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Earnhardt realizes patience is needed

For drivers such as Dale Earnhardt Jr., patience is definitely a virtue at this point in the season.

Then again, there is a sense of urgency with NASCAR’s Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship a mere two races away.

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Entering Sunday’s AdvoCare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, three drivers are assured of being in the 12-car, 10-race playoff — five-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson, Clint Bowyer and Matt Kenseth.

While Earnhardt, ranked seventh in the points, is solidly positioned to maintain his spot in the playoff, he knows major problems Sunday and in next weekend’s race in Richmond, Va., could knock him out.

“We’re just going to have to keep an eye on everybody around us,” the 38-year-old Earnhardt said.

Allmendinger lands a full-time ride

Less than 14 months after a devastating blow to his career, AJ Allmendinger reclaimed a full-time ride in the Sprint Cup series.

JTG Daugherty Racing announced Allmendinger will take over the No. 47 car from Bobby Labonte next season, capping his comeback from a positive drug test in July 2012 that resulted in a NASCAR suspension and losing his job with Roger Penske’s Sprint Cup team.

Allmendinger, 31, landed with a one-car team that includes former NBA player Brad Daugherty among its owners, having persuaded his new employers he has improved as a person since a positive test for the prescription drug Adderall.

Harvick edges Busch

Kevin Harvick raced to his first NASCAR Nationwide Series victory of the year, holding off Kyle Busch on the final lap of the Great Clips/Grit Chips 300 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Harvick won by .580 seconds.

Series leader Sam Hornish Jr. was third and Kasey Kahne of Enumclaw finished fourth.


IOC faces big decisions

When International Olympic Committee members gather this week in Buenos Aires, Argentina, they will be faced with three decisions that will shape the direction of the Olympic movement for the next decade.

At stake: Choosing the host city of the 2020 Olympics, electing a new IOC president to succeed Jacques Rogge and selecting one sport to add to the 2020 program.

The favorites: Tokyo, Thomas Bach and wrestling.

Madrid, Spain, is viewed as the biggest challenger to Tokyo.

In the Sept. 10 vote for IOC president, Bach is perceived as the favorite and Ng Ser Miang of Singapore and Richard Carrion of Puerto Rico are contenders.

On Sept. 8, the IOC will vote on whether the 2020 Games will include wrestling or squash or baseball-softball. Wrestling, featured in every Olympics except for 1900, was dropped from the list of core sports by the IOC executive board in February, a stunning decision that provoked an international outcry.


• Czech cyclist Leopold Konig of the NetApp-Endura team won the eighth stage of the Spanish Vuelta and SaxoBank-Tinkoff rider Nicolas Roche of Ireland took the overall lead.

Konig covered 104 miles from Jerez de la Frontera to Alto de Penas Blancas in 4 hours, 9 minutes, 46 seconds.

Roche was third in the stage. After eight of the 21 stages, he leads American Christopher Horner of the RadioShack-Leopard team by 17 seconds.

• In Thoroughbred racing, 4-year old colt Alpha and 6-year-old Strapping Groom won Grade I events on a track rated sloppy at Saratoga in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

Alpha ($17.40 to win) led throughout the $735,000 Woodward and beat Flat Out by a head. Alpha, trained by Kiaran McLaughlin and ridden by John Velazquez, ran 11
8 miles in 1 minute, 49.28 seconds.

Strapping Groom ($32.40) defeated Jackson Bend by a half-length in the $500,000 Forego. Strapping Groom, trained by David Jacobson and ridden by Junior Alvarado, ran 7 furlongs in 1:22.27.

She’s a Tiger, whose owners include Mark Dedomenico of Redmond, won the Grade I Del Mar Debutante for 2-year-old fillies at the seaside track near San Diego.

Hall of Famer Gary Stevens rode the winner, who beat Fascinating by a half-length. Jeff Bonde trains She’s a Tiger, who ran 7 furlongs in 1:22.71 and paid $11 to win in the $300,750 race.

She’s a Tiger’s breeder is Rodney Orr, who is tied for seventh in the owner standings at Emerald Downs in Auburn.

Stevens was the leading jockey at Longacres in Renton in 1983 and 1984.

Sylvia Fowles scored 18 points to help the Chicago Sky beat the visiting Atlanta Dream 85-68 and clinch home-court advantage through the WNBA Eastern Conference playoffs.

Elena Delle Donne added 15 points for Chicago (21-8), which will be the top seed in the East in the 8-year franchise’s first postseason appearance.

Nneka Ogwumike contributed 19 points and 10 rebounds, Candace Parker had 12 points and 11 rebounds and Los Angeles beat host San Antonio 80-67.

The Silver Stars’ loss eliminated them from the West playoff race and clinched a berth for Seattle.

In another WNBA game, Candice Dupree and DeWanna Bonner each scored 22 points as Phoenix beat visiting Connecticut 76-68.

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