courtesy of his 85-point ride on Golden.
The 23-year-old said he isn’t worrying about what other contenders such as Montanha Jr. are doing.
“I pay attention to him, but there is nothing I can do if he rides his bulls,” Barbosa said. “I just need to ride my bull and not worry about the consequences.”
Barbosa will face Wired Child (21-7, PBR UTB) in Round 2 Sunday at Sprint Center.
This weekend is a good opportunity for Barbosa to create some breathing room between him and the other World Champion contenders with RyanDirteater (fractured ribs) and Cooper Davis (riding hand) out because of injuries.
“I am feeling great and feeling strong,” Barbosa said. “I am staying strong in the race. I want to do everything I can. I have confidence at every event and every bull I get on.”
Eguchi wins first round since Last Cowboy Standing
Marco Eguchi began the weekend ranked 64th in the world standings and was beginning to flirt a little bit with a potential cutline scenario if he didn’t turn around his season.
Well thanks to a nice bull with pink ear tags, Eguchi is a step closer to avoiding the cutline in three weeks following his season-high 89.75 points aboard Reign Lashes Testified.
Eguchi won Round 1 and picked up 100 points toward the world standings and moves all the way up to 35th in the world heading into the Kansas City finale on Sunday.
It is his first round win since last year’s Last Cowboy Standing.
“I saw two videos of him at the Finals and one at the Finals with Luciano (de Castro),” Eguchi said. “He is on the left delivery and still comes around to the right. That is what he did with me. He was right around the right and I did my best to ride him.”
Reign Lashes Testified has pink ear tags as part of a sponsorship deal with Cooper Davis’ wife, Kaitlyn, who has an eye-lash company.
“That is her bull?” Eguchi said in amazement. “If they (sponsor) him, this means he must be pretty good like tonight.”
Eguchi has drawn Milky Jones (18-4, PBR UTB) for Round 2. Milky Jones is 3-0 against Eguchi.
The 28-year-old wasn’t the only rider outside the Top 35 to come through with a qualified ride in Round 1.
No. 44 Emilio Resende began the night with 83.5 points on Calico Kickinand No. 124 Mason Lowe made the whistle on Vertical Hazard for 81.5 points.
Neither Resende nor Lowe earned points toward the world standings, though, and they will need rides in Round 2 to try and gain ground in the race to avoid being relegated to the Real Time Pain Relief Velocity Tour after they run out of their eight guaranteed events.
Resende is set to meet Ram It (5-10, PBR UTB) in Round 2, while Lowe will square off against Wild Sky’s (5-2, PBR UTB).
KC draw: Lockwood out with knee injuries; four riders to debut (2-7-18)
Reigning PBR World Champion Jess Lockwood made a valiant effort to try and ride in the championship round last week after a rough hang-up aboard Blue Gangster in Round 2 of the Anaheim Invitational.
One week later and Lockwood is going to play it safe and take some time off.
Lockwood confirmed on Wednesday that he will miss the Caterpillar Classic in Kansas City on Saturday and Sunday because of injuries to both his knees in Anaheim.
“Tandy (Freeman) said (I have) small tears/sprained both MCL’s I believe,” Lockwood said. “They feel really awesome, but I want to have them 100 percent rather than try to show how tough I can be and ride with them messed up and hurt myself even more.”
Lockwood is 15th in the world standings and may not return until the WinStar World Casino & Resort Iron Cowboy, powered by Kawasaki, on Feb. 24.
The 20-year-old has been going to physical therapy every day and icing his knees at home in Volborg, Montana. 
Meanwhile, two-time World Champion J.B. Mauney (right groin/right shoulder) and Stormy Wing (knee) are returning to competition in Kansas City.
Mauney has missed the last four events and will face Little Texas (1-0, PBR UTB) in Round 1.
Wing has missed two weeks with his knee injury and has drawn Concealed Carry (0-0, PBR UTB).
The Dalhart, Texas, cowboy is one of four riders from last year’s Top 30 that are currently below the Top 35 of the world standings.
As a reminder, riders that placed 1-30 in the 2017 world standings are guaranteed eight events before being subject to the cutline.
No. 39 Emilio Resende, No. 64 Marco Eguchi and No. 117 Mason Lowehave three weeks left to try and crack the Top 35 before facing relegation to the Velocity Tour. Wing still has six events including Kansas City.
There are four riders making their season-debuts in Kansas City – No. 24 Keyshawn Whitehorse, No. 27 Lindomar Lino, No. 28 Chase Robbinsand No. 36 Colten Jesse.
Robbins is making his premier series debut after competing primarily in the PRCA in prior seasons. The 22-year-old went 10-for-15 on the Real Time Pain Relief Velocity Tour with three runner-up finishes and earned 180 world points and a spot on the Unleash The Beast.
The Marsing, Idaho, bull rider is a third generation cowboy. He first got on bulls at 10 years old and his father, Cory, used to ride bulls, while his grandfather owned cattle in Idaho. In 2013, Robbins rode at the National High School Finals Rodeo, and he also was a wrestler and football player for Marsing High School.  
Robbins has drawn Ol’ Boy (1-0, PBR UTB) for Round 1.
Jesse, who won last weekend’s Velocity Tour event in Grand Rapids, Michigan, is one of three alternate riders alongside Wallace de Oliveira and Juan Carlos Contreras.
He and Oliveira are tied for 36th in the world standings, but are only 15 points behind No. 35 Edgar Durazo.
Jesse takes on Medicine Man (0-0, PBR UTB) in Round 1, and Oliveira has a matchup against Sky Harbor (1-0, PBR UTB).
Contreras is tied for 39th in the world and is 25 points behind Durazo. The 27-year-old has drawn Big Black (3-0, PBR UTB).
World leader Dener Barbosa will look for his PBR-leading 17th ride of the year when he squares off against Night Sweats (2-0, PBR UBT).
Also not competing in Kansas City is Ryan Dirteater (fractured ribs), Gage Gay (reconstructive knee surgery), Matt Triplett (reconstructive shoulder surgery), Chase Outlaw (reconstructive shoulder surgery) and Shane Proctor (personal decision).

