Monday, November 13, 2017

Matt Kenseth wins and Keselowski earns championship berth

By JENNA FRYER
Associated Press 

AVONDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Matt Kenseth doesn't get to end his career the way he hoped. He thinks he's got a handful of good years left in him, and can win races and compete for championships.

But, the economics of the sport have made Kenseth a casualty of NASCAR's new youth movement. He doesn't have a job for next year.

So he's going away. But he's not going quietly.

Kenseth won for the first time this season, snapping a 51-race winless streak, to earn one final victory celebration.

"Just got one race left and everybody dreams of going out a winner," a tearful Kenseth said after climbing from his Toyota.

"It's just been quite a journey, and today was a really special day for me, to know that next week is almost for sure my last week behind the wheel."

Kenseth passed Chase Elliott with 10 laps remaining to win Sunday at Phoenix International Raceway and deny Elliott the final berth in next week's championship race. Had Elliott hung on for the win, he would have qualified for the championship finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Elliott finished second for the seventh time in his career.

Brad Keselowski earned the final spot in the championship on points because a playoff-eligible driver did not win the race. Keselowski will race Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick for the championship next Sunday at Homestead. The field, two Toyota drivers and two Ford drivers, includes three former series champions and Truex, the most dominant driver of the season.

Kenseth had already been eliminated from the playoffs, so his victory was purely personal satisfaction. The 2003 NASCAR champion is a two-time Daytona 500 winner and consistent playoff driver, but he's 45 and being replaced at Joe Gibbs Racing next season by Erik Jones.

Too expensive to land a competitive ride for next season, Kenseth has decided to take time away rather than drive a car that can't win races.

"He's been really down and frustrated and trying to figure out this season and what it's all about, to try to go out there and try to win in his final season, not on his own terms final season," said teammate Busch, one of many drivers to congratulate Kenseth.

"I think it shows that there's no reason why he couldn't have gotten a job anywhere else. It's just, I guess, the industry didn't see Matt Kenseth as their driver, and that's really, really unfortunate because I love the guy and have raced with respect for him for a long, long time and will forever respect him for what he's done for the sport."

Kenseth said he's finally found peace with his future.

"I probably knew around August that it really wasn't meant for me to be racing anymore at this level, you know, going forward," Kenseth said. "I probably fought it for too long and kind of looked at different opportunities and thought about doing something different, but then just really embraced it.

"Not many people get to go out in really good cars and win races and have a chance to win a championship. It's really a blessing to be able to go to work every day and work as hard as you can on it, put everything into it that you've got and finally get one here."

The Kenseth win salvaged the day for Gibbs, which had a chance to get Denny Hamlin into the championship until his feud with Elliott cost him the chance.

The two were racing for position and Elliott gave Hamlin several taps as he tried to get past him for position, and when he finally was able to pull alongside Hamlin, the two cars made contact. Hamlin grazed the wall and immediately began losing positions on the track.

Just a few laps later, his tire blew, Hamlin hit the wall and his race was over. Elliott admitted he raced Hamlin aggressively, same as Hamlin did when he wrecked Elliott from the lead at Martinsville.

"A wise man once told me that he'll race guys how they race him with a smile on his face, so that's what I did today," Elliott said. "I raced him how he raced me, and that's the way I saw it. That's about all I have to say."

Hamlin was racing to win, but could have beaten Keselowski into the finale on points had he not wrecked. He has maintained that he didn't mean to wreck Elliott at Martinsville, and the payback Sunday was redemption.

"It just proves to the people who thought I was a bad guy that he would do the exact same thing under the same circumstances," Hamlin said. "I got into him and he chose to retaliate."

Jimmie Johnson also wrecked early in the race , ending his bid to make the championship. The elimination of the seven-time champion means NASCAR will not have a repeat winner.

LARSON'S WOES

Kyle Larson won the first stage of the race, and then his recent run of bad luck continued. His engine failed early in the second stage and Larson went to the garage with a last-place finish.

It's the fourth straight race Larson has failed to finish dating to Kansas when an engine failure knocked him out of the playoffs. Larson was considered a strong contender to win the title.

"It's a crappy way to end the season," Larson said. "I haven't blown up an engine since my first two Cup starts in 2013, now I've had three this season. It's a little disappointing and definitely a bad time of year to have that stuff happen."

The Chip Ganassi Racing team gets its engines from Hendrick Motorsports.

BIG HIT

Trevor Bayne had a tire go down in the third stage of the race that caused his car to veer directly into the wall.

"That hurt so bad," Bayne said on his team radio.

He was able to climb from his car and walk to a waiting ambulance for a mandatory check in the care center.

