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Sports People: Reutimann earns pole at Texas Motor Speedway

Marks turnaround for Michael Waltrip Racing at the track



FORT WORTH, Texas – David Reutimann has taken Michael Waltrip Racing from a mangled mess at Texas to the front of the field.

Reutimann earned the pole for the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at the 1 1/2-mile, high-banked Texas Motor Speedway with a lap of 190.517 mph on Friday.

“I guess that puts an exclamation mark on just how things have changed,” said Reutimann, driving the No. 00 Toyota owned by Waltrip.

A year ago, the No. 00 was driven in Texas qualifying by Cup rookie Michael McDowell, who escaped unscathed from a horrific, tumbling crash when he slammed into the wall and rolled at least eight times before coming to a rest at the bottom of the track.

Two years ago, the first for Waltrip’s team, Reutimann didn’t get a chance to race at Texas after qualifying was canceled because of severe weather. The team didn’t have enough points to get into the field.

“I remember it like it was yesterday. It was a miserable time in my life and we actually had a very good car,” Reutimann said. “People tend to forget that it wasn’t that long ago when we were struggling to absolutely make races. Going out there and getting poles shows that you’re doing what you’re supposed to do, and I think about those times often.”

Reutimann, 11th in season points, won his only other pole in last season’s finale at Homestead. Waltrip will start 34th Sunday in the Samsung 500.

Carl Edwards, who won both Texas races last year to become the track’s first three-time winner, qualified 13th.

Season points leader Jeff Gordon will start his Chevrolet on the outside of front row after a qualifying lap of 190.194 mph on a windy day. Texas is one of two active tracks where the four-time Cup champion with 81 race victories has never won.

Federer loses

KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. – Maybe it was the unpredictable wind or the unreliable forehand or the months of unsatisfactory results. Perhaps it was the sweltering mid-afternoon sun.

Whatever the reason, Roger Federer reached his boiling point Friday. He raised his racket over his head and slammed it to the concrete, a shocking outburst from the five-time winner of the ATP Tour’s Stefan Edberg sportsmanship award.

The tirade came during a 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 loss to Novak Djokovic in the semifinals at the Sony Ericsson Open – the latest evidence Federer is in meltdown mode.

“It has been a tough last year or so,” a red-eyed Federer said shortly after the match.

The beneficiary Friday was the No. 3-seeded Djokovic, winner of the 2007 title. He’ll play in the final Sunday against No. 4-seeded Andy Murray, who became the tournament’s first British finalist by beating No. 6 Juan Martin del Potro 6-1, 5-7, 6-2. Murray improved to 56-7 since last July.

Top-ranked Serena Williams will bid for a record sixth Key Biscayne title Saturday against No. 11 Victoria Azarenka.

Capitals clinch division

WASHINGTON – The Washington Capitals clinched their second consecutive Southeast Division title despite losing 5-4 to the Buffalo Sabres on Jason Pominville’s breakaway goal 1:51 into overtime Friday night.

The point awarded for getting to overtime was enough to give the Capitals a nine-point cushion ahead of second-place Carolina, which has four games left.

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