Sunday, February 25, 2018

Kevin Harvick storms Atlanta as Fords finish 1-2-3

On Sunday night, after 17 barren years, Kevin Harvick finally completed the second chapter of his love affair with Atlanta Motor Speedway.
In the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500, the second Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race of the season, Harvick delivered a proper thrashing to the rest of the field, leading 181-of-325 laps and beating runner-up Brad Keselowski to the finish line by 2.690 seconds.
Early in 2001, after Dale Earnhardt Sr. died in a last-lap crash in the Daytona 500, Harvick was thrust prematurely into a replacement role that would have cowed most rookies. Three weeks later, he notched his first Cup victory in a photo finish (.006 seconds) over Jeff Gordon.
Harvick’s career victory total reached 38 on Sunday with his relentless performance at the 1.54-mile speedway, ending a frustrating drought that featured blinding speed foiled by ill fortune and inopportune mistakes. 
Afterwards, in his victory celebration, Harvick gave a “3” salute to Earnhardt, a tribute he had waited years to perform.
“I’m just so proud of everybody on our team,” Harvick said. “That was the first win in my career (in 2001), and to be able to do that and pay tribute to Dale was pretty cool. I’ve been waiting a long time to do that…
“I love racing here, and it’s good to be back in Victory Lane – finally. It took a while.”
Harvick had led the most laps in the last four Monster Energy events at Atlanta, but victory continued to elude him. Nor was the road to Sunday’s win free of obstacles.
On Harvick’s second pit stop, after his No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford had dominated the race’s first stage, the air hose blew off the coupler of the pit gun wielded by the front tire changer Daniel Smith, and Harvick had to return to pit road to make sure his lug nuts were tight.
No problem as Harvick restarted 16th on Lap 94 to begin Stage 2. On Lap 126, he passed teammate Kurt Busch for the lead.
Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano tried divergent strategies, opting for a two-pit-stop strategy, instead of the typical three, over the last stage of the race. After Harvick came off pit road on Lap 289, Hamlin held a 1.819-second second advantage.
Harvick brushed the ploy aside as easily as swatting a fly. On Lap 291 he passed Hamlin for the lead and took off. Ultimately, Hamlin finished fourth and Logano sixth.
Harvick was out front by more than four seconds when Trevor Bayne’s engine blew in Turn 2 on Lap 297, trailing a thick cloud of smoke that covered the corner and left Daytona 500 runner-up Bubba Wallace driving blind into the back of Ricky Stenhouse Jr.’s Ford.
On the subsequent restart on Lap 305, Harvick simply drove away, stretching his lead to nearly four seconds over the final 21 laps before easing up as he approached the finish line.
“It was great getting into this race car and knowing that everybody knew that they had to beat our car,” Harvick said. “I’m just really, really happy with everything that we’ve done at Stewart-Haas Racing over the last five years, and this is a great start to getting ourselves in the Playoffs and doing everything that we need to do. 
“We overcame a lot of things today. We got a late-race restart that we drove off and won the race with, so there are so many demons that seem to haunt us here for a long time, but the coolest part was being able to try to replicate that first win celebration.”
SHR teammate Clint Bowyer finished third, putting Fords in all three podium positions. Martin Truex Jr. charged forward from a 35th-place starting position to run fifth. Logano, pole winner Kyle Busch, Kurt Busch, Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott completed the top 10.
Logano took over the series lead by six points over Ryan Blaney, who finished 12th. Daytona 500 winner Austin Dillon was 14th, the first driver one lap down.

Kaprizov gets golden goal!

Kirill Kaprizov's overtime goal gave the OAR team a thrilling 4-3 gold-medal win over underdog Germany. It's the first Russian Olympic gold since 1992.

Russian fans have eagerly awaited this moment ever since the CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) team triumphed at the 1992 Albertville Olympics under coach Viktor Tikhonov.

On Sunday, the Olympic Athletes from Russia made their dreams come true -- in the most dramatic fashion imaginable, against one of the least likely opponents.

Kaprizov scored at 9:40 on the power play, one-timing a Nikita Gusev feed past German goalie Danny aus den Birken from the right faceoff circle and unleashing a wild red-and-white celebration. The goal came 29 seconds after Germany's Patrick Reimer was sent off for accidentally high-sticking Russian captain Pavel Datsyuk.

"Gus gave me a great pass, and I was just lucky to get on the end of it," said Kaprizov. "After that, I was just on auto-pilot. My first thought was to run. Anywhere, I didn't know!"

With the NHL opting out of PyeongChang, the Russians took full advantage of their ability to ice more top-tier KHLers than anyone else. They outscored opponents 27-9. This culmination provides relief and happiness after Russia’s crushing Olympic quarter-final losses to Canada in Vancouver 2010 and Finland in Sochi 2014.

Aus den Birken was heroic in his duel with Russian starter Vasili Koshechkin as the OAR team outshot Germany 30-25. Near the seven-minute mark of overtime, the EHC Munchen netminder did the splits to rob Olympic MVP Ilya Kovalchuk, who exploded through the German defence.
The young Russian KHL snipers shone, with four-point games for both CSKA Moscow's Kaprizov (1-3-4) and tournament scoring leader Gusev of SKA St. Petersburg (2-2-4). Vyacheslav Voinov also had a goal and an assist for the OAR team.