FIRE BREAK

The race was briefly red-flagged with 58 laps remaining when an accident involving Chris Buescher caused two different fires.

The brake rotor on Buescher's car exploded and pieces landed inside the energy-absorbing SAFER barrier. The hot parts caused the Styrofoam to catch fire in two different parts of the wall. NASCAR executive Steve O'Donnell tweeted during the five-minute stoppage that the red flag was used to "avoid too many lost laps" during the cleanup.

UP NEXT

The season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Sunday. The highest finishing driver of the four contenders will win the championship.

___

More AP Auto Racing: http://racing.ap.org

Follow JENNA FRYER on Twitter @JennaFryer

___

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Race - Can-Am 500

Phoenix Raceway

Avondale, Arizona

Sunday, November 12, 2017


               1. (7) Matt Kenseth, Toyota, 312.
               2. (4) Chase Elliott (P), Chevrolet, 312.
               3. (5) Martin Truex Jr. (P), Toyota, 312.
               4. (11) Erik Jones #, Toyota, 312.
               5. (6) Kevin Harvick (P), Ford, 312.
               6. (13) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 312.
               7. (8) Kyle Busch (P), Toyota, 312.
               8. (27) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, 312.
               9. (22) Aric Almirola, Ford, 312.
               10. (14) Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevrolet, 312.
               11. (29) Ty Dillon #, Chevrolet, 312.
               12. (9) Joey Logano, Ford, 312.
               13. (20) Clint Bowyer, Ford, 312.
               14. (21) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 312.
               15. (19) Paul Menard, Chevrolet, 312.
               16. (16) Brad Keselowski (P), Ford, 312.
               17. (1) Ryan Blaney (P), Ford, 312.
               18. (10) Daniel Suarez #, Toyota, 312.
               19. (17) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 311.
               20. (18) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 311.
               21. (15) Kurt Busch, Ford, 310.
               22. (28) Michael McDowell, Chevrolet, 309.
               23. (23) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 309.
               24. (32) Landon Cassill, Ford, 309.
               25. (24) Danica Patrick, Ford, 309.
               26. (37) DJ Kennington, Chevrolet, 307.
               27. (30) Matt DiBenedetto, Ford, 306.
               28. (36) * David Starr(i), Toyota, 305.
               29. (38) Jeffrey Earnhardt, Chevrolet, 305.
               30. (35) * Joey Gase(i), Chevrolet, 304.
               31. (33) Corey LaJoie #, Toyota, 303.
               32. (40) * Derrike Cope, Chevrolet, 302.
               33. (26) David Ragan, Ford, 301.
               34. (39) * Kyle Weatherman, Chevrolet, 294.
               35. (2) Denny Hamlin (P), Toyota, Accident, 275.
               36. (34) Cole Whitt, Chevrolet, Accident, 258.
               37. (31) Chris Buescher, Chevrolet, Accident, 247.
               38. (25) Trevor Bayne, Ford, Accident, 226.
               39. (12) Jimmie Johnson (P), Chevrolet, Accident, 148.
               40. (3) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, Engine, 104.

Average Speed of Race Winner:  105.534 mph.
Time of Race:  02 Hrs, 57 Mins, 23 Secs. Margin of Victory:  1.207 Seconds.
Caution Flags:  7 for 41 laps.
Lead Changes:  9 among 5 drivers.
Lap Leaders:   R. Blaney (P) 1-11; C. Elliott (P) 12-25; D. Hamlin (P) 26; C. Elliott (P) 27; D. Hamlin (P) 28-67; K. Larson 68-79; D. Hamlin (P) 80-231; M. Kenseth 232-283; C. Elliott (P) 284-302; M. Kenseth 303-312.
Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  D. Hamlin (P) 3 times for 193 laps; M. Kenseth 2 times for 62 laps; C. Elliott (P) 3 times for 34 laps; K. Larson 1 time for 12 laps; R. Blaney (P) 1 time for 11 laps.
Stage #1 Top Ten: 42,11,24,20,4,18,77,78,31,48
Stage #2 Top Ten: 11,20,77,78,18,4,1,31,24,14

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Top 25 roundup: No. 10 Auburn buries No. 1 Georgia

TSX / STATS

AUBURN, Ala. -- There will be a new No. 1 team in the College Football Playoff rankings after No. 10 Auburn rolled past top-ranked Georgia 40-17 on Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

The Bulldogs' loss was certainly Auburn's gain. Despite two losses, the Tigers (8-2, 6-1 SEC) remain alive for a playoff spot of their own, assuming of course Auburn can win its final two regular-season games, including Alabama in the Iron Bowl, and beat Georgia (9-1, 6-1) again in the SEC championship.

