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Motor sports notebook: Keselowski will start from pole

Getty Images for NASCAR
Brad Keselowski practices Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012, for the Sprint Cup Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Mike Ehrmann/Getty Image

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By The Associated Press
Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012, 7:42 p.m.
 

Brad Keselowski got some help on the last day of practice for NASCAR's Sprint Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Pole-sitter Joey Logano was involved in a three-car accident during the first of two practice sessions Saturday, switched to a backup car and will start from the rear of the field Sunday.

That will move Keselowski, who had qualified third, to the front when the green flag drops Sunday. Marcos Ambrose will start on the outside.

And if Keselowski leads the first lap, he will extend his points lead from 20 to 21 in the 400-mile race. He needs to finish 15th or better to clinch the title, which would be the first for longtime NASCAR team owner Roger Penske.

“I certainly wasn't expecting to be on the front row,” Keselowski said. “It's different from what we're used to, but it's different in a good way. ... If I can take the lead without wrecking myself, then that's what I'm going to do.”

Keselowski seemed a little tighter than usual Saturday, quite possibly starting to feel the pressure as he goes for his first championship.

Fellow title contender Jimmie Johnson, who will start 10th in the finale, has done all he can to make Keselowski feel uncomfortable.

“Ready to race for sure,” Johnson said. “Very pleased with how our car finished up. It's really nothing for me to lose sleep about tonight. It's an easy night for me. ... Easy from my standpoint because I've got nothing to lose. We'll see what they do on the other side.”

Stenhouse repeats as champion

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. is the sixth driver to win consecutive championships in NASCAR's Nationwide Series.

Stenhouse finished sixth in the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, edging Elliott Sadler for the title.

About the only drama in the race was whether Stenhouse would play it safe. He did, but not without several close calls. His Roush Fenway Racing team even had to remind him several times in the final 10 laps to avoid potential pitfalls.

Regan Smith won the 300-mile race. Kyle Busch was second, followed by Brandan Gaughan, Sam Hornish Jr. and Austin Dillon.

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