Vickers prevails in fuel duel

NASCAR driver takes lead after Johnson runs out of gas

August 17, 2009


Brooklyn, Mich. — Brian Vickers outlasted Jimmie Johnson in yet another fuel-mileage duel at Michigan International Speedway, taking the lead with two laps to go after Johnson ran out of gas and holding on for his first Sprint Cup victory of the season Sunday.

It was the second time in two races at Michigan this season that Johnson’s crew gambled on gas and lost. Johnson also was in the lead when he ran out of fuel back in June, handing a win to Mark Martin.

Jeff Gordon finished second, followed by Dale Earnhardt Jr., Carl Edwards and Sam Hornish Jr. Series points leader Tony Stewart, who clinched his spot in the chase by starting Sunday’s race, finished 17th.

Crew chief Ryan Pemberton pleaded with Vickers to be gentle with the throttle and save gas in the closing laps — and the driver delivered.

“We’ve went through this several times,” said Vickers, also the October 2006 winner at Talladega. “He’s asked me to give him two (laps), and I give him five. So he said, ‘Go get it. Just do what you did here last time.’ He made the call, and it was a great call.”

With three races left before the cutoff for NASCAR’s season-ending championship chase, the win provided a significant boost to Vickers’ chances of qualifying. Vickers jumped one spot in the standings to 13th and is only 12 points behind Martin for the 12th and final chase qualifying spot. Martin apparently ran out of gas on the final lap and finished 31st.

Track and field

Bolt shatters record

Berlin — Usain Bolt crossed the finish line, saw his record-setting time on the clock and spread his arms as if he were soaring like a bird.

About all this guy can’t do is fly. And by saving his celebration until after the finish line this time, he showed how fast a man really can go on two feet.

The Jamaican shattered the world record again Sunday, running 100 meters in 9.58 seconds at the world championships to turn his much-anticipated race against Tyson Gay into a one-man show.

That was 0.11 seconds faster than the mark he set last year at the Beijing Olympics — the biggest improvement in the 100-meter record since electronic timing began in 1968.

Gay, his closest rival, broke the American mark with his 9.71 performance and still looked like he was jogging — finishing a few big strides behind Bolt in second place.


Kicker expects suspension

Metaire, La. — New Orleans Saints kicker Garrett Hartley plans to serve a four-game suspension when the regular season begins because he tested positive for a banned stimulant.

Hartley said Sunday he obtained the Adderall prescription pills from a former college friend and used them to stay awake while driving at night from Dallas to New Orleans for an offseason workout.

Hartley, in his second season with the Saints, said he was unaware Adderall was on the NFL’s banned-substance list.

Cowboys’ WR hurts wrist

San Antonio — Dallas Cowboys receiver Roy Williams missed the team’s second practice Sunday because of a sprained left wrist sustained when he came down hard earlier in the day.

The Cowboys said X-rays were negative and that Williams, expected to be the team’s No. 1 receiver after the departure of Terrell Owens, is day to day. The Cowboys have one practice session today.

Grossman out 4-5 weeks

Houston — Houston’s Rex Grossman is expected to miss about a month due to a hamstring injury, and the Texans are looking to sign another quarterback to fill in until he’s healthy.

Grossman, Houston’s third quarterback and the former Bears starter, was injured in Saturday’s victory over the Chiefs, and coach Gary Kubiak says he doesn’t feel comfortable finishing the preseason with only Matt Schaub and backup Dan Orlovsky.

Vick says he cried in prison

New York — Michael Vick says he cried in prison because of the guilt he felt about being involved in dogfighting and was disgusted with himself for allowing it to happen.

In an interview with “60 Minutes” that aired Sunday night, Vick said the day he walked into prison he realized “the magnitude of the decisions that I made.

“And, you know, it’s no way of, you know, explaining, you know, the hurt and the guilt that I felt. And that was the reason I cried so many nights. And that put it all into perspective,” he said.


Wright out of hospital

New York — Mets slugger David Wright was released from the hospital and put on the disabled list Sunday, one day after he was hit square on the helmet by a 94 mph fastball from San Francisco’s Matt Cain.

Asked if Wright could miss the rest of the season, New York manager Jerry Manuel said it’s “a possibility” depending on how further tests come out. The club placed him on the 15-day DL after a 3-2 victory over the Giants.

Dodgers’ Kuroda released

Phoenix — Dodgers right-hander Hiroki Kuroda was released from the hospital Sunday morning and cleared to fly home with the team after taking a liner off his head in the sixth inning of Saturday night’s game against the Diamondbacks.

A CT scan was negative, and Kuroda’s only symptom Sunday was a mild headache, Los Angeles trainer Stan Conte said.

Yankees’ Matsui out

Seattle — Hideki Matsui has been held out of the New York Yankees lineup because of swelling in his balky knee and is out indefinitely.

Manager Joe Girardi said Sunday before New York tried for a four-game series sweep at Seattle that the designated hitter may have his surgically repaired left knee drained.

M’s sign one first rounder

Seattle — The Seattle Mariners signed shortstop Nick Franklin, the second of their two first-round draft picks, on Sunday.

Franklin’s agent David Meter told the Associated Press that Franklin will get a $1.28 million signing bonus.

The Mariners would not say Sunday whether they will sign Dustin Ackley, the second overall pick, before tonight’s deadline. If he isn’t signed by then, the University of North Carolina hitting star would go back into the draft next year.


Murray defeats Del Potro

Montreal — Andy Murray withstood his toughest test of the tournament, prevailing against Juan Martin Del Potro, 6-7 (4), 7-6 (3), 6-1, Sunday in the final of the $3 million Rogers Cup.

The third-seeded Murray, from Scotland, matched his career best from last season with his fifth tournament victory of the year and improved his record to 11-4 against top-10 players this season.

Jankovic beats Safina

Mason, Ohio — Turns out that Jelena Jankovic had plenty left.

The 24-year-old Serb, who rose to the top of the rankings last August, knocked off the current No. 1 on Sunday. She beat Dinara Safina, 6-4, 6-2, to win the $2 million Western & Southern Financial Group Women’s Open.


Fire blank Wizards

Kansas City, Kan. — Mike Banner scored his first MLS goal, Jon Busch posted his eighth shutout of the season, and the Chicago Fire beat Kansas City, 2-0, on Sunday to spoil Peter Vermes’ first game as Wizards interim coach.

Chris Rolfe also scored for the Fire (9-4-8), who trail Eastern Conference-leading Columbus by three points.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.