Alex Bowman wins pole; Denny Hamlin to start second in Daytona 500

For the second straight season, the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet will sit on the front row for the season-opening Daytona 500.
But this time, young driver Alex Bowman is piloting the car.
Circling 2.5-mile Daytona International Speedway at a speed of 195.644 mph, Bowman notched his second career pole — first at Daytona — in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series during Sunday’s qualifying session. This marks his first season driving the No. 88 full time in the Monster Energy Series, following Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s retirement last season.
“I think it’s still a little surreal,” Bowman said. “It’s a dream come true to get to drive for Hendrick Motorsports. I never thought it would have happened after the path my career took. I’m so thankful to be able to do this. I’m very blessed to be able to call driving a race car my job, and now to get to drive what I think is the best race car in the business.”
Denny Hamlin will line up alongside Bowman after notching a speed of 195.092 mph in his No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota to nab the second starting spot for the “Great American Race.” Hamlin is the 2016 Daytona 500 winner, but has never started on the front row for the sport’s biggest race.
Bowman and Hamlin also were fastest in the opening round of qualifying.
Sunday’s two-round, single-car qualifying session only produced the front row for the season-opening Daytona 500 on Feb. 18 (2:30 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). The rest of the field will be determined by Thursday’s Can-Am Duels (7 p.m., FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). The lineup for the Duels will be set based on Sunday’s qualifying speeds.
Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch and William Byron all showed speed during qualifying, posting the third, fourth and fifth-fastest speeds (respectively) in Sunday’s session. But their Daytona 500 grid positions, along with the rest of the field aside from the front row, will be set based on the Duels.
The Monster Energy Series is back on track at Daytona shortly with this afternoon’s Advance Auto Parts Clash (3 p.m. ET, FS1), which Austin Dillon will lead to green.

Canada off & running

Team Canada began its quest for a fifth straight Olympic gold with a speedy 5-0 win over the Olympic Athletes from Russia.

