DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Denny Hamlin won a race of attrition Saturday night, beating just seven other cars to the finish of the exhibition Sprint Unlimited. Only eight cars were running at the end of the 75-lap showcase at Daytona International Speedway on a bizarre night that saw Ricky Stenhouse Jr. end girlfriend Danica Patricks race and the Chevrolet pace car catch fire. "When you think youve seen it all, then you see that. Its never-ending," second-place finisher Brad Keselowski said about the pace car fire. "I thought it was race car. Someone said it was the pace car, and I couldnt help but start laughing." It was Hamlin who got the last laugh, winning the opening race of Speedweeks for the second time in his career. The victory proved that Hamlin has finally fully recovered from the fractured vertebra that cost him five races last season and caused him to struggle for months after his return. But he closed out the year with a victory -- his only win of 2013 -- in the season finale, and made that momentum last over the off-season. "The best car won, thats for sure," he said. "Were two in a row now." The third and final segment was a 20-lap sprint to the finish, and it had the second fewest number of drivers taking the checkered flag in event history. Only seven drivers finished the 1981 race. Hamlin charged to the front right before he took the white flag by diving to the inside and sailing past the few cars on the track. He then drove away in his Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota. "That was survival of the fittest for sure," said Hamlin, also the winner as a rookie in 2006. "With three to go, we were at the tail end of a very small pack. Its really hard to get runs, but this car was phenomenal. You saw it those last couple of laps." This years race had a heavy fan involvement as sponsor Sprint allowed fans to vote for various aspects of the race. Among them was the starting order, how the segments were split and how the cars lined up in the final segment. But it was mostly for naught as half the 18-car field was knocked out six laps into the second segment when Matt Kenseth cut across the front of Joey Logano. It triggered a nine-car accident on the frontstretch -- including Stenhouses dramatic late hit into the side of Patricks car. "I got hit by my boyfriend. What a bummer," Patrick said. Stenhouse took blame for ending Patricks race. He had difficulty seeing in front of him because his hood was badly crumpled when he hit the back of Kurt Busch. "I just drilled her," Stenhouse said. "I didnt see anything from the time it started to the time it ended. Talking to Danica, I drilled her when she was pretty much sitting still. I couldnt see, couldnt turn." The accident left debris and mangled sheet metal all over the frontstretch and brought the race to a stop for just over 11 minutes. It ended the night for Tony Stewart, who was racing for the first time since he broke his right leg in an August sprint car crash, and teammates Patrick and Kurt Busch. Kevin Harvick, driving the fourth Stewart-Haas Racing entry in the field, seemed to have a Chevrolet capable of contending for the win but suffered serious damage that dropped him well off the pace. Stewart said he felt physically fine after the hard hit, which left his car turned nose-first into the wall. Jeff Gordons car was stuck behind Stewarts with its rear wheels raised by the front of Buschs car. "I was a little nervous ... but it doesnt feel bad at all," Stewart said. "I dont have any pain. Well see when the adrenaline wears off. But so far, everything feels really good. Im pretty happy with it." Kenseth, whose changing of lanes triggered the accident, said he had no idea Logano was on his inside when he moved. "Honestly, I had no idea anybody was inside of me," Kenseth said. "I feel bad all of those cars got wrecked." Aaron Ramsey Jersey
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.com) - No Sidney Crosby, no problem.ALAMEDA, Calif. -- Free agent running back Maurice Jones-Drew is coming back home to Oakland after signing a three-year contract with the Raiders on Friday. Jones-Drew returns to his native Bay Area after spending his first eight seasons with Jacksonville and starring in college at UCLA. Jones-Drew joins quarterback Matt Schaub, defensive linemen Justin Tuck and LaMarr Woodley and receiver James Jones as successful veterans brought in by general manager Reggie McKenzie this off-season who are looking for a late career spark in Oakland. "Theres a ton of talent here," Jones-Drew said. "Reggie McKenzie and his staff have done a great job of piling on guys that are coming from programs that are winning and know what it takes. Granted, most of us have chips on our shoulders, at least I feel like I got (done) wrong. ... Its something thats going to drive us and push us to that next level." The Raiders also signed two defensive linemen, bringing back Pat Sims to a one-year deal and signing former Green Bay Packer C.J. Wilson. Sims played well in his first season in Oakland with two sacks and 41 tackles while starting all 16 games. He met with other teams before staying in Oakland, according to his agent Rick Smith. Wilson spent the past four seasons with Green Bay, recording 103 tackles and 3 1/2 sacks in 50 games with 11 starts. Jones-Drew had 8,071 yards rushing and 68 touchdowns for Jacksonville but was hampered by injuries the past two seasons. That led the Jaguars to let him test the market in free agency after his five-year, $31 million contract expired. The Jaguars thanked Jones-Drew for his work on the field and in the community. "Maurices toughness, determination and competitive spirit on the field served as a great example to all of his teammates," the team said in a statement. "Maurice has been one of the great Jaguars and he holds several team records for touchdowns that will remain for a long time. His place in Jaguars history is firmly established and we look forward to honouring him in Jacksonville at the appropriate time in the future." After more than two weeks on the open market, Jones-Drew finally found a new home in a familiar place. Jones-Drew grew up in the East Bay town of Antioch and starred at nearby De La Salle high school. Jones-Drew still spent his offseassons in the Bay Area and looked forward to being able to keep his family in one place and that his grandmother will now be able to see him play in person more often.dddddddddddd Jones-Drew has gotten hurt the past two seasons when playing the Raiders in Oakland. He missed the final 10 games in 2012 after injuring his left foot at the Coliseum. He strained a tendon in the same foot when playing the Raiders this past season. After ranking second in the NFL with 4,321 yards rushing in a three-year span from 2009-11, Jones-Drew has been limited to 1,217 yards in 21 games the past two seasons. He averaged a career-low 3.4 yards per carry last season. That has led critics to argue that Jones-Drew has lost a step at age 29 and is on the downside of his career. The Raiders are hoping good health will help Jones-Drew return to the elite form he had before the injuries. "I have a ton left in my game," Jones-Drew said. "People tend to look at running backs and say, Oh, youre 29, you dont have anything left. ... I feel like I have a ton left in the tank and I get an opportunity to show that here in Oakland." The Raiders needed help at running back after allowing Jones-Drews former backup in Jacksonville, Rashad Jennings, leave through free agency to sign with the New York Giants. Oakland did bring back injury-prone starter Darren McFadden on a one-year deal but has no other proven tailbacks on the roster. The Raiders are hoping last years sixth-round pick, Latavius Murray, can contribute after spending his entire rookie year on injured reserve. McFadden has missed 29 games over his six-year career with injuries and has averaged 3.3 yards per carry the past two seasons. Jones-Drew said he was told there will be an open competition at running back between him and McFadden. "He kind of has a leg up on me because hes been in this offence already before," Jones-Drew said. "My job is to come in and to compete to play. We both have something to prove and that will help us all out in the long run, competing and being able to push each other." The Raiders also re-signed defensive tackle Pat Sims for one year according to the players agent, and signed former Green Bay Packers defensive lineman C.J. Wilson on Friday. AP Sports Writer Mark Long in Jacksonville, Fla., contributed to this report Cheap NFL Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys Wholesale NFL Jerseys Jerseys From China Wholesale NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap Jerseys
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