Column: Larson finishes 2nd again, takes over points lead

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Kyle Larson finished second at Phoenix International Raceway and then headed to the beach for a brief family vacation. There was no lamenting his third consecutive runner-up finish because Larson is the current points leader of NASCAR's top series. His positioning atop the standings is almost as good as a trip to victory lane.

Logano uses fast late lap to claim pole in Phoenix

AVONDALE, Ariz. (AP) -- Joey Logano capped a day in the spotlight with a fast late lap Friday to claim the pole for the NASCAR Camping World 500. With the temperature in the low 90s and the sun beginning to set, Ryan Blaney qualified second to give Ford the top two spots to start Sunday's race. Logano and Blaney bumped Dale Earnhardt Jr.

BC-AP Sports Digest

The supervisor is Jay Cohen, followed by Fred Lief at 9 a.m. The New York sports desk can be reached at 800-845-8450, ext. 1630. Sports Photos, ext. 1918; graphics, ext. 7636; agate, ext. 1635. AP stories and accompanying photos also can be obtained from http://www.apexchange.com For reruns, call the Service Desk (800 838-4616) or your local AP bureau. All times EST.

Column: NASCAR needs some rivalries to spice up the action

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Rivalries are the lifeblood of sports, and NASCAR sorely needs a few to spice up the action. The discourse among drivers has been tame for several years, in part because wives and children have seemed to mellow the competitors. They live inches away from each other in the same motorhome lot every weekend, share the playground, the basketball court and the gym.

BC-AP Sports Digest

The supervisor is Fred Lief, followed by Simmi Buttar at 5 p.m. and Jay Cohen at 1 a.m. The New York sports desk can be reached at 800-845-8450, ext. 1630. Sports Photos, ext. 1918; graphics, ext. 7636; agate, ext. 1635. AP stories and accompanying photos also can be obtained from http://www.apexchange.com For reruns, call the Service Desk (800 838-4616) or your local AP bureau. All times EST.

Latest North Carolina and South Carolina sports

HURRICANES-COYOTES Hurricanes beat Coyotes 2-1 to end 4-game slide GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) -- Eddie Lack stopped 24 shots two days after being called out by his coach, and Derek Ryan scored on a strange bounce in the third period Sunday to give the Carolina Hurricanes a 2-1 win over the Arizona Coyotes. Lack was criticized by coach Bill Peters on Friday following a poor performance against Tampa Bay.

Keselowski steals Atlanta win after Harvick caught speeding

HAMPTON, Ga. (AP) -- Kevin Harvick was faster than everyone at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Too fast, it turned out. Harvick ruined a dominating performance by speeding on his final pit stop, allowing Brad Keselowski to steal a NASCAR Monster Energy Cup victory Sunday. "I'm just snake-bit here," Harvick said. "But it's my own doing." Harvick won the first two stages under NASCAR's new race format and led a staggering 293 out of 325 laps overall.

Latest North Carolina, South Carolina sports

LGBT RIGHTS-NORTH CAROLINA-ACC ACC's Swofford encouraged by bill to repeal NC's HB2 law GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) -- Atlantic Coast Conference Commissioner John Swofford says he's encouraged that North Carolina lawmakers have filed bipartisan legislation to repeal a law that limits protections for LGBT people. The ACC and the NCAA pulled sporting events out of the state last fall in response to the so-called bathroom bill.

Reed grabs Xfinity Series win in wreck-fest at Daytona

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) -- Ryan Reed picked up the second Xfinity Series victory of his career -- both at Daytona International Speedway -- by winning the wreck-filled season-opener Saturday. Reed held off Austin Dillon and Kasey Kahne in a two-lap overtime shootout to win in a Ford for Roush Fenway Racing.

NASCAR seeks boost to steep decline with strong Daytona 500

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) -- The good news for NASCAR is that all signs indicate Dale Earnhardt Jr. has a legitimate shot to win the Daytona 500. A victory for NASCAR's most popular driver, in his return to racing after a concussion sidelined him the second half of last season, would be a massive boost for the sagging series.

Thursday's Sports In Brief

NBA DALLAS (AP) -- The Dallas Mavericks made two plays for the future, acquiring big man Nerlens Noel from the Philadelphia 76ers before the trading deadline and waiving point guard Deron Williams to clear the way for rookie Yogi Ferrell. The Mavericks sent veteran center Andrew Bogut, young swingman Justin Anderson and a protected first-round draft pick to the 76ers. The 22-year-old Noel was the sixth overall pick in the 2013 draft.

Hamlin spoils Earnhardt return with last-lap pass for win

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) -- Denny Hamlin didn't need a Toyota teammate to grab another win at Daytona International Speedway. Hamlin charged past Dale Earnhardt Jr. with one lap remaining Thursday night to deny Earnhardt a victory a 150-mile qualifying race that Earnhardt dominated. Earnhardt led 53 of the 60 laps in the second qualifying Duel, but couldn't hold off a Hamlin charge at the end.

Earnhardt wants to win a title then ride into retirement

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) -- Upon further review, hoisting a championship trophy is exactly how Dale Earnhardt Jr. wants to end his career. NASCAR's most popular driver caused a stir on "The Dan Patrick Show" when he claimed he would immediately retire if he wins the title this year. The statement followed him to media day for the Daytona 500, and there was no question about it. "Hell, yeah.