Tuesday, December 07, 2021

May 23, 2021 INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Team Penske hoped it could turn the corner on a dreadful Indianapolis 500 qualifying weekend after Will Power locked up the No. 32 starting spot.

No such luck.

Less than 30 minutes into Sunday’s two-hour, post-qualifying practice session, 2019 IndyCar champ Simon Pagenaud blew an engine on the No. 22 Chevrolet. About 30 minutes later crew members and Chevrolet officials were back on pit lane, checking Power’s engine.

Power made it back on the track. Pagenaud did not.

“I heard the engine seizing so I knew we were blowing up,” Pagenaud said. “It happens. It’s racing. It’s a Chevy, I won Indy here with them. Sometimes it blows up.”

Just not too often these days in the IndyCar Series.

But the Chevy-powered cars have struggled on Indy’s historic oval each of the past two years and no team has felt the pinch more than the one owned by Roger Penske.

Since Pagenaud drove to his first 500 wins from the pole in 2019, Team Penske hasn’t put a single driver in the nine-car pole shootout. Rookie Scott McLaughlin was the fastest of this year’s four Penske drivers, starting from the No. 17 spot, and just the second top-20 qualifier for Penske over the past two years.

Even worse, Penske has just one win in its last five races at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the track Penske purchased from the Hulman-George family in January 2020.

The good news: Penske still has a week to work out the kinks before race day. Pagenaud is confident they can.

“It’s a very good car,” the Frenchman said. “So that’s a really good sign. We’re in good shape. It’s a shame we’ll miss an hour and a half of practice that could have been very useful, but I’m very happy with the car.”

Alex Palou posted the fastest lap, 225.649 mph, in the second-to-last practice for next weekend’s race.

WHAT A RELIEF

For the second time in three years, Sage Karam found himself agonizingly waiting through Bump Day to find out his Indy fate.

Two years ago, the Dreyer & Reinbold Driver burst into tears when he wound up on the last row while three other drivers went home early.

This time, it was a little less nerve-wracking once he posted a four-lap average of 229.156 on the day’s first qualifying attempt. It was good enough for No. 31 on the starting grid, where he put the No. 24 Chevy.

But he spent the final 70 minutes of qualifying sitting in the car’s cockpit, hoping nobody else would knock him off the grid.

“I don’t know why I keep doing this to myself and give myself gray hair before I turn 30,” the 26-year-old driver said. “I’ve got to stop doing that.”

Karam is starting 31st for the third consecutive year.

ROUGH WEEK

Rookie driver RC Enerson came to Indianapolis with a new team, a small budget and high hopes.

Top Gun Racing’s effort never really got off the ground.

After testing the No. 75 Chevrolet for the first time on May 12, a mechanical problem forced Enerson to miss precious track time during the first two Indy practice sessions. He spent the rest of the week futilely playing catch-up.

The car consistently posted speeds near the bottom of the speed charts and Enerson never did put his car on the starting grid — even when five cars were vying for the final three starting spots.

Instead, Enerson had the slowest first attempt Sunday with a four-lap average of 227.249, a run that was later disqualified for making unapproved adjustments to the car. He went even slower on his second and final run of the day.

RIBEIRO DIES

Brazilian driver Andre Ribeiro, who gave Honda its first IndyCar win in 1995, has died. He was 55.

Ribeiro started his career in the 1994 Indy Lights season, recording four wins and finishing second in points.

He moved to IndyCars the next season and won from the pole at New Hampshire. Ribeiro won two more races before retiring in 1998. He then ran a network of Brazilian car dealerships in partnership with Penske.

THE NUMBERS

Nine former winners and two rookies made the field, including winners of the last eight 500s.

Pole-winner Scott Dixon (2008), Tony Kanaan (2013), Helio Castroneves (2001, 2002, 2009) and Ryan Hunter-Reay (2014) will all start from the first three rows. Alexander Rossi, the 2016 winner, is 10th while the two-time winner and defending champ Takuma Sato is 15th. Juan Pablo Montoya, who won the race in 2000 and 2015, will start 24. Pagenaud is 26th and Power, the 2018 Indy winner, rounds out the winner’s list.

Rookies Pietro Fittipaldi and Scott McLaughlin will start 13th and 17th, respectively.

The field average of 230.294 broke the previous mark of 229.382, set in 2016.

