Friday, December 15, 2017
Sports

Stenhouse knots Nationwide title chase

FORT WORTH, Texas — Kevin Harvick became a five-time NASCAR Nationwide winner at Texas, leading 127 of 200 laps Saturday in the O'Reilly Auto Parts Challenge, but Ricky Stenhouse's fourth-place finish was more important as he tied Elliott Sadler for the season points lead with two races left.

Stenhouse battled an ill-handling car that slid around the track all night.

"I didn't think we would get it back to a top-five car. We weren't near as far behind as we were at Kansas though, so it gave us a little hope," said Stenhouse, who came from two laps down to win the last race at Kansas.

"The cautions came out and we were able to work on it as much as we could, and I don't think there were any more adjustments we could do to it to get it tight enough."

Sadler was sixth, only two spots behind Stenhouse, on the final restart with 18 laps left at the 1½-mile high-banked track. But his car started slipping back and lost the points lead after dropping out of the top 10 with three laps left. He finished 11th.

Stenhouse, the defending Nationwide champion, made up a six-point deficit in the standings. He has the tiebreaker because of his six victories, two more than Sadler.

Harvick got his second Nationwide win this year, and the 39th of his career. He finished 1.63 seconds ahead of Ryan Blaney.

Formula One: Lewis Hamilton's slim hopes of a second drivers' championship flickered when he secured the pole for today's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in United Arab Emirates, and F1 leader Sebastian Vettel was disqualified for having too little fuel in his tank for testing and forced to the back of the grid.

Hamilton clocked 1 minute, 40.630 seconds in his McLaren on the Yas Marina circuit, 0.348 seconds quicker than Red Bull's Mark Webber.

Vettel was third fastest, but because he stopped his car soon after qualifying, he was called to a meeting with race stewards.

Ferrari's Fernando Alonso is 13 points behind Vettel in the standings with three races left. He will start seventh.

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