Franchitti nabs pole for finale, cuts into Power’s IndyCar lead
Defending IndyCar champion Dario Franchitti won the pole Friday for today’s season finale at Homestead, Fla., posting a lap of 213.187 mph around the 1.5-mile oval to pull within 11 points of leader Will Power in the championship race.
Scott Dixon, Franchitti’s Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammate, will start second in the Indy 300, and Power qualified third.
The 11-point margin is the closest any driver has been to Power since June. If Franchitti leads the most laps and wins today’s race, he’ll secure a third championship no matter what Power does and will be the first back-to-back winner since Sam Hornish Jr. in 2001 and 2002.
This is the fifth straight season the points race has come down to the final event. Last year Franchitti successfully gambled on pit strategy to leapfrog Dixon and Ryan Briscoe for the title.
"Will’s a pro, but Dario’s an old pro," said Tony Kanaan, who qualified eighth. "The guy has been in that position three more times at least than Power. (Power) is going to have it hard."
De Jonge, Haas lead by three in PGA Tour’s Viking Classic
Brendon de Jonge and Bill Haas each shot a bogey-free 6-under-par 66 to share the second-round lead in the PGA Tour’s Viking Classic at Madison, Miss. They are at 12-under 132.
Michael Allen (66) and Nathan Green (68) are three strokes behind the leaders, and Bill Lunde (70) is four shots off the lead. Chris Stroud and Roland Thatcher shot 65s for the day’s best round.
De Jonge has six top-10 finishes this year but no victories. "I’ve been there late on Sunday several times this year," he said. "Obviously, I haven’t been able to close the deal, but I’ve definitely had some very good opportunities."
Also: Peter Senior eagled his final hole for a 7-under-par 65 and a one-stroke lead over Bernhard Langer, Fred Couples and Tom Kite at the Ensure Classic in Conover, N.C.
Senior eagled the 18th hole in windy conditions and also had five birdies to take his first lead on the Champions Tour. Russ Cochran, who has won the past two events, struggled to a 4-over 76.
U.S. rolls into semis of women’s basketball world championship
Angel McCoughtry scored 17 points and Maya Moore 15 to help the United States rout South Korea 106-44 and advance to the semifinals of the women’s basketball world championship in Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic.
Candice Dupree scored 12 and Swin Cash 11 for the U.S. (7-0), which had six players in double figures.
The only question was whether the U.S. would reach 100 points for the 16th time in world championship play and achieve its most lopsided victory. Asjha Jones’ jumper with 2:01 left gave the Americans 101 points, but they fell short of the record victory margin, 70 points over Senegal in 1990.
The U.S. today will meet Spain, which defeated France 74-71 in overtime. The Czech Republic, which beat defending champion Australia 79-68, and Belarus, which upset top-seeded Russia 70-53, will play in the other semifinal.
Also: Kentucky freshman center Enes Kanter must sit out all team activities until the NCAA determines his amateur status.
The 6-foot-11-inch Kanter played on a club team in Turkey in 2008-09. The NCAA is reviewing whether he received any extraordinary benefits during his time with the team, which would be a violation of the NCAA’s amateur policy.
Former Seton Hall basketball player Robert Mitchell pleaded guilty to armed robbery charges at a house near the school’s northern New Jersey campus. Prosecutors said they’ll recommend a three-year prison sentence for Mitchell, 24, under terms of a plea agreement.
Mitchell, a junior forward, played in 31 games last season, averaging 8.4 points and 3.8 rebounds, before getting kicked off the team after his arrest.
Forward Darcy Tucker, 35, is retiring after 15 seasons in the NHL. Tucker, known as one of the league’s best agitators, amassed 215 goals and 476 points in 947 career games with Montreal, Tampa, Toronto and Colorado.
Karen Marcano of Venezuela rallied to defeat Clara Guerrero of Colombia 2-1 and win the Masters gold medal in the Pan American Bowling Confederation Women’s Championships at Strike Zone Bowling Center in Henderson. Marcano beat Shannon O’Keefe of the United States and Guerrero defeated American Liz Johnson in the semifinals.
The UNLV men’s soccer team lost to New Mexico 2-1 in Albuquerque when the Lobos scored with 23 seconds left in the first overtime. Stephen Sifuentes tied the score for the Rebels (3-6, 0-1 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation) with a goal in the 74th minute.
The UNLV women’s soccer team lost to New Mexico 4-0 in a Mountain West Conference game at Johann Memorial Field. The Rebels fell to 8-4 and 0-1.