Datsyuk joined the IIHF’s Triple Gold Club with this victory. Head coach Oleg Znarok also continued his medal streak at IIHF tournaments. The 55-year-old won gold at the 2014 Worlds, silver at the 2015 Worlds, and bronze at the 2016 and 2017 Worlds. This is the biggest one yet.

"I learned a lot from Datsyuk at this tournament," said Kaprizov. "He can play anywhere on the ice. I’m thrilled that Pavel and Ilya Kovalchuk finally won their gold medals. I’m happy for everyone, but from them in particular because it’s their fifth Games. I’m only 20, and I still have a lot to strive for in my career."

Felix Schutz, Dominik Kahun and Jonas Muller replied for Germany, which gave the Russians all they could handle. In fact, coach Marco Sturm's team led 3-2 with less than a minute left in regulation.

"We called this Mission: Gold from Day One," said veteran Moritz Muller. "It's maybe a little nuts, but that's what we needed to do to get here. Obviously, it's right after the game so we're a little sad. We were 50 seconds away from winning gold, but it's been an amazing experience. We've come so close together as a group. We played to our full potential every game. For me, it was a little miracle. "

The Cinderella Germans' run to the gold medal game was as unexpected as the OAR team’s was predictable. The Germans mostly played the Russians on their preferred tight-checking terms -- but that all changed in the second half of the third period, with the score tied 1-1.
With 6:39 left, Gusev took his time lining up his short-side laser from the bottom of the left faceoff circle before putting it off aus den Birken's mask and in. It was a goal that Connor McDavid and Auston Matthews would be envious of. Russian fans at the packed Gangneung Hockey Centre went wild, anticipating this was the winner.

But not so fast! Just 10 seconds later, Kahun got loose in front and took Frank Mauer's backhanded centering pass from the goal line, lifting the puck past Koshechkin's glove.

With 3:16 remaining, Jonas Muller cruised in and scored from the hash marks through the goalie's legs. It was the 22-year-old defenceman's first goal of the tournament, and it looked like he'd written his name in the history books.

When Sergei Kalinin took a tripping minor at 17:49, the Russians were on life support. But after Znarok pulled his goalie for the extra attacker, Gusev got loose at the side of the German net and golfed a shorthanded backhander past aus den Birken's blocker to make it 3-3 with just 0:56 left. It was a perfect example of how high-end Russian skill can turn the tide in a heartbeat.

"We didn’t expect a game quite like that, but thank God it turned out the way it did," said Datsyuk. "With God’s help, it all worked out. When we were down 2-3 and Gusev had that shot, I think everyone’s heart stopped on the bench. But when the goal went in, we came back to life."

"We wanted to spread the power play and run out the clock, but Russia is a team that can score at any time," said Germany's David Wolf. "We had a couple of chances on the power play, but then we made a line change and the puck came into our end. We tried to freeze it, but they pulled the goalie, which was a good call, and they tied it."
It was a tough break for the Germans, who got further than they could have dreamed a month ago thanks to their hard work, poise, team spirit, and surprising offensive creativity.
For Germany, the historic nature of this silver medal cannot be overstated. The last German Olympic medal came in Innsbruck 1976 with the classic bronze-winning roster coached by Xavier Unsinn and headlined by scoring star Erich Kuhnhackl. Prior to that, their only other medal was bronze in 1932. So the German federation’s pre-Olympic decision to hand Sturm a contract extension through 2022 looks like a stroke of genius.

"The thing with Marco Sturm that is different is that he always wants to win every game," said Mortiz Muller. "It doesn't matter the nation we're playing. There were coaches before him who would say when we're playing Canada, 'C'mon guys, let's have a good night and play hard...' But if you're down after the first period with Sturmy, he gets mad -- it doesn't matter who we're playing. He put that spirit in us."

In modern IIHF history, the closest parallel to what Germany did is the Swiss silver-medal run at the 2013 IIHF World Championship in Sweden.

"We didn't think we'd win silver maybe, but we believed we could come here and make a statement," said Wolf. "We have the ability to believe we can win, and once we did we got more confident when we played the big nations. That's what got us to the finals. Now we go home with a silver medal, and we can be proud of that."
Here in the early going, the Germans did a good job of keeping their red-and-white opponents on the perimeter with disciplined, structured defence. Yet the OAR team opened the scoring with a trademark lightning strike with just one second left in the first period.

Gusev snared the puck in the left faceoff circle and dished it to Voinov in the high slot. He hammered a one-timer high to the stick side, and the Russians celebrated the payoff of a period in which they outshot Germany 12-6.
The 28-year-old Voinov, who won two Stanley Cups with the L.A. Kings before leaving North America under a cloud in 2015 to star for SKA St. Petersburg, was Russia’s best blueliner in Korea.
Against the flow of play, the Germans tied it up at 9:32 of the second period. Koschechkin fumbled an onrushing Schutz’s bad-angle backhander from the goal line, pushing the puck into his own net with his blocker hand. There was a review to see if Patrick Hager, who went hard to the crease, kicked it in, but video revealed that it did not touch the German scoring leader.

