IndyCar drivers brace for wild ride at Texas

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An unanticipated problem was encountered, check back soon and try again Error Code: MEDIA_ERR_UNKNOWN FORT WORTH — It could be the concoction of speed and nerve and bravado that makes Texas Motor Speedway such a compelling IndyCar venue.It could be the cunning required to manage tires and fuel for endless laps and then summon the willingness to dice within inches of other cars racing more than 220 mph.It could be the litany of odd — and often unsavory — things that happen at the 1.5-mile track that brandishes the slogan “No Limits.”“When something goes wrong at Texas,” said driver Oriol Servia, “it seems to go really, really wrong there.”Q&A: Sebastien Bourdais on perfect laps, Paul NewmanTexas matters for different reasons Saturday night: Honda Performance Development should have a clear indication if its teams have any chance of becoming more competitive against Chevrolet this season as the series moves to the second oval on the schedule.Because while Chevrolets have won six of eight races this season under the first use of aerodynamic body kits, HPD has been biding its time for the oval portion of the schedule. There, said HPD president, Art St. Cyr, Honda should improve after exerting much of its developmental efforts.“Our kit was designed around ovals,” he told USA TODAY Sports. “They’re all a little bit different. Indy has a little bit of its own specific specification that doesn’t transfer to other ovals, so we won’t know until we get to Texas.”Oval performance matters most, St. Cyr said, because winning the Indianapolis 500 is the top goal — Rahal Letterman Lanigan’s Graham Rahal led Honda in finishing fifth — followed by the manufacturer’s championship and race wins.Honda drivers, like Ryan Hunter-Reay, front, have struggled this year but they hope to do better on ovals. (Brian Spurlock, USA TODAY Sports)Honda drivers, like Ryan Hunter-Reay, front, have struggled, but they hope to do better on ovals. (Brian Spurlock, USA TODAY Sports)Progress at Indianapolis is debatable. Rahal has been the class of the Honda contingent and his finish was in keeping with how the rest of the season has played out. He’s fifth in driver points as the top Honda competitor.Though the oval portion of the IndyCar schedule is diverse, the convention of the speed-inducing 1.5-mile, 24-degree-banked Texas track should help indicate future possibility for Honda, at least more than the 2.5-mile flat expanse of Indianapolis Motor Speedway.After a paltry showing through the first seven street/road course races – Honda drivers James Hinchcliffe of Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and Carlos Munoz of Andretti Autosport won rain-shortened events – Honda needs to quell a paddock unease. St. Cyr has attempted to tamp down any panic.“We think we’re OK,” St. Cyr said. “Our side pods and our engine cover actually give us some side force which actually helps on ovals, almost to the detriment of our handling on road courses.”Honda drivers are not alone in wondering how the speedway kits will affect competition at Texas. Competitors were already musing the topic in the days before the Indianapolis 500, when three Chevrolets went airborne. Andretti’s Ryan Hunter-Reay said he was “interested to know as well” how the aero kit-era car would perform at Texas.IndyCar announced Tuesday that it had implemented the use of so-called closure panels to the front and back of both manufacturers’ real wheel guards with the intent of preventing cars from going aloft when turned backwards at high speeds.“Unfortunately, we’re going to find out just like the rest of you guys. We have no idea,” Hunter-Reay said in May. “Texas is, obviously, a different rule package, a different downforce mandate there that we have. It is a very different package than (Indianapolis).