The Bulldogs are by no means out, but must beat Kentucky, Georgia Tech and win the SEC title game at Mercedes Benz-Stadium to do so.

Quarterback Jarrett Stidham and running back Kerryon Johnson accounted for most of the damage for the Tigers. Stidham (16 of 23, 214 yards) passed for three scores and rushed for another while Johnson kept the chains moving by rushing 32 times for 167 yards and converting a 55-yard screen pass into a touchdown for Auburn's final points.

NO. 2 ALABAMA 31, NO. 16 MISSISSIPPI STATE 24

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- With a 30-game regular-season winning streak in danger of being snapped, No. 2 Alabama scored a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns to beat No. 16 Mississippi State.

The Bulldogs ate up 38:16 of the clock but the Crimson Tide (10-0, 7-0 SEC) needed just 44 seconds to win the game as Jalen Hurts found DeVonta Smith on a 26-yard touchdown pass with 25 seconds left in the game for the win. With top-ranked Georgia losing to Auburn earlier in the day, Alabama is poised to move back to No. 1.

Mississippi State (7-3, 3-3) rushed for 172 yards in the game, the most by a Dan Mullen team vs. Alabama. Aeris Williams had 22 carries for 97 yards and two touchdowns. Hurts was 10 of 19 for 242 yards and a touchdown while Calvin Ridley had five catches for 171 yards.

NO. 7 MIAMI 41, NO. 3 NOTRE DAME 8

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- Running back Travis Homer rushed for 146 yards, quarterback Malik Rosier passed for one touchdown and rushed for another, and the defense came up with three interceptions and a fumble recovery as No. 7 Miami stunned No. 3 Notre Dame.

After shutting out the Fighting Irish in the first half, the Hurricanes (9-0), who scored 24 points off the four Irish turnovers, opened the third quarter with a nine-play, 90-yard scoring drive capped by running back DeeJay Dallas' 4-yard touchdown run to go up 34-0.

The Irish (8-2) finally broke into the scoring column on a 14-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Brandon Wimbush to tight end Alize Mack with 12 seconds remaining in the third quarter.

NO. 4 CLEMSON 31, FLORIDA STATE 14

CLEMSON, S.C. -- Freshman running back Travis Etienne rushed for 97 yards and two touchdowns as No. 4 Clemson clinched a berth in the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship Game by beating Florida State.

Etienne scored on a 28-yard run in the second quarter, but it was his 1-yard plunge with 3:05 remaining that preserved Clemson's third consecutive victory over the Seminoles.

The victory delivered a third consecutive Atlantic Division title and third straight ticket to the ACC Championship Game in Charlotte, N.C., where the Tigers (9-1, 7-1 ACC) will play ACC Coastal Division champion Miami on Dec. 2 at Bank of America Stadium.

NO. 5 OKLAHOMA 38, NO. 6 TCU 20

NORMAN, Okla. -- Baker Mayfield continued making his Heisman Trophy case, Rodney Anderson kept up his string of big games and No. 5 Oklahoma kept its College Football Playoff hopes alive with an easy win over No. 6 TCU.

Mayfield threw for 333 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions. Anderson ran for 151 yards and two touchdowns and had five catches for 139 yards and two more scores for Oklahoma (9-1, 6-1 Big 12).

The Horned Frogs (8-2, 5-2) entered the game allowing less than 70 yards rushing per game but the Sooners ran for 200 yards. No team had rushed for more than 142 yards against TCU this season coming into the game.

NO. 8 WISCONSIN 38, NO. 20 IOWA 14

MADISON, Wis. -- Freshman wide receiver Kendric Pryor scored two touchdowns to lead No. 8 Wisconsin over No. 20 Iowa.

Pryor posted the first receiving and rushing scores of his college career for Wisconsin (10-0, 7-0 Big Ten), which entered Saturday as one of only five unbeaten teams in the nation. Badgers outside linebacker Leon Jacobs had a fumble recovery for a touchdown, and another recovery that led to a score.

Wisconsin's defense held the Hawkeyes (6-4, 3-4) to 66 total yards. Iowa was 0-for-13 on third downs. Hawkeyes quarterback Nate Stanley, fresh off a five-touchdown performance in an overtime win last week against Ohio State, completed 8-of-24 passes for 41 yards and one interception.

NO. 11 USC 38, COLORADO 24

BOULDER, Colo. -- No. 11 USC used a four-touchdown burst in the second and third quarters to beat Colorado and secure a spot in the Pac-12 Conference Championship Game.

