The Power Of Three Was Strong In The Sporting Week That Was

Brickyard
Chip Ganassi celebrates Jamie McMurray's Brickyard win in true "Wayne's World" fashion.

Alex Rodriguez may not have hit career homer No. 600 this week, but that didn’t mean all was quiet in the sporting world. Because some NASCAR history makers, some new cycling superstars, and some sweet swinging AL Central baseball teams were making plenty of noise. Oh, and A-Rod still made headlines with his bat, even without hitting the historic homer. So, on to the numbers – this week, they’re three times the fun.

3 – Drivers in the history of NASCAR to win the Brickyard 400 and the Daytona 500 in the same year. Jamie McMurray, who won at Daytona back in February, became the third to do it after winning at Indianapolis Motor Speedway Sunday. The previous two drivers to do it were Dale Jarrett in 1996 and Jimmie Johnson in 2006.

3 – Big time auto races this year won by Chip Ganassi drivers – the Daytona 500 (McMurray), the Indy 500 (Dario Franchitti) and the Brickyard 400 (McMurray again) – making Ganassi the first-ever owner to win auto racing’s “Triple Crown.”

3 – Tour de France titles in the last four years won by Spain’s Alberto Contador after winning the 2010 race Sunday. Contador became the ninth rider to win the race at least three times and the first to defend his Tour title since Lance Armstrong (seven straight titles from 1999-2005). It was close though – Contador’s 39-second margin of victory was the fifth-smallest in Tour history.

3 – No-hitters the Tampa Bay Rays have been involved in this season after Matt Garza pitched the first no-hitter in Tampa Bay history Monday night. The Rays, who had also been no-hit by Edwin Jackson and Dallas Braden earlier this season, are only the third team in Major League history to be involved in three no-hitters in a single season. The 1917 Chicago White Sox and the 1917 St. Louis Browns are the other two.

3 – Straight games in which the Twins scored 10-plus runs and had 19-plus hits after a 11-2 win over the Royals Tuesday night (they notched a 10-4 win over Baltimore Sunday and a 19-1 win over Kansas City Monday). Minnesota became the first team in the American League to accomplish such a feat, and the first team in the Majors to do it since the 1933 Giants.

3 – Runs batted in by Alex Rodriguez (aka Mr. 599) in an 11-4 win over the Indians Thursday, giving him a Major League leading total of 31 for the month of July. That marks the fourth time that A-Rod’s collected 30-plus RBIs in a calendar month (July 2010, April 2007, June 2007, September 2007). He’s the first to do it four times since another Yankee you may have heard of, Mickey Mantle (July 1952, May 1956, June 1957, June 1961).