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Sports

#SportsReport: Kevin Harvick Wins Atlanta Cup Race; Patriots' Kraft To Donate $1 Million

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NASCAR Cup Series Logo

Kevin Harvick is a winner at the site of his first NASCAR Cup victory. Harvick turned in another dominating run at Atlanta Motor Speedway, cruising to victory over Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr.

Harvick won for the second time since NASCAR returned from the shutdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic, adding to his emotional victory at Darlington in the first race back. Harvick came into the day having led 1,138 laps on the 1.54-mile Atlanta trioval, far more than any other driver in the 40-car field. He now has 51 wins — breaking a tie with Ned Jarrett and Junior Johnson for the 12th spot on the career list. Three of those triumphs have come at Atlanta Motor Speedway, including in 2001 and 2018. Busch ended up second, followed by Truex, Ryan Blaney and Denny Hamlin. Seven-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson was seventh in what may have been his final Atlanta appearance. Johnson plans to retire as a driver after the season.

NASCAR also acknowledged the social unrest in the country Sunday, and vowed to do a better job of addressing racial injustice in the wake of George Floyd's death. NASCAR President Steve Phelps addressed drivers and teams on the track before the race, saying. "The black community and all people of color have suffered in our country, and it has taken far too long for us to hear their demands for change. Our sport must do better. Our country must do better." Bubba Wallace donned a black T-shirt with the words "I Can't Breathe" and "Black Lives Matter." Wallace is the only African American in the top-level series.

NFL

The Patriots say team owner Robert Kraft’s family is pledging $1 million to local grassroots organizations to promote social justice causes. The team says the money will be distributed over the next 10 months in $100,000 monthly donations to recipients chosen in collaboration with Patriots players. The video announcement says “change always begins with listening." Leaders of those organizations will be invited to speak with the team’s executive staff and senior management across the Kraft Group's businesses. 

Former University of Florida and NFL wide receiver Reche Caldwell was fatally shot Saturday night in his hometown. Caldwell's mother confirmed her son's death to the Tampa Bay Times, saying police told her they believe her son was ambushed outside his home in a possible robbery attempt. Caldwell was drafted by San Diego in the second round in 2002. He had 152 catches for 1,851 yards and 11 touchdowns in six NFL seasons — four with the Chargers and one each with New England and Washington. Caldwell was awaiting sentencing this month after pleading guilty to a charge of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, along with several other former NFL players. He also served prison time on a 2014 drug charge.

Ken Riley was a ball-hawk defensive back in the NFL before serving as a head coach and athletic director at his alma mater, Florida A&M. The school has announced that Riley died early Sunday morning at 72. No cause of death was given. Riley was a four-year starting quarterback at Florida A&M and a Rhodes Scholar candidate before he was taken by the Cincinnati Bengals in the sixth round of the 1969 NFL/AFL draft. Moved to cornerback by head coach Paul Brown, Riley had 65 career interceptions for 596 yards and five touchdowns in a 15-year career with the Bengals. He also recovered 18 fumbles, and his interception total ranks fifth in NFL history. Although named a First Team All-Pro three times and a second teamer on two other occasions, Riley still hasn't been elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame despite his impressive statistics. He landed on the All-Pro First Team in 1983, his final season. Riley coached the Rattlers from 1986-93, going 48-39-2 with two Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference titles. He took A&M to the second-ever Heritage Bowl, losing to Grambling State in 1992.

Former NFL defensive end John Zook has died in his native Kansas after a long battle with cancer. Zook originally was taken by the Los Angeles Rams in the fourth round in 1969 but was subsequently traded to the Atlanta Falcons. He teamed with Hall of Famer Claude Humphrey to give the Falcons a dynamic combination at defensive end from 1969-75. Zook never missed a game during his tenure with the Falcons, starting 97 of 98 contests. He made his only Pro Bowl appearance in 1973, joining Humphrey in the all-star game. Zook played his last four seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals before retiring after the 1969 campaign. His brother, Dean Zook, confirmed the death to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Iowa football strength and conditioning coach Chris Doyle denies any "unethical behavior or bias" based on race. Several black former players posted on social media Friday night about issues they saw in the football program, attributing many of them to Doyle. He was placed on administrative leave Saturday, part of a decision made by coach Kirk Ferentz in what he called "a defining moment" for Iowa's football program.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL

Green Bay is turning its men's basketball program over to Will Ryan. Athletic director Charles Guthrie has announced that the school and the 41-year-old Ryan have agreed to a deal in principle, though final contract details are still being worked out. The son of former Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan comes to Green Bay after posting a 14-13 record in his lone season as the head coach at Division II program Wheeling in West Virginia.

TENNIS

With discussions ongoing over whether the U.S. Open or the French Open can even take place later this year, a new digitally friendly tennis tournament starts Saturday in southern France with four Top 10-ranked players involved. Co-founder Patrick Mouratoglou hopes the Ultimate Tennis Showdown can change the way tennis is viewed by allowing a younger audience to access the raw feelings of players. The UTS features ATP Finals winner Stefanos Tsitsipas and U.S. Open semifinalist Matteo Berrettini. There will be 10 players with matches every weekend for five weeks in a round robin format. Matches will be streamed live with organizers saying every sight and sound will be captured.

CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

Junior lightweight contender Mikaela Mayer has tested positive for COVID-19 and has been pulled from the co-main event of Las Vegas' first major boxing card since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Mayer announced her positive test on social media two days before her scheduled bout against Helen Joseph in the Top Rank show at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. The former U.S. Olympian is asymptomatic but says she tested positive for the virus on Saturday. The rest of Mayer's camp has tested negative, including her longtime coach.

In other sports news related to the coronavirus pandemic:

Sports fans again will be able to fill stadiums in New Zealand after the government removed restrictions on public gatherings imposed in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says New Zealand will move from midnight Monday to alert level 1 under which life returns almost to normal, though border restrictions remain in force. New Zealand has succeeded in eradicating the coronavirus; as of Monday it had no active cases of Covid-19 and hadn't recorded a new infection for 17 days.

Spanish league president Javier Tebas said Sunday he is in favor of having fans back in stadiums as soon as regions are cleared by health authorities. However, that contradicts an earlier message by Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, who said it wouldn't be fair for some clubs to have fans and others not. Spain has been gradually lifting confinement restrictions because of the coronavirus pandemic. Some regions have entered advanced stages that could allow them to have matches with at least some fans in the stadiums.

© The Associated Press 2020. All Rights Reserved.