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Herta Breaks Pole Logjam with Blazing Final Lap in Toronto – INDYCAR

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Colton Herta became the first two-time pole winner this season in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, earning the NTT P1 Award for the Honda Indy Toronto on Saturday.

Herta’s top time was 59.2698 seconds on his last flying lap in the No. 26 Gainbridge Honda, as he added this pole to his No. 1 spot at the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach in April. The first nine races of this season featured a different pole winner, and Herta was happy to spoil a chance for the INDYCAR SERIES to tie a record of 10 different pole winners to start a season set in 1952.

SEE: Qualifying Results | Qualifying Highlights

“That was an intense session,” Herta said. “We hadn’t really found that time until right at the end. I was really happy with that lap. It all kind of came together. The car was working brilliantly. You don’t see that usually, guys going faster on the used reds (alternate Firestone tires) instead of the new. Something to think about for tomorrow, but I’m happy with my Gainbridge Honda.”

The 85-lap race is scheduled for Sunday. Live, exclusive coverage of the race starts at 3 p.m. (ET) on Peacock Premium – with limited commercial interruptions – and the INDYCAR Radio Network. Both outlets also will cover live the morning warmup session at 10:55 a.m.

Six-time NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion Scott Dixon will join Herta – who also led the morning practice – on the front row after a best qualifying lap of 59.3592 in the No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda. It was the best non-oval qualifying performance this season for Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge pole winner Dixon, whose previous best road/street qualifying effort was fifth at the last race, The Honda Indy 200 on July 3 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

Two-time series champion Josef Newgarden, who leads the series this season with three wins, qualified third at 59.5257 in the No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet. He will share Row 2 with Alexander Rossi, who qualified fourth at 59.5544 in the No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS/AutoNation Honda.

David Malukas was the top-qualifying rookie with a career-best starting spot of fifth after a lap of 59.6140 in the No. 18 HMD Honda. Scott McLaughlin rounded out the Firestone Fast Six at 59.9558 in the No. 3 XPEL Team Penske Chevrolet.

NTT P1 Award qualifying provided a mixed bag of results for contenders for the Astor Challenge Cup as series champion on the 11-turn, 1.786-mile temporary circuit on the streets of Exhibition Place in Canada’s largest city.

Points leader and 2021 Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge winner Marcus Ericsson qualified ninth in the No. 8 Huski Chocolate Chip Ganassi Racing Honda.

Ericsson’s closest pursuer, 2014 series champion Will Power, endured a third consecutive event with a frustrating qualifying result. He will start 16th in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet after his final hot lap in the first qualifying session was halted when Kyle Kirkwood crashed his No. 14 Sexton Properties Chevrolet in Turn 8, triggering a red flag and ending the group’s session.

Power has qualified 15th or lower in the last three road course races on the schedule yet has rallied to finish first and third in two of them, at Belle Isle and Mid-Ohio, respectively.

“I should know that you must stay in the top six every time because this can happen,” Power said of losing his lap to Kirkwood’s incident. “I had a really fast car again. It is crazy. That’s three races in a row we’ve been like P2 in practice before qualifying and then between 15th and 19th. Frustrating, man. Frustrating. I got to Turn 6 and was up four-tenths. That would have got us through.”

Newgarden, third in points, is in good shape to possibly gain ground on Ericsson and Power with the third starting spot Sunday.

But the next two drivers in the standings, fourth-place Alex Palou and fifth-place Pato O’Ward, have a lot of work to do.

Reigning series champion Palou slowed on track and stopped in his qualifying group in the first session and will start 22nd in the 25-car field in the No. 10 NTT DATA Chip Ganassi Racing Honda. O’Ward clipped the wall with his No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet during his first group, didn’t advance and will start 15th.

There was bright spot for the enthusiastic crowd of Canadian fans, back in droves under sunny skies after this event was put on hold in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Toronto area native and series rookie Devlin DeFrancesco qualified a career-best 12th in the No. 29 PowerTap Honda.

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Blue Jays shift Kikuchi to bullpen; White to start vs. Yankees – TSN

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Toronto Blue Jays manager John Schneider confirmed the team will start righty Mitch White Saturday against the New York Yankees while struggling southpaw Yusei Kikuchi shifts to the bullpen.

