Sprint Cup leader qualifies third

Nov. 16, 2012 at 9:03 PM

HOMESTEAD, Fla., Nov. 16 (UPI) -- Brad Keselowski, who is within reach of his first Sprint Cup championship, qualified third Friday for the final race of the year at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Joey Logano won the pole for Sunday's Ford EcoBoost 400, but the spotlight was on Keselowski and his bid to claim the yearlong points race in NASCAR's top series.

Keselowski went into last week's race in Phoenix trailing Jimmie Johnson by seven points, but Johnson blew a tire early in the race, slammed into the wall and finished 32nd.

The results of that race left Keselowski 20 points in front of Johnson.

Even if Johnson should win Sunday's race, Keselowski will capture the series title by finishing 15th or better.

Logano won his second pole of the season with a lap of 176.056 miles per hour. This will be his final race for Joe Gibbs Racing. Logano will drive the No. 22 car for Penske Racing in 2013.

Marcos Ambrose had the second-quickest qualifying time, followed by Keselowski, Carl Edwards and Aric Almirola.

Johnson, who has won the Sprint Cup crown five times, qualified 10th.

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