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By Lonnie WheatleyDODGE CITY, Kan. – Following on the heels of this past weekend’s Inaugural Freedom Tour non-wing Sprint Car double, action continues with this Saturday’s championship chase action at Dodge City Raceway Park featuring all five of the track’s regular classes.And it’s time to pack the track’s spacious grandstands, as all residents of Dodge City who can provide proof of residence receive free admission to the Aug. 31 racing action that gets under way at 7:30 p.m. Saturday’s tilt will include the headliner IMCA Xtreme Motor SportMods along with IMCA Sport Modifieds, IMCA Sunoco Stock Cars and Thunder Cars on the 3/8-mile clay oval with the Hornets on the inner asphalt oval.With only the September 28 Jerry Soderberg Championship Memorial Event remaining after this Saturday night, the championship point battles are hanging in the balance with Austin Allen, Jeff Kaup, Billy Phelps, Matt O’Hair and Jarett Lunow leading their respective divisions into the night. Allen carries a 27-point advantage over Jon Herring Jr. in the Modified title chase with Jesse Smith just another eight points back in third as Kevin Gray and Ryan Heger round out the current top five in points.Cole Traugott picked off his first DCRP score in Modified action this past Saturday night to become the seventh different winner of the season through 10 events. With seven winners in 10 United Wireless SportMod events as well, April 20 winner Kaup has opened up a 65-point advantage with Toby Witthuhn moving into second. Only 23 points separate the drivers ranked second through fourth, Witthuhn, Matthew Crowell and Austin Walker, with Josh Appel rounding out the current top five. Although he isn’t one of the eight drivers to win in the initial Stock Car features, Phelps has built up a 118-point advantage over Marlin Hogie. Hogie is 20 points ahead of Brett Copeland in the battle for second with Justin Temaat and Michael Pepper filling out the top five.The Thunder Cars feature the tightest points battle with O’Hair just four points ahead of Dustin Walker. Lunow holds down the top spot in Hornet action with four wins in five tries. With the Hornets taking to the track for the first time since June 15, Lunow has a 30-point advantage over Brandon Bogner. Admission to Saturday’s action for those not residents of Dodge City is $10 for adults with children 11 and under admitted free when accompanied by an adult.
AAF POWER RANKINGS:Where teams stand going into Week 4″One of the things I took away from my father was that — 17 years ago one of the biggest mistakes they made in launching the XFL was that it was about, ‘The NFL was the No Fun League!’ and they’re going to compete with the NFL,” Ebersol told Business Insider. “It tells players they should not play in your league, because their ultimate goal — to get back to the NFL and play in the Super Bowl — will be undermined by the fact that you’re directly competing with the partner that you want to be in business with.”So since the goal of the AAF is to drive talent to the NFL, we thought it’d be good to look at players are on track to make that dream happen. We’ll list 10 — five on offense, and five on defense — players who have already made a huge impact through three weeks.These players are in no particular order.Garrett Gilbert, QBGilbert walked away from an NFL futures contract to play in the AAF, and so far it’s proving to be the right decision. He has been the MVP through three weeks, as he leads the league in passing (827 yards) and even has a rushing and receiving touchdown on the season.He has the fourth-highest completion percentage (59.3) among QBs with at least 50 pass attempts and has five passing touchdowns (second-most in the league) with no interceptions. He has great receivers, which has helped, but he has made a case to at least earn a roster spot on an NFL club next season.Gilbert already has some NFL experience, as he bounced around from the Rams, Patriots, Lions and Raiders. He saw some action last season with the Panthers, completing two of three passes in the final game of the season.Luis Perez, QBAs many as eight NFL teams have reportedly already incquired about Perez after watching him play in the AAF. His numbers won’t jump off the page when you see them, but that’s because his receivers have let him down with several dropped passes.NFL reporter Benjamin Allbright explained why Perez is NFL ready.”(He) reads the field quickly, has a strong arm will remind you of Joe Flacco as a player,” Allbright told Sporting News. “Downsides, (he) has slow feet and will occasionaly force throws.”Ja’Quan Gardner, RBHE. IS. GONE. 83 yards, touchdown @aaffleet ! @_JGWentworth_32 | #SAvsSD pic.twitter.com/l5zXlxalCE— The Alliance (@TheAAF) February 25, 2019There have only been three 100-yard rushing performances in the AAF so far, and Gardner has two of them. Listed at 5-7, 206 pounds, Gardner is an explosive back who is averaging a ridiculous 8.0 yards per carry (although his 83-yard run inflates that number).He simply has been too productive not to get an invite once training camp comes around. At a time when teams are going to a committee backfield, Gardner can fill a role somewhere in the NFL.Charles Johnson, WRJohnson was a seventh-round pick in 2013 by the Packers and has bounced around multiple NFL teams (Browns, Vikings, Panthers, Jets) before landing with the Apollos. He made the biggest impact in Minnesota, where he played in 39 games, catching 60 passes for 834 yards and two touchdowns.He has not played in an NFL regular-season game since 2016, but he is making a case to come back next season. He currently leads the AAF in receiving yards (305) and is second in receptions (14). He has been great after the catch, leading all receivers in YAC with 100.Johnson was with the Jets in the preseason last year, so it seems likely he’ll wind up somewhere again in 2019.Rashad Ross, WRRoss leads the league in receptions, hauling in 15-of-19 targets for 221 yards (second-most in the league) and four touchdowns (leads the league). He has been on nine NFL rosters since going undrafted in 2013 but hasn’t been able to stay in one place for