Friday, February 23, 2018
Sports

Dillon wins Nationwide series title

HOMESTEAD — With tears in eyes and three fingers in the air, Richard Childress hardly had words to describe his latest NASCAR championship.

His grandson Austin Dillon won the Nationwide series title in the No. 3 and by three points.

"Hard to believe," Childress said. "I couldn't be more proud of Austin. He drives with his heart every lap. What can you say? He's just a great competitor, a great grandson."

Sprint Cup regular Brad Keselowski won the Ford EcoBoost 300, the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Saturday, moving up 10 spots in the closing few laps.

But the night belonged to Dillon, who overcame a sluggish start and a scrape against the wall to finish 12th. It was good enough to hold off Sam Hornish by three points. Hornish crossed the line eighth.

"It was ugly," said Dillon, 23, who won the truck series title in 2011. "Probably the worst car we had all year. But we fought. My guys kept me positive in the car."

Hornish looked as if he would overcome an eight-point deficit in the standings for much of the 200-lap race, but a lengthy caution late posed problems. NASCAR slowed the race for 12 laps — tied for the longest caution of the year — and it turned out to be a setback for Hornish. He dropped from third to ninth on the final restart with five laps to go, ending his chances at getting a title in what was his final race for Penske Racing.

In related news, Kyle Busch said he is closing his Nationwide team because of a lack of sponsorship.

Formula One: Sebastian Vettel's late surge in qualifying allowed him to take the pole position from Red Bull teammate and rival Mark Webber for today's U.S. Grand Prix in Austin, Texas. That puts the four-time world champion in the prime spot to go after a record eighth consecutive victory this season and a title that escaped him last year. In other news, the series will not race in Mexico or add a second U.S. race in New Jersey next season, F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone said. Ecclestone said he still hopes both races will eventually be run, but neither will happen before 2015.

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