“Texas is going to be interesting. It’s always hot there. We’re always going to be sliding round with the lower downforce numbers than we run lately there. And we’ll certainly run a lot less downforce there than we have been running here. There’s certainly concerns there, but I have no idea yet.”Defending Texas race-winner Ed Carpenter, who drives a Chevrolet, predicted that increased downforce could open a second lane at Texas and manifest more passing. If so, he said, “I think they’ll be a little easier to pass and keep the field a little closer together. I don’t see it being to the point where it’s a pack race like we had pre-2005.”The panels also will be used at 2-mile Auto Club Speedway and on the 2.5-mile triangular Pocono Raceway. Series vice president of technology Will Phillips said they will “serve as a blocker so air cannot flow through the rear wheel guards” and “ultimately raise the point at which cars would experience lift when traveling backwards.”The series also increased downforce over the 2014 Texas race with a mandated adjustment to rear wing angles to between -6) and -10.5 degrees.Ed Carpenter won at Texas last year. (Tim Sharp, AP)Ed Carpenter won at Texas last year. (Tim Sharp, AP)Consternation, said former Indianapolis 500 winner Gil de Ferran, is the byproduct of reintroducing innovation into the series with the highly manipulateable kits. De Ferran, a Honda consultant who was a member of the “I.C.O.N.I.C.” committee tasked by the series with launching the aero kit movement in 2010, said it was to be expected one manufacturer would rush ahead.“This is a little bit of a hangover from the one-make era,” he told USA TODAY Sports. “The probability that the curtains were going to open and everyone was going to be exactly the same, to me, were fairly small. And it appears in certain circumstances that Chevy has built a better mousetrap. Not all circumstances, by the way, I believe, but overall that’s the way it appears, anyway.“It’s called competition. There’s nobody there holding your hand. You’ve got to do better and use everything you have to improve.”With innovation comes the risk and the reward of trophies vs. wrecked cars. Helio Castroneves’ airborne tumble at Indianapolis was traced to an ill-conceived setup. The unforgiving speed and bare-knuckle mentality engendered at Texas make for a dangerous parlay.CASTRONEVES: Gains ground after IndyCar reduces penaltyDe Ferran saw this personally in 2001 after being one of many to suffer from adverse effects from G forces that forced the cancellation of a Champ Car race here.“That was crazy,” de Ferran said. “The forces in your body were so big and I remember coming back into the pits and really having a hard time remembering what had happened a few seconds ago. It was extraordinary. Some guys suffered more, some suffered less. It literally took all your strength to stay breathing and turning your wheel.”De Ferran, however, said he is not concerned the unknowns of the current aero kit could enable such a scenario this weekend.“I think IndyCar has done a lot of work to understand where we are going to be, speed-wise,” he said.Ultimately, the attempt, said Servia, a degreed mechanical engineer, is worth trying for the longer-term good of the sport.“Racing and development have been hand in hand since Day 1,” he said. “I believe there should always be some development because tracks, fans, want to see and understand technology better, solutions better, why these guys are better than these guys. But also it attracts manufacturers to do better. Manufacturers come and they spend money making something good and they spend money saying how good it is, promoting it. “I am all for development, but with that comes a risk, people doing a better job than others, or messing up in some areas. I think we all understand that when you (are) trying to open the door, there is a risk sometimes of getting some things wrong.” Session ID: 2020-09-18:cd04a80f6c33742b574d5689 Player ID: videojs-brightcove-player-634141-4273778667001 OK Close Modal DialogCaption Settings DialogBeginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsDefaultsDoneClose Modal DialogThis is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.last_img read more

