Pro Hockey News

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Jumbo Shrimp Recap: Jacksonville Scores Eight Unanswered Runs in Win over Durham

After falling behind 3-1, the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp rallied to score eight unanswered runs and came away with a 9-3 win over the Durham Bulls Tuesday night at 121 Financial Ballpark.Trailing 3-1 in the bottom of the fourth, Jacksonville (37-30) cut the deficit to one. With two outs, Lorenzo Quintana walked and advanced to third on a single by JJ Bleday. With runners at the corners, Quintana scored on a wild pitch to make the score 3-2.

The Jumbo Shrimp took the lead back in the fifth inning. Erik González led off the inning with a double against Durham reliever Josh Fleming (L, 6-1). 

He advanced to third on a groundout by Luis Aviles Jr. and then scored on a single by Santiago Chavez, tying the game at three. Bryson Brigman singled and Chavez went to second. Peyton Burdick followed with a single and Chavez scored from third to put Jacksonville in front 4-3. 

Brigman would score on a single from Brian Miller in the next at-bat to push the lead to 5-3.

In the sixth inning, the Jumbo Shrimp continued to pad their lead against Durham (35-32). Bleday reached on an error to start the inning and two batters later advanced to third on a single by González. With runners at the corners, Aviles Jr. singled, scoring Bleday to give the Jumbo Shrimp a 6-3 advantage.

The Jumbo Shrimp blew the game open in the seventh inning. Brigman led off the inning with a single and three batters later scored from third on a single from Quintana to push the lead to 7-3. Following Quintana’s single, Bleday (15) blasted a two-run home run to give the Jumbo Shrimp a 9-3 advantage.

Jacksonville took the early lead in the second inning. Quintana (11) launched a solo home run, giving the Jumbo Shrimp a 1-0 lead.

Durham took their first lead in the top of the fourth. With one out, Jim Haley and Ryan Boldt smacked back-to-back singles and David Rodriguez (4) whacked a three-run home run to put the Bulls in front, 3-1.

The Jacksonville bullpen locked down with three scoreless innings, following Matthew Kent’s great start. Andrew Nardi and Jeff Brigham combined to throw three scoreless innings with one walk and six strikeouts.

Jacksonville continues their series with Durham in Wednesday’s 12:05 p.m. contest.

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Concrete Crunch: NASCAR Cup Series prepares for Nashville Superspeedway

After a weekend of rest, the competitors in the NASCAR Cup Series prepare for one of the schedule’s most unique tracks – Nashville Superspeedway – with the Ally 400 on June 26 at 5 p.m. ET on NBC, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Channel 90). Cup competitors are challenged with grappling the D-shaped, concrete oval that stretches 1.33-miles on Sunday – the longest concrete surface track on the 2022 schedule.


Construction of Nashville Superspeedway was completed in 2001 and the facility was originally owned by Dover Motorsports. The first NASCAR national series race held at Nashville Superspeedway was a NASCAR Xfinity Series event on April 14, 2001. The first Xfinity race at Nashville was won by Greg Biffle driving a Ford for RFK Racing. The first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Nashville Superspeedway was on August 10, 2001 and was won by Scott Riggs driving a Dodge for truck owner Jim Smith. Nashville Superspeedway was purchased in 2021, and is currently owned and operated by Speedway Motorsports Inc.


Last season, Nashville Superspeedway hosted the inaugural NASCAR Cup Series race at the track, and the event was won by Hendrick Motorsport’s driver and 2021 series champion Kyle Larson. The California native took the win with a Margin of Victory of 4.335 seconds over Ross Chastain in second. The race produced 14 lead changes among seven different drivers. Larson led the most laps of the race, spending 264 of the scheduled 300 laps out front (88%).


This weekend at Nashville, the NASCAR Cup Series on-track activity begins with practice from 6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. ET on Friday, June 24 on the USA Network. Then Busch Light Pole Qualifying is on Saturday, June 25 at 1 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. ET on USA Network.


Hendrick Motorsports’ Kyle Larson is back to defend Nashville victory

Nashville, Tennessee must hold a special place in Hendrick Motorsports’ driver Kyle Larson’s heart. Not only did he win the inaugural NASCAR Cup Series race at Nashville Speedway last season, but he also celebrated winning the 2021 series championship in downtown Nashville as well. Now the 29-year-old returns to the Tennessee track to defend his last season win and go back-to-back at Nashville Superspeedway.


This season, Larson has made 16 starts posting one win (Auto Club), two poles, six top fives and eight top 10s.


Defending a race win at a track is something Larson has only done once among his 17 series career victories, when he won three straight at Michigan International Speedway from 2016-2017.


This season hasn’t been quite as bombastic as last year for Larson. Through 16 races in 2021, he had already banked three wins (Las Vegas, Charlotte and Sonoma) and Nashville was his fourth of ultimately a 10-win title winning season. Though he only has one win this season, Larson is most likely the favorite coming into this weekend at Nashville. He dominated the race leading 88% of the laps run and won the event from the fifth starting position by a whopping 4.335-seconds Margin of Victory.


Playoff Bubble: Stewart-Haas Racing teammates teeter the cutoff line

With Trackhouse Racing’s Daniel Suárez becoming the 12th different driver to win this season and earn a spot in the Playoffs, that leaves just four positions open in the 16-driver NASCAR Cup Series postseason field with 10 races left to go in the regular season. 


The four drivers currently in the Playoff hot seats that all drivers outside the postseason cutoff are coveting are Ryan Blaney (+95 points from the Playoff cutoff), Martin Truex Jr. (+65), Christopher Bell (+28) and Aric Almirola (+7).


Stewart-Haas Racing’s Aric Almirola is currently in the most precarious position of the four drivers inside the Playoff cutoff, because he is in the 16th and final transfer position on points. But if a driver below him in the standings wins over the next 10 races, he could find himself bounced out of the Playoffs. Almirola currently has a seven-point advantage on his SHR teammate Kevin Harvick who is in 17th - the first spot outside the Playoffs cutoff. Both SHR teammates, Almirola and Harvick, made the Playoffs last season and both finished in the top five at Nashville.


Not far behind the SHR teammates are the Richard Childress Racing teammates – Tyler Reddick (-42 points from the cutoff) and Austin Dillon (-47 points) – and both are within striking distance of Almirola in the final transfer spot.


Of the drivers looking for their first NASCAR Cup Series win of the season, three have won previously at Nashville Superspeedway in either the NASCAR Xfinity Series or the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series – Kevin Harvick (2006, 2010 NXS), Austin Dillon (2011 NCWTS) and Brad Keselowski (2008, 2010 NXS).