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Auto Racing

Kahne, Newman sweep the Cup’s front row in Chevys

TALLADEGA, Ala. – Kasey Kahne won the pole at Talladega Superspeedway, the fourth race in NASCAR’s Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship.

Kahne’s lap of 191.455 mph earned him the top starting spot for today’s race. Ryan Newman qualified second with a lap at 191.145, giving Chevrolet a sweep of the front row.

Two-time defending race winner Clint Bowyer qualified third. Three-time NASCAR champion Tony Stewart qualified fourth, and Greg Biffle was fifth to put four Chase drivers in the top five.

Jeff Gordon, Carl Edwards, Trevor Bayne, Martin Truex Jr. and Sam Hornish Jr. rounded out the top 10.

Vettel wins Suzuka’s F1 pole; Red Bull teammate second

SUZUKA, Japan – Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel claimed pole position for the Formula One Japanese Grand Prix, qualifying ahead of teammate Mark Webber on Saturday.

Vettel, a two-time winner in Japan, secured his fourth consecutive pole at Suzuka and will be in a good position in today’s race to further erode the championship lead of Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso.

Vettel won the previous race in Singapore and is just 29 points behind Alonso in the standings with six races left.

Alonso qualified seventh, and all of Red Bull’s championship rivals will start the race several places back after a yellow caution flag in the final moments of qualifying prevented them getting in a last flying lap.

MLB

Indians choose Francona over Alomar to replace Acta

CLEVELAND – Terry Francona was hired Saturday as manager of the Cleveland Indians.

Francona, who won two World Series titles with the Boston Red Sox, will take over a team that collapsed in the second half this season after a promising first four months.

The 53-year-old will be introduced as Cleveland’s 42nd manager during a Monday news conference at Progressive Field, the Indians said in a statement.

Cleveland chose Francona over Sandy Alomar Jr., who served as the club’s interim manager for the final six games after Manny Acta was fired Sept. 27. Francona and Alomar were the only candidates to interview for the Indians’ opening.

Soccer

Ellis will interim coach USA; women’s league in the works

CHICAGO – Jill Ellis will coach the U.S. women’s soccer team in its next two matches while a successor is found for Pia Sundhage.

After leading the U.S. to its second consecutive Olympic gold medal since taking over, Sundhage stepped down Sept. 1 to return to her native Sweden. She since has been hired as coach of the Swedish women’s national team.

Ellis, a former assistant to Sundhage, became development director for the U.S. women’s national teams in January 2011. She is not, however, a candidate to replace Sundhage.

The U.S. will play Germany on Oct. 20 at Bridgeview, Ill., and again three days later at East Hartford, Conn. After this month’s games, the Americans will play Ireland in a pair of exhibitions Nov. 28 in Portland and Dec. 1 in Glendale, Ariz.

USSF President Sunil Gulati said there had been 25-30 inquiries to succeed Sundhage. He hopes to select a new coach by late October or November but said it’s possible the new coach may not start until January, especially if the coach is involved in an NCAA tournament.

Gulati said college, professional and international candidates were among the candidates.

In addition, the U.S. Soccer Federation is meeting with potential owners and investors from 11 groups in 10 cities with the hope of launching a new women’s league next year.

Gulati said some groups from the men’s Major League Soccer were interested in launching a new women’s league. The United Soccer Leagues would handle the front office, and the USSF could take a more active role.

Associated Press

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