Smoke takes the high road to Atlanta pole position
HAMPTON, Ga. – On the advice of his teammate, Tony Stewart took the high road. He wound up with the pole for tonight’s NASCAR race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Stewart turned a fast lap of 186.121 mph Friday to take his first pole of the season and second of his career at the 1.54-mile tri-oval. He also was on the pole at Atlanta for the season finale in 2002, setting him up to clinch the first of his three Cup titles.
Power’s pole gives him the IRL edge over Hunter-Reay
BALTIMORE – Australian Will Power captured the pole in the Grand Prix of Baltimore, a feat that earned him another point in his bid to clinch his first IZOD IndyCar Series championship this weekend.
Power holds a 37-point lead over Ryan Hunter-Reay, who’s in second place entering today’s race. Power, the defending champion in Baltimore, can wrap up the points title if he’s ahead by 54 after today.
32-year-old Button balances himself for the F1 pole
SPA, Belgium – British driver Jenson Button will start today’s Belgian Grand Prix in pole position after finishing fastest in Saturday’s qualifying, with defending champion Sebastian Vettel 11th.
Button overcame balance problems to take his first pole of the season, the eighth of his career, and his first for McLaren.
The 32-year-old Button had understeering problems, but he got it right when it mattered with a best lap of 1 minute, 47.573 seconds.
Rodriguez outduels Contador to extend his Vuelta lead
PUERTO DE ANCARES, Spain – Joaquim Rodriguez increased his lead in the Spanish Vuelta by outlasting Alberto Contador to win the 14th stage Saturday.
SaxoBank rider Contador, a former winner, attacked with three miles to go on the final climb, but Rodriguez showed his excellent form by catching and passing his fellow Spaniard to win the 93-mile mountain stage.
Alejandro Valverde of Movistar was third, followed by Rodriguez’s Katusha teammate Daniel Moreno and Christopher Froome of Team Sky.
The riders will face two more mountain stages today and Monday. The 21-stage, three-week race will finish Sept. 9 in Madrid.
U.S. women’s ‘victory tour’ turns into a farewell tour
ROCHESTER, N.Y. – The U.S. women’s soccer team’s post-Olympic victory tour also will be a goodbye tour.
Coach Pia Sundhage is stepping down, returning to her native Sweden after leading the Americans to back-to-back gold medals and their first World Cup final in 12 years. The announcement of her departure Saturday came just a few hours before the U.S. women began their “victory tour” against Costa Rica.
The Americans are 88-6-10 since Sundhage took over in 2007 and made the final of all three major tournaments during her tenure. U.S. Soccer said it will begin searching for a new coach immediately but has no timetable for naming a successor. There is no major tournament until the next World Cup in 2015.
Dempsey will exit Fulham for Tottenham and $9.5M
LONDON – U.S. soccer star Clint Dempsey is moving from Fulham to Tottenham, and national team captain Carlos Bocanegra was loaned from the Glasgow Rangers to Racing Santander through the end of the season.
Dempsey was transferred Friday for a reported $9.5 million. The 29-year-old midfielder and forward scored a team-high 23 goals last season, including 17 in the Premier League.
Bocanegra, a defender, left the Rangers along with American midfielder Maurice Edu, who transferred to Stoke, where he will join countryman Geoff Cameron. American Alejando Bedoya left the Rangers for Helsingborg since the club filed for bankruptcy and was demoted to Scotland’s fourth tier.