07/19/09 Sports for Sunday

NASCAR - Jeremy Mayfield told a television station in Charlotte, N.C., late Friday that an independent test shows no trace of methamphetamines.Mayfield, who was suspended indefinitely on May 9 for failing a NASCAR drug test, has denied ever using the illegal drug. Earlier this month a federal judge granted Mayfield a temporary injunction lifting the suspension, a decision NASCAR is appealing.

"We're very excited about the results," Mayfield told WCNC NewsChannel 35 after LabCorp sent test results to Mayfield's attorneys showing he tested negative for meth. The results, Mayfield said, are from a urine sample he gave within an hour of giving a sample to NASCAR, though NASCAR's lab results claim Mayfield tested positive for the drug.
Mayfield also told WCNC he believes NASCAR spiked his urine sample. How can there be two samples that give two different results?
"That's what we'd like to know and that's what we're gonna find out," Mayfield told WCNC.
Mayfield's attorney also told the TV station he believes NASCAR might be "spiking" the sample.
"They are hell-bent on proving Jeremy Mayfield is wrong," John Buric, who is representing Mayfield, told WCNC. "They keep digging themselves a hole [and it] keeps getting bigger and bigger."
Mayfield wants to prove his innocence although he doesn't think he will drive on the NASCAR circuit again.
"I'm in this for the long haul," he told WCNC. "We're gonna fight it out."

NCAA FOOTBALL- The college football Hall of Fame Class of 2008 were officially inducted at a ceremony Saturday night in South Bend,Indiana:

Troy Aikman, UCLA QB
Roger Brown, Md.-Eastern Shore DB
Billy Cannon, LSU TB
Fred Dean, Louisiana Tech DT
Jim Dombrowski, Virginia OL
Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern LB
Wilber Marshall, Florida LB
Ruben Mayes, Washington State RB
Randall McDaniel, Arizona State OG
Don McPherson, Syracuse QB
Sam Mills, Montclair State LB
Jay Novacek, Wyoming TE
Dave Parks, Texas Tech WR
Ron Simmons, Florida State DT
Rod Smith, Missouri Southern State WR
Thurman Thomas, Oklahoma State RB
Arnold Tucker, Army QB
Volney Ashford, coach
John Cooper, coach
Jim Donnan, coach
Lou Holtz, coach

TOUR DE FRANCE - BESANCON, France -- Lance Armstrong dropped one spot to fourth place Saturday at the Tour de France during a stage shadowed by the roadside death of a woman hit by a police motorcycle.
Hincapie is five seconds behind overall leader Rinaldo Nocentini of Italy. Nocentini was 5 minutes, 36 seconds behind the breakaway group but kept the yellow jersey an eighth straight day.
Alberto Contador dropped from second to third. Contador, Armstrong's Astana teammate and the 2007 champion, is six seconds behind Nocentini. Armstrong is another two seconds back.
Hincapie is the only rider to be a teammate of Armstrong as he won seven straight Tour titles from 1999 to 2005. Hincapie wore the leader's shirt for a day in 2006 -- the year after Armstrong retired.
"George is a good friend," Armstrong said. "We wanted him to have the jersey -- it would have been great for him."
The accident happened 24 miles into the 124-mile trip from Colmar to Besancon. The victim, identified by organizers as a 61-year-old woman, was crossing the road when struck by a motorcycle escorting riders. Two others were injured and taken to a hospital when the motorcycle skidded into them. One was 36 and complained of neck pain; the other was 61 and had a broken leg.