"It was no surprise for us that the Germans played so well," said Voinov. "We watched how they played up to now. There were a few moments today when we didn’t play as well as we can, but even at the end we still believed. We kept going for the full 60 minutes."

This ranked up there with the most exciting Olympic finals of all time, and was only the second one ever decided in overtime. Sidney Crosby's golden goal in Vancouver at 7:40 of the extra frame against the Americans in 2010 was the first. Peter Forsberg famously scored in the shootout to lift Sweden over Canada at the 1994 Olympics in Lillehammer.
Other top nations, from Canada to Sweden to the United States, will decry the NHL’s decision not to let them ice their A-list talent. But history rolls on regardless. A few years ago, who could have imagined that a Russian team without Alexander Ovechkin or Yevgeni Malkin would be the first to claim Olympic gold in the 21st century? Yet now, the celebrations are loud and proud from St. Petersburg on the Baltic to Vladivostok on the Pacific.


Here are three things we learned from the WinStar World Casino & Resort Invitational, powered by Kawasaki, on Saturday night.
Marcilio takes home $26,000 ride score bonus
Alex Marcilio was shaking his head in disappointment in the initial moments following his 1.77-second buckoff against Gangster’s Wildside, which clinched Ramon de Lima the Iron Cowboy title and left Marcilio wondering what could have been.
Three-time World Champion Silvano Alves and Kaique Pacheco walked over to pat their compadre on the back, but nothing they said could help the immediate disappointment he felt.
However, Marcilio finally picked up his head and smiled when he was told he won a $26,000 bonus.
Marcilio asked for an explanation.
The 29-year-old’s 88.75-point ride on Night Sweats during Round 2 wound up being the high-marked ride of night for the $26,000 bonus.
“I am very happy because this is emotional for me,” Marcilio said with the help of Alves translating. “I have been staying in the middle of the 40s. To be one of the top two guys here is really good for me.”
Marcilio earned 125 points for the Round 2 victory and left AT&T Stadium with 185 points toward the world standings after finishing Round 1 in third place with 87.25 points on Chocolate Shake.
The 2017 Real Time Pain Relief Velocity Tour champion was ranked 42nd in the world standings prior to moving up to 24th on Saturday night.
The two rides are the best of his career on the premier series.
Marcilio (2.04 seconds on Carrot Top) and Lima (1.67 seconds on Medicine Man) both bucked off in Round 3 before Lima won the event in the fourth round aboard Wild Goose (86 points).
Not only did Marcilio also finish a career-best second overall, but he also walked away with a personal-high of $42,100.  
“This is very emotional,” he concluded. “This money will help me a lot. This can help me in my dream of staying in the United States.”
Lima takes over world No. 1 ranking with Iron Cowboy crown
Lima became the first rider this season to win multiple events, and he sure picked a great one to win his second at.
Five weeks after earning 715 world points in Sacramento, California, Lima clinched the Iron Cowboy crown aboard Wild Goose to walk away as the new No. 1 bull rider in the world standings thanks to the 830 world points he earned in Arlington.
“That bull was kind of giving me a hard time in the chute,” Lima said with Paulo Crimber translating. “I kind of got tired in there and I had to really focus and concentrate. I just had to get a good shot on him and I knew he was a hard bull to ride. Thank God I got done with the work and I am looking forward to hunting that world title now.”
This is the first Lima has ever been ranked No. 1 in the world standings.
Lima started off his march to his first PBR Major victory by riding Yoga for 83 points in Round 1.
The 27-year-old was one of 13 riders – Castro, J.B. Mauney, Marcilio, Cody TeelValdiron de OliveiraDakota ButtarEduardo Aparecido, Ueberson DuarteEmilio ResendeJoao Ricardo Vieira, Ramon de Lima, Silvano Alves and Colten Jesse – to advance out of Round 1.
Lima then joined Marcilio as the only two riders to advance into Round 3 with his 88-point ride on After Midnight.  
After Midnight (13-0, PBR UTB) was never ridden before.
He shook off his buckoff against Medicine Man to take care of business against Wild Goose.
Lima explained that he tried to block out the over 40,000 people in attendance and bear down in the fourth round.
“We battle through that pressure a lot and we learn to use that to our own good,” Lima said. “You try to turn that into a lot of energy and hunger to ride. You try to make it a benefit.”
The second-year pro walked away with a career-high $127,350 for his 3-for-4 performance and leads previous world No. 1 Dener Barbosa by 220 points ahead of next weekend’s BadBoy Mowdown in North Little Rock, Arkansas.
Barbosa was bucked off by Red Bandana in 7.34 seconds.
SweetPro’s Bruiser and Pearl Harbor tie for top bull honors
The top two bulls in the 2017 World Champion Bull race, and the believed favorites in 2018, both rose to the occasion under the bright lights of AT&T Stadium.
Two-time World Champion Bull SweetPro’s Bruiser and Pearl Harbor both tied with 46-point bull scores in Round 2 for the YETI Built For the Wild Bull of the Event honors.
Bruiser had the best out of his season thus far by bucking off Resende in 5.39 seconds, while Pearl Harbor tied his season-high by dislodging Teel in 6.16 seconds.
“I don’t know what happened with me,” a discouraged Resende said. “I tried to ride him twice before. The first time 47. Today, he bucked for 46 and I don’t know. I like him. He is alright. He really bucks, but he is a special bull. It was not today for me.”
PBR Director of Livestock Cody Lambert said if he were to break the tie, he would have given the edge to Pearl Harbor.
“Pearl Harbor. He was just a little stronger,” Lambert said. “Bruiser was really, really good. They both could have been 46.75-47 points.”
Injury Updates
