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03.09.2018 15:44
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SEARS POINT, Calif. -- Simon Pagenaud moved a bit closer to his first IndyCar Series championship on Saturday, when he claimed pole position for the season finale at Sonoma Raceway.The bonus point that Pagenaud earned for turning the fastest qualifying lap Saturday extended his cushion over Team Penske teammate Will Power to 44 points entering Sundays 85-lap GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma. That means Pagenaud can clinch the IndyCar title by finishing sixth or better.Power, who had qualified on pole at Sonoma for five of his past six starts at the road course, managed fifth place Saturday. Meanwhile, Pagenaud set a track record of 1 minute, 16.253 seconds in his Dallara-Chevrolet on the way to claiming his series-best seventh pole of the season.The pole capped a huge day for Pagenaud, the 32-year-old Frenchman who earlier shared the news that Menards home improvement stores will double their sponsorship commitment to the No. 22 Team Penske car from five to 10 races in 2017.It feels great, Pagenaud said after averaging 112.594 mph on his pole lap. We prepared really well in practice, and the weekend has gone perfect so far. My first lap on the Firestone red tires, I radioed in and said, This is going to be really good.I was on the edge, but it was a really good lap. We have to err on the safe side in the race, and finishing second is OK if we win the championship. Im really proud of my guys, and no matter what happens tomorrow, its been an incredible season.Power, the 2014 IndyCar Series champion, is a three-time winner at Sonoma, but he and his crew have been unable to get the handling and braking of the Verizon Chevrolet to his liking this weekend.Were just not quite on the pace, and I cant really put my finger on why, Power said. Thats kind of been the story all weekend. Were there, but not quite there.Hopefully, the tire strategies will create an opportunity for us to make our way to the front. The last thing we need is a straightforward race, because Simons going to be pretty tough to beat if thats the case. Hes obviously very quick. But IndyCar throws curveballs here and there, so you never know.We still need to win the race to win the championship, and Simon needs to have a bad day.Pagenaud and Power have matched each other with four wins apiece this year, with a difference of just two points. But Power started the season in a 42-point hole to Pagenaud after missing the season-opening Grand Prix of St. Petersburg because of concussion symptoms.?Over the summer, the two Penske drivers pulled away from the rest of the field, turning the championship into a two-man battle. Another Penske driver, Helio Castroneves, is tied with defending series champion Scott Dixon of Chip Ganassi Racing for third in the standings heading into Sundays race.Castroneves will start from the outside of the front row at Sonoma, and Dixon will line up seventh. Wholesale Jerseys . Kuznetsov, who was selected by the Capitals in the first round of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, has been playing for his hometown team Chelyabinsk Traktor of the KHL. Cheap NBA Jerseys . This should be celebrated because it will not always be this way. With the amount of money given to players by their clubs these days, it is a wonder that so many of those teams allow the sport to continue to take away many of their assets so they can play for a different team in the middle of their season. http://www.buycheapjerseysauthentic.com/ . Barcelonas entertaining victory ensured the defending Spanish champions retained their share of the league lead with Atletico Madrid two rounds ahead of their meeting in the capital. Real Madrid needed a late goal by substitute Jese Rodriguez to earn a 3-2 victory at Valencia to stay in third place and three points behind its title rivals. Wholesale Nike NFL Jerseys . -- Timbers coach Caleb Porter didnt stray from his business-like approach to the season even after Portland downed the two-time defending league champion Los Angeles Galaxy to gain crucial playoff position. Cheap Authentic Jerseys . Belfort (24-10) needed just 77 seconds to down Henderson in the headlining bout of Saturdays "UFC Fight Night: Belfort vs. Henderson" event at Goiania Arena in Goiania, Brazil. The fight served as a rematch of the pairs 2006 meeting, which Henderson won by decision. CLEVELAND -- It all began with a baseball bromance. With the Chicago Cubs trailing Cleveland 3-games-to-1 in the World Series, manager Joe Maddon handed the ball to veteran lefty Jon Lester with a plea to save the season. And where Jon Lester goes, his good friend and personal catcher, David Ross, is sure to follow.The comeback continued with a road win at Progressive Field, followed by another, and finally a celebration in the visiting clubhouse early Thursday morning. With an 8-7, 10-inning victory over the Cleveland Indians in Game 7, the Cubs brought a halt to 108 years of parade-free baseball on Chicagos North Side. They also scripted a neat twist ending to a season that could