Wednesday, January 17, 2018
Sports

James Hinchcliffe earns Indianapolis 500 pole year after near-fatal crash

INDIANAPOLIS — James Hinchcliffe watched the Indianapolis 500 last year from his hospital bed. He had nearly died from injuries six days earlier in a practice crash at famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Now he'll start the 100th running of "The Greatest Spectacle In Racing" from the pole.

The Canadian, who spent the past year fighting back from the life-threatening leg injury, completed a remarkable comeback Sunday by posting a four-lap qualifying average of 230.760 mph on the final run of the day to barely edge American Josef Newgarden for the pole.

"I get it. (The accident) was a big deal," Hinchcliffe said after capturing the pole by the fourth-closest margin (0.06 mph) in race history. "You're coming back to this place and you want to focus on the here and now and not remember or focus on hitting the wall at 125 Gs. … Hopefully, this (the pole) is the topic of conversation for the next week."

The pole shootout was so close that Ryan Hunter-Reay, who will start third, thought he had passed Newgarden on the second-to-last attempt when he was clocked at 230.648 mph around the 21/2-mile track.

Newgarden and Hunter-Reay, the 2014 race champ and one of Hinchcliffe's former teammates with Andretti Autosport, both congratulated the Schmidt Peterson Motorsports driver. Hinchcliffe, the 2013 Grand Prix of St. Petersburg winner and one of the sport's most popular drivers, missed the final 11 races last season after a broken suspension part punctured his left leg right and nearly caused him to bleed out the day after Indy 500 qualifying.

"I don't think anyone can describe nearly losing your life at a track, then going back there to go 240 mph into a corner," Hunter-Reay said.

Newgarden, who went fourth in the nine-driver pole shootout, saw his average of 230.700 mph withstand four challengers before Hinchcliffe, who went last, surpassed him.

"It was a tough pill to swallow," Newgarden said. "It was difficult waiting. I was trying to remind myself it's not about (the pole). I wanted to win the pole so bad, it would have been amazing,"

Alex Tagliani spun coming out of Turn 4 on his warmup lap and hit the attenuator at the pit road entrance. His car spun 51/2 times but he was quickly checked, released and cleared to drive by the infield medical center. He will be the first driver since 1924 to make the 500 grid without an official qualifying speed.

Comments

Thursday’s sports on TV/radio

TODAYCollege basketballMurray State at Belmont7 p.m.ESPNUJacksonville State at Morehead State7 p.m.CBSSNWomen: Florida at Arkansas7 p.m.SECWomen: Tennessee at Notre Dame7 p.m.ESPNMinnesota at Maryland8:30 p.m.FS1UNC Asheville at Winthrop9 p.m.ESPNUSt...
Updated: 28 minutes ago
Australian Open

Australian Open

MELBOURNE, Australia —Maria Sharapova ticked off more items on her "to do" list at the Australian Open, returning to center court and accounting for the only person who has beaten her at a Grand Slam since her comeback from a doping ban. The unseeded...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Sports in brief

BaseballFormer Umpire Harvey, known as ‘god,’ dies at 87Doug Harvey, a Major League Baseball umpire for 31 years whose calls of balls and strikes, fair and foul, safe and out were delivered with such gusto and authority that he was known as "God" to ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Bruins’ points run reaches 14 games

Bruins’ points run reaches 14 games

BOSTON — David Pastrnak and Ryan Spooner each scored an early goal, Tuukka Rask stopped 21 shots and the Bruins beat the Canadiens 4-1 on Wednesday in Montreal coach Claude Julien’s return to Boston. The surging Bruins have earned at least a point in...
Updated: 1 hour ago

High school scoreboard for Jan. 17

Wednesday’s scoreboardBoys basketballBoca Ciega 62, Clearwater 52Boys soccerPalm Harbor U. 3, Dunedin 0Girls soccerPalm Harbor U. 5, Dunedin 0
Updated: 1 hour ago
Spurs return Leonard to sideline with leg injury

Spurs return Leonard to sideline with leg injury

Kawhi Leonard is headed back to the sidelines, and he’ll stay there until his leg is ready. The Spurs decided Wednesday to shut down their All-Star forward, saying Leonard would be out indefinitely as he continues his recovery from injury. "We didn’t...
Updated: 1 hour ago
QB’s death spurs calls for help

QB’s death spurs calls for help

When Dr. Brian Hainline learned about the apparent suicide of another college athlete, it hit hard. Again. No, he didn’t know Washington State quarterback Tyler Hilinski. But he has heard such stories far too often. The NCAA’s first chief medical off...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Reports: Brady hurts hand

Reports: Brady hurts hand

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Patriots quarterback Tom Brady jammed his right (throwing) hand at practice Wednesday after accidentally being run into by a teammate, reports said.X-rays revealed no structural damage and Brady should be okay for Sunday’s AFC tit...
Updated: 1 hour ago
HomeTeam 25: Boys basketball rankings for Tampa Bay

HomeTeam 25: Boys basketball rankings for Tampa Bay

1. St. Petersburg (11-1)This week: Friday at Osceola; Saturday vs. Oak Hill (Va.) @Berkeley Prep's National HoopfestThe buzz: The Green Devils returned to action last week, beating Palm Harbor University by 33 and Sickles by 10. Guards Serrel Smith a...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Rays spring tickets go on sale Friday

Rays spring tickets go on sale Friday

The Rays will put single game tickets for spring training home games on sale Friday