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Originally published February 15, 2014 at 7:56 PM | Page modified February 15, 2014 at 11:02 PM

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Denny Hamlin wins NASCAR exhibition

Denny Hamlin won a NASCAR race of attrition, beating seven other cars to the finish of the exhibition Sprint Unlimited in Daytona Beach, Fla.

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Hamlin triumphs

Denny Hamlin won a NASCAR race of attrition Saturday night, beating seven other cars to the finish of the exhibition Sprint Unlimited in Daytona Beach, Fla.

A mere 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 Patrick’s race and the Chevrolet SS pace car catch fire.

“That was survival of the fittest, for sure,” Hamlin said.

Half the 18-car field was knocked out six laps into the second segment when Matt Kenseth cut across the front of Joey Logano’s car. It triggered a nine-car accident — including Stenhouse running into the side of Patrick’s car.

“I got hit by my boyfriend. What a bummer,” Patrick said.

The accident left debris and mangled sheet metal all over the frontstretch and brought the race to a stop for about 11 minutes.

NASCAR and Chevrolet officials are investigating the pace-car fire.

Track and field

Lavillenie sets record

With Sergei Bubka in the crowd, there was perfect symmetry as Renaud Lavillenie of France surpassed Bubka’s indoor pole-vault world record in the same Ukrainian city of Donetsk more than 20 years later.

“For me, Bubka remains one of the best athletes of all time — of course in pole vault, but in track and field in general. And to think that I’ve beaten him — it was unthinkable just a few years ago,” Lavillenie said on French news channel BFM TV. “My phone is ringing every 15 seconds. There it goes again.”

Olympic champion Lavillenie cleared the bar comfortably at 6.16 meters (20 feet, 2½ inches) in Bubka’s home city. Bubka set his record of 20-2 on Feb. 21, 1993.

Cain, Lagat win races

Mary Cain, a 17-year-old from Eastchester, N.Y., won the women’s Wanamaker Mile in 4 minutes, 27.73 seconds at the Millrose Games in New York.

Will Leer took the men’s Wanamaker Mile in 3:52.47

Bernard Lagat, 39, a former Washington State standout, set an unofficial American indoor record at a seldom-run distance, winning the inaugural Paavo Nurmi 2,000 meters in 4:54.74.


Man City advances

Host Manchester City powered forward with ease into the English FA Cup quarterfinals, beating Premier League title rival Chelsea 2-0.

Stevan Jovetic and Samir Nasri scored the goals.

Messi moves up list

Lionel Messi scored twice, passing Alfredo di Stefano on the La Liga career scoring list and tying Raul Gonzalez for third as he led Barcelona over Rayo Vallecano 6-0.

Messi’s 228 goals in Spain’s top league put him one ahead of di Stefano. Messi trails Telmo Zarra (251) and Hugo Sanchez (234).

Doping tests are near

Governing body FIFA is expected to conduct surprise doping tests of all potential 2014 World Cup players at least once beginning in March, setting up biological passports to determine possible irregularities in blood and urine samples.


Kei Nishikori of Japan and Ivo Karlovic of Croatia will meet in Sunday’s final of the U.S. National Indoor Tennis Championships in Memphis, Tenn.

Nishikori beat 35-year-old American Michael Russell 6-3, 6-2 and Lu Yen-hsun of Taiwan retired from his semifinal against Karlovic. Lu said he was eating breakfast when his neck locked.

Marin Cilic of Croatia reached the ABN Amro tennis final against Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic in Rotterdam, Netherlands.

Cilic beat Dutch player Igor Sijsling 5-7, 6-3, 6-2 in the semifinals and Berdych defeated Ernests Gulbis of Latvia 6-3, 6-2.

• In women’s tennis, Simona Halep of Romania will play Angelique Kerber of Germany in the Qatar Open final.

• U.S. Olympic wrestling champion Jordan Burroughs was beaten in the quarterfinals of a match in Turkey, snapping his 69-match international winning streak. Burroughs fell to former Missouri standout Nick Marable on criteria, 4-4, in the 163-pound class.

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