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Auto notes: Dillon wraps up Nationwide points title

Austin Dillon won the NASCAR Nationwide Series championship, holding off Sam Hornish Jr. in a wild season finale Saturday at Homestead, Fla..

Brad Keselowski won the race after moving up 10 spots in the final laps.

Dillon, driving the famed No. 3 for his grandfather, Richard Childress, finished 12th. It was good enough to hold off Hornish, who finished eighth, by three points.

“We didn’t have the car tonight at all,” Dillon said. “Probably the worst car we had all year. But we fought. My guys kept me positive. I just knew I had to go on that last restart.”

Hornish looked as if he would overcome an eight-point deficit in the standings for much of the race, but a caution late posed problems. He dropped from third to ninth on the final restart with five laps to go, ending his chances at getting a title in what could be his final race.

Kenseth, Johnson post fast times

Championship contender Matt Kenseth posted the fastest speed during final practice for NASCAR’s season finale.

One major problem: points leader Jimmie Johnson was fast, too. Johnson had the second-quickest lap around Homestead-Miami Speedway on Saturday and had the fastest 10-lap average.

Kenseth reached 171.980 mph around the 11/2-mile oval, just ahead of Johnson’s 171.647. Defending series champion Brad Keselowski was third, followed by Martin Truex Jr. and Kevin Harvick.

Vettel takes pole at U.S. Grand Prix

World champion Sebastian Vettel once again got the better of Red Bull teammate and rival Mark Webber, qualifying in pole position Saturday for the U.S. Grand Prix in Austin, Texas.

Webber appeared set to earn his third pole in the last four races until Vettel lapped the Circuit of the Americas in 1 minute, 36.338 seconds on his last run. Romain Grosjean of Lotus will start third today and Sauber’s Nico Hulkenberg will be fourth.

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