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 today. Marcos Ambrose will start on the outside.
And if Keselowski leads the first lap, he will extend his points lead over Jimmie Johnson 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.”
The championship contenders avoided both wrecks in practice.
Hamlin and Greg Biffle of Vancouver, Wash., were running side by side, with Logano right behind them on the outside, when they made connect and started spinning. Logano got caught up in the mess.
STENHOUSE WINS NATIONWIDE AGAIN
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. is the sixth driver to win consecutive championships in NASCAR’s Nationwide Series.
Stenhouse finished sixth Saturday 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.
Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel secured the pole position for the U.S. Grand Prix in Austin, Texas, dominating three practice sessions before securing the pole with a fast lap of 1 minute, 35.657 seconds. … Richard Petty Motorsports has re-signed Sprint Cup Series drivers Marcos Ambrose (No. 9 Ford) and Aric Almirola (No. 43 Ford) for the 2013 season.