World No. 4 Luciano de Castro began the Iron Cowboy with quite the statement when he won Round 1 with an 88.25-point ride aboard Swamp Wreck.
However, Castro hit his head on the ground during his dismount and was ruled out of the competition by Dr. Tandy Freeman with a concussion.
Iron Cowboy Draw: Brazilian contingency returning in full force
2017 PBR World Finals event winner Jose Vitor Leme, 10-time PBR World Finals qualifier Valdiron de Oliveira, two-time Iron Cowboy champion Joao Ricardo Vieira, Music City Knockout Champion Fabiano Vieira and 2016 PBR World Champion Cooper Davis, who also has a PBR major victory on his resume, are all returning to competition after missing last weekend’s St. Louis Invitational.
The Winstar World Casino & Resort Iron Cowboy, powered by Kawasaki, is a single-elimination “ride or go home” format with riders advancing to the next round by making a qualified ride. Iron Cowboy is a minimum of two rounds and a maximum of five.
It has been the same format as Last Cowboy Standing since 2015 and the two PBR Majors have been dominated by Brazilian bull riders. Brazilians have won the last six Last Cowboy Standings and three of the last four Iron Cowboys.
This year’s Iron Cowboy will take home $100,000. One rider can walk away with a minimum of 625 world points to as many as 1,250 points if he wins every round and the event goes a full five rounds. There is also a $26,000 bonus to the rider who posts the single-highest scored ride at AT&T Stadium.
All four returning Brazilians could be threats to take home the 2018 title.
Leme showed he was no stranger to the big stage last year by going 6-for-6 to win the PBR World Finals, but he is coming off a groin and lower back injury from attempting to ride Cochise in Kansas City, Missouri, and is 7-for-18 this season.
The 21-year-old has been rehabbing at Fit-N-Wise Rehabilitation and Performance Center in Decatur, Texas.
“Yes, I have not finished all the treatment, but I'm feeling much better,” Leme said via Miriaham Contreras. “I already feel like I can ride. Physiotherapists here work very well.”
Leme takes on Sketchy Bob (8-12, PBR UTB) in Round 1.
Meanwhile, Oliveira won the inaugural Iron Cowboy in 2012 when it was a bracket-style event and took home a record-setting $260,000.
Oliveira is back after missing St. Louis with a strained left groin and faces Element 79 (8-4, PBR UTB) in Round 1.
Joao Ricardo Vieira (sprained left riding hand) is a two-time winner in Arlington and has won over $350,000 at AT&T Stadium. He takes on Big Country (1-1, PBR UTB).
Fabiano Vieira returns following a week off with a sprained left knee. The 35-year-old faces Wired Child (22-7, PBR UTB).
No. 6 Davis is back after missing the past two weeks because of an on-going injury to the ring finger on his right riding hand. Davis is set to meet with hand-specialist, Dr. Bo Frederick in Dallas on Friday, but he expects to be ready to give it a go on Saturday in Arlington.
Davis is 1-for-8 since winning the Chicago Invitational and trails world leader Dener Barbosa by 635 points. Davis won’t have to wait long to test out his hand as he has drawn Wicked Stick (21-5, PBR UTB) for Round 1. Wicked Stick has bucked off Davis twice in less than 5 seconds at all levels.
According to the PBR’s Iron Cowboy ground rules, riders must take their re-rides at Iron Cowboy.  
One rider can earn a maximum of 1,250 points toward the world standings. The 2017 Iron Cowboy will receive 625 of those points.
Iron Cowboy is a minimum of two rounds and a maximum of five. At least 10 riders will advance to Round 2, with any draw spots being filled by the current world standings heading into Iron Cowboy if there are less than 10 rides in Round 1.
If all riders buck off in Rounds 2, 3 or 4 then all riders that attempted a bull advance to the next round.
If there is more than one ride in the final round (Round 5), then the Iron Cowboy will be the rider with the highest-ride score in Round 5. If there are no rides in Round 5, then the Iron Cowboy will be the rider with the most round points that had competed in Round 5.
Dakota Buttar is back for Iron Cowboy following a bout with the flu last week. Buttar has drawn Foghat (0-0, PBR UTB).
Ryan Dirteater (fractured ribs) is still a few weeks away from returning, while Mason Lowe (arm), Gage Gay (reconstructive knee surgery), Matt Triplett (reconstructive shoulder surgery), Chase Outlaw (reconstructive shoulder surgery) and Shane Proctor (personal decision) are out.
There will be six alternate riders competing in Arlington – No. 37 Reese Cates, No. 40 Edgar Durazo, No. 41 Alex Marcilio, No. 41 Colten Jesse, No. 41 Ryan Miller and Jake Gowdy.
Gowdy, who is using one of his final two injury exemptions, and Miller are making their season debuts.
Gowdy hasn’t competed at a PBR event since last October after returning for one event following surgery to repair a torn groin. 
The 20-year-old takes on Big Slick (5-1, PBR UTB) in Round 1.
Miller won the Real Time Pain Relief Velocity Tour event last weekend in Knoxville, Tennessee, to earn an alternate spot at Iron Cowboy and a matchup against Bad Moon Rising (209, PBR UTB). The 29-year-old is 34-for-122 (27.87 percent) in his PBR career at all levels of competition, including 4-for-9 in 2018.
Cates has been heating up in recent weeks with back-to-back, second-place finishes on the Real Time Pain Relief Velocity Tour. The 2008 Rookie of the Year is 5-for-7 in February and recently talked about the ups and downs of his career with Craig Hummer on RidePass’s “In Color.”
He has drawn A.J. (4-0, PBR UTB) for Round 1 and is only 22.5 points behind No. 35 Ueberson Duarte in the world standings.
Silvano Alves, who is 30 points out of the Top 35, is down to his last exemption based upon his 11th-place finish in the 2017 world standings, but if he fails to crack the Top 35 at Iron Cowboy he would then have 10 World Champion exemptions at his disposal before facing relegation to the Velocity Tour.
Rubens Barbosa is 25 points behind Duarte and has one more guaranteed event, and Stormy Wing has four more cracks to get back inside the Top 35.


