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F1's Sebastian Vettel sets pace at US GP; more racing notes

Photo: Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Runaway Formula One champion Sebastian Vettel shows no signs of cooling off.

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- Red Bull went 1-2 in the Friday afternoon practice at the U.S. Grand Prix with series champion Sebastian Vettel posting the fastest time ahead of teammate Mark Webber.

Vettel's time of 1 minute, 37.305 seconds was the quickest of the two practice sessions. Webber, who has two races left in his Formula One career, was 0.115 seconds behind.

Ferrari's Fernando Alonso posted the fastest time in the first session in 1:38.343.

McLaren's Jenson Button, who was second-fastest in the morning practice, was later hit with a three-place penalty in Sunday's starting grid for passing another car when race officials had put the first session under a red flag.

The morning practice was stopped after about 15 minutes because the medical helicopter had not yet arrived at the track.

F1 driver Raikkonen has back surgery

ENSTONE, England (AP) -- Lotus says Kimi Raikkonen has undergone back surgery in France and will begin his rehabilitation next week.

The Finnish driver had the operation at the University Hospital of Strasbourg and his doctor called it "successful."

Lotus says in a statement released Friday that "Kimi will now rest for a few days and he will start his recovery process as early as next week."

The 32-year-old Raikkonen, who is joining Ferrari next season, will miss the season-ending races in the United States and Brazil.

Michael Annett lands Sprint Cup ride with TBR

CORNELIUS, N.C. (AP) --Michael Annett has signed a deal to drive for Tommy Baldwin Racing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series next season.

Annett, who has spent the last five years in the Nationwide series, will compete in the No. 7 car previously driven by Dave Blaney.

Annett, a native of Des Moines, Iowa, will run his 163rd Nationwide race this weekend in the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Annett was fifth in the 2012 standings, but he's just 15th this season after missing three months with a fractured and dislocated sternum.

Tommy Baldwin will stay on as the crew chief for the No. 7 car, which will use engines from Richard Childress Racing.

Baldwin and Annett have worked together in the ARCA and the NASCAR Truck series.

Green filling in for McClure in Nationwide finale

HOMESTEAD, Fla. (AP) -- Jeff Green will drive in place of Eric McClure in Saturday's Nationwide Series season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

McClure remains hospitalized with an undisclosed illness. McClure was admitted to a Las Vegas hospital last Sunday while on a business trip. It is not known when he will be able to return home. No other information was available.

This will be the sixth race McClure has missed this season because of health issues. He missed four races in August and September because of acute renal failure that hospitalized him for more than a week. He missed the Texas race earlier this month because of medical reasons, according to the team.

He missed five races last season after suffering a concussion and internal bruising in a crash at Talladega Superspeedway.

Ogier takes charge of season-ending Wales Rally GB

CARDIFF, Wales (AP) -- Sebastien Ogier is on course to finish his title-winning world rally campaign with another victory after taking a 20.1-second lead after two days of the season-ending Wales Rally GB.

The Frenchman won four of Friday's six stages to pull clear of Volkswagen teammate Jari-Matti Latvala. Thierry Neuville, who drives a Ford, is more than a minute off the lead in third place.

Former Formula One driver Robert Kubica crashed out of his first WRC event, rolling his Citroen on stage four. Organizers say Kubica and his co-driver, Michele Ferrara, were unharmed.

Ogier clinched his first title in front of his home fans last month.

Moved Friday, November 15, 2013 at 13:20:16 Eastern, UTC -500

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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