AUTO RACING: Franchitti takes IndyCar pole
LONG BEACH, Calif. (AP) — Dario Franchitti won the pole for today’s IndyCar Series race at Long Beach.
Franchitti came into the weekend ranked last in the IndyCar standings and off to the worst start of his career. But he insisted he’s not concerned about the start, and proved it with a big last lap in Saturday’s qualifying.
Franchitti’s last lap was 1:07.2379 and bounced Ryan Hunter-Reay off the pole at the last second.
Will Power was third and was followed by Takuma Sato, Mike Conway and Helio Castroneves. The Fast Six had an even split of three Chevrolets and three Hondas.
Crafton wins truck race
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Matt Crafton charged to the lead in a crash-filled race at Kansas Speedway, and then held off a late run by Joey Coulter to pick up his third career Truck Series victory Saturday.
Crafton and Coulter were engaged in a spirited game of cat-and-mouse over the final 20 laps, but Crafton held onto his truck-length lead as they crossed the start-finish line, allowing him to celebrate his first win since Iowa in 2011 with a burnout that tore up one of his rear tires.
Coulter chased him across to finish second, and Ryan Blaney took third.
NHRA fans escape injury
CONCORD, N.C. (AP) — Fans escaped serious injury Saturday when the body of Funny Car driver Robert Hight’s car blew off near the finish line after his engine exploded in the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals.
The carbon fiber body went high in the air and came down in a walkway in front of a grandstand at zMAX Dragway. As a precaution, two fans were evaluated at the track and released by paramedics.
U.S., Sweden tied in Fed Cup
DELRAY BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Serena Williams evened the United States’ Fed Cup World Group playoff match against Sweden, waiting out a long rain delay to beat Johanna Larsson 6-2, 6-2 on Saturday night.
In the opening match, Sweden’s Sofia Arvidsson beat Sloane Stephens 6-4, 4-6, 6-1.
Today, the teams will play the reverse singles matches and doubles with Varvara Lepchenko and Venus Williams scheduled to face Arvidsson and Larsson in the fifth match of the weekend.
Winning Cause wins at Lexington
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Winning Cause won the $200,000 Lexington Stakes at Keeneland on Saturday to give trainer Todd Pletcher perhaps another Kentucky Derby qualifier.
Pletcher’s next move is deciding whether the 3-year-old will join top contender Verrazano and several other of the trainer’s horses in the Derby on May 4.
The Derby is limited to 20 horses. Winning Cause is behind Pletcher’s Charming Kitten at 21st after earning 20 points and $120,000 in non-restricted earnings with his victory in the Grade 3 race.
CICERO, Ill. (AP) — Race favorite Departing came on strong at the head of the stretch to win the Grade III $750,000 Illinois Derby by 3 1/2 lengths Saturday at Hawthorne Race Course.
Ridden by Brian Hernandez Jr., Departing ran 1 1/8 miles race in 1:50.78.
Trained by Albert M. Stall, Jr., and owned by Claiborne Farm and Adele B. Dilschneider, Departing looms as a possible entrant for the Preakness Stakes, the second leg of the Triple Crown.
Cleverly retains boxing crown
LONDON (AP) — Unbeaten Nathan Cleverly kept his minor WBO light-heavyweight belt by unanimously outpointing German challenger Robin Krasniqi at Wembley Arena on Saturday.
The Welshman improved to 26-0, and Krasniqi fell to 39-3.