From one No. 1 spot to another kind
Jamie McMurray kept up his momentum after winning the Daytona 500, capturing the pole Friday for this weekend's Sprint Cup race in Fontana, Calif. McMurray ran a lap of 183.744 mph at the 2-mile superspeedway.
"I am so amazed at the week I've had, and then to come here to be able to be on the pole," McMurray said. "I really can't believe it."
McMurray captured his fourth Sprint Cup pole and will be joined on the front row by Earnhardt Ganassi teammate Juan Pablo Montoya (183.477 mph).
Blasts landing in all headphones
TV coverage of NASCAR continues to be a contentious issue. In the Daytona 500, Fox Sports announcers Mike Joy, Darrell Waltrip and Larry McReynolds gushed about NASCAR's offseason changes and danced around that pesky pothole — the one that delayed the race twice for more than two hours and sent fans scurrying to the exits. "I don't think a soul has left," Waltrip, above, said after the first delay. The stands, parking lot and traffic on Speedway Boulevard said otherwise. Meanwhile, driver Kyle Busch ripped ESPN's coverage of IndyCar star Danica Patrick during last week's Nationwide race. Busch called ESPN's coverage of Patrick's NASCAR debut "horrible," adding that she shouldn't overshadow other race teams needing exposure.
De Ferran teams with son of ex-boss
Gil de Ferran wants to be back in IndyCar — this time, as a team owner. Jay Penske wants to beat his father on the track. Now they're working together. De Ferran announced this week that he is merging his startup team with Luczo Dragon, an established team co-owned by Penske — a son of racing mogul Roger Penske — and technology executive Steve Luczo.
They're fielding one car for Raphael Matos, who was named 2009 series rookie of the year for Luczo Dragon. Eventually, they hope to go after Penske Racing and fellow IndyCar heavyweight team Chip Ganassi Racing.
"The goal is to be as good as them, if not better," de Ferran, who won the 2003 Indianapolis 500 and two CART series championships for Roger Penske, said this week on a teleconference.
The season opens March 14 in Sao Paulo, Brazil; the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg is March 28.
Doug Kalitta led Top Fuel after the first day of qualifying for the NHRA Arizona Nationals in Phoenix with a run of 3.825 seconds at 317.05 mph. Matt Hagan (Funny Car) and Mike Edwards (Pro Stock) also led their classes; qualifying concludes today. … Former Formula One driver Takuma Sato has joined IndyCar team KV Racing, where he'll team with fellow Japanese driver Hideki Mutoh. …Spaniard Jose Ramon Carabante, the president of new F1 team Campos Meta, increased his stake to become its majority shareholder.