Thursday, February 22, 2018
Sports

Brad Keselowski captures Sprint Cup victory at Kentucky

SPARTA, Ky. — On his first practice lap at Kentucky Speedway on Friday, Brad Keselowski wrecked his best car.

What could have been a devastating blow ended up being a curious blessing.

Driving his backup car, Keselowski raced to his series-best third victory of the year Saturday night, grabbing the lead with 55 laps left and holding off all challengers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Kentucky Speedway.

"It wasn't the newest car we got, but it runs," Keselowski said.

The 28-year-old from Rochester Hills, Mich., also won this season at Bristol and Talladega. He gave all the credit for his seventh career Cup win to his team.

"They put together a backup car from last year in 100-degree heat in one hour's time to get me back on the track," he said.

Kasey Kahne rode a late surge to second, 4.399 seconds back.

Keselowski was running so well that Kahne, despite his fast finish, knew he needed help to catch him.

"I just hoped he'd run out of gas," Kahne said, grinning. "No way I was catching him. We had stopped (for a fill-up), and I was hoping he'd shut down."

Keselowski had just enough fuel to finish.

Crew chief Paul Wolfe called the quick turnaround in cars "probably the toughest weekend our team has ever had up to this point."

Keselowski led 68 of 267 laps on the 1.5-mile oval, ending a streak of four starts during which he had failed to crack the top 10.

He slammed the right side of his top car into the wall Friday in the wake of a collision with Juan Montoya. He said he believed he had been "pushed around" by Montoya on the practice lap and reacted angrily.

Denny Hamlin finished third hours after announcing a new agreement with Joe Gibbs Racing on Twitter.

"It's a great day," he said. "When you know you're locked in where you're going to race for (a) really long time, it's a good feeling. Those guys (at Joe Gibbs Racing) have given me a championship-caliber racing team."

Dale Earnhardt Jr. was fourth despite a loose car late and moved up to second in points.

Kahne and Earnhardt were part of a strong night for Hendrick Motorsports, which also put Jeff Gordon fifth and pole-sitter Jimmie Johnson sixth.

Points leader Matt Kenseth, racing for the first time since announcing he was leaving Roush Fenway Racing after the season, finished seventh.

A year after severe traffic congestion resulted in thousands of angry fans at the track's Cup race, there were few glitches.

Meanwhile, Keselowski was getting questions about whether he might be able to make a run at the championship.

"We just have to keep winning," he said.

Yeah, but with which car?

NHRA

Tony Schumacher led Top Fuel qualifying heading to today's eliminations at the Route 66 Nationals in Joliet, Ill., with a run of 3.763 seconds at 324.83 mph. John Force (Funny Car), Allen Johnson (Pro Stock) and Hector Arana (Pro Stock Motorcycle) led their classes.

Comments
U-S-A! U-S-A! Women’s hockey beats Canada for Olympic gold

U-S-A! U-S-A! Women’s hockey beats Canada for Olympic gold

GANGNEUNG, South Korea — The Americans' gold medal drought in women's hockey is finally over. They needed the first shootout in an Olympic women's final to do it, too.Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson scored a dazzling, triple-deke goal in the sixth ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Girls basketball region finals preview

Girls basketball region finals preview

All games at 7 p.m. FridayClass 8ANaples Gulf Coast (25-2) at Tampa Bay Tech (25-3): The Titans are coming off a 62-44 win over Countryside. They are clearly playing some good basketball at the right time. Junior Jalyn Spurlin scored 12 poi...
Updated: 4 hours ago
What if the Rays actually have a good plan?

What if the Rays actually have a good plan?

PORT CHARLOTTE — Going against popular opinion, here's an odd thought to ponder:What if the Rays actually know what they're doing?The deal agreed to Wednesday afternoon with veteran outfielder Carlos Gomez — one year for a hefty-for-them ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
New D-line coach Brentson Buckner wants to make Bucs pass rush great again

New D-line coach Brentson Buckner wants to make Bucs pass rush great again

This isn't the first time Brentson Buckner has wanted to get closer to the Bucs defensive line.As a defensive tackle for the Panthers, Buckner's team went 7-9 in 2002, the inaugural season for the NFC South.Tampa Bay won the division that year, and w...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Hey Rays, this is no way to build a ballpark

Hey Rays, this is no way to build a ballpark

PORT CHARLOTTE — It was another morning after at Charlotte Sports Park and Rays Bargain Clearance Barn.  This time it's Steven Souza Jr., man of a thousand faces. He gone.What else is new at the incredible shrinking baseball team?It's spri...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Dick Vitale to Rays owner Stu Sternberg: Sell the team

Dick Vitale to Rays owner Stu Sternberg: Sell the team

PORT CHARLOTTE – Dick Vitale, the Rays' most visible and, as of late, vocal fan, took to Twitter and the 620-AM airwaves Wednesday morning and later in the day in a phone call to the Tampa Bay Times to blast his local baseball team.Vitale, ESPN...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Winter Olympics: Thursday’s viewing guide

Winter Olympics: Thursday’s viewing guide

TV today6:05 a.m.-5 a.m. Friday NBCSNCurling (M) — Semifinal, United States vs. Canada (LIVE)Short-track speed skating — Finals, men's 500m, women's 1,000m, men's 5,000m relayBiathlon (W) — 4x6k relay finalCurling (M) — Semifi...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Ryan Callahan regaining his confidence for Lightning

Ryan Callahan regaining his confidence for Lightning

When the Lightning put wing Ryan Callahan back on the power play a month ago, there were many reasons for the move.With Ondrej Palat suffering a lower-body injury Jan. 20, Tampa Bay needed a replacement who was fearless in front of the net and a rele...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Thursday’s sports on TV/radio

TODAYBoxingFeatherweights: Diaz vs. Terrazas11:30 p.m.ESPN2College basketballWomen: Maryland at Michigan6 p.m.Big TenWomen: LSU at South Carolina6:30 p.m.SECConnecticut at Cincinnati7 p.m.ESPNWisconsin at Northwestern7 p.m.ESPN2Winthrop at NC-Ashevil...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Winter Olympics: U.S. women end speed-skating medal drought

Winter Olympics: U.S. women end speed-skating medal drought

GANGNEUNG, South Korea — Mia Manganello crossed the finish line, glanced at the video board and yelled. She then grabbed hands with American teammates Heather Bergsma and Brittany Bowe, and the trio thrust their arms in the air. The Americans had re...
Updated: 6 hours ago