In front of a record-setting crowd at AT&T Stadium, Ramon de Lima (Sao Paulo, Brazil) won the 2018 WinStar World Casino and Resort Iron Cowboy, powered by Kawasaki, the second Major of the 25thPBR: Unleash The Beast season.
More than 46,000 fans packed the largest stadium in the NFL, making the 2018 Iron Cowboy the largest single-day event in PBR history.
The win marks the 27-year-old Brazilian’s first Major victory of his career. He is the first rider this season to claim multiple event titles following his victory at January’s elite series stop in Sacramento.
Lima began the evening with an 83-point trip aboard Yoga (Currey Creek Bucking Bulls & Cattle Co.) in Round 1 as one of 13 riders to record an 8-second effort.
In the event’s second round, Lima covered After Midnight (01 Cattle Co./Hodges/Shuler/SM Whitehead) for 88 points, joining fellow Brazilian Alex Marcilio (Macaubal, Brazil) as the only two riders to advance to Round 3.
Lima’s ride was the first aboard the bovine athlete in his 16 outs to date. After Midnight made his elite series debut in April 2016 in Little Rock, Arkansas.
After both Brazilians bucked off their Round 3 draws, Lima earned the title of 2018 Iron Cowboy after covering Wild Goose (D&H Cattle Co./Buck Cattle Co.) for 86 points in Round 4.
Lima earned $127,350 and 830 points for the win, propelling him to the top of the world standings for the first time in his career. After beginning the event No. 4 in the world, he now leads No. 2 Dener Barbosa by 220 points.
Runner-up to Lima, Marcilio collected a paycheck for $42,100, along with 185 world points to elevate from No. 42 to No. 24 in the world standings.
In Round 1, the 29-year-old rode Chocolate Shake (D&H Cattle Co.) for 87.25 points, before winning Round 2 with an 88.75-point ride on Night Sweats (Plummer/Hart Cattle Co.).
Marcilio’s event came to an end after he bucked off both his third and fourth round draws, Carrot Top (Owens/Wyatt) and Gangster’s Wildside (Major League Bucking Bulls), respectively.  
Third went to Luciano de Castro (Guzolandia, Brazil) who won the event’s opening round compliments of his Round 1-winning, 88.25-point trip aboard Swamp Wreck (Phenom Genetics).
The 21-year-old, however, was unable to compete past Round 1 after sustaining a concussion during his dismount.
He leaves Texas with $10,600 and 125 world points.
Two-time PBR World Champion J.B. Mauney (Statesville, North Carolina) finished fourth in his third event back on the elite tour after straining his groin following the season-launch event in New York City.
Mauney rode Shelly’s Gangster (Dakota Rodeo/Chad Berger/Clay Struve) for 87.75 points in Round 1, but was only able to last 2.05 seconds on Canadian Mist (Hart Cattle Co.) in the Round 2.
Climbing five spots in the world rankings from No. 30 to No. 25, Mauney netted $4,100 and 75 world points for his first Top-5 finish on the elite tour this season.
Rounding out the Top 5, and earning $2,100 and 50 world points, was 2012 PRCA Champion Cody Teel (Kountze, Texas).
Teel covered Roll of the Dice (Halpain Bucking Bulls) for 86.25 points in Round 1, and narrowly missed out on advancing past Round 2, dispatched by Pearl Harbor (Dakota Rodeo/Chad Berger/Clay Struve/H&C Bucking Bulls) in 6.16 seconds.
SweetPro’s Bruiser (D&H Cattle Co./Buck Cattle Co.) and Pearl Harbor shared this weekend’s YETI “Built for the Wild” Bull of the Event title after both recorded matching 46-point bull scores in Round 2.
2017 YETI World Champion Bull Bruiser earned his first high-marked bull of the event honor for 2018 for bucking off Emilio Resende (Santa Helena do Goias, Brazil) in 5.39 seconds, while Pearl Harbor’s fourth, and second consecutive win, came for his matchup against Teel.
The Top 35 bull riders in the world will now head to North Little Rock, Arkansas, and Verizon Arena for the Bad Boy Mowdown. The event will be on Friday, March 2 at 7:45 p.m. CT and Saturday, March 3 at 6:45 p.m. CT.   
In other PBR action this weekend, Juan Carlos Contreras (Huichapan, Mexico) won the first Real Time Pain Relief Velocity Tour (RVT) event of his career on Saturday night during the Worcester Rumble at the DCU Center.
Contreras rode Jungle Fire (Torres Brothers Bucking Bulls LLC) for 85.5 points in Round 1 before covering Otis (Mike Miller Bucking Bulls) in the championship round for 86.5 points. He earned $6,950 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 Worcester, Massachusetts, Contreras earned an invitation to The Ak-Chin Invitational Presented by Cooper Tires in Glendale, Arizona March 23-24.
Real Time Pain Relief Velocity Tour Worcester Rumble Event Results
Name, Round 1-Round 2-Aggr. Score-Total Points-Money Earned
1. Juan Carlos Contreras, 85.5-86.5-172-$6,950
2. Nathan Burtenshaw, 84.5-84-168.5-$4,650
3. Michael Lane, 85.5-0-82.5-$3,550
4. Eli Miller, 86.5-0-84.5-$2,600
5. Junior Cezar Quaresma, 84.5-0-84.5-$990

