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Morning Roundup: Noah Gragson wins Xfinity Series opener at Daytona

Noah Gragson celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Xfinity series auto race at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday in Daytona Beach, Fla. [AP Photo/John Raoux]
Noah Gragson celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Xfinity series auto race at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday in Daytona Beach, Fla. [AP Photo/John Raoux]

Noah Gragson won his first career Xfinity Series race when Saturday's opener was stopped on the final lap by a crash well behind the winning JR Motorsports Chevrolet.

It was the third consecutive win at Daytona for a car fielded by Dale Earnhardt Jr., his sister and Rick Hendrick in what they consider a family business.

"It never gets old, man," Earnhardt Jr. said. "I don't expect I will do it ever again as a driver, but if I get here as an owner and have success like this, it's a great feeling."

Gragson and Chase Briscoe swapped the lead in the closing three-lap sprint to the finish, but NASCAR threw the yellow-flag for a multi-car crash on the final lap.

Harrison Burton and Timmy Hill, who will make his Daytona 500 debut on Sunday, were second and third in Toyotas. Briscoe was fourth in a Ford for Stewart-Haas Racing.

GOLF

Three tied for lead in Genesis Invitational

Rory McIlroy returned to No. 1 in the world for the first time in more than four years and is playing like he wants to stay there for a while.

McIlroy had a 3-under 68 on Saturday at Riviera and shared the 54-hole lead with Matt Kuchar and Adam Scott going into the final round at the Genesis Invitational in Los Angeles.

Riviera is a thorough test, and the greens are difficult enough that no one could run away with it. Tiger Woods managed to run the other direction with a 76 that left him 15 shots behind.

Kuchar had a two-shot lead at the start of the gorgeous day and kept there with three birdies and no bogeys through 12 holes. But he started to miss short putts, made three bogeys in a four-hole stretch and had to rally with a birdie on the 17th to regain a share of the lead with a 70.

PGA Tour Champions: Stephen Leaney leads after Saturday's second round at the Chubb Classic in Naples, Florida, and Fred Funk is two shots back as he attempts to become the oldest competitor to win a PGA Tour Champions event.

Leaney made an eagle on the 17th hole and has posted consecutive rounds of 65, putting him one shot ahead of Bernhard Langer and two clear of Funk, Chris DiMarco and Fred Couples.

MLB

Baker wants criticism of Astros to stop

Dusty Baker wants action from Major League Baseball: End the criticism of the Astros from across baseball over sign stealing, and take steps to ensure pitchers don't throw at his players.

"It's not good for the game, it's not good for kids to see it, so I think both," the new Houston manager said Saturday. "Stop the comments and also stop something before it happens."

Baker spoke in response to a wave of harsh comments during spring training about the Astros' use of video to steal signs in 2017 and 2018. Los Angeles Dodger first baseman Cody Bellinger said Friday the Astros "stole" the 2017 World Series title from them and adds that Jose Altuve did likewise with the MVP, denying the Yankees' Aaron Judge.

Houston players, management and ownership spent the first day of camp apologizing for their actions and professing remorse. But many players and front offices around the league didn't feel they went far enough.

Wire reports

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