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. Bucs journal: Offense needs to get off to a faster start

    Bucs

    TAMPA — The past two games have seen the Bucs offense muster furious rallies in the fourth quarter of losses, with 229 yards against the Patriots and a franchise-record 27 points against the Cardinals.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter walks the field before an NFL game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., on Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017.
  2. NFL players, owners hold 'constructive' talks on issues

    Bucs

    NEW YORK — NFL players and owners met Tuesday to discuss social issues, a session Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross called "constructive" and Colts defensive back Darius Butler termed "positive."

    A coalition of advocacy groups 'take a knee' outside of a hotel where members the quarterly NFL league meetings are being held on Tuesday in New York City.  Owners, players and commissioner Roger Goodell are all expected to attend. The activists spoke of having solidarity with athletes and coaches around the country who have also kneeled in protest of racial injustice, especially in policing.
 [Getty Images]
  3. Lightning's Steve Yzerman: Nikita Kucherov 'wants to be great'

    Blogs

    If anyone knows what it is like to be as hot as Nikita Kucherov is right now, it's Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman.

    Nikita Kucherov joined Steve Yzerman, Mario Lemieux and Keith Tkachuk as the only players in the last 30 years to score a goal in each of his team's first six games.
  4. Fennelly: Longtime Bucs fans, we want to hear from you

    Blogs

    Calling all Bucs fans! Calling all Bucs fans!

    Jameis Winston is pressured by Chandler Jones during the Bucs' loss to the Cardinals Sunday in Glendale, Ariz.
  5. A punter is the state's only first-team, midseason All-American

    Blogs

    Here's another indictment of how mediocre the state's college football season has become.