25th PBR: Unleash The Beast
WinStar World Casino and Resort Iron Cowboy, powered By Kawasaki
AT&T Stadium – Arlington, Texas
Event Leaders (Round 1-Round 2-Round 3-Round 4-Round 5-Event Aggregate-Event Points)
1. Ramon de Lima, 83-88-0-86-0-257.00-830 Points.
2. Alex Marcilio, 87.25-88.75-0-0-0-176.00-185 Points.
3. Luciano De Castro, 88.25-0-0-0-0-88.25-125 Points.
4. J.B. Mauney, 87.75-0-0-0-0-87.75-75 Points.
5. Cody Teel, 86.25-0-0-0-0-86.25-50 Points.
6. Valdiron de Oliveira, 84.5-0-0-0-0-84.50-30 Points.
(tie). Dakota Buttar, 84.5-0-0-0-0-84.50-30 Points.
8. Eduardo Aparecido, 84.25-0-0-0-0-84.25-7.5 Points.
(tie). Ueberson Duarte, 84.25-0-0-0-0-84.25-7.5 Points.
10. Joao Ricardo Vieira, 83.25-0-0-0-0-83.25-5 Points.
(tie). Emilio Resende, 84-0-0-0-0-84.00-5 Points.
(tie). Silvano Alves, 82.75-0-0-0-0-82.75-5 Points.
(tie). Colten Jesse, 81.25-0-0-0-0-81.25-5 Points.
Dener Barbosa, 0-0-0-0-0-0.00
Claudio Montanha Jr., 0-0-0-0-0-0.00
Cooper Davis, 0-0-0-0-0-0.00
Guilherme Marchi, 0-0-0-0-0-0.00
Stetson Lawrence, 0-0-0-0-0-0.00
Cody Nance, 0-0-0-0-0-0.00
Derek Kolbaba, 0-0-0-0-0-0.00
Tanner Byrne, 0-0-0-0-0-0.00
Jose Vitor Leme, 0-0-0-0-0-0.00
Kaique Pacheco, 0-0-0-0-0-0.00
Keyshawn Whitehorse, 0-0-0-0-0-0.00
Marco Antonio Eguchi, 0-0-0-0-0-0.00
Jess Lockwood, 0-0-0-0-0-0.00
Brennon Eldred, 0-0-0-0-0-0.00
Fabiano Vieira, 0-0-0-0-0-0.00
Brady Oleson, 0-0-0-0-0-0.00
Chase Robbins, 0-0-0-0-0-0.00
Wallace Vieira de Oliveira, 0-0-0-0-0-0.00
Tye Chandler, 0-0-0-0-0-0.00
Cody Campbell, 0-0-0-0-0-0.00
Paulo Ferreira Lima, 0-0-0-0-0-0.00
Reese Cates, 0-0-0-0-0-0.00
Rubens Barbosa, 0-0-0-0-0-0.00
Edgar Durazo, 0-0-0-0-0-0.00
Ryan Miller, 0-0-0-0-0-0.00
Stormy Wing, 0-0-0-0-0-0.00
Jake Gowdy, 0-0-0-0-0-0.00

