HAMPTON, Ga. — Kyle Busch completed a 5-for-5 sweep of what might be his final season in the Xfinity Series with a late recovery at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Saturday.
Busch finished 0.550 seconds ahead of Jeb Burton for his 102nd Xfinity victory and 222nd overall in NASCAR’s three national series.
Busch took the lead after pushing Daniel Hemric on a restart with six laps remaining. Busch appeared to be trying to give Hemric, his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, a helpful push on the restart but instead Hemric lost control and hit the wall.
“I just wanted to hit him forward and straight but turned him sideways a little bit,” Busch said, adding the incident made the victory “a little somber.”
Busch has hinted that this might be his final season in Xfinity. He repeated that plan Saturday, saying he didn’t plan to return to Xfinity “as far as what’s going to happen right now.”
Busch added “Never say never, but this is it.”
Busch won the first two stages in Atlanta before needing to reclaim the lead following a final restart.
One week after Hemric had a runner-up finish to Busch, he was on the verge of his first career win before spinning on a restart when pushed by Busch with six laps remaining.
Hemric took the lead on the final stage after Busch won the first two stages.
Busch has 102nd Xfinity victories and 222 overall in NASCAR’s three national series.
Noah Gragson was third, followed by Justin Haley and Ty Dillon.
NASCAR only allows Cup Series drivers, including Busch, to compete in five Xfinity and five Truck Series races each year. Atlanta was Busch’s fifth and final Xfinity event — and fifth win — of 2021.
Before the race, Busch tweeted “Let’s go out w one more.” It appeared to be another sign he doesn’t intend to return to the Xfinity Series next season.
Busch raced as if determined to make sure he departed Xfinity on top. He raced to the lead from start, led every lap of the first stage and also won the second stage after briefly falling behind Gragson.
With 17 laps remaining, Carson Ware’s crash into the wall caused a caution, sending leaders to the pits. On the restart with 11 laps remaining, there was another crash when Kyle Weatherman appeared to lose power and fell back quickly from the lead pack.
Busch will start second, behind Chase Elliott, in Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series event, the final race before the Atlanta Motor Speedway track is repaved and remodeled.
Austin Dillon finished 11th as a late fill-in for Michael Annett, who was unable to drive the No. 1 Chevrolet due to a nagging leg injury. Dillon started at the back of the field. Most NASCAR Cup drivers were not at the track, but Dillon arrived early for Sunday’s race and was available for the substitute role.
One of Dillon’s first radio communications was a question asking for the name of his spotter and crew chief.
Heat forced C.J. McLaughlin to leave his 66 Toyota about halfway through the final stage.
DIII safety 1st woman non-kicker to play in NCAA
Haley Van Voorhis, a safety at Division-III Shenandoah University, became the first woman non-kicker to appear in an NCAA football game on Saturday against Juniata.
She came on in the first quarter and registered a quarterback hurry on third down.
A 5-foot-6, 145-pound junior, Van Voorhis spent the past two seasons playing on junior varsity. The Plains, Virginia, native went to high school at Christchurch and was 2019 All-State Honorable Mention. Her senior season was cancelled because of COVID-19.
Van Voorhis is also a member of Shenandoah’s track and field team, running sprints.
In 2014, defensive back Shelby Osborne became the first woman non-kicker to participate in an NAIA program at Campbellsville University. However, she did not appear in a game.
Multiple women have played kicking positions in college football. In 2003, Katie Hnida became the first woman to score in an NCAA Division I-A football game as the placekicker at New Mexico. Seventeen years later, Sarah Fuller became the first woman to score in a Power 5 football game as the kicker for Vanderbilt.
In an interview with ESPN in 2021, Van Voorhis said she’s used to people pointing out that she’s the only girl playing football, whether it was during Pop Warner or high school.
“There’s definitely people out there who see the story and think, ‘This girl’s going to get hurt,'” she said. “I hear that a lot. Or, ‘She’s too small, doesn’t weigh enough, not tall enough.’ But I’m not the shortest on my team, and I’m not the lightest.”
Shenandoah coach Scott Yoder told ESPN in 2021 that Van Voorhis is “very determined” young person.
“What has really helped me has been when you peel everything back it’s about a young person who wants an opportunity, who works for it and has earned an opportunity,” he said. “For 21 years I’ve been fortunate to be on the coaching side of that. And at the core of this, it’s no different.”