The Trojans (9-2, 7-1 Pac-12) got two passing touchdowns and a 24-yard rushing score from quarterback Sam Darnold in their mid-game deluge. Coupled with an Ajene Harris interception return for a touchdown just before halftime, USC built a 27-0 lead, shaking off a sluggish offensive start.

Darnold settled in to finish 21 of 34 for 329 yards. His scores went 10 yards to Michael Pittman Jr., and 18 yards to Deontay Burnett. USC won the Pac-12 South a season after Colorado (5-6, 2-6) was the surprise winner. The Trojans' last conference title came back in 2008.

NO. 13 OHIO STATE 48, NO. 12 MICHIGAN STATE 3

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- No. 13 Ohio State rebounded in emphatic fashion from a stunning loss a week earlier, rolling over No. 12 Michigan State.

The Buckeyes (8-2, 6-1 Big Ten) raced to a 35-0 lead midway through the second quarter.

Mike Weber broke long runs of 47 yards and 82 yards for touchdowns, and J.T. Barrett ran for a touchdown and threw for one in a dominant opening half that ended with the Buckeyes up 35-3. Michigan State (7-3, 5-2) had nothing to offer Ohio from the outset.

NO. 15 OKLAHOMA STATE 49, NO. 21 IOWA STATE 42

AMES, Iowa -- Senior quarterback Mason Rudolph passed for three touchdowns and sophomore running back Justice Hill ran for three as the Cowboys rallied.

Rudolph passed for 376 yards and Hill rushed for 134 and the Cowboys (8-2, 5-2 Big 12) scored 15 consecutive fourth-quarter points to overcome an eight-point deficit. Redshirt freshman receiver Dillon Stoner caught the go-ahead touchdown, senior wideout Marcell Ateman had two scoring receptions and junior receiver Jalen McCleskey had five receptions for 109 yards.

Sophomore running back David Montgomery rushed for 105 yards and three touchdowns for the Cyclones (6-4, 4-3).

NO. 14 PENN STATE 35, RUTGERS 6

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- Trace McSorley passed for two touchdowns and ran for another as the Nittany Lions drubbed the Scarlet Knights.

With the Scarlet Knights focusing their defensive attention on running back Saquon Barkley, McSorley hit 16 of 21 passes for 214 yards, and ran 13 times for 44 yards, as Penn State (8-2, 5-2 Big Ten) snapped a two-game losing streak.

Andrew Harte kicked two field goals for Rutgers (4-6, 3-4).

GEORGIA TECH 28, NO. 17 VIRGINIA TECH

ATLANTA -- Georgia Tech quarterback TaQuon Marshall completed only two passes, but both went for touchdowns, and the Yellow Jackets upset Virginia Tech.

The winning score came with 6:30 remaining when Marshall connected with Ricky Jeune for 80 yards. Georgia Tech (5-4, 4-3 ACC) was led offensively by KirVonte Benson with 86 yards on 22 carries. Marshall completed 2 of 8 for 140 yards and was intercepted once. Marshall rushed 22 times for 64 yards and two touchdowns.

Virginia Tech (7-3, 3-3) got 153 yards passing from Josh Jackson.

NO. 18 CENTRAL FLORIDA 49, CONNECTICUT 24

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Otis Anderson's 65-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter ended a long scoreless stretch for the Golden Knights.

Connecticut (3-7, 2-5 AAC) held high-powered UCF (9-0, 6-0) scoreless for more than 23 minutes in the middle of the game until Anderson broke loose for his second touchdown of the game. The Knights added two late touchdowns.

UCF quarterback McKenzie Milton completed 24 of 36 for 311 yards and two touchdowns, and ran for another touchdown.

NO. 19 WASHINGTON STATE 33, UTAH 25

SALT LAKE CITY -- Luke Falk threw for 311 yards and three touchdowns in his home state to lead No 19 Washington State over Utah.

Falk's three touchdown passes pushed him past Matt Barkley as the Pac-12 leader in career touchdown passes. The senior has thrown 118 TD passes. Barkley totaled 116 at USC. Washington State (9-2, 6-2 Pac-12) earned its third straight win in the series with the Utes (5-5, 2-5).

Tyler Huntley threw for 293 yards and a touchdown and added 51 yards on the ground to lead the Utes. Huntley also threw four interceptions, part of seven Utah turnovers overall. The Cougars scored 23 points off those turnovers.

NO. 23 NORTH CAROLINA STATE 17, COSTON COLLEGE 14

BOSTON -- Nyheim Hines, playing with a sore ankle, ran 50 yards for a touchdown with 8:22 left and the Wolfpack ended their two-game losing streak.

The Eagles (5-5, 3-4 ACC) had their three-game winning streak snapped.

