July 5, 2014 in Sports

Auto racing notes: David Gilliland lands pole at Daytona

Associated Press
 

Gilliland
(Full-size photo)

David Gilliland has won the pole for tonight’s Sprint Cup race at Daytona International Speedway after rain shortened qualifying.

Gilliland’s top speed during a hectic, cat-and-mouse qualifying session was 199.322 mph, earning him his third Sprint Cup pole and first since landing the top spot for the 2007 Daytona 500.

The top 24 drivers Friday in the first knockout stage were supposed to advance to the next round, but rain prompted NASCAR to cancel the final two sessions.

Reed Sorenson qualified second, followed by Landon Cassill, Bobby Labonte and Jimmie Johnson. Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt Jr., who will attempt to become the sixth drive to sweep both annual races at NASCAR’s most famous track tonight, was seventh.

All the talk during and after was about how the qualifying session shook out. It was the first time NASCAR’s new qualifying rules were used at Daytona, and it produced some hairy moments as groups of cars slowed to a crawl around the 2 1/2-mile superspeedway. The small packs – most of them formed by teammates – were hoping to pull behind bigger groups to produce fast laps. But no one was eager to lead the way.

“It’s a mess,” Earnhardt said. “You have to be in the very back and try to get a big tow.

“I ain’t ever seen anything like it. It’s the funniest thing I’ve ever seen.”

Kahne nips Smith in Nationwide

Kasey Kahne nipped Regan Smith at the Daytona International Speedway finish line Friday night for his first Nationwide Series victory since 2007.

Kahne weaved his way through traffic during a two-lap overtime sprint to the finish, but didn’t appear to be in the mix for a shot at the win as Smith pulled away from the pack.

But as the field hurtled through the final turn, Kyle Larson jumped out of line and made it three-wide behind Smith. Kahne moved into the top lane and, using a push from Ryan Sieg, charged alongside Smith and beat him to the line.

Wolff stalls in British GP bid

Susie Wolff’s bid to make an impact as the first woman to take part in a Formula One grand prix weekend for 22 years ended prematurely.

Wolff, driving a Williams, idled to a halt with a failed engine after three timed laps in the opening practice for the British Grand Prix on Sunday.

Lewis Hamilton topped the times ahead of Mercedes teammate and Formula One leader Nico Rosberg in the second practice.

Hamilton clocked a best lap in 1 minute, 34.508 seconds, to outpace Rosberg by 0.228 seconds on Friday. But Hamilton then stopped on the track after an hour of the 90-minute session with an engine problem.

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