Jamie McMurray has gone from winning the Daytona 500 to sitting on the pole for the Auto Club 500 in Fontana, Calif.

After a whirlwind week of appearances and interviews as the champion of NASCAR's season opener and biggest race, McMurray got back into the cockpit of his No. 1 Chevrolet on Friday and qualified first with a lap of 183.744 mph at the two-mile superspeedway.

"I am so amazed at the week I've had, and then to come here to be able to be on the pole," McMurray said. "I really can't believe it. It's just pretty awesome."

McMurray captured his fourth career pole, his first at California, and will be joined on the front row by Earnhardt Ganassi teammate Juan Pablo Montoya, who ran a lap of 183.477 mph to qualify second. Clint Bowyer qualified third in another Chevy. Kasey Kahne was fourth in his No. 9 Ford, followed by Dave Blaney in a Toyota. The highest-qualifying Dodge was Sam Hornish Jr. in eighth.


Kalitta leads Top Fuel qualifying

Doug Kalitta led Top Fuel qualifying in the NHRA Arizona Nationals with a 3.825-second pass at a track-record 317.05 mph. Matt Hagan (Funny Car) and Mike Edwards (Pro Stock) also topped their divisions in the second of 23 races in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series.


Tigers make offer to Damon

Tigers General Manager Dave Dombrowski said he made a contract offer to free agent Johnny Damon. The 36-year-old Damon hit .286 with 24 homers for the Yankees last season. He likely would bat leadoff for the Tigers, filling the void left when Detroit dealt Curtis Granderson to the Yankees. The Atlanta Braves also appear interested in adding Damon. ... Infielder Josh Barfield returned to the Padres, agreeing to a minor league contract. ... Catcher Jose Molina agreed to a one-year contract with the Blue Jays. ... Pitcher Chien-Ming Wang and the Nationals finalized a $2 million, one-year contract. ... First baseman Russell Branyan has reached a preliminary agreement to rejoin the Indians. Now 34, he set career highs of 31 homers and 76 RBI for Seattle last year, when he hit .251. ... Longtime umpire John Kibler, seen emphatically pointing fair on the ground ball Bill Buckner missed in the 1986 World Series, has died. He was 81.


Venus Williams reaches final

Venus Williams ended the stirring run of Shahar Peer 6-1, 6-4 in the semifinals of the Dubai Championships. Victoria Azarenka ousted Agnieszka Radwanska 6-3, 6-4 in the other semifinal at Aviation Club and will face Williams, who is going for her second consecutive Dubai title.

In other tennis news: Top-seeded Gisela Dulko defeated sixth-seeded Sandra Zahlavova 6-2, 6-3 in the Copa Colsanitas quarterfinals in Bogota, Colombia. Eighth-seeded Arantxa Parra Santonja also advanced, knocking out third-seeded Sara Errani 7-5, 6-2 to reach her first WTA Tour semifinal in seven years. ... Top-seeded Robin Soderling lost to Michael Llodra of France, falling 7-6 (2), 6-4 in the quarterfinals of the Open 13 in Marseilles, France. ... Second-seeded Juan Carlos Ferrero won his eighth consecutive match when he beat Santiago Ventura 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 in the only quarterfinal at the Copa Telmex before rain washed out play in Buenos Aires. ... Top-seeded Andy Roddick lost to Sam Querrey 7-5, 3-6, 6-1 in the quarterfinals of the Regions Morgan Keegan Championships in Memphis.


College football: The NCAA gave Purdue linebacker Jason Werner a sixth season of eligibility after he missed two full seasons because of a recurring back injury. Werner sat out in 2006 and 2008. Werner started all 12 games last season and was Purdue's No. 3 tackler. ... Florida defensive tackle Gary Brown was dismissed from the football team following his arrest last weekend on two counts of misdemeanor battery following a dispute at a weekend party.

NFL: Former Bears quarterback Jim McMahon is back in the game, this time as owner of the Chicago Slaughter indoor football team. McMahon joins former Bears teammate Steve McMichael, who's head coach of the Slaughter.