The Wolfpack (7-3, 5-1) moved to midfield on a 25-yard run by Jaylen Samuels and then, two plays later, Hines broke the winner down the right sideline.

NO. 24 LSU 33, ARKANSAS 10

BATON ROUGE, La. -- Senior quarterback Danny Etling threw touchdown passes of 45 and 68 yards to wide receiver D.J. Chark to power the Tigers.

Running back Derrius Guice added 147 yards rushing yards and three second-half scores for the Tigers. LSU (7-3, 4-2 SEC) scored touchdowns on its first three possessions of the second half to break open a 7-7 game to take a 26-10 lead.

Arkansas (4-6, 1-5) scored on its first series of the second half with Connor Limpert's 38-yard field goal.

NO. 25 NORTHWESTERN 23, PURDUE 13

EVANSTON, Ill. -- Clayton Thorson completed 26 of 46 passes for 296 yards and accounted for two touchdowns, helping No. 25 Northwestern defeat Purdue.

Elijah Sindelar was 37 of 60 for 376 yards, two touchdowns and an interception as Purdue outgained Northwestern, amassing 438 yards to the Wildcats' 390. Both teams were stagnant out of the gate, combining for five first downs and 91 total yards in scoreless first quarter.

Bennett Skowronek finished with a team-best seven catches for 117 yards and a TD for Northwestern (7-3, 5-2 Big Ten), which won its fifth straight.

William Byron wins Phoenix as XFINITY Series field is set

By JENNA FRYER
Associated Press

AVONDALE, Ariz. (AP) — A rag-tag pit crew led William Byron to his fourth victory of the season.

He also was one of the four drivers to qualify Saturday for next week's Xfinity Series championship finale.

Byron, Justin Allgaier, and Elliott Sadler — all from JR Motorsports — and Daniel Hemric took the four spots in all-Chevrolet race for the Xfinity Series championship.

Byron wrapped up his spot on points during Saturday's race at Phoenix Raceway. With nothing to lose, he used the final pit stop to take two tires in an effort to gain track position and win the race. He got out first, behind a crew that was assembled on the fly.

JR Motorsports, the team owned by Dale Earnhardt Jr., his sister, Kelley, and Rick Hendrick, found themselves scrambling Saturday morning when a mechanical issue forced a plane carrying its pit crews to make an emergency landed on its way from North Carolina.

The plane landed in Arkansas, and even though Hendrick Motorsports sent a plane to retrieve the crew members, they did not arrive at Phoenix in time for the race.

So, Byron, Sadler and Allgaier were missing regular pit crew members.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. said after the race he was "freaking out" when he learned about the crew situation.

All four berths in next Saturday night's race at Homestead-Miami Speedway were on the line in Phoenix. It made for an enjoyable race for the final spot between Hemric and Cole Custer, as the two battled for position in the closing laps. Custer was fourth and Hemric fifth, and if they stayed that way, Hemric had the spot. But Christopher Bell chased Hemric, who couldn't afford to give up a position between Custer.

Bell used a three-wide pass on the outside to get by both drivers, and Hemric eventually passed Custer and finished fifth.

Custer faded to seventh, and praised his first-year Stewart-Haas Racing team.

"I knew we needed to beat him, but I guess we needed a buffer in between us to beat him," Custer said. "I think we made the best of our day with what we had, but, overall, we're still not in the championship four. But for a first-year team we came a long ways."

Ryan Blaney led 147 of the 200 laps but finished second. He took four tires on the late pit stop and had to drive his way back to the front. Although he was disappointed, he understood the bigger picture for him is Sunday when he races for a shot at the Cup championship.

Blaney starts from the pole Sunday.

"I didn't think our Cup car was very good today, which was kind of a letdown a little bit," Blaney said. "It was a frustrating day. We weren't great in race trim all weekend. Even when we unloaded on Friday we weren't great in race trim.

"Obviously, qualifying trim went well, but race trim we've just struggled a lot. We've been struggling to find speed and anything we've done hasn't really changed the balance up very much, which is probably the most frustrating part. We change everything and I can't really feel any difference and it's still just slow."

Erik Jones, another Cup regular, finished third. Christopher Bell was fourth.

Allgaier finished 10th and Sadler was 18th.

Eliminated early from title contention was Brennan Poole who collided just 32 laps into the race with the lapped car of Caesar Bacarella. The driver was making his first career NASCAR national start.

"Bad luck, bad circumstances. Just a bummer," Poole said. "Sometimes lapped cars get in the way and you have to navigate around them. Didn't get it done."

