Around the Nation (June 16): Denny Hamlin honors late Jason Leffler by changing paint scheme for race (with video)

Associated Press Published:

Associated Press

AUTO RACING

Hamlin changes paint scheme to honor Leffler

BROOKLYN, Mich. -- Denny Hamlin's No. 11 Toyota changed its paint scheme for Sunday's race at Michigan to the one that was used when Jason Leffler drove the car in 2005.

The tribute paint scheme was Hamlin's idea and approved by Joe Gibbs Racing and sponsor FedEx following Leffler's death Wednesday in an accident at a dirt track in New Jersey. He was 37.

"He was the reason FedEx came into the sport and it just made sense," Hamlin said. "We asked the sponsor if it was good and Joe Gibbs Racing found someone Saturday evening to get somebody here and get it done."

Hamlin finished 30th Sunday.

Leffler drove 19 Sprint Cup Series in 2005 with JGR as it launched the No. 11 as its third team, and FedEx Senior Vice President of Marketing Laurie Tucker hailed him as "an integral part of the formation of the No. 11 team."

The car was rewrapped by the team Saturday night into the primarily white paint scheme used when Leffler drove the No. 11.

"We feel fortunate to have had (Leffler) as part of both our Nationwide Series program and of course in the Cup Series where he helped us launch the No. 11 team with FedEx," team owner Joe Gibbs said earlier this week. "NASCAR is unique in that it really is one large family and Jason was well liked by all that knew him. His loss will be felt across the entire sport."

FOOTBALL

Manziel tweet sounds ready to leave Texas A&M

COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel still has three years of eligibility left at Texas A&M.

But a tweet he sent out early Sunday morning has some wondering how long he'll stay.

Starting the tweet with an expletive, Manziel's said stuff "like tonight is why I can't wait to leave college station... whenever it may be." The comment went out to Manziel's more than 350,000 followers from his verified account before it was deleted almost immediately.

He soon followed another tweet, saying: "Don't ever forget that I love A&M with all of my heart, but please please walk a day in my shoes."

The quarterback led the Aggies to a win at eventual national champion Alabama last season, and became the first freshman to win the Heisman.

A Texas A&M spokesman says that he does not expect a statement from Manziel or the university on the matter.

Florida LB Morrison charged with battery

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Florida linebacker Antonio Morrison is accused of punching a bouncer and has been charged with simple battery. He was arrested at his dormitory.

Gainesville Police say witnesses identified Morrison as the man who argued with a bouncer outside Kava Lounge early Sunday regarding a cover charge and said: "Do you know who I am? I am a UF football player. I am Antonio!"

When the bouncer told Morrison he would have to pay full price, witnesses say Morrison punched the bouncer in the head. Police say the bouncer and a witness identified Morrison from the school's website. Officers say Morrison told them he got into a "scuffle," but added "it wasn't that big of a deal."

Morrison is a sophomore from Bolingbrook, Ill. He is expected to be a full-time starter this fall.

BASEBALL

Sewage problem puts A's, Mariners in same locker room in Oakland

OAKLAND, Calif. -- A sewage problem at the Coliseum forced the Oakland Athletics and Seattle Mariners to use the same locker room after Sunday's game.

The pipes backed up on the lower levels of the stadium during Oakland's 10-2 victory, creating a stink and pools of water in the clubhouses used by both teams and the umpires.

The A's and Mariners moved to a higher floor and cleaned up postgame in the locker room occupied by the Oakland Raiders during NFL games.

Coliseum officials said the six-day homestand, which drew 171,756 fans, overtaxed the plumbing system at the 47-year-old stadium.

Yankees' Teixeira has no new tears in wrist

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira has no new tears in the tendon sheath around his inflamed right wrist.

Teixeira got a cortisone shot Sunday. New York manager Joe Girardi says he will be re-evaluated next week.

Teixeira left the Yankees' 6-2 loss to the Los Angeles Angels on Saturday in the fourth inning. The Yankees sent him back to New York for evaluation on his problematic wrist, which forced him to miss the first 53 games of the season.

Girardi says Teixeira will be out for "a couple of days" while the club waits for the inflammation to subside. If Teixeira had torn the sheath again, he might have been out for the season.

Lyle Overbay filled in at first base Sunday when the Yankees completed their 10-game road trip.

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