Vanderbilt’s one-run games an Omaha habit

first_imgZander Wiel’s solo HR in 7th-inning Vanderbilt 1, TCU 0 (2015) 9-run 3rd-inning, held off Virginia rally Vanderbilt 4, Cal State Fullerton 3 (2015) Session ID: 2020-09-18:2e2c32ff121bccf2b1fe91a0 Player ID: videojs-brightcove-player-371352-4303177588001 OK Close Modal DialogCaption Settings DialogBeginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsDefaultsDoneClose Modal DialogThis is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button. OMAHA, Neb. – Without two key home-run swings, Vanderbilt could be headed home from the College World Series.Instead, the defending national champion Commodores are one victory away from returning to the national championship series thanks to a pair of dramatic one-run wins.Coach Tim Corbin said he and his team saw this coming. Last week before leaving Nashville, the coach prepared his players for such tight, nail-biting games.“If you had the chance to play in Omaha and knew every game was going to be a one-run game, how would you go about your practice?,” Corbin said to his team. “They told me and they responded to me. It was like what I would want them to say. … They knew they were going to be in this.”Vanderbilt (49-19) will play at 7 p.m. Friday (ESPN) vs. TCU, which eliminated LSU 8-4 on Thursday.Vanderbilt’s Dansby Swanson, No. 1 draft pick, is 0-for-Omaha5 things that put Vanderbilt in prime CWS spotThe Commodores beat Cal State Fullerton 4-3 on Jeren Kendall’s walk-off homer in the ninth inning, and they edged TCU 1-0 on Zander Wiel’s seventh-inning homer that broke up a no-hitter.“We always know we’re going to score one or two eventually. We just stay in the moment,” said Kendall, a freshman. “…We expected that coming to the College World Series. The guys said to be prepared to win 1-0, 2-0.”This is old hat for the Commodores in Omaha. Their last five wins in the College World Series have come by one-run margins, beginning in last year’s national title run.“Tyler Campbell’s dribbler to shortstop won the Texas game (last year). Johnny Norwood’s (home run) ball got us out of a tight jam (to beat Virginia in the national title game),” Corbin said. “… You just have to look at the fact that we can pull those games out.”Vanderbilt’s Jeren Kendall gets home run ball after allVanderbilt one win from CWS final after beating TCUShortstop Dansby Swanson, last year’s College World Series Most Outstanding Player, said elite pitching has kept games close throughout the bracket. Four of the first eight games of this College World Series were decided by one run, including two by Vanderbilt.“Hitting is pretty tough to come by out here because of how aware everyone is of the hitters, and the scouting reports are out,” said Swanson, who is 0-for-8 in this College World Series. “We’ll just try to score when we can to take advantage when we can.”Pitching depth often thins out late in the tournament, as the primary rotation of starters runs out. But Corbin said this College World Series field had such elite arms that close low-scoring games were likely.“This was just the one time that I could see there weren’t any Cinderellas,” Corbin said. “Not to minimize a Cinderella team, but I just knew these teams were here for a reason, and basically because they knew they could pitch.” Reach Adam Sparks at 615-259-8010 and on Twitter @AdamSparks. ONE-RUN WINS IN OMAHA Vanderbilt’s last five wins in the College World Series have been by one run each Vanderbilt 4, Texas 3, 10 inn. (2014) Game (Year) Tyler Campbell’s RBI infield single in 10th How Vanderilt won John Norwood’s HR in 8th inning Vanderbilt 9, Virginia 8 (2014) COLLEGE WORLD SERIES VANDERBILT (49-19) vs. TCUWhere: Omaha, Neb.When: 7 p.m. FridayTV/radio: ESPN/560-AM, 95.9-FM Vanderbilt 3, Virginia 2 (2014) Vanderbilt players including Liam Sabino (11) and Matt Ruppenthal (28) react to Zander Wiel's solo home run against TCU during the seventh inning of the College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park on Tuesday in Omaha, Neb. It was the Commodores’ fifth straight one-run win in the College World Series.Vanderbilt players including Liam Sabino (11) and Matt Ruppenthal (28) react to Zander Wiel’s solo home run against TCU during the seventh inning of the College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park on Tuesday in Omaha, Neb. It was the Commodores’ fifth straight one-run win in the College World Series.Play VideoPlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration Time 0:00Loaded: 0%0:00Progress: 0%0:00 Progress: 0%Stream TypeLIVERemaining Time -0:00 Playback Rate1ChaptersChaptersdescriptions off, selectedDescriptionssubtitles off, selectedSubtitlescaptions settings, opens captions settings dialogcaptions off, selectedCaptionsAudio TrackFullscreenThis is a modal window. The Video Cloud video was not found. Error Code: VIDEO_CLOUD_ERR_VIDEO_NOT_FOUND Jeren Kendall’s walk-off HR in 9th inninglast_img read more