___

More AP Auto Racing: http://racing.ap.org

Follow JENNA FRYER on Twitter @JennaFryer

___
 
NASCAR XFINITY Series Race - Ticket Galaxy 200

Phoenix Raceway

Avondale, Arizona

Saturday, November 11, 2017


               1. (2) William Byron # (P), Chevrolet, 200.
               2. (6) Ryan Blaney(i), Ford, 200.
               3. (1) Erik Jones(i), Toyota, 200.
               4. (8) Christopher Bell(i), Toyota, 200.
               5. (7) Daniel Hemric # (P), Chevrolet, 200.
               6. (9) Blake Koch, Chevrolet, 200.
               7. (3) Cole Custer # (P), Ford, 200.
               8. (5) Alex Bowman(i), Chevrolet, 200.
               9. (16) Austin Dillon(i), Chevrolet, 200.
               10. (10) Justin Allgaier (P), Chevrolet, 200.
               11. (4) Matt Tifft # (P), Toyota, 200.
               12. (18) Casey Mears, Ford, 200.
               13. (21) Ty Dillon(i), Chevrolet, 200.
               14. (20) Ryan Reed (P), Ford, 200.
               15. (15) Brandon Jones, Chevrolet, 200.
               16. (12) Michael Annett, Chevrolet, 200.
               17. (19) Spencer Gallagher #, Chevrolet, 200.
               18. (13) Elliott Sadler (P), Chevrolet, 200.
               19. (22) Ross Chastain, Chevrolet, 200.
               20. (23) JJ Yeley, Toyota, 200.
               21. (26) Ryan Sieg, Chevrolet, 200.
               22. (17) Corey LaJoie(i), Toyota, 199.
               23. (24) Jeremy Clements, Chevrolet, 199.
               24. (25) Ray Black II, Chevrolet, 199.
               25. (29) Garrett Smithley, Chevrolet, 197.
               26. (31) Mario Gosselin, Chevrolet, 197.
               27. (32) Harrison Rhodes, Chevrolet, 195.
               28. (36) Timmy Hill, Chevrolet, 194.
               29. (30) David Starr, Chevrolet, 190.
               30. (37) Caesar Bacarella, Chevrolet, 190.
               31. (38) John Graham, Chevrolet, 188.
               32. (11) Brendan Gaughan, Chevrolet, Accident, 179.
               33. (28) Joey Gase, Chevrolet, 169.
               34. (33) Morgan Shepherd, Chevrolet, Brakes, 47.
               35. (27) Joe Nemechek(i), Chevrolet, Brakes, 44.
               36. (40) Carl Long, Toyota, Electrical, 37.
               37. (34) Jeff Green, Chevrolet, Brakes, 30.
               38. (14) Brennan Poole (P), Chevrolet, Accident, 24.
               39. (39) Mike Harmon, Dodge, Engine, 19.
               40. (35) Gray Gaulding(i), Chevrolet, Electrical, 6.

Average Speed of Race Winner:  104.758 mph.
Time of Race:  01 Hrs, 54 Mins, 33 Secs. Margin of Victory:  0.960 Seconds.
Caution Flags:  5 for 26 laps.
Lead Changes:  4 among 3 drivers.
Lap Leaders:   E. Jones(i) 1-33; R. Blaney(i) 34; E. Jones(i) 35-37; R. Blaney(i) 38-183; W. Byron # (P) 184-200.
Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  R. Blaney(i) 2 times for 147 laps; E. Jones(i) 2 times for 36 laps; W. Byron # (P) 1 time for 17 laps.
Stage #1 Top Ten: 22,42,20,21,7,9,00,18,2,11
Stage #2 Top Ten: 22,20,21,7,18,9,00,2,11,3

Sauter wins and Cindric moves on to final amid controversy

By JENNA FRYER
Associated Press

AVONDALE, Ariz. (AP) — NASCAR's Truck Series has itself a spicy championship fight, with teenager Austin Cindric smack in the middle of the controversy, after a heated Friday night race at Phoenix Raceway.

The race was stopped three times in the final 20 laps for accident cleanup, including the mess created when Kyle Busch Motorsports teammates Noah Gragson and Christopher Bell wrecked each other racing for the lead. The night went so long, a football game between Stanford and Washington had to be moved to another network, so defending series champion Johnny's Sauter victory celebration was abbreviated.

Christopher Bell, Matt Crafton and Cindric advanced to next week's championship race — Sauter had already qualified — with their finishes at Phoenix. Cindric's spot was contested because he wrecked the competition to earn his berth in next Friday night's race at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Bell clinched his on points by winning the first two stages. Then two-time series champion Crafton locked up his spot on points in the second stage at Phoenix.

With Sauter already in, it put just one slot in the championship on the line during the final stage at Phoenix. That turned it into a race between Ben Rhodes and Cindric for the right to race for the championship.