The win was spurred on by three unanswered goals in the second period to break open a scoreless game.
Rebecca Johnston led the way with two goals and an assist during the evening. Melodie Daoust had two goals and captain Marie-Philip Poulin contributed three assists.
"It’s nice to see those goals in, for sure," said Johnston. "A lot of the girls had really great opportunities and mine ended up going in. As a team, I think we did a really good job of creating chances."
"We have a lot of talent on this team, a lot of speed, a lot of skill," said Meghan Agosta. "We have a lot of people who can contribute, and that’s what we need. We need everybody going for us to be successful. Tonight, with putting up five goals, I think it’s great."
Although the team is called the Olympic Athletes from Russia for sanction reasons, Canada had played Russia eleven previous times in Olympic and Women’s Worlds competition, winning all games and never allowing more than one goal in any game (five shutouts).
Today, under a new name, nothing had changed. 
"I think we can do more than match Canada for one period," suggested Olga Sosina of OAR. "I think if we could score on the chances we created, maybe things would have been different. After all, scoring a goal gives everyone a lift, and that can change a game. If we’d scored on our chances the game might have turned out very differently."
Ann-Renee Desbiens stopped 18 shots for the shutout. It was her first blank sheet playing for her country. She played three times at the WW18 in 2011 and three more at the 2015 WW, winning silver each time but without recording a shutout.
"It feels pretty good," the Canadian goaltender enthused. "It’s really nice to get it out of the way. The first few shots, you’re really excited, maybe a little too much. But I settled down as the game went along. It’s been a dream to wear that jersey since forever, so it’s nice to get that start and finally make it come true."
Canada fired 48 shots at the duo of Nadezhda Morozova and Nadezhda Alexandrova. Nadezhda means hope in Russian but there was little hope to find back into the game for the OAR team.
"We played well on defence but when we made mistakes we gave up goals," said OAR's Maria Batalova. "Physically it’s tough because they’re a little bit quicker than us. They were playing with four lines and we had three, so we got a bit tired towards the end. But of course we tried to play hard against them."
Canada had by far the better of play in the opening 20 minutes but couldn’t convert until early in the second. Johnston fired a quick shot in the slot after a nice pass from behind the net by Brianne Jenner at 1:55.
That goal inspired teams to open up a bit, and Valeria Pavlova came right back and nearly tied the game on the next shift. Only a nice save by Ann-Renee Desbiens kept it a 1-0 game.
Soon after Canada went on the power play, and just eight seconds later Johnston’s point shot was beautifully tipped in front by Haley Irwin at 4:13.
Canada made it 3-0 late in the period on a nice passing sequence which started with captain Marie-Philip Poulin making a twirling pass outside the OAR blue line to Agosta streaking down the left side.
Agosta waited for Daoust to skate to the top of the crease and fired a great pass which Daoust redirected in at 15:51. 
"I thought in the first period we had a lot of great chances," Agosta continued. "We just needed to outwork the goalie. Come the second period, we just ended up burying those chances and kept going. We didn’t get frustrated at all."
Pavlova was OAR’s best player. Indeed, she had five of the team's 12 shots through 40 minutes of play and six in the game. She made two toe-drag moves in quick order and fired another good shot that was expertly blocked by Desbiens. Pavlova had previously helped the Russians win bronze at the 2013 and 2016 Women’s Worlds.
Johnston made it 4-0 midway through the third on a five-on-three power play, roofing a gorgeous shot from a bad angle over the shoulder of Morozova.
Daoust added her second of the game at 10:44 to put an exclamation mark on the score.
"I’d like to thank our men’s team who came to support us tonight," said OAR's Olga Sosina. "That was really great. I’m sure that when we get some free time we’ll be happy to go to some of their games. For me, it’s always good to get advice [from the men’s team], every suggestion is interesting to hear. It’s inspiring."
"It’s honest hockey, blue-collar hockey, not being scared to get physical and get pucks in behind them and win footraces," said Canada's coach, Laura Schuler, herself a player with Canada from 1990 to 1998. "The Olympics are about heart and soul and giving it your all. I think that’ll be important for us moving forward."
Both Group A teams have a day off tomorrow. Canada plays Finland on Tuesday afternoon while OAR takes on the U.S. in the late game.

U.S. edges Finns

Finnish goalie Noora Raty made 39 saves, but it wasn't enough to stop the Americans. The U.S. won Sunday's opener 3-1 on Kendall Coyne's second-period goal.
Monique Lamoureux-Morando and Dani Cameranasi also scored for the Americans, who are seeking their first Olympic gold medal since women's hockey debuted in Nagano in 1998. Since then, Canada has won four consecutive Olympic golds.
Venla Hovi had the lone goal for Finland.
The U.S., which won the last four Women's Worlds (2013, 2015-17), has never lost to Finland in Olympic women’s hockey, posting seven straight victories.