Bulgarian defender Bodurov joins Fulham

first_imgBulgarian defender Nikolay Bodurov has completed a move to Fulham.The 28-year-old has signed a three-year contract with the option of a further year and has linked up with the Whites squad at their pre-season training camp in Austria.Bodurov, who has played for his country 24 times, has spent the last five years with Litex Lovech, where he played in the Champions League qualifying stages and twice won the Bulgarian title.AdChoices广告He is primarily a centre-back but can also play at right-back. See also:Bodurov departs Fulham on loan Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more

Fede Valverde: Rising Uruguayan Star Soaring In LaLiga with Real Madrid

first_imgReal Madrid midfielder Fede Valverde has, at the age of just 21, packed an awful lot into his career so far, but LaLiga’s Uruguayan rising star has really only just taken off.Valverde has already made over 100 appearances at senior level – while winning silverware and recognition both with his current side Madrid and country Uruguay, and showing the physical, technical and mental attributes to become one of world football’s outstanding midfielders.Born in Montevideo in July 1998, his seven goals in nine games at the 2015 South American Under-17 championships alerted scouts at many of Europe’s top clubs, with his skinny frame earning him the nickname of ‘El Pajarito’ (the little bird).Real Madrid’s excellent contacts in Latin America, and the lure of the Santiago Bernabeu, saw him agree to join the LaLiga giants. Valverde played just 11 times for his Uruguayan club Peñarol’s senior team, including making a debut in the Copa Libertadores, before completing a permanent move to the Spanish capital after turning 18 in July 2016.The teenager settled quickly with Real Madrid’s reserve side Castilla under future senior side coach Santi Solari. He marked his first start in Spain’s third tier with a goal against Basque side Amorebieta and gained valuable experience in a squad also featuring the likes of current Atletico de Madrid defender Mario Hermoso, RCD Mallorca midfielder Alex Feibas and future Real Madrid teammate Achraf Hakimi.The following summer saw Valverde pick up the ‘Silver Ball’ at the Under-20 World Cup after leading Uruguay to an unlucky semi-final exit on penalties.His development continued at LaLiga Santander level as he spent the 2017/18 season with RC Deportivo, with the increasingly impressive physical specimen standing out even as the Galician team battled against relegation, and making his full senior Uruguay debut in September 2017.The quick route to the top continued when Valverde returned to Real Madrid’s senior squad in summer 2018. He proceeded to earn regular playing time during Solari’s short spell in charge, and even more so when Zinedine Zidane returned as boss in March 2019 and quickly realised that the youngster’s athleticism and determination were just what was required to recharge the team.2019/20 has seen Valverde really prove himself worthy of a regular starting spot in the Real Madrid XI, even amid intense competition for midfield places with 2018 Ballon d’Or winner Luka Modric, Brazil national captain Casemiro and 2014 World Cup champion Toni Kroos.A man of the match performance in a 4-2 victory over Granada in October saw Real Madrid fans realise the star who was emerging, with local pundits comparing his ‘box to box’ style to international figures Paul Pogba and Steven Gerrard.The following month, Valverde, who seemed to be growing in confidence and stature with every passing week, scored his first LaLiga goal at Eibar. He followed that by adding another in this next outing against Real Sociedad.A professional foul late in January’s Spanish Super Cup final against Atletico de Madrid was not pardoned by the officials, but Real Madrid fans and even Atletico boss Diego Simeone recognised it showed the innocent-faced youngster would do what it took to win a first senior trophy for his team.By now a key member of Zidane’s XI, Valverde again excelled in March’s 2-0 LaLiga El Clasico victory over direct title rivals Barcelona, being chosen ahead of club legend Modric.Valverde is now ready to help Real Madrid’s title challenge over the remaining 11 games of this unusual LaLiga season. The ‘little bird’ has shown he is ready to soar to the very top of the game.Relatedlast_img read more