Hamlin throws safety device at Harvick after early race crash

BRISTOL, Tenn. — Denny Hamlin got spun out and wrecked while racing as the leader by Kevin Harvick at Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday night. Hamlin later fired his HANS device at Harvick’s car as it passed under caution.

Hamlin appeared to adhere to NASCAR’s new rule of staying in your damaged car until safety crews arrive, and photos showed he was clearly on the apron when he banked the seat restraint off Harvick’s car.

The accident happened as Hamlin was taking the high line through a turn and Harvick was sliding up from below to get into line, Instead, he clipped the left rear of Hamlin’s car, sending it spinning and into the wall. Dale Earnhardt Jr. also got collected and suffered significant damage, eventually returning to the race about 150 laps off the leaders.

“I just wish I had some kind of car left so I could show him the favor back,” Hamlin said of Harvick.

NASCAR modified its rule about drivers exiting their cars after Kevin Ward Jr. was killed during a sprint car race in New York after being struck by a car driven by Tony Stewart. The new rule bars drivers from approaching the track or moving cars after an incident.

“I’m just frustrated because we had a good run going,” Hamlin said. “I thought for sure after the first couple runs that we were going to win the race.”

Harvick, meantime, radioed Hamlin’s team apologizing and accepting blame for the incident.

It was the second year in a row they have tangled at Bristol. Last August, the two were among several caught up in an accident, and they had a confrontation following the race, but came to a peaceful understanding.

IndyCar

Power wins pole in Sonoma: In Sonoma, Calif., Will Power won the IndyCar pole at Sonoma Raceway on Saturday, putting the overall points leader in prime position for his championship chase.

Power turned a lap in 1 minute, 17.4126 seconds on the winding course at the base of wine country. He’ll start in front Sunday when he attempts to win the race for the fourth time in five years.

The Australian broke his own track record in the first qualifying heat, finishing in 1:17.2393.

Josef Newgarden finished second, with Scott Dixon third and James Hinchcliffe fourth. Helio Castroneves, who trails teammate Power by 39 points in the overall race, finished sixth.

Formula 1

Rosberg takes BELGIAN POLE: In Spa, Belgium. Nico Rosberg will start the Belgian Grand Prix from pole position after holding off a strong challenge from his Mercedes rival Lewis Hamilton in qualifying on Saturday.

Hamilton was ahead of Rosberg on the first two time splits of his final lap but then drifted back, allowing Rosberg to clinch a fourth straight pole and sixth in the past seven races.

The German driver leads Hamilton by 11 points in the overall standings.

Rosberg clocked 2 minutes, 5.591 seconds in difficult conditions, with the Spa track drenched following a heavy downpour shortly before qualifying started.

Hamilton finished in 2:05.819 and Sebastian Vettel got a much-needed boost with the third quickest time.