The Finns were seeking another big stepping stone for their program after earning their first win ever over four-time defending Olympic champion Canada at the 2017 Women’s Worlds (4-3 on 1 April). But despite a gutsy, go-for-it effort in all three zones, they just fell short.
The goaltending duel was a study in contrasts. U.S. goalie Maddie Rooney got her first Olympic start. The 20-year-old played once in the Women’s World Championship gold medal run last year in Plymouth, Michigan.
Meanwhile, Finland’s Raty, appearing in her fourth Olympics, played her 15th game all-time, matching Swiss goalie Florence Schelling's Winter Games record. Raty, 28, has been named Best Goalie at the Women’s Worlds four times (2007, 2008, 2011, 2017).
It was the first Olympic game the Americans have played since the crushing 3-2 overtime loss to archrival Canada in the 2014 gold medal game in Sochi. It's still too early to decide whether the decision to exclude Alex Carpenter and Megan Bozek from this roster was wise. Carpenter led the U.S. with four goals in Sochi, while Bozek earned a tournament all-star berth on defence.
U.S. coach Robb Stauber has been experimenting with new line combinations, and the traditional top trio of Kendall Coyne, Brianna Decker, and Hilary Knight – who finished 1-2-3 in scoring at last year’s Women’s Worlds – was broken up to start this PyeongChang premiere. However, the line would reunite as the game progressed.
The U.S. got the first power play when Finnish defender Mira Jalosuo hauled down Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson cutting to the net. Yet the Americans, who boast the world’s most skillful and creative lineup, struggled to get in sync early on. Raty delivered back-to back big saves off Decker and Coyne off the rush midway through the first.
Finland opened the scoring with six seconds left in the first period. Petra Nieminen centered the puck from behind the net to Hovi, a third-time Olympian, who one-timed it home past Rooney’s left skate.
The Americans hit their stride in a second period where they outshot Finland 23-5. At 8:58, they tied it up after the puck squirted loose out of a five-player scramble in the corner to Raty’s left. Lamoureux-Morando hustled laterally to the net and put it past past the Finnish goalie.
Coyne put the U.S. up 2-1 at 11:29 on the power play when she one-timed Knight’s deft cross-ice feed under the cross bar from the faceoff circle.
Raty did her utmost to keep it a one-game game, stopping Kacey Bellamy, Knight, Decker, and Coyne in a sequence with under five minutes left in the middle frame.

In the third period, the Finns couldn't capitalize with their first power play when Decker went off for interference at 7:55. A few minutes later, captain Jenni Hiirikoski's shot from right wing squeaked through Rooney's pads and just trickled wide.

Hannah Brandt, the sister of Korea's Yoonjung Park, was called for delay of game after she put the puck over the glass with 4:27 left in regulation, and Finnish coach Pasi Mustonen called his timeout. His players pressed mightily but couldn't find the equalizer. Raty was pulled twice in the dying moments, but that just allowed Cameranesi to notch the empty-netter with 13 seconds left.
At the Women’s Worlds, the only Finnish win over the U.S. in 17 tries was back in 2008. Finland's next chance for a PyeongChang win is Tuesday versus Canada. The Americans take on the Olympic Athletes from Russia that day.

Ukita suspended

Japanese forward Rui Ukita was suspended for one game due to a kicking incident in the last minute of the game against Sweden.
With 48 seconds left in the teams’ game yesterday there was an incidence between Ukita and Swedish player Annie Svedin. During a puck battle in front of the Swedish bench Svedin pushed Ukita to the ice and while Svedin was over Ukita, the Japanese player made a kicking action directed to the lower body of her opponent.
Based on the videos and other facts ascertained, the Disciplinary Panel determined that the kicking motion was not mere momentum of the play, but a clear leg movement made in the direction and in close proximity of the opponent.
While the panel does not believe the action was made with the intent to injure the player, the swinging leg motion itself within close proximity of her opponent leads to the violation of IIHF Official Playing Rule 152 and shall therefore be sanctioned with a one-game suspension.
Rui Ukita will therefore be suspended for tomorrow’s game between Japan and Switzerland.