Kikuchi did not sit in the dugout for Wednesday’s 6-1 victory over the Baltimore Orioles and was instead seated in the bullpen with other relievers, indicating an apparent change in role. 

The 31-year-old has struggled mightily in 20 starts this season, posting an ERA of 5.25 and a WHIP of 1.51. His latest outing came Monday night when he allowed six runs (three earned) in 3.1 innings in an eventual 7-4 loss to the Orioles. It was his second tough outing against Baltimore in as many starts as he surrendered five earned runs in 5.0 innings one week prior at Camden Yards. 

Signed to a three-year, $36 million deal in the off-season, Kikuchi is due $16 million this season and then $10 million in 2023 and 2024.

Meanwhile, White was acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers on trade deadline day earlier this month and will start his third game for the Jays Saturday in the Bronx. In 17 appearances split between the two teams this season, White is 1-3 with a 3.72 ERA and 52 strikeouts in 65.1 innings.

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Canada at The 2022 FIFA World Cup: Time To Build Excitement

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It’s been a long time since Canada made it to the FIFA World Cup Finals. Indeed, for younger Canadians, this will be the first time they get to see their national team on soccer’s biggest stage — the last time they played in the finals was way back in 1986. They’ll be hoping that things go a little better this time since, in their previous outing, they lost all three games without scoring a goal, making them the worst-performing team in the competition.

Still, there are two things to remember. First, just making it to the World Cup is an achievement. And second, the World Cup is a lot of fun even if your team doesn’t win! So it’s going to be an exciting month of football. In this blog, we’ll take a look at some essential information that’ll help you to build excitement for the tournament.

Canada at The 2022 FIFA World Cup: Time To Build Excitement

Photo by Pixabay: https://www.pexels.com/photo/ball-blur-championship-close-up-209841/

 

Who Canada Will Play And When

Canada are guaranteed to play at least three games. Their first match will take place on November 23 (2 pm ET, 11 am PT), when they take on Belgium at the Al Rayyan Stadium in Qatar.

Next up is Croatia, who they’ll play four days later on November 27 (11 am ET, 8 am PT). Their final group game will be against Morocco, who they’ll play on December 1 (10 am ET, 7 am PT). If they finish in the top two, they’ll play again on December 5 or 6. But it’s best not to mark that potential date in your calendar just yet.

 

What Are Canada’s Chances of Winning?

Canada do not, unfortunately, have all that much chance of winning the World Cup — there are simply too many sides stronger than them. They’re unlikely to make it out of the group stage, in large part because they were given an especially difficult draw. Belgium have some of the world’s best players, while Croatia made it to the final of the World Cup last time out in 2018. Stranger things have happened, but don’t be too disappointed if they’re returning home early — they’re still heroes!

 

Extra World Cup Fun

Photo by RF._.studio: https://www.pexels.com/photo/photo-of-person-wearing-neon-green-socks-3621104/

Extra World Cup Fun

There’s more to enjoy about the World Cup than just Canada’s participation. This, after all, is a tournament that’s easy to love even if your country did not qualify. During the competition, there’ll be plenty of ways to get into the World Cup spirit, including listening to themed podcasts, participating in BetVictor’s Crack The Code competition, challenging yourself in a fantasy football tournament, and organising viewing parties for you and your friends.

Throw yourself into all that the World Cup provides, and you’ll find that you enjoy the month of sporting action even if Canada don’t go as far as you would like.

 

What Else To Know About The World Cup

This World Cup is unique because it’s the first to take place in the winter and also the first in the Middle East. This means it’ll be slightly different from previous tournaments, but if you think it’ll be any less enjoyable, think again. The World Cup is a global spectacle that’s fun no matter when it’s held!

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Between court ruling and new world rankings, LIV golfers facing long road back to PGA Tour – Sportsnet.ca

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WILMINGTON, Del. — Long before the PGA Tour’s post-season opener ended with a winning bogey in a three-hole playoff, the biggest drama was in the clubhouse at the TPC Southwind.

