Motor sports notebook: Former teammates vie for Sprint Cup title
FORT WORTH, Texas — Brad Keselowski was teammates with Jimmie Johnson for a handful of races a few years ago, and once drove a car owned by Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Johnson won an unprecedented five consecutive Sprint Cup championships before that streak ended last year. Keselowski is wrapping up only his third full season at NASCAR's highest level and should have plenty more title chances.
They arrived at Texas with Johnson leading Keselowski in the championship chase by a slim two points with three races to go. They race Sunday on the 1 1⁄2-mile high-banked track where Johnson has 13 top-10 finishes in 18 starts with a win five falls ago, and where Keselowski has never finished better than 14th.
OK, Mr. Earnhardt, how would you handicap the championship chase between your current Hendrick Motorsports teammate in the No. 48 Chevrolet and the friend who once drove your Nationwide Series car to consecutive third-place season finishes (2008-09)?
“Obviously, I want to see Jimmie win the championship between the two,” Earnhardt said. “But I'm really happy for Brad to be experiencing the season he has had. He has earned it. ... He is a great asset to the sport for years to go. He's going to have a lot more opportunities aside from this one; he is going to have a lot of opportunities to win championships.”
Harvick wins Nationwide
Kevin Harvick led 127 laps and won the NASCAR Nationwide race at Texas for the fifth time Saturday night, while Ricky Stenhouse Jr. got even with Elliott Sadler for the season points lead with two races left.
Stenhouse fought a loose car much of the night, and managed a fourth-place finish to make up his six-point deficit to Sadler, who finished 11th. Stenhouse's six victories, two more than Sadler, give him the tiebreaker.
Sadler was sixth, only two spots behind Stenhouse, on the final restart with 18 laps left at the 1½-mile high-banked track. But he started sliding back, and lost the points lead after dropping out of the top 10 with three laps left.
The five Nationwide wins at Texas by Harvick matched Kyle Busch for the most.
In Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Lewis Hamilton's slim hopes of a second drivers' championship flickered when he secured pole position for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, and Formula One leader Sebastian Vettel was disqualified and forced to the back of the grid Saturday.
Hamilton, the 2008 world champion, clocked 1 minute, 40.630 seconds in his McLaren on the Yas Marina circuit, 0.348 seconds quicker than Red Bull's Mark Webber. Pastor Maldonado of Williams will start third followed by Kimi Raikkonen of Lotus and Jenson Button of McLaren.
Vettel was third fastest, but race stewards ruled that the Red Bull driver failed to have enough fuel in his tank to be tested after the session.