A caution sent both drivers to pit road with 25 laps remaining, and Cindric was slowed by a second consecutive troubled stop. But it was a questionable call to pit in hindsight because Rhodes also lost track position when other drivers didn't follow him.

Rhodes had been fourth but restarted ninth. Cindric was 12th with 21 laps remaining and the season on the line.

That's where the race for the final championship spot all but ended. John Hunter Nemechek made a late bid to bump Cindric, but had to win the race to advance and wound up second.

But it was that restart with 21 laps remaining that set the championship field. As Rhodes and Cindric battled for position on the restart, the two trucks made contact that led to a race-ending wreck for Rhodes. Cindric went low on the restart to gain momentum for a potential pass and Rhodes briefly dipped down in an apparent attempt to block him.

The two made contact that caused Rhodes to spin

"I was there and he blocked, that's his fault," Cindric radioed.

Rhodes' crew chief saw it far differently and felt Cindric used a dirty move to collect his spot at Homestead. Eddie Troconis also warned that Cindric will have a rough race ahead of him in the championship.

The race was stopped and Cindric said during the pause it was a racing incident.

"I had a good run, Ben went to block, and I was there," Cindric said. "I can't get pushed around because that was my chance and he was better than we were all night. Nothing intentional there. I tried to get a run and held my ground."

Rhodes called it a "desperation" move by Cindric and said he was driving "over his head."

"There's definitely a time and place to go three-wide, that wasn't it," said Rhodes. "He put me in a bad place. I am not sure that was the right move on his part."

Crafton was also in the wreck and will race against Cindric next week for the title. He sided with Rhodes.

"I told Ben, the 19 (Cindric) better not finish Homestead," Crafton said in encouraging Rhodes to retaliate next week when Cindric has so much on the line.

Brad Keselowski owns the truck that Cindric is racing, and is shutting down the team after next week's race. He tweeted after watching a replay during the red flag that he didn't believe either driver was at fault.

"Tough deal. I'm not sure either driver could or should have done anything different," he wrote. "Sometimes things happen when you go fast for a living ..."

___

More AP Auto Racing: http://racing.ap.org

Follow JENNA FRYER on Twitter @JennaFryer

___

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Race - Lucas Oil 150

Phoenix Raceway

Avondale, Arizona

Friday, November 10, 2017

               1. (10) Johnny Sauter (P), Chevrolet, 150.
               2. (6) John H. Nemechek (P), Chevrolet, 150.
               3. (13) Cody Coughlin #, Toyota, 150.
               4. (8) Chase Briscoe #, Ford, 150.
               5. (15) Kaz Grala #, Chevrolet, 150.
               6. (12) Stewart Friesen #, Chevrolet, 150.
               7. (5) Todd Gilliland, Toyota, 150.
               8. (1) Christopher Bell (P), Toyota, 150.
               9. (7) Austin Cindric # (P), Ford, 150.
               10. (21) Bayley Currey, Chevrolet, 150.
               11. (23) Jason Hathaway, Chevrolet, 147.
               12. (20) Robby Lyons(i), Chevrolet, 145.
               13. (26) Jordan Anderson, Chevrolet, 144.
               14. (16) Justin Haley #, Chevrolet, Accident, 143.
               15. (2) Noah Gragson #, Toyota, Accident, 142.
               16. (25) Josh Reaume, Chevrolet, 141.
               17. (14) Dalton Sargeant, Chevrolet, Accident, 134.
               18. (24) Jesse Little, Toyota, Accident, 134.
               19. (11) Ryan Truex, Toyota, Accident, 134.
               20. (3) Ben Rhodes (P), Toyota, Accident, 129.
               21. (4) Matt Crafton (P), Toyota, Accident, 129.
               22. (28) Norm Benning, Chevrolet, Accident, 106.
               23. (17) Austin Hill, Ford, Brakes, 104.
               24. (9) Grant Enfinger #, Toyota, Accident, 75.
               25. (22) Austin Wayne Self, Chevrolet, Engine, 55.
               26. (30) Ray Ciccarelli, Chevrolet, Electrical, 21.
               27. (29) Jennifer Jo Cobb, Chevrolet, Engine, 20.
               28. (27) Mike Harmon(i), Chevrolet, Brakes, 19.
               29. (19) Joe Nemechek, Chevrolet, Electrical, 12.
               30. (18) TJ Bell, Chevrolet, Electrical, 10.
               31. (31) Ted Minor, Chevrolet, Electrical, 6.
               32. (32) Mike Senica, Chevrolet, Electrical, 3.

