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SPORTS
March 21, 2014 | By Jim Peltz
Matt Kenseth won the pole position for Sunday's Sprint Cup race as NASCAR's new knockout-style qualifying format was used at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana for the first time. Kenseth, a three-time winner at Fontana when he drove for Roush Fenway Racing, now drives for Joe Gibbs Racing. He turned a lap of 187.315 mph Friday on the two-mile Fontana oval in his No. 20 Toyota. Brad Keselowski, who won two weeks ago in Las Vegas, qualified second in his No. 2 Team Penske Ford at 187.105 mph. Five-time Fontana winner Jimmie Johnson qualified third.
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SPORTS
March 9, 2014 | By Jim Peltz
LAS VEGAS  - "I love coming back here," Jimmie Johnson said of Las Vegas, but it's not to gamble or take in a show. "Vegas is fun but it's really, just in my mind, a racing town," he said. And Johnson, the reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup champion, might as well be its honorary mayor. As he seeks a record-tying seventh Cup title this year, Johnson already holds the record for most Cup wins at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with four. Yet, he has had something of a drought at the 1.5-mile oval located 15 miles northeast of the Strip.
SPORTS
March 8, 2014 | By Jim Peltz
LAS VEGAS - Brad Keselowski won the NASCAR Nationwide Series race Saturday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, but Kyle Busch made him work for it. Busch was on Keselowski's tail entering the final lap of the Boyd Gaming 300 with both of them rapidly approaching slower lapped traffic. But Keselowski deftly weaved his No. 22 Ford through the lapped cars while holding Busch's No. 54 Toyota at bay to secure the win. “I drove as hard as I could every lap,” said Keselowski, a Team Penske driver who led 144 of the 200 laps in the race in NASCAR's second-tier series.
SPORTS
March 6, 2014 | By Jim Peltz
LAS VEGAS - The USA Today headline about a NASCAR exhibition race said it all. “Tony Stewart, Danica Patrick, boyfriend crash at Daytona,” the headline declared last month. Who's the “boyfriend”? Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Stenhouse is a second-year driver in NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series after an accomplished stint in its lower-tier Nationwide Series, where he earned consecutive championships in 2011-12. But as Stenhouse readily admits, he's known mainly for dating Patrick, who's one of the nation's most recognized sports figures and is also in her sophomore year in the Cup series.
SPORTS
March 4, 2014 | By Jim Peltz
NASCAR driver Kurt Busch said Tuesday he'll attempt to drive in the Indianapolis 500 and NASCAR's Coca-Cola 600 on the same day May 25. If Busch qualifies for the Indy 500, he would become only the fourth driver to do "the double" on the same day and try to drive 1,100 miles in the combined events. "It's literally a dream come true," said Busch, 35, who drives for Stewart-Haas Racing, a team co-owned by three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Tony Stewart. Stewart did the double twice, in 1999 and 2001.
SPORTS
March 2, 2014 | By Jim Peltz
AVONDALE, Ariz. -- Kevin Harvick won the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway in dominant fashion Sunday while Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished second. "This is awesome," said Harvick, who now holds the record for most Cup victories at PIR with five. "What a race car. " Harvick led 224 of the race's 312 laps around the one-mile oval, and he continually kept Earnhardt at bay on several restarts following caution periods. "We didn't have enough race car all day long" to catch Harvick, Earnhardt said, adding that Harvick "feels good and confident about what he's doing here.
SPORTS
March 2, 2014 | By Jim Peltz
AVONDALE, Ariz. - Kevin Harvick crashed Junior Nation's party on Sunday. Dale Earnhardt Jr. tried everything he could to give his fans another win after his Daytona 500 victory a week ago, but Harvick would have none of it. Harvick won the Sprint Cup Series' second race of the season, at Phoenix International Raceway, with a dominant performance that included keeping Earnhardt repeatedly at bay on several late restarts. "This is awesome," said Harvick, who led 224 of the race's 312 laps.
SPORTS
March 1, 2014 | By Jim Peltz
AVONDALE, Ariz. -- Kyle Busch won a rain-shortened NASCAR Nationwide race at Phoenix International Raceway on Saturday, his third consecutive win at the one-mile oval in NASCAR's second-level series. Busch, driving the No. 54 Toyota, dominated until rain halted the event with 32 laps left in the 200-lap race. It was the seventh Nationwide victory overall at Phoenix for Busch, who mainly drives in NASCAR's top-tier Sprint Cup Series. He celebrated the win in an infield tent as rain poured down on Victory Lane.
SPORTS
March 1, 2014 | By Jim Peltz
AVONDALE, Ariz. -- His qualifying laps finished, Dale Earnhardt Jr. climbed from his car and walked briskly down pit road toward the garage at Phoenix International Raceway. Earnhardt moved quickly because he was instantly surrounded by a dozen fans seeking autographs or to snap his picture, and they hustled to keep pace with him. Had he stopped, the crowd would have swelled and Earnhardt would have fallen behind schedule. NASCAR this year unveiled major changes in its playoff and qualifying formats in hopes of raising the sport's popularity, which has dipped in recent years after surging in the mid-2000s.
SPORTS
February 28, 2014 | By Jim Peltz
AVONDALE, Ariz. -- Brad Keselowski won the pole position Friday for Sunday's Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway under a new qualifying format implemented by NASCAR. Instead of having one car at a time go around the track in qualifying, NASCAR started using a knockout format to set the starting spots for the 43-car field. At tracks less than 1.25 miles long, such as the one-mile Phoenix International Raceway oval, qualifying was broken into two sessions. The entire field turned qualifying laps in the initial 30-minute session.
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