2018 Professional Bull Riders 25th PBR: Unleash the Beast World Standings      
(Place, Rider, Events, Wins, Top 5's, Points, Total Winnings)
1. Ramon de Lima, 14, 2, 3, 1,675.00, $176,625.00
2. Dener Barbosa, 15, 1, 7, 1,455.00, $69,045.00
3. Claudio Montanha Jr., 15, 0, 5, 1,035.83, $60,341.67
4. Luciano De Castro, 10, 0, 3, 1,010.00, $56,783.50
5. Ryan Dirteater, 6, 1, 1, 825.00, $55,490.00
6. Cooper Davis, 9, 1, 3, 820.00, $106,584.14
7. Guilherme Marchi, 10, 1, 1, 753.33, $59,103.33
8. Stetson Lawrence, 12, 0, 3, 715.00, $39,961.78
9. Gage Gay, 3, 1, 1, 700.00, $109,425.50
10. Cody Nance, 10, 2, 2, 648.33, $88,937.27
11. Derek Kolbaba, 13, 0, 4, 645.00, $89,509.32
12. Tanner Byrne, 11, 1, 1, 617.50, $47,875.50
13. Cody Teel, 13, 0, 4, 612.50, $79,020.95
14. Valdiron de Oliveira, 13, 0, 4, 604.16, $27,631.67
15. Jose Vitor Leme, 12, 1, 4, 507.50, $47,249.58
16. Kaique Pacheco, 12, 2, 2, 492.50, $50,911.66
17. Eduardo Aparecido, 11, 0, 2, 470.83, $31,661.66
18. Keyshawn Whitehorse, 14, 1, 4, 463.33, $29,722.73
19. Marco Antonio Eguchi, 9, 0, 1, 430.00, $22,900.00
20. Joao Ricardo Vieira, 12, 0, 2, 380.00, $32,978.11
21. Dakota Buttar, 10, 0, 1, 362.50, $26,734.30
22. Jess Lockwood, 9, 0, 1, 345.00, $20,505.00
23. Brennon Eldred, 9, 0, 3, 337.50, $69,448.54
24. Alex Marcilio, 9, 0, 2, 305.00, $51,972.24
25. J.B. Mauney, 7, 0, 3, 285.00, $18,000.00
26. Fabiano Vieira, 10, 0, 0, 252.50, $22,908.39
27. Brady Oleson, 12, 1, 5, 245.83, $23,577.29
28. Chase Robbins, 13, 0, 4, 230.00, $30,740.94
29. Wallace Vieira de Oliveira, 15, 1, 1, 227.50, $29,366.07
30. Juan Carlos Contreras, 9, 1, 1, 225.00, $17,537.92
31. Tye Chandler, 16, 2, 4, 217.50, $18,991.09
32. Lindomar Lino, 11, 2, 3, 215.00, $15,787.20
33. Cody Campbell, 14, 1, 1, 198.33, $18,165.00
34. Paulo Ferreira Lima, 10, 1, 4, 195.83, $22,095.81
35. Aaron Kleier, 7, 2, 4, 190.00, $16,404.79
36. Emilio Resende, 8, 0, 1, 185.00, $13,575.00
37. Ueberson Duarte, 4, 1, 1, 182.50, $8,560.00
38. Lucas Divino, 4, 2, 2, 160.00, $10,325.81
39. Reese Cates, 12, 0, 3, 152.50, $13,200.00
40. Silvano Alves, 11, 0, 1, 150.00, $16,426.66
40. Rubens Barbosa, 15, 0, 3, 150.00, $23,629.61
42. Fraser Babbington, 6, 1, 3, 140.00, $8,357.21
43. Edgar Durazo, 8, 1, 1, 135.00, $15,325.87
44. Colten Jesse, 11, 1, 1, 125.00, $8,793.33
45. Ryan Miller, 6, 1, 1, 120.00, $7,900.00
45. Bryan Titman, 7, 1, 1, 120.00, $6,950.00

