Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Brad Keselowski starting first in Ford EcoBoost 400 after Joey Logano wrecks in practice

HOMESTEAD — Brad Keselowski's path to the Sprint Cup title got a boost when he gained the pole for today's Ford EcoBoost 400 after pole-sitter Joey Logano went to a backup car because of a wreck in practice.

"He's smiling," said Denny Hamlin, who was part of the crash with Greg Biffle, both of whom also went to backups. "He's smiling for sure."

Keselowski, who had inside position on Row 2 after qualifying third, moved up as Logano has to start in the rear. That gives Keselowski, 20 points ahead of Jimmie Johnson, a prime chance to lead the first lap and gain a valuable bonus point.

For Logano, it was the second straight week getting gobbled up by a crash. He was part of the Jeff Gordon-Clint Bowyer debacle at Phoenix that sparked a brawl between the teams.

"I was the innocent bystander once again," Logano said. "I drove into it. It's unfortunate."

The chain of events began with Biffle and Hamlin running hard and into the sun out of Turn 4.

"They kind of hooked each other and they just went straight up into the fence," Logano said. "I was already on top, so they just kind of drove right into me. It's just a bummer going from first to last."

"I was just running down the straightaway and got hooked on the right rear," said Hamlin, Logano's teammate at Joe Gibbs Racing. "Just a crappy way to start."

But perhaps good luck for Keselowski, who has not won a pole this season.

"I'll do what I can to lead the first lap," he said. "I think I have the car to do it."

CHANGES: Next season's Gen-6 car will for the first time have sponsor names on roofs and driver names across the tops of front windshields.

THE PENSKE FILE: Roger Penske's cars have won 12 open-wheel championships and 15 Indianapolis 500 titles. But auto racing's most iconic owner has never captured a championship in NASCAR's top series.

That will change if Kese­lowski, who drives Penske's No. 2 Dodge, wins the Sprint Cup title.

"I'm a goal-oriented person," Penske said. "And there's no question that winning a NASCAR championship at the elite level is something everybody in racing wants to accomplish. To me, this is about an opportunity."

Penske, 75, who hasn't sniffed a Sprint Cup title since Rusty Wallace finished second and third, respectively, in 1993 and '94, is a hands-on owner. He even works as a spotter.

"One of our goals is to win this championship," said Penske, who won the 2010 Nationwide series title with Keselowski. "I kid these guys and say, 'I don't want to sit down in the front row anymore. I want to be up on stage so I see who's at the party.' "

ODDS AND ENDS: Kyle Busch's lap of 168.476 mph led Sprint Cup's final practice. … Tampa's Aric Almirola will continue next season to drive for Richard Petty Motorsports. "We've seen a little bit of improvement with him in every race," Petty said. … To commemorate his 20th season in the No. 24 Chevrolet, Gordon's car will have a red and metallic silver paint scheme. … Tony Stewart's 500th Sprint Cup start means nothing more than, "I'm getting old," he said.

Sprint Cup points

With one race left in the Chase for the Championship, only the top two drivers are mathematically eligible to win the title.

Driver Pts. Back

Brad Keselowski 2371—

Jimmie Johnson 2351 20

Kasey Kahne 2321 50

Clint Bowyer 2319 52

Denny Hamlin 2309 62

Matt Kenseth 2297 74

Greg Biffle 2293 78

Kevin Harvick 2285 86

Tony Stewart 2284 87

Martin Truex 2260 111

Jeff Gordon 2256 115

Dale Earnhardt Jr. 2211 160

Brad Keselowski starting first in Ford EcoBoost 400 after Joey Logano wrecks in practice 11/17/12 [Last modified: Saturday, November 17, 2012 9:22pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Sign up for our new daily News at Noon email newsletter

    News

    The Tampa Bay Times will soon launch a daily newsletter called News at Noon. You can make sure to be among the first to receive it by signing up now.

  2. Rays morning after: Why Alex Cobb was out of the game and Alex Colome was in

    Blogs

    Alex Cobb obviously did a really good job pitching the first eight innings for the Rays on Tuesday.

    Alex Cobb said he had no problem with the decision, even though he had what would have been the Rays first complete game since May 14, 2016, in his sights.
  3. Florida beats LSU, wins first College World Series title

    College

    OMAHA, Neb. — Maybe this wasn't Florida coach Kevin O'Sullivan's best team. It is, however, his first national championship team.

    UF’s Nelson Maldonado, left, and Deacon Liput high-five after a run scores.
  4. As NCAA investigation continues, Baylor dances around sex-assault scandal

    College

    In 1996, Southern Baptist-affiliated Baylor University lifted its 151-year-old ban and allowed dancing on its Waco, Texas campus.

  5. Rays late-night bullpen shuffle: Alvarado, Pruitt down; Kolarek up

    Blogs

    The Rays shuffled their bullpen again after Tuesday's game, sending down struggling LHP Jose Alvarado along with RHP Austin Pruitt to Triple-A Durham, and turning next to LHP Adam Kolarek, who will make his major-league debut at age 28.

    Jose Alvarado allowed runs in five of his last six outings and took three losses.