“YOU SEE? HE’S NOT A MACHINE! HE’S A MAN!” And with that, I’ve officially met my self-imposed quota of one “Rocky IV” reference per month. In this case, I’m referring to Jimmie Johnson, who on Sunday showed some emotion for the first time…well, ever. Spurred by late contact from Kurt Busch, the four-time defending Sprint Cup champion made a determined push to the front so he could “wreck his [fanny].” Instead, he wins the race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Read all about it here.
-Tony Stewart’s second-place finish was the closest I’ve come to a correct prediction this year. I said “Smoke” would win the race in Saturday’s column. Still wrong, but getting there. For full results, click here. Stewart moves up to ninth in the points standings. Dale Earnhardt Jr. finishes eighth to creep up to 13th place, just three points behind Carl Edwards for the final Chase spot. For full points standings, click here.
-Germany makes its case as a strong contender for the title by ripping England 4-1, a game marred by another missed call. England’s Frank Lampard clearly scored late in the first half — seemingly tying the game at 2-2 — but it was ruled no goal. As usual, the British media is taking the loss in stride. According to the AP:
The Sun summed up the mood, devoting its front page to a banner headline: “You let your country down.”
The back page of the mass-circulation tabloid read “Time’s up Fab,” and printed a photo of the players alongside the statement, “Go — and take these losers with you!”
-On the docket today: Netherlands vs. Slovakia (10 a.m., ESPN) and Brazil vs. Chile (2:30 p.m., ESPN).
-I’m done with tennis until we get another 11-hour match or somebody big loses. You can watch today’s matches on WSLS beginning at 10 a.m. and on ESPN2 starting at 1 p.m. Keep up with all the action by clicking this link.
-Does anybody out there know a good local place where I can purchase all the college football preview magazines? I’ve found two — Athlon and Yahoo! Sports — but I know there are plenty more (Phil Steele, etc.) Barnes & Noble in Christiansburg had magazines for Arsenal FC and Chelsea FC, for Pete’s sake, but very few college football mags. Anybody found a big selection at one place in the Roanoke area?
-Salem falls to 1-3 in the second half with a road loss to Winston-Salem.
-Pulaski drops to 4-2 with a home defeat at the hands of Burlington.
-Nice rally by the Yankees last night, scoring four in the ninth off one of the premier closers in the game and getting a 10th-inning homer from Robinson Cano to top the Dodgers 8-6.
-Injuries are mounting for Boston, but the Red Sox are still finding ways to win.
-Today’s only TV game is a good one: The Washington Stephen Strasburgs against the Atlanta Braves (7 p.m., ESPN2, MASN). Strasburg is, in fact, on the bump for the Nats tonight. Through four starts, he’s setting rookie records and making a decent case to be on the all-star team. I wouldn’t hesitate to add him if he continues at this clip, even at the expense of a fringe veteran.
AND FINALLY, THE NONSPORTS FAKE NEWS
-Who needs the traditional media when you can go straight to the source who’s in the know?.