Johnson on pole for Sunday race
MARTINSVILLE, Va. - Jimmie Johnson's championship hopes got a boost Friday when he won the pole position for Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway while points leader Brad Keselowski qualified 32nd.
Johnson, a five-time champion, gained not only the top starting spot, but the stall at the front of pit road, giving him unimpeded access to the track.
He trails Keselowski by seven points with four races remaining. Denny Hamlin, who is third in the points race and 13 behind Johnson, will start fifth.
Brian Vickers earned the outside starting spot on the front row, with Kyle Busch third and Jeff Burton in the second row.
Johnson says he will be cautious. He started 22nd at the track in the spring and nearly won, so he knows it can be done.
Indiana starts season at No. 1
Indiana is No. 1 in The Associated Press' preseason Top 25 for the third time and the first since the 1979-80 season.
The Hoosiers return all five starters, including 7-foot sophomore Cody Zeller.
They received 43 first-place votes from the 65-member national media panel Friday. Louisville and Kentucky, the teams ranked second and third, received the rest of the first-place votes with Louisville getting 20 and the defending national champion the other two.
Ohio State and Michigan join Indiana as Big Ten teams in the top five. The last time a conference had three teams in the preseason top five was 2008-09 when Connecticut, Louisville and Pittsburgh of the Big East were second, third and fifth, respectively.
North Carolina State, Kansas, Duke, Syracuse and Florida round out the top 10.
Game 2 draws record-low rating
NEW YORK - The Giants' shutout of the Detroit Tigers drew a record-low television rating for Game 2 of the World Series.
San Francisco's 2-0 win Thursday night on Fox earned a 7.8 fast national rating and 12 share, down 12 percent from last year's St. Louis Cardinals-Texas Rangers matchup. The previous low was an 8.1 for the 2008 Philadelphia Phillies-Tampa Bay Rays series.
Fox said Friday the rating was up 3 percent from the Giants' rout in Game 1 on Wednesday.
Ratings represent the percentage of all American homes with televisions tuned to a program. Shares represent the percentage of all homes with TVs in use at the time.
Elkins lawyer files lawsuit
CHARLESTON - An attorney for an Elkins High School football player filed a lawsuit Friday seeking to overturn a ruling by the Secondary School Activities Commission declaring the player ineligible.
The lawsuit seeking a preliminary injunction was filed in Randolph County Circuit Court on behalf of senior running back James Lawrence.
The SSAC earlier this week declared Lawrence ineligible and stripped Elkins of its seven victories this season. The SSAC based the ruling on a residency requirement.
The lawsuit claimed the SSAC violated Lawrence's due process rights and a federal statute under which Lawrence is considered to be homeless.
It also said the SSAC had no authority to make guardian requirements upon an adult. Lawrence turned 18 in March.
Randolph County schools Superintendent James Phares has said Lawrence's parent signed over guardianship rights to his grandmother.
SSAC attorney Bill Wooton said he hadn't seen the lawsuit and declined comment Friday.
Elkins is 7-2 this season and was eighth in the latest SSAC Class AAA computer ratings. The top 16 teams at the end of the regular season make the playoffs, and the top eight earn home-field advantage in the first round starting Nov. 9.
Lawrence has rushed for 1,491 yards and 18 touchdowns this season.
If the SSAC ruling stands, Lawrence will suffer "immediate and irreparable harm" because he will be denied the chance to participate in the playoffs, as well as his chances to further his education with the aid of an athletic scholarship, the lawsuit said.
"The Plaintiff has much more at stake concerning his reputation, character, and future regarding the outcome of this case than does the WVSSAC," the lawsuit said.