Hamlin wins at Daytona

Fat Guy Corner



The Super Bowl of NASCAR is over already and the winner by the slimmest of margins is Denny Hamlin. What a finish as Hamlin barely beat Martin Truex Jr. in the closest finish ever at the Daytona 500. It was a photo finish and the winning margin was one .01 of a second that gave Joe Gibbs Racing just its second Daytona 500 win. The last time Joe Gibbs racing won the Daytona 500 was 23 years ago with Dale Jarrett. Joe Gibbs said winning the Daytona 500 is the equivalent of winning a Super Bowl. I can say that all the motor heads who love NASCAR got there money’s worth last Sunday.

Free agency frenzy

The list of NFL players being released will continue to grow as we get closer to the NFL free agency feeding frenzy. The Detroit “Kitty Kats” have released Stephen Tulloch after five years in a Lions uniform. It was a cap move saving the Lions $6 million in cap space. Manny Ramirez, the offensive lineman who was to be a free agent, will not be offered a contract. The saddest release for me was Joique Bell. The Lions offered him a deal in the way of a paycut. Some deal, I say! Joique turned down the offer and is free to go elsewhere. It was evident that Bell lost a step last season and Detroit made the right call in my opinion. Bell was a tremendous story out of Wayne State and an awesome hometown story. That’s what makes it a sad ending for me. I would not rule out Bell coming back to the Lions’ den if all other teams pass him over.

The Calvin Johnson situation is still lingering as he has yet to decide what he wants to do. The Lions have given no time table for him to decide and I like that the Lions are handling it. Calvin has earned the time to decide after all he has done in a Lions’ uniform!

JV on the rebound

The Detroit Tigers have pitchers and catchers reporting to Lakeland, Florida for spring training. The main story pitching-wise for me this spring is one guy: Justin Verlander. A big question is, will Verlander return to his dominance on the hill in the American League in 2016 or have we seen the best of him? I have a sneaky hunch we will see a great season by Verlander in 2016. I can visualize an 18-8 season and a decent ERA. I think Justin, being the competitor he is, will rebound from last season’s mess.

I have another rebound guy this season and his name is Victor Martinez. I think he will tear it up at the plate in 2016 and put up large numbers at the plate. The Tigers really need him to swing a healthy bat to make the lineup go. I think this year’s spring training for us Tiger fans will be worth paying attention to!

Misfiring on the hardwood

The Detroit Pistons went into the All-Star break sputtering and came out of the break sputtering. If the Detroit Pistons fail to make the playoffs I feel this season is a total failure. This team has enough pieces to earn a berth in the Eastern Conference. I think Stan Van Gundy has done a good job so far but he needs to get them over the hump.

Stalling on the ice

The Detroit Red Wings went on the road after a tremendous home stand and played horrible hockey. I stated last week that one bad stretch can find you out of the playoff picture. Hey, guess what? The Red Wings are currently sitting in the wildcard playoff spot just in front of the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference. All of us Red Wings fans do not want the playoff streak to end and I know the players want to keep it going, too. It is Hockeytown, which means playoff hockey!!

Watson wins ninth title

Just a quick note that Bubba Watson grinded it out to win his second Northern Trust Open and ninth overall PGA title on Sunday in California. It was a one-stroke win over Adam Scott and Jason Kokrak.

With the win, Big Bubba improves to 3-for-10 when leading or sharing the lead after after 54 holes and moves from No. 6 in the Official World Golf Ranking to No. 4. He also made a big move from 115th to 11th in the FedExCup standings. Way to go, Bubba! thefatguy@mihomepaper.com

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