Sports briefs 7-7-14: Almirola wins rain-cut NASCAR race at Daytona

MARK LONG AP Sports Writer Published:

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- It had been more than 15 years since the iconic No. 43 drove to Victory Lane.

So waiting through two days of thunderstorms and three red flags was relatively easy for Aric Almirola and his Richard Petty Motorsports team.

Almirola won the rain-delayed and rain-shortened NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Daytona International Speedway on Sunday, putting Petty's famed blue car back on top for the first time since 1999.

Almirola's first Cup win came on the same weekend Petty celebrated the 30th anniversary of his 200th career win. The 30-year-old Almirola was just a baby when Petty picked up that milestone victory.

"The 43 car is without a doubt the most famous car in our sport's history," Almirola said. "And to have that opportunity to drive that race car has been really special from the day that I stepped foot in it. All I wanted to do from the very first time I drove it was get it to Victory Lane. It took two and a half years I guess, but I finally did it."

• Golf

Cabrera wins: Angel Cabrera won the Greenbrier Classic on Sunday for his first non-major victory on the PGA Tour, closing with his second straight 6-under 64 for a two-stroke victory over George McNeill.

Cabrera, the 44-year-old Argentine whose only other PGA Tour victories came in the 2007 U.S. Open and 2009 Masters, built a three-shot lead before making things interesting with a pair of late bogeys.

McDowell rallies: Graeme McDowell rallied to successfully defend his French Open title, overcoming an eight-stroke deficit in rainy conditions for a one-shot victory.

• Basketball

Hairston altercation: The Charlotte Hornets say they are looking into an altercation involving rookie P.J. Hairston and a person his agent described as an area high school player during a pickup basketball game at the Durham YMCA.

The Hornets issued a statement Sunday night saying they're aware of the incident and "are in the process of gathering additional information."

Meeting with Riley: Before LeBron James makes his next decision, Pat Riley will get a chance to convince him to stay in Miami.

Two people familiar with the situation told The Associated Press that James will meet with the Heat president this week before making a decision about where to play next season. The time and location of the meeting were still being scheduled.

• Auto Racing

Montoya returns: Juan Pablo Montoya has won the IndyCar race at Pocono Raceway, the highlight of a triumphant return to open wheel racing after seven years in NASCAR.

Helio Castroneves was second to make it a 1-2 finish Sunday for team owner Roger Penske.

Force 140th victory: John Force raced to his 140th career victory, beating Ron Capps in the Funny Car final in the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals.

The 65-year-old Force powered his Ford Mustang to a winning pass of 4.113 seconds at 317.27 mph for his first victory in Norwalk.

• Elsewhere

Tigers' moves: The Detroit Tigers have put left-hander Patrick McCoy on the 15-day disabled list and activated left-hander Ian Krol from the DL.

McCoy pulled his right hamstring while covering first base in Saturday's loss to Tampa Bay. Krol has been sidelined since June 21 because of left shoulder inflammation.

McCoy posted a 1.80 ERA in five appearances with the Tigers. Krol has a 4.32 ERA in 35 games for Detroit.

Buckeye arrested: Police say Ohio State University football player Tracy Sprinkle has been arrested on charges of cocaine possession, rioting and failure to disperse after a bar fight in northeast Ohio.

OSU spokesman Jerry Emig said Sunday that the 19-year-old defensive end was suspended from the team because of the arrest.

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