NASCAR NATIONWIDE - MADISON, Ill. -- Kyle Busch dominated the NASCAR Nationwide Series again, cruising to victory in the Missouri-Illinois Dodge Dealers 250 on Saturday.
Busch, who leads the series standings by 212 points (3,121-2,909) over Carl Edwards, won for the sixth time in 19 races this season and also claimed the 27th win of his career. The 27 wins tie him for fourth all-time in Nationwide wins with Jeff Burton.
econd and Carl Edwards was third. Mike Bliss and Brad Coleman rounded out the top five.
"The car drove really well," Busch said. "It was like a rocket ship. We just drove right up to the front."
Busch, who started from the fifth row, has finished first or second in the last seven Nationwide races including wins at Loudon, N.H., and Nashville, Tenn.
"We've really worked hard to improve on our short track program," said Jason Ratcliff, Busch's crew chief.
Busch was one of four full-time Sprint Cup series drivers competing in the event with the Sprint Series taking the weekend off. Edwards, Sorenson, and Kevin Harvick also race regularly on the Sprint Series.
The win was the first for Busch in three career starts at the 1.25-mile oval.

COLORADO ROCKIES - Jerry Crasnick ESPN.com
The National League wild-card race is looking more chaotic than an episode of "Jon & Kate Plus 8." Or a Brock Lesnar family picnic.
Combatants? We have a few. San Francisco and Atlanta both have strong pitching and questionable hitting. Florida always finds a way to hang around. The Mets could still be a threat if a few players get healthy, and the Central Division is one big dysfunctional jumble of flawed teams with serious aspirations.
All things considered, the Colorado Rockies are just happy to be in the conversation. Think back to the end of May, when bad fundamentals and worse execution added up to an 18-28 record, and the Rockies were poised for the obligatory June white sale.

The window for introspection is short when teams underachieve, and general managers respond in different ways. Cleveland's Mark Shapiro has been consistent in his support of Eric Wedge because he believes it would be a "cop-out" to blame the manager for front-office decisions that backfired. That's a noble sentiment, for sure, but Wedge's best efforts haven't pulled the Tribe out of a season-long death spiral.
In contrast, Colorado GM Dan O'Dowd acted boldly and ordered a shakeup when the Rockies were tanking seven weeks into the season. He fired Clint Hurdle, Colorado's manager since 2002, and promoted bench coach Jim Tracy to the position.
Judging from his comments at the time, O'Dowd made the move out of a sense of resignation more than a belief that changing managers would be some sort of magic elixir. To put it bluntly, he was sick of watching bad baseball.
"If I felt stability was going to get us through this, we would have stayed with Clint," O'Dowd told reporters at the news conference announcing the managerial switch. "But it was obvious that wasn't going to work."
Call it coincidence, luck or a short-term bump that's destined to fade, but Colorado baseball is suddenly relevant again. When the Rockies play San Diego on Thursday night in the opener of a four-game series at Petco Park, it will be with a renewed sense of purpose.
The Rockies are 29-13 since Tracy took over for Hurdle. The last time Denver was this fired up about baseball, Matt Holliday was wiping the blood off his chin after Game No. 163 of the 2007 season.
It's been a professional revival of sorts for Tracy, who appeared to be running out of chances in October 2007 when the Pirates fired him and ate the $1 million left on his contract. Tracy's critics in Pittsburgh said the move was necessary because he never showed emotion, got mad or held players accountable for their poor performances.
That version of Jim Tracy is nowhere to be found in Colorado. He's been straightforward, decisive and quick to let the players know where they stand. After being characterized as a doormat in Pittsburgh, Tracy made a point of establishing who was in charge in Colorado.
"He came in with an attitude of 'You guys are going to be held accountable for the way you play and

the way you act on and off the field, and if you're not doing your job, you're not going to play,'" said pitcher Jason Marquis. "There were a lot of guys who had a lot of security with Clint being around. Now with Tracy, it's about winning. It's not about developing."
Hurdle was charismatic in a Tommy Lee Jones sort of way, with his big personality, booming voice and assortment of inspirational homilies. The Colorado players liked him personally, and several admitted to a sense of guilt over costing him his job. But when Hurdle's message stopped resonating and the atmosphere grew stale, a change was inevitable.
"Clint was the only manager I ever had in the big leagues," said All-Star outfielder Brad Hawpe. "I wouldn't be in the situation I'm in if he hadn't given me so many opportunities. But after a certain amount of time, things happen. That's the tough part about this job: When you're not winning, people have to go. It could have been the players just as easily as the manager."

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