No. 4 FSU snaps 7-game skid vs. Clemson in OT
CLEMSON, S.C. — Jordan Travis threw a 24-yard touchdown pass to Keon Coleman to start overtime and No. 4 Florida State completed a second-half comeback to defeat Clemson 31-24 on Saturday and snap a seven-game losing streak against the Tigers.
Travis also threw for another TD and ran for a score for the Seminoles (4-0, 2-0 Atlantic Coast Conference), who had not beaten Clemson (2-2, 0-2) since an overtime victory in 2014.
Clemson had a chance to take a late lead, but Jonathan Weitz, a graduate student who left the team before the season only to return after the Tigers had issues in the kicking game, but his 29-yard try with under two minutes left was wide left.
Instead, the game went to OT and Travis, who was 21 of 37 for 289 yards, lofted a pass that Coleman caught in stride and hushed the raucous Death Valley crowd on the first extra possession.
Clemson couldn’t get a first down on its possession when Klubnik’s fourth-and-2 pass sailed wide of the target and Florida State’s players ran to celebrate on the field where they hadn’t won since 2013.
Clemson had lost only twice in 10 years at Death Valley since the Seminoles and quarterback Jameis Winston’s memorable 51-14 beatdown of the Tigers in 2013.
And Florida State struggled to find space much of the first half and had only 21 yards with less than 8 minutes left before the half. That’s when Travis and his talented corps of playmakers found their groove.
Travis directed a pair of 75-yard touchdown drives in the final 5 minutes, the first ending when Coleman was left alone a step inside the goal line for a 7-yard scoring catch.
After Clemson answered quickly with a TD drive of its own, Travis went 4-of-4 for 67 yards and finished with a 2-yard touchdown run to get within 17-14.
Clemson started No. 9 in the preseason rankings, slid down and eventually out of the poll after a 28-7 loss in Week 1 to unranked Duke. Three weeks of hearing their season was over obviously rankled the defending ACC champions and the Tigers had their most effective offensive showing this season.
Weitz, who had been Clemson’s backup kicker for four seasons got a call from coach Dabo Swinney at his home in Charleston, asking him to rejoin the team. Weitz was working on a graduate degree online.
He got the Tigers’ scoring started with a 30-yard field goal. He had made just three extra points in his four seasons with the team before pursuing a job in finance.
Florida State: The Seminoles overcame perhaps their biggest ACC hurdle to supplant Clemson as the league heavyweight. If Florida State can continue to show the grit it displayed in raucous Death Valley, it will be a strong bet to be playing for its first ACC crown since 2014.
Clemson: The Tigers needed a win to get themselves back in the ACC and College Football Playoff chase. Instead, they’ve got two losses in September for the second time in three seasons and will need conference chaos for any chance to play for a league title.
Florida State has a week off, then starts a three-game homestand with Virginia Tech on Oct. 7.
Clemson travels to Syracuse on Saturday.
Utah QB Rising not making 2023 debut vs. UCLA
Rising took part in warmups but was in street clothes for the start of the game. Rising, who has yet to play this season, was given clearance to practice without limitation in early September and was given positive reports by coach Kyle Whittingham this week about how he looked in practice.
Johnson led Utah’s comeback win at Baylor two weeks ago, scoring the tying touchdown on a 7-yard fourth-quarter run. That performance led to Whittingham making the switch between the backups, and Johnson started and played well in a 31-7 victory over Weber State last week.
A 6-foot-1, 195-pound dual-threat quarterback with unusual speed for the position, Johnson threw for 193 yards against Weber State. On the season, he has three rushing touchdowns and is averaging 4.5 yards per carry.
Johnson has completed 68.8% of his passes, as he had a significant role as a change-of-pace quarterback in Utah’s first two games before becoming the starter.
Rising has led Utah to back-to-back Pac-12 titles, and his status has been one of the biggest questions hanging over the sport this month. Whittingham has told reporters that the medical clearance on Rising’s return isn’t up to the Utah medical staff.
Rising’s ACL was repaired by noted orthopedic surgeon Dr. Neal ElAttrache, and earlier in the month, Whittingham told the Deseret News of ElAttrache: “The ultimate guy that says thumbs-up, thumbs-down for playing, and right now we don’t have that thumbs-up.”
Rising is one of the most accomplished players in the sport, as he threw for 3,034 yards with 26 touchdown passes last season before the injury in the Rose Bowl. With Rising under center, Utah has registered back-to-back 10-win seasons. Utah is 3-0 without him this year and plays UCLA in a battle of undefeated teams.
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