Weekend Sports in Brief

Weekend Sports in Brief
November 19, 2012, 7:02 am
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HOMESTEAD, Fla. (AP) Brad Keselowski, loud, a little buzzed and soaked in beer, bounded through the door with an oversized bottle of champagne in one hand and his cellphone in the other. He plopped down next to Roger Penske, a pillar of the American auto industry, and triumphantly slapped him on the back.

``We did it boss,'' Keselowski hailed.

``Did you bring your tweeter?'' the 75-year-old Penske replied.

NASCAR's oddest couple captured its biggest prize Sunday night, when Keselowski brought Penske his first Sprint Cup championship 40 years after the owner's first stock car race. He beat five-time champion Jimmie Johnson of mighty Hendrick Motorsports while delivering the crown that fills a glaring hole on Penske's otherwise sterling racing resume.

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - A bold passing maneuver at the end of a long straightway slipped Lewis Hamilton past Sebastian Vettel, and the McLaren driver went on to win the U.S. Grand Prix on Sunday in the first Formula One race on American soil since 2007.

The drivers' championship will be settled next week in Sao Paolo, Brazil, after Red Bull's Vettel finished second and Ferrari's Fernando Alonso third.

HOMESTEAD, Fla. (AP) - Ricky Stenhouse Jr. left little doubt that he's ready for a promotion.

Stenhouse became the sixth driver to win consecutive championships in NASCAR's Nationwide Series. He finished sixth Saturday in the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, edging Elliott Sadler for the title.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

NEW YORK (AP) - Notre Dame is a victory away from playing for the BCS title. Alabama and Georgia each need two, and could have to go through each other.

A day after Oregon and Kansas State lost to give up control of the BCS race, the Fighting Irish (.9973) moved into first place in the standings for the first time.

Notre Dame (11-0), ranked No. 1 in both polls and by the computer ratings, needs only to beat slumping rival Southern California on Saturday in Los Angeles to earn its first trip to the BCS title game.

Alabama (.9333) and Georgia (.8763) also have rivalry games Saturday. The Crimson Tide hosts Auburn and the Bulldogs play Georgia Tech at home.

If the favorites win, the Southeastern Conference championship game will be a national semifinal of sorts, with the winner advancing to the BCS title game.

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Quarterback Matt Barkley will miss Southern California's regular-season finale against No. 1 Notre Dame on Saturday with a sprained right shoulder.

Coach Lane Kiffin announced Sunday that freshman Max Wittek will make his first career start in place of Barkley.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Tennessee coach Derek Dooley was fired Sunday after posting a 15-21 record that lacked wins over ranked opponents and Southeastern Conference foes. Dooley was 4-19 in SEC games and 0-15 against Top 25 teams.

Tennessee (4-7, 0-7 SEC) is 1-14 in the SEC over the last two years.

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Minnesota receiver A.J. Barker quit the team Sunday in a blistering email to coach Jerry Kill that he subsequently made public through his personal blog, the messy fallout triggered by their conflict about the treatment of the junior's sprained right ankle.

Barker confirmed his decision to depart the Gophers in a phone interview, shortly after he posted the rambling, accusatory and occasionally profane message of more than 4,100 words on his website at ajbarker82.tumblr.com. Barker is a walk-on who has 30 receptions for 577 yards and seven touchdowns in eight games, by far the most on the team.

PRO FOOTBALL

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) - The New England Patriots lost tight end Rob Gronkowski with an arm injury late in Sunday's 59-24 victory over the Indianapolis Colts, a game in which he caught two touchdown passes.

Comcast SportsNet New England said Gronkowski broke his forearm while blocking on the extra point after the final touchdown.

The Patriots gave no timetable for his return. They have six games left, starting Thursday night at the New York Jets.

PRO BASKETBALL

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Mike D'Antoni postponed his debut on the Los Angeles Lakers' bench for at least another game Sunday night, giving the coach a few more days to recover from recent knee replacement surgery.

D'Antoni tentatively planned to take over when the Lakers hosted Houston, exactly a week after the Lakers hired him to replace Mike Brown. Instead, Lakers trainer Gary Vitti and D'Antoni's wife persuaded him to wait until he can move around a bit better on his new knee.

PRO HOCKEY

NEW YORK (AP) -Just over a week since the last set of failed negotiations, the NHL and the locked-out players' association will return to the bargaining table Monday.

Conversations that restarted Friday between NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly and NHLPA special counsel Steve Fehr produced enough positive movement Saturday to set up another face-to-face meeting that the sides hope will lead to an agreement to save the hockey season.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman had suggested to union executive director Donald Fehr this week that the sides take two weeks off from negotiations. The union maintained its desire to keep talking, and now bargaining is back on.

GOLF

NAPLES, Fla. (AP) - U.S. Women's Open champion Na Yeon Choi won the Titleholders on Sunday to turn a great season into her best one yet.

Locked in a battle with So Yeon Ryu along the back nine, Choi pulled away with a wedge that had to hit a tiny spot on an elevated green with three tiers. It came off perfectly, spun to 3 feet for birdie and Choi took it from there. She closed with two pars for a 2-under 70 and a two-shot victory.

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) - Adam Scott shot a 5-under 67 Sunday to win the Australian Masters in his native country for his first victory of the year.

Scott had five birdies on the front nine and another on No. 18. He trailed Ian Poulter by one after three rounds.

Poulter, who played with Scott, bogeyed two par-5s in three holes on the back nine in the final round and missed a short par putt on 17. He shot a 72 and finished second, four strokes behind the winner.

JOHANNESBURG (AP) - Henrik Stenson held on to his three-shot overnight lead to win the European Tour's South African Open on Sunday and end a three-year wait for a tournament title.

HONG KONG (AP) - Miguel Angel Jimenez became the oldest European Tour winner on Sunday by shooting a 5-under 65 to capture his third Hong Kong Open title.

At 48 years and 318 days, the Spaniard surpassed the previous record set by Ireland's Des Smyth, who was 48 years and 34 days when he won the 2001 Madeira Islands Open.

TENNIS

PRAGUE (AP) - The Czech Republic won the Davis Cup for the first time as an independent nation Sunday, beating Spain 3-2 in the final after Radek Stepanek upset Nicolas Almagro in the last reverse singles.

The 37th-ranked Stepanek beat his 11th-ranked opponent 6-4, 7-6 (0), 3-6, 6-3, converting his second match point to send the 14,500 fans at the O2 Arena into wild celebration as they blew trumpets and beat their drums.

SOCCER

MANCHESTER, England (AP) - Manchester United says Kenny Morgans, who survived the Munich air disaster in 1958, has died. He was 73.

The club said on its website that Morgans became ill Saturday evening and died in a hospital.

OLYMPICS

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) - London organizers have symbolically passed the Olympic baton to the hosts of the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro.

London organizing committee President Sebastian Coe gave the baton to Rio committee President Carlos Nuzman on Sunday during the official debriefing of the 2012 Games.

Coe handed over the silver-colored baton, which was inscribed with the names of all the past host cities. He says he's certain ``you will organize an excellent Olympics.''