have easily spiraled in the opposite direction.Think back to Saturday night, and things were looking grim for the Cubs in their quest to break the franchises title drought. Corey Kluber was cutting a swath through the Chicago lineup, John Lackey was grousing about the strike zone, and the Indians seized control of the series with a 7-2 victory in Game 4. Every move by Indians manager Terry Francona seemed to go smoothly, and even when there was room for debate, Kluber, Andrew Miller and Cody Allen were so dominant it didnt matter.But the Cubs sensed they werent finished, and the people who watched them all season thought the same. For all the talk about the Cubs dominating the competition with 103 regular-season victories, they endured enough character builders to know what they were capable of when truly challenged.A prime case in point: The National League Championship Series, when they fell behind the Dodgers 2-1 before outscoring Los Angeles 23-6 over the final three games.We never quit, Lester said. Thats been kind of our motto the whole year. I know people kind of laugh at us. We won 103 games and the guys in here act like we grinded out the season. But we really did. We had stretches where we didnt play all that well and guys didnt pitch well, or hit well, or play good defense. But we kept the mindset of Well show up today and play and see what happens. Thats a testament to the guys in here.Lester pitched six effective innings in Game 5, and Ross drove in the eventual winning run with a sacrifice fly before receiving a shoutout from Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder during the seventh-inning stretch. And Maddon, perhaps inspired by Franconas unorthodox use of Miller, stretched out closer Aroldis Chapman for eight outs and 42 pitches as the Cubs squeezed out a 3-2 win to send it back to Cleveland.In hindsight, the trip back to Cleveland for Games 6 and 7 might have been therapeutic for the Cubs. They had a chance to take a deep breath and reassess, away from the intense scrutiny that has followed them since the start of spring training. They had also developed a comfort level with Progressive Field after splitting the first two games of the series.We had already seen everything we needed to see, outfielder Jason Heyyward said.ddddddddddddWe saw Kluber in the first game. Kluber is going to be Kluber. If he has it going, he has it going. If he doesnt, you have to try to maximize the situation, because his worst day is a lot of other peoples best day.Kluber notwithstanding, Maddon and the Cubs were perfectly content with the Games 6 and 7 pitching matchups. While Chicagos Jake Arrieta and Kyle Hendricks were both going on full rest, their Cleveland counterparts, Josh Tomlin and Kluber, were being pushed to the limit on three days rest.The Cubs also accrued some tangible benefits from playing under American League rules. Kyle Schwarber, who was available strictly as a pinch hitter during the National League leg of the series, was back in the lineup at designated hitter and hit .438 (7-for-16) in the four games at Progressive Field.With so many Cubs fans in the stands, it sure didnt seem like a hostile environment. Indeed, the pivotal moment in Chicagos 9-3 victory in Game 6 came when an Addison Russell fly ball dropped between Cleveland outfielders Tyler Naquin and Lonnie Chisenhall for a gift double. Not long afterward, Russell gave Cubs fans even more reason to cheer with a grand slam off Dan Otero.There was a lot of blue in the stands -- Cubbie blue -- and they were waiting to erupt every time something went our way, Heyward said.In Game 7, Chicagos lineup kept grinding out at-bats and the bullpen somehow survived. Chapman had almost nothing left in the tank for his 35 pitches, Carl Edwards Jr. and Mike Montgomery combined to close it out in the 10th inning, and Lester threw three innings in his first relief appearance since the 2007 season in Boston. This is whats commonly known as contributing to the cause.I dont think anybody is super-comfortable with something theyve never done, Lester said. Ive done it three times in my career, and that was a hell of a long time ago, when I still had stuff and it didnt matter. At this time of year, you do what youve got to do. Joe asked me to do it, and Im not going to turn him down.The Cubs are in exclusive company having overcome a 3-1 deficit to win a World Series. They joined the 1903 Boston Pilgrims, 1925 and 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates, 1958 New York Yankees, 1968 Detroit Tigers and 1985 Kansas City Royals as one of seven teams to achieve the feat.While the Cubs first title since 1908 is special enough without any extra bells and whistles, the veterans and young players on the roster can all take a smidge more gratification in having made history the hard way. That said, it might be a while before they grasp the true degree of difficulty of their achievement.Some of the guys in here are so young, I really dont think they understand what they just accomplished, Lester said. I dont think theyll understand it until they get a little bit older. 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