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Entertainment

September 7, 2021  NEW YORK (AP) — Actor Michael K. Williams, who as the rogue robber of drug dealers Omar Little on “The Wire” created one of the most beloved and enduring characters in a prime era of television, died Monday. Williams was found dead Monday afternoon by family members in his Brooklyn penthouse apartment, New York City police said. He was 54. His death was being investigated as a possible drug overdose, the NYPD said. The medical examiner was investigating the cause of death. Little, a “stick-up boy” based on real figures from Baltimore, was probably the most popular character among the devoted fans of “The Wire,” the HBO show that ran from 2002 to 2008 and is re-watched constantly in streaming.

September 8, 2021 LOS ANGELES (AP) — Britney Spears’ father filed Tuesday to end the court conservatorship that has controlled the singer’s life and money for 13 years. James Spears filed his petition to terminate the conservatorship in Los Angeles Superior Court. “As Mr. Spears has said, again and again, all he wants is what is best for his daughter,” the document says. “If Ms. Spears wants to terminate the conservatorship and believes that she can handle her own life, Mr. Spears believes that she should get that chance.” Judge Brenda Penny, who oversees the case, will need to approve the move. Britney Spears attorney Matthew Rosengart said in an email the filing “represents another legal victory for Britney Spears — a massive one — as well as vindication for Ms. Spears.”

September 8, 2021  NEW YORK (AP) — With Katie Holmes and Lil’ Kim on his front row and singer Marina on the mic high above his runway, Christian Siriano helped kicked off New York Fashion Week’s first big pandemic round of in-person shows Tuesday with a flurry of neon and lace-inspired in part by all the Italian women in his life. From ornate Gotham Hall, beneath a stained-glass skylight 70 feet up, Siriano’s commitment to size inclusivity was never stronger as he opened and closed the show with plus-size breakout model Precious Lee. She first walked in a stunning yellow trouser suit with wide loose pants and an asymmetrical jacket, a matching crossover bralette underneath.

September 7, 2021  VENICE, Italy (AP) — Paul Schrader knows he has a limited number of films left, so whatever he does from here on out is going to be for himself. At 75 years old, the writer of “Taxi Driver” and “Raging Bull” and director of “American Gigolo” and “Mishima” was even somewhat prepared to call it a day after his 2018 film “First Reformed,” for which he got his first Oscar nomination. He didn’t want to. He just knew it might be the reality. “I thought I would go back to this character again for about the fifth time,” Schrader said in a recent interview. By “this character” he means “the man in the room.” It’s Travis Bickle. It’s John LeTour. It’s Julian Kay. And it’s a formula he’s been working with for 45 years.

Business News

September 8, 2021  -Stocks were mostly lower in Asia on Wednesday after a lackluster session on Wall Street, where weak jobs data and pandemic concerns weighed on sentiment. Shares rose in Tokyo after economic growth for the April-June quarter was revised upward to an annualized 1.9% from an earlier estimate of 1.3%. “Any feel-good factor was ignored, though, given the climb was less than half of the 4.20% fall in Q1,” Jeffrey Halley of Oanda said in a commentary. “Japan will be lucky to break even this year as the current Covid-19 wave will almost certainly have weighed on domestic consumption,” he said.

September 8, 2021 NEW YORK (AP) — There will be something missing at two Whole Foods stores opening next year: the rows of cashiers. Amazon, which owns the grocery chain, said Wednesday that it will bring its cashier-less technology to two Whole Foods stores for the first time, letting shoppers grab what they need and leave without having to open their wallets. Cameras and sensors track what’s taken off shelves. Items are charged to an Amazon account after customers leave the store with them. But there will be an option for those who want to shop the old-fashioned way: Self-checkout lanes will be available that take cash, gift cards and other types of payment. Amazon first unveiled the cashier-less technology in 2018 at an Amazon Go convenience store and has expanded it to larger Amazon supermarkets. But it will be the first time it has appeared at Whole Foods, a chain of more than 500 grocery stores Amazon bought four years ago.

September 8, 2021  BEIJING (AP) — An avalanche of changes launched by China’s ruling Communist Party has jolted everyone from tech billionaires to school kids. Behind them: President Xi Jinping’s vision of making a more powerful, prosperous country by reviving revolutionary ideals, with more economic equality and tighter party control over society and entrepreneurs. Since taking power in 2012, Xi has called for the party to return to its “original mission” as China’s economic, social and cultural leader and carry out the “ rejuvenation of the great Chinese nation.” The party has spent the decade since then silencing dissent and tightening political control. Now, after 40 years of growth that transformed China into the world’s factory but left a gulf between a wealthy elite and the poor majority, the party is promising to spread prosperity more evenly and is pressing private companies to pay for social welfare and back Beijing’s ambition to become a global technology competitor.

Fashion News

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