too long.I think guys like Charles Johnson & Rashad Ross can definitely play in NFL. But their teams never made serious investments in them & were never truly committed to fostering their success. https://t.co/ggMSHvHwEn— Evan Silva (@evansilva) February 18, 2019He runs routes well, he has caught most of his targets, he has found the endzone more than any other receiver and he gets yards after the catch. He certainly seems destined to make it on an NFL roster next season.Jamar Summers, CBSummers has two interceptions, a forced fumble and seven pass deflections through three games for the Iron. He is even helping out in areas that don’t immediately show up in the box scores.”If one person has made a name for themselves this season on defense, arguably the loudest of those names being shouted is Jamar Summers,” Pro Football Focus’s Cam Mellor writes. “For the season, he has now given up just four receptions on 15 targets and has a 0.0 passer rating into his coverage.”Summers has been a big contributor to the Iron’s tough defense, which is allowing a league-low seven points per game. He spent some time with the Steelers as an undrafted free agent last season, but we expect he’ll get a lot more looks in 2019 if he keeps up this play in the AAF.Terence Garvin, LBTerence Garvin pick six pic.twitter.com/hm3b1PiAdU— Arif Hasan (@ArifHasanNFL) February 10, 2019Garvin leads the league with three interceptions, has 11 total tackles (including one for loss) and four pass breakups on the season. He earned Defensive Player of the Week honors after Week 1 and has continued to produce since.After going undrafted in 2013, Garvin spent time on five different NFL teams but never really got much playing time on any of them. His most notable moment was in 2013, when he broke the jaw of Bengals punter Kevin Huber on a hard hit.Even if Garvin can’t make the field as a defender, he can at least get a look as a special teams player, which he has done for the majority of his brief NFL career.Damontre Moore, DEMoore was PFF’s highest-graded edge defender after Week 2 and continued his dominance in Week 3. He has two sacks on the season and has a league-leading nine quarterback hits while also leading the league in QB pressures.This shouldn’t be much of a surprsie, as Moore was a third-round draft pick in 2013 after being a consensus first-team All-American at Texas A&M in 2012. The talent was always there for Moore, but he had some maturity issues that led to his release from the Giants. According to Jay Glazer, Moore had been fighting with his teammates, and it got to a point where he was no longer welcomed on the team. He signed with five other NFL teams after that and served a two-game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy in 2017.Moore has been an absolute force in the AAF, and if he can stay on the right path, he’ll earn an invite to an NFL club this season.Karter Schult, DESchult has 11 tackles, six tackles for loss, four sacks (league-leader), eight QB hits (second in league) and a forced fumble already this season. Before playing in the AAF, Schult spent some time in the NFL with the Panthers and Browns but didn’t play in any games.He has had a sack in every game this season and continues to pressure quarterbacks no matter the opponent. An NFL team looking for pass-rushing depth should look at Schult and his production from the AAF.Keith Reaser, DBReaser earned a 90.6 grade from PFF after Week 1 and a 92.4 grade for Week 2. Perhaps the only reason he was left off Week 3 was because he suffered an injury in the game. He allowed just two receptions on five targets for 14 yards in his first game, then three receptions on eight targets for six yards in his second.Reaser has two interceptions and six pass deflections on the season, making a case for one of the best pass defenders in the AAF. He was a fifth-round draft pick by the 49ers in 2014 and spent some time with the Chiefs after that. The Alliance of American Football league is open about wanting to be a farm system of sorts for the NFL. The league has an “NFL out” written into its player contracts, allowing players in the league to sign with an NFL team if given the opportunity. Players can leave from the end of the AAF championship game to Dec. 1st of the same year.AAF co-founder Charlie Ebersol has said in a number of interviews that he wants his league to be a developmental stage for players wanting to get back into the NFL. His dad, Dick Ebersol, is a television executive at NBC, who was also an original XFL partner. Also, a fun fact: Reaser is the cousin of the late Sean Taylor.Looking aheadWith 32 NFL teams that have 90 roster spots for training camp (2,880 total players), there will be more than just 10 players from the AAF to get an invite.While these 10 players are making the best cases of making 53-man rosters once the 90-man units are cut down, several other great players in the AAF should receive camp invites (Quinton Patton, Zac Stacy, D’Ernest Johnson, Mekale McKay, etc.) once the season comes to an end.
He is not expected to pitch again until the 2021 season.JAMO UPDATE: Yesterday, Jameson Taillon underwent flexor tendon repair surgery and during the procedure it was determined that Jameson also required right elbow UCL revision surgery (Tommy John surgery).— Pirates (@Pirates) August 14, 2019This will be the second time since being drafted by the Pirates that Taillon has had Tommy John surgery. He also underwent the procedure in 2014. Jameson Taillon can’t catch a break.While undergoing flexor tendon repair surgery on his pitching elbow, it was discovered he also had damage to his ulnar collateral ligament, so he also underwent Tommy John surgery, the team announced. Taillon’s career has been marred with injury and sickness as he also was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2017.Taillon, 27, was the No. 2 pick in the 2010 MLB Draft behind only Bryce Harper. He was then a top prospect and has been very good in his time with Pittsburgh posting a 29-24 record with a 3.67 ERA in 466 innings pitched.But due to his injuries he has played just one full season (2018) and has pitched no more than 133 2/3 innings in any other season (2017).