Biffle leads Chase drivers in Charlotte qualifying

STEVE REED AP Sports Writer Published:

CONCORD, N.C. -- Greg Biffle won the pole Thursday night for Saturday night's race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, the first NASCAR Cup race without an Earnhardt in 33 years.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. will sit out the next two races after sustaining his second concussion this year during a 25-car car pileup Sunday at Talladega. Regan Smith, who'll drive Earnhardt's No. 88 Chevrolet, qualified 26th.

"It's incredibly sad anytime you have to have something like this happen, especially with how hard Dale has worked to get into the Chase and become a contender," said Mark Martin, who'll start on the front row alongside Biffle. "I saw his commitment to get there and I feel really bad for him."

The 53-year-old Martin will make his 850th career start Saturday night.

Biffle set a track record with a lap of 193.708 mph in his No. 16 Ford to earn the pole for the fifth race in NASCAR's Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.

Biffle is ninth in the Cup points race, 49 points behind leader Brad Keselowski, who qualified 20th.

Ryan Newman will start third, while Clint Bowyer is fourth and Jimmie Johnson, who traditionally runs well at Charlotte, will start fifth. Martin Truex Jr. Matt Kenseth, Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin and Kasey Kahne completed the top 10. Sam Hornish Jr. qualified 14th.

AJ Allmendinger qualified 38th in his first action since being suspended July 7 for failing a random drug test. Phoenix Racing asked Allmendinger to drive the No. 51 Chevrolet this weekend as part of the domino effect from Earnhardt Jr. pulling out.

• Golf

Matches record: Meghan Stasi won her fourth U.S. Women's Mid-Amateur title to match the tournament record, routing Liz Waynick 6 and 5 on Thursday at Briggs Ranch.

The 34-year-old Stasi, from Oakland Park, Fla., also won in 2006, 2007 and 2010. She tied the victory record set by Ellen Port in the event limited to players 25 and older. Stasi also became the 16th player to win one USGA championship at least four times.

Rose beats Westwood: Justin Rose beat Lee Westwood by one shot to win the World Golf Final and a career-best $1.5 million in prize money. Rose shot 5-under 66, while Westwood had a 67.

The prize check is Rose's highest ever in his 14-year pro career and $560,000 more than his prize in capturing the 2011 BMW Championship. Westwood earned $1 million.

• Elsewhere

To honor Ward: A 1930s University of Michigan athlete is being honored thanks in part to the efforts of an 8-year-old girl. Genna Urbain of Brighton saw a documentary titled "Black and Blue" about events surrounding the Wolverines' football game against Georgia Tech on Oct. 20, 1934. The filmmakers highlight Willis Ward, who was benched for the game because he was black, and she was moved to action.

Urbain addressed the University of Michigan board and lobbied legislators and now Oct. 20 is being recognized as Willis Ward Day in Michigan. The Wolverines plan to honor Ward at their home game against Michigan State that day.

Ward died in 1983. He was a friend at teammate of President Gerald Ford.

Brantley has surgery: Cleveland outfielder Michael Brantley has had successful surgery to repair a sports hernia. Brantley is expected to need between three and six weeks to recover. Brantley will begin therapy next week in Florida and he is not expected to be restricted once he begins his offseason conditioning program.

The 25-year-old batted a team-best .288 in 149 games this season. He hit six homers with 60 RBIs and had 12 steals.

To play at UK: Michigan prep standout James Young says he's going to play basketball at Kentucky. Young is ranked No. 5 on ESPN's list of top recruits, giving Kentucky three of the top five so far. The defending champions also landed highly touted Texas twin guards Aaron and Andrew Harrison.

The 6-foot-6 Young is from Rochester High School. He announced his choice Thursday on ESPNU after reportedly considering Michigan State, Kansas and Syracuse.

Will keep money: Pennsylvania's public employee retirement system says Jerry Sandusky will get to keep more than $900,000 in state pension payments he received after his 1999 retirement from Penn State University. The State Employees' Retirement System said Thursday it won't seek repayment of the money Sandusky received from 1999 to September 2012 because the state's forfeiture law does not authorize SERS to go after money paid before the date of a plea or conviction.

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