Average Speed of Race Winner:  89.05 mph.
Time of Race:  01 Hrs, 41 Mins, 04 Secs. Margin of Victory:  0.668 Seconds.
Caution Flags:  6 for 38 laps.
Lead Changes:  9 among 3 drivers.
Lap Leaders:   C. Bell (P) 0; N. Gragson # 1-9; C. Bell (P) 10-87; N. Gragson # 88-128; C. Bell (P) 129; N. Gragson # 130-133; C. Bell (P) 134-140; N. Gragson # 141; C. Bell (P) 142-145; J. Sauter (P) 146-150.
Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  C. Bell (P) 4 times for 90 laps; N. Gragson # 4 times for 55 laps; J. Sauter (P) 1 time for 5 laps.
Stage #1 Top Ten: 4,18,88,27,8,21,19,51,98,16
Stage #2 Top Ten: 4,18,88,27,19,21,8,51,16,52

Friday, November 10, 2017

Preseason Women's College Basketball Rankings (1-30)

Last year's ending to the Women's College Basketball season was stunning, in a beautiful way. Now we get set for the 2017-18 season where UConn is once again at the top and it will take a lot, a whole lot, to dethrone them. Here's a look at how we rank the top thirty teams heading into the new season!

1. Connecticut
2. Texas
3. Ohio State
4. Baylor
5. Notre Dame
6. South Carolina
7. Stanford
8. UCLA
9. Mississippi State
10. Oregon
11. Duke
12. Louisville
13. Maryland
14. Oregon State
15. West Virginia
16. Tennessee
17. Missouri
18. South Florida
19. Marquette
20. Florida State
21. Oklahoma
22. California
23. Quinnipiac
24. Kentucky
25. Michigan
26. Texas A&M
27. Miami
28. DePaul
29. North Carolina State
30. Gonzaga

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Preseason College Basketball Bracketology

Well, here we are. College Basketball season starts TOMORROW! So naturally, the first thing we want to do is fill out our first field of sixty-eight and make a bracket, because, why not? So you have our preseason rankings 1-351, and now, here's our first edition of Bracketology for the 2017-18 season.

Mid-West Regional
#1 Michigan State vs. #16 Texas Southern/St. Francis (PA)
#8 Providence vs. #9 Nevada
#5 Cincinnati vs. #12 Missouri State
#4 North Carolina vs. #13 Grand Canyon
#6 Rhode Island vs. #11 Oklahoma
#3 Southern California vs. #14 Furman
#7 Texas A&M vs. #10 Maryland
#2 Kentucky vs. #15 Belmont
West Regional
#1 Arizona vs. #16 North Carolina Central/Montana
#8 Wisconsin vs. #9 Central Florida
#5 Gonzaga vs. #12 Oakland
#4 Minnesota vs. #13 Texas-Arlington
#6 Alabama vs. #11 Oregon/Southern Methodist
#3 Notre Dame vs. #14 Florida Gulf Coast
#7 Virginia Tech vs. #10 Arkansas
#2 Kansas vs. #15 Long Beach State
South Regional
#1 Duke vs. #16 Iona
#8 TCU vs. #9 Creighton
#5 UCLA vs. #12 Charleston
#4 Xavier vs. #13 Yale
#6 Seton Hall vs. #11 Missouri
#3 Northwestern vs. #14 Western Michigan
#7 St. Mary's vs. #10 Texas
#2 Wichita State vs. #15 North Carolina-Asheville
East Regional
#1 Villanova vs. #16 South Dakota State
#8 Michigan vs. #9 Stanford
#5 West Virginia vs. #12 Middle Tennessee
#4 Louisville vs. #13 Vermont
#6 Purdue vs. #11 Marquette/Georgia
#3 Miami vs. #14 Bucknell
#7 Baylor vs. #10 Vanderbilt
#2 Florida vs. #15 Stephen F. Austin

Bubble:
Last Four Byes: Vanderbilt, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri
Last Four In: Oregon, SMU, Marquette, Georgia
First Four Out: Virginia, Butler, VCU, St. Joseph's
Next Four Out: Iowa, Davidson, Houston, St. Bonaventure
Following Four Out: Florida State, Connecticut, Temple, North Carolina State

Preseason College Basketball Rankings (25-1)

25. Texas A&M
24. Seton Hall
23. Alabama
22. Purdue
21. Rhode Island
20. West Virginia
19. UCLA
18. Gonzaga
17. Cincinnati
16. Xavier
15. Louisville
14. Minnesota
13. North Carolina
12. Northwestern
11. Miami
10. Notre Dame
9. Southern California
8. Florida
7. Wichita State
6. Kansas
5. Kentucky
4. Villanova
3. Duke
2. Arizona
1. Michigan State