Moffitt charges late to win at Atlanta; Kyle Busch falters on final pit stop

Brett Moffit streaked into the lead on an overtime restart in Saturday’s Active Pest Control 200 at Atlanta Motor Speedway and pulled away to win the second NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race of his career.
Diving to the inside and taking then-leader Myatt Snider and Johnny Sauter three-wide into the first corner on Lap 133 of 134, Moffitt beat Noah Gragson to the finish line by 1.326 seconds. Gragson charged from ninth to second on the penultimate lap and beat third-place finisher Johnny Sauter to the line by .014 seconds.
In a deal that came together late in the offseason, Moffitt signed with Hattori Racing after Ryan Truex opted to move up to the NASCAR XFINITY Series. Moffitt was the Sunoco Rookie of the Year in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in 2015 but hasn’t had a full-time deal since then.
“It’s unbelievable to even be in a race car at this point, let alone in Victory Lane,” Moffitt said. “We had a really good truck. Kyle (Busch) spun his tires a couple of restarts ago and put us back.
“But right at the end, the 13 (Snider) was a sitting duck, and I just needed a good restart. And hopefully they got into a battle behind us, which they did, and it’s pretty surreal.”
The victory was Moffitt’s first since he claimed the trophy at Michigan in 2016 in the fourth of six starts that year. And it was the first win for team owner Shigeaki Hattori, who was 0-for-43 in the Truck Series entering Saturday’s race.
Busch was on the verge of his 50th NCWTS victory when Josh Reaume crashed on Lap 125 of a scheduled 130 to cause the fifth caution of the race. With tires at a premium, the lead-lap trucks came to pit road under the yellow, but Busch left pit road with the lugs off his left rear tire, which fell off as he pulled onto the apron off Turn 1.
Busch finished 21st, a lap down, after backing into his stall to correct the miscue.
Sauter, who won the season opener last week at Daytona, was disappointed with his third-place finish but didn’t think he could have done anything differently on the restart, which found him on the outside of the three-wide charge into the corner.
“I just feel like I’m going to beat myself up on this,” Sauter said. “But sitting here watching the replay, I don’t feel like I could have done anything different. When you have a shot to win, you’ve got to capitalize on it, and I didn’t do that.”
Ben Rhodes came home fourth and Matt Crafton fifth. Stewart Friesen ran sixth, and Snider, who took two tires on the pit stop before overtime, ran seventh. Sauter retained the series lead by 31 points over Crafton.
In addition to claiming the trophy, Moffitt is all but assured of advancing to the Playoffs.
“That’s a hell of a way to start the year right there,” he said.

Kevin Harvick pours it on for Xfinity victory at Atlanta

Kevin Harvick put on a driving clinic in Saturday’s Rinnai 250 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
The driver of the No. 98 Ford dominated the action on the track, leading 141-of-163 laps and winning both stages before taking the checkered flag 4.183 seconds ahead of runner-up Joey Logano.
Harvick collected his fifth NASCAR XFINITY Series victory at Atlanta and the 47th of his career. He has won four of the last six events at the 1.54-mile track, where he also has won for four different car owners, tying Tony Stewart for the distinction of winning for four different owners at a single track.
Atlanta continues to be a special track for Harvick, who earned his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory here in 2001, after succeeding the late Dale Earnhardt in the Intimidator’s vaunted Richard Childress racing ride.
“It’s just been a really good place for me, obviously getting my first Cup win here,” Harvick said. “We’ve run good cars throughout the years, and the race track has stayed very similar to what it’s been for a number of years.
“And I think, as you look at the techniques and the things that I do in the car — and they give me what I want in the car, as far as the feel — it just applies here.”
Harvick’s pit crew got into the act, too, pulling off a stop in 14.4 seconds under NASCAR’s new rules that have reduced the size of the over-the-wall crew to five members. That same crew pits Harvick’s No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Cup car on Sundays.
“The good thing is they’ve had a lot of reps,” Harvick said. “We’ve had Clash reps, reps in the qualifying race, the Daytona 500, and they pitted on Saturday last week. They pitted on Saturday this week, and they’re just doing a really good job.
“Those guys are pretty athletic, and they practice hard and have done a great job over the last couple years of getting this car off pit road. As long as I don’t screw it up going too fast, they do really well making the pit stops.”
Behind Harvick and Logano, pole winner Christopher Bell ran third, followed by John Hunter Nemechek, who scored a fourth-place finish in his NASCAR XFINITY Series debut. Elliott Sadler (fifth), Justin Allgaier (sixth) and Austin Cindric (seventh) were the only other drivers on the lead lap when Harvick crossed the stripe for the last time.
“I don’t think we were even close,” Logano said. “Kevin played with us all day long.”
Nemechek ran into early trouble on the bottom of the track and early trouble on the top. On Lap 7, Harvick bulled his way past Nemechek, who had just taken over third place. Nemechek’s No. 42 Chevrolet turned sideways after the contact, but he managed to save the car off Turn 4.
Three laps later, Cole Custer cut to the inside of Nemechek in a battle for fifth as the cars entered the tri-oval. Nemechek slid to the top of the track, right into the path of Elliott Sadler, who had exited Turn 4 with enormous momentum.
A tap from Sadler turned Nemechek’s car into the No. 00 Ford of Custer, who nosed into the outside wall and damaged his machine beyond repair.
“It looks like the 42 got out of shape, and then the 1 (Sadler) had a run, and he didn’t hit the brakes hard enough and he hit the 42, and the 42 hit me,” Custer said after viewing the replay.
“We just got collected in something, and there’s not much we could do. We had a pretty good car and was just kind of riding at that point, but, I don’t know. We’ll go on to the next one.”
“I’ve got to apologize to Cole Custer,” Nemechek said after climbing from his car. “I never meant to get into him off (Turn) 4 there. I got tagged from behind.”
Note: The No. 42 (of John Hunter Nemechek, finished in fourth) and the No. 52 (of David Starr, finished in 28th) each had one loose lug nut found during post-race inspection. Any potential penalties will be announced later.