Thursday, December 14, 2017
Sports

Keselowski wins Sprint Cup race in Kentucky

SPARTA, Ky. — Brad Kese­lowski became the first three-time winner at Kentucky Speedway on Saturday night, overtaking Kevin Harvick on Lap 201 and holding on to win the Sprint Cup Quaker State 400.

Matt Kenseth grabbed the lead with six laps remaining but soon pitted for fuel to hand the top spot back to Keselowski, who had just enough gas in reserve to edge Carl Edwards by .175 seconds in a tense finish for the 400-mile race.

Keselowski's tank eventually ran dry, and he needed a tow truck to get to Victory Lane.

Ryan Newman was third, followed by Kurt Busch and then Tony Stewart in fifth in his final Kentucky race. The three-time series champion is retiring after this season.

Keselowski led 75 laps on his way to his second straight win and series-best fourth of the season. His latest triumph on the 1½ mile tri-oval might have been his most impressive in terms of strategy.

The Penske Racing driver pitted just four times and made the most of his gas tank down to the last drop, withstanding one last charge from Edwards.

Keselowski clearly got a lot from his tires and setup, both of which were important on the resurfaced and reconfigured track featuring higher banking in turns and 1 and 2. He lamented the smoothing of front-stretch bumps that he said added character to Kentucky, but he quickly adapted to the improvements and new NASCAR rules that reduced downforce and sideforce.

Harvick, the pole-sitter, led for a race-high 128 laps and finished ninth. Keselowski guided his Ford past Harvick's Chevy on Lap 201 after the race record-tying 11th caution. The race then stayed green to the end.

Accidents were the story early on. Some notable names were collected, including Jimmie Johnson, Joey Logano and rookie Chase Elliott. Johnson wrecked on Lap 31; he returned on Lap 72, 42 laps down, and finished 32nd.

LATE FRIDAY: Kyle Busch led 185 laps and won the NASCAR Xfinity series Alsco 300. Busch outdueled Daniel Suarez and Austin Dillon in a three-wide restart to earn his first series win at Kentucky since 2004.

Comments
NFL Power Rankings, Week 15: Carson Wentz's injury drops Eagles out of top five

NFL Power Rankings, Week 15: Carson Wentz's injury drops Eagles out of top five

What follows below is a ranking of all 32 NFL teams. To build this list, we consulted five objective measures of team strength: Pro Football Reference’s Simple Rating System, Football Outsiders’ Defense-adjusted Value Over Average ratings...
Updated: 4 hours ago
NFL Week 15: Tampa Bay Times staff picks

NFL Week 15: Tampa Bay Times staff picks

Week 15 starts and ends with disappointment — a Thursday night meeting of two of the more disappointing teams (Denver at Indianapolis) and a Monday night game that once had held high hopes locally (Atlanta at Tampa Bay). Once.Here's our picks f...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Former USF star Courtney Williams makes national team pool

Former USF star Courtney Williams makes national team pool

Former USF women's basketball sensation Courtney Williams is one significant step closer to becoming an Olympian.Williams, who just completed her first full season with the WNBA's Connecticut Sun, is among 29 players who have been chosen for the 2017...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Are Tampa Bay Rays going to make a major deal involving Alex Colome, others? Well …

Are Tampa Bay Rays going to make a major deal involving Alex Colome, others? Well …

Rays officials headed back across I-4 this afternoon, leaving the winter meetings while working toward resolution of "advanced" trade talks that could include some of their biggest name players.Most of the attention and speculation has been on on the...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Tampa Bay Rays lose RHP Burch Smith in Rule 5 draft, keep Nick Ciuffo

Tampa Bay Rays lose RHP Burch Smith in Rule 5 draft, keep Nick Ciuffo

The Rays lost RHP Burch Smith in Thursday's Rule 5 draft but were happy to see him get an opportunity in Kansas City.They also were pleased to hang on to C Nick Ciuffo, who was left exposed but not selected.Smith, 27, was acquired from the Padres as ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Live from Disney: Winter meetings update, day 4

Live from Disney: Winter meetings update, day 4

UPDATE, 11:09: RHP Steve Cishek, who was a very effective addition to the Rays pen last season, has reunited with pitching coach Jim Hickey, agreeing to a deal with the Cubs.UPDATE, 10:40: Like most teams, Rays officials are heading out of the meetin...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Tim Tebow wants to help throw you a tailgate wedding (sausages included)

Tim Tebow loves weddings.He apparently also loves football, tailgate parties and a good brat, which might explain why he’s lending his pitchman talents to a contest that ties all four together.In a promotional video, Tebow asks, "What happens when yo...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Measuring Jameis Winston’s progress, and Dirk Koetter’s job security

Measuring Jameis Winston’s progress, and Dirk Koetter’s job security

TAMPA — It is one of the most honest moments of the season, captured in the first Hard Knocks episode. Jameis Winston is having a frank conversation with coach Dirk Koetter, seated behind his desk in his office at One Buc Place."I just want to have a...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Jones: If you were Jon Gruden, what would you do?

Jones: If you were Jon Gruden, what would you do?

What would you do?If you were Jon Gruden, what would you do?Well, you could go to Hooter’s and order a pitcher of beer and dozen wings. Then, Monday, you could go be inducted into the Bucs’ Ring of Honor.I’m talking about after that.Would you stay i...
Updated: 1 hour ago
River Ridge grad Chris Schwarz on brink of Division II title with West Florida

River Ridge grad Chris Schwarz on brink of Division II title with West Florida

Two years ago, Chris Schwarz was mulling over his college choices. The former River Ridge High standout had offers from Valparaiso, Florida Tech and West Florida. West Florida?That one baffled Schwarz, mostly because he knew nothing about the school....
Updated: 1 hour ago