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Around & about

Montoya grabs pole

Juan Pablo Montoya and his team needed some time to get up to full speed Friday. When they did, they ended up winning the pole for the NASCAR Sprint Cup race tonight (7 p.m., Ch. 29) in Richmond, Va.

"It's exciting. We unloaded this morning, and it was a bit of a headache getting the car to run at the beginning. It was dragging a lot, and when we finally got it rolling, we felt like we had a pretty decent race car," Montoya said after turning a fast lap at 128.639 mph.

"To come here and get it done is exciting."

Montoya earned his second No. 1 starting spot of the season, his seventh overall and the first of his career on a track shorter than a mile. He looks forward to trying to back the effort up under the lights at D-shaped, 0.75-mile Richmond International Raceway.

"If the car runs somewhere near what it did in practice, we might have a chance," he said.

Regan Smith qualified second, the best starting spot of his career, at 128.352 mph. The young driver has the best average qualifying spot of the season at 7.75.

On Friday, Denny Hamlin grabbed the lead for the first time 44 laps into the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Richmond International Raceway and dominated the rest of the 250-lap race to earn the victory.


Kim takes the lead

Olympic champion Kim Yu-na of South Korea made a dramatic return to competition on Friday, taking the lead after the short program at the figure skating world championships in Moscow.

In her first competition since last year's worlds, Kim scored 65.91 points despite stepping out of her opening triple lutz. She made a quick recovery, tacking a double toe loop onto her triple flip to complete the required combination, and rounded off her "Giselle" routine with clinical precision.

"I've been doing clean short programs at home, so I was disappointed I didn't do a clean short program in the competition but I'm in first, and I'm satisfied," Kim said.

In the ice dance, reigning Olympic and world champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada won the short dance to take a slight lead over main rivals Meryl Davis and Charlie White of the United States. The championships will end today with the free dance and the women's free program. Kim didn't have the polish or overwhelming presence as she did last year or in 2009, when she won her world title. Still, her performance was impressive considering she hadn't competed in more than a year.

"It didn't take too much time to build my stamina physically," she said, "but mentally it was so hard."


Djokovic keeps winning

Novak Djokovic won his 26th straight match to remain unbeaten in 2011, defeating Slovenia's Blaz Kavcic, 6-3, 6-2, Friday in the Serbia Open quarterfinals in Belgrade. This is the best start to an ATP tour season since Ivan Lendl in 1986.

This was a victory, however, that almost didn't happen. While ahead by 4-1 in the second set, Djokovic threatened to quit because he said the lines became too slippery once it started raining.

"I don't want to play, I don't want to get injured," Djokovic shouted at the chair umpire, leaving the court and taking a seat.

Play resumed only after the lines were wiped, and Kavcic then managed his only break. The 85th-ranked Kavcic never seriously threatened Djokovic, who had one break in the first set and three in the second.

"There was some pressure, but I've learned to deal with it by now," said Djokovic.

From News and wire service reports.

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