A dozen or so players gathered around a screen to watch the outcome in the first of what figures to be many court fights between the PGA Tour and Saudi-funded LIV Golf.

“I walked by player dining and I saw about 10 really nervous people pacing all around the room and I thought, ‘Well, there’s something going on,’” Jon Rahm said.

He was curious enough to stay for the finish.

This one went to the tour. A federal judge denied the request of three LIV golfers to compete in the FedEx Cup playoffs. Talor Gooch, Hudson Swafford and Matt Jones were in Memphis, Tenn., in case they got the green light but soon were headed home.

When will they return?

That was one of the realities that came out of the ruling, even if it was an emergency hearing. More detailed arguments for a temporary injunction could come later. U.S. District Judge Beth Labson Freeman said her first open spot for an evidentiary hearing was Sept. 27-29.

That’s the week of the Presidents Cup. Such is the year.

The assumption is the three players — possibly more if they chose not to resign from the PGA Tour — want freedom to play both circuits. For now they are suspended — or banned, which is the word used in a text exchange from February between Sergio Garcia and Greg Norman.

“Hi Sharky! It’s official, the Tour has told our manager this week that whoever signs with the League, is ban from the Tour for life! I don’t know how are we gonna get enough good players to join the League under this conditions. What do you think?” Garcia said in his text, now part of the court documents.

Norman replied: “They cannot ban you for one day let alone life. It is a shallow threat. Ask them to put it in writing to you or any player. I bet they don’t. Happy for anyone to speak with our legal team to better understand they have no chance of enforcing.”

Judge Freeman ruled otherwise.

For some players, it might be awkward to be in the same tournament as the 10 players who are suing the PGA Tour. This is starting to get personal. Until now, any hard feelings was over someone wearing spikes too long or getting called “Brooksie.”

The notion of a lifetime ban is premature. Even so, the reality is LIV golfers might not be seen on the PGA Tour anytime soon whether they want to or not.

“It doesn’t look like it,” Rahm said. “I’m confident that the LIV side of things are still going to push strong to keep trying to change some things. But I also know that the lawyers on the PGA Tour side are going to keep fighting for the way things are going right now. It’s not the last thing we are going to hear from them.”

Outside of court are two issues still to be determined.

The majors have not announced their criteria for eligibility next year. The U.S. Open typically waits until the fall to go over any tweaks it wants to make. The USGA hasn’t make any significant changes to its exemptions since going to the top 50 (from top 20) in the world ranking in 2001 and doing away with money lists on the PGA Tour and European tour in 2012.

The Masters began using the top 50 in the world ranking in 1999. Masters champions currently have lifetime exemptions, and six of them since 2010 are now part of LIV Golf. There isn’t a seating chart for the Masters Club dinner on Tuesday night for past champions. This might be a good time to start a new tradition.

The Open Championship leans heavily on the world ranking for exemptions and an alternate list. The PGA Championship uses the PGA Tour money list and a catch-all “special invitations” category that seems to always catch the top 100 in the world. It just doesn’t say that in writing.

At this rate, maybe the majors don’t have to make many adjustments if they want to limit the number of LIV golfers.

LIV Golf no longer has anyone in the top 20 because Dustin Johnson dropped to No. 21 this week. Its players don’t get world ranking points, and its July 6 application to be included in the world ranking system probably won’t be decided until next year at the earliest. The process historically takes one year or longer.

It’s a safe bet that with few exceptions, the only players who will be exempt for all the majors already are exempt because they won one in the last five years — Phil Mickelson, Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau, Brooks Koepka and Patrick Reed (who has one year left).

That leads to another reality also unveiled last week. The world ranking began the switch to a modernized system that is reputed to be more accurate and in doing so eliminates minimum points for smaller tours and weak fields.

Reed played the Asian Tour last week. He tied for 31st and received 0.31 points. The winner got just under 7.4 points — about half what the Korn Ferry Tour winner received.

A year or so from now, good luck finding anyone from the top 75 who isn’t a PGA Tour member.

Players are free to choose whatever path they want. If that means guaranteed money — more than they could reasonably have earned on the PGA Tour — it’s hard to fault them.

But it could be a long road back, if that’s where they even want to go.

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