Latest North Carolina sports

ARCA-POCONO

2011 Daytona 500 champ Bayne wins ARCA debut in Pocono

LONG POND, Pa. (AP) — Trevor Bayne dominated from the pole, and the 2011 Daytona 500 champion won Saturday in his ARCA Series debut.

Bayne entered the race at Pocono Raceway for more practice time ahead of Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race. Even with 71 career Cup starts, Bayne had never turned a lap at the 2 1/2-mile tri-oval track. He drove Saturday for Cunningham Motorsports.

Bayne has struggled in Cup in his first full season with Roush Fenway Racing. He’s 31st in points with no top-10 finishes.

His win capped a big week for his family. Bayne announced on Twitter that he and wife Ashton are expecting their first child.

Bayne says the couple “timed it right” to have the baby in December during the offseason.

Grant Enfinger was second and Mason Mitchell was third.

MOTOCROSS

Ryan Dungey wins Tennessee National at Muddy Creek

BLOUNTVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Ryan Dungey won the Tennessee National on Saturday at Muddy Creek Raceway for his second straight Lucas Oil Pro Motocross victory.

Dungey won the first 450 Class moto and finished second in the second. The Red Bull KTM rider from Belle Plaine, Minnesota, also won the inaugural Tennessee event in 2013.

RCH Soaring Eagle Suzuki’s Ken Roczen was second overall. He won the second moto after finishing third in the first.

Dungey increased his lead in the season standings to 37 points over Roczen after four events.

Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha’s Jeremy Martin raced to his third 250 Class victory in the first four events. The defending series champion was second in the first moto and won the second.

RAC–BELMONT STAKES

The Latest: It’s a Triple Crown for American Pharoa

NEW YORK (AP) — At long last, a Triple Crown!

American Pharoah ended a record 37-year drought without a Triple Crown winner by soaring to victory in the Belmont Stakes on a historic Saturday in front of 90,000 cheering fans.

The brilliant 3-year-old colt seized the lead from the start and fought off every one of his seven challengers, and made no doubt he was worthy of Triple Crown glory by refusing to wilt in the final quarter-mile of the 1 1/2-mile “Test of the Champion.”

What a win for the record books. Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert failed on three previous Triple Crown attempts, and jockey Victor Espinoza was 0 for 2 in Triple attempts, including last year with California Chrome.

A roar from the crowd went up as soon as American Pharoah came around the far turn, and it Belmont Park was rocking when the colt came barreling down the stretch.

American Pharoah becomes the 12th Triple Crown winner, first since Affirmed in 1978, and joins the likes of Secretariat, Citation and Seattle Slew in racing’s most exclusive club.

American Pharoah, who won the Kentucky Derby on May 2 and the Preakness on May 16, won the Belmont by 5 1/2 lengths over Frosted. The winning time was 2:26.65.

‘He’s just a great horse,” Baffert said. “It takes a great horse to do it.”

Keen Ice was third, followed by Mubtaahij, Frammento, Madefromlucky, Tale of Verve and Materiality.

“It’s just an amazing thing,” Espinoza said.

Penny Chenery, the 93-year-old owner of 1973 Triple Crown winner Secretariat, was in the crowd, and she’s “thrilled.” To owner Ahmed Zayat, she said, “Welcome.”

The names of the 11 Triple Crown winners are on separate signs on the Belmont infield, and American Pharoah’s name and silks were put up moments after he crossed the finish line.

The race was big news at other sports events, too. At Fenway Park in Boston and Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, American Pharoah’s win was shown on the video board.

ILLINOIS-DUKE SERIES

Illinois adds Duke series to 2025, ’26 football schedules

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — Illinois and Duke have agreed to play a home-and-home series in the 2025 and 2026 football seasons.

Illinois said Friday that the teams will play in Durham, North Carolina, on Sept. 6, 2025, and in Champaign on Sept. 12, 2026.

The Illini and Blue Devils have only played each other twice and haven’t met since 1965. The series is 1-1.

Illinois has now set up series against a number of East Coast schools. They include North Carolina this fall and in 2016, South Florida in 2017 and ’18, Connecticut in 2019 and ’20 and Virginia in 2021 and ’22. The Illini will also play Kansas in 2023 and ’24.