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Sports news briefs — Oct. 18

Compiled from wire reports

auto racing

Penske team takes 1-2-3 in qualifying

• Penske Racing swept the first three spots in qualifying for the season finale at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., where Helio Castroneves is chasing Scott Dixon in the race for the IndyCar championship. Will Power won the pole for tonight’s race, and Castroneves was second. AJ Allmendinger, brought in by team owner Roger Penske to aid Castroneves’ title bid, qualified third.

• Swiss driver Neel Jani took the final pole position in American Le Mans Series history in qualifying for the 1,000-mile Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Ga. The race today is the last in the series that is merging with Grand-Am to form the United SportsCar Championship.

Denny Hamlin and Drew Herring will replace ailing Brian Vickers in the No. 20 car for the final three races of the NASCAR Nationwide season. Joe Gibbs Racing announced that Cup regular Hamlin will make his first Nationwide start of the season at Texas on Nov. 2. Herring will be behind the wheel Nov. 9 at Phoenix and the finale at Homestead on Nov. 16.


Simpson takes lead in Las Vegas event

Webb Simpson shot 8-under 63 to open a 4-stroke lead in the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, taking advantage of perfect scoring conditions at the TPC Summerlin in Las Vegas.

• The two-time Masters Tournament champion Bernhard Langer birdied the final hole for a 6-under 64 and a share of the first-round lead with Anders Forsbrand and Dick Mast in the Greater Hickory Classic in Conover, N.C.

Amy Yang overcame early jitters while playing in her home country, shooting a 5-under 67 to finish in a four-way tie for the lead after the first round of the KEB HanaBank Championship in Incheon, South Korea. Yang is tied with Katherine Hull-Kirk of Australia, South Korean compatriot Ju Young Pak and Anna Nordqvist of Sweden.

Peter Hedblom shot a 3-under 69 to take a 2-stroke lead after two rounds of the Perth International in Perth, Australia.


Herrera new coach of Mexican squad

• Mexico’s national soccer team has its fourth coach in six weeks. Miguel Herrera was hired as coach of El Tri in place of Victor Manuel Vucetich and will guide the team in next month’s two-game playoff against New Zealand for a World Cup berth.

• American midfielder Michael Bradley recovered from a sprained left ankle and was dressed for Roma’s 2-0 win over Napoli in Serie A.

Lionel Messi and captain Carles Puyol have returned from right hamstring injuries, and Barcelona expects them to be available for games against AC Milan on Tuesday and Real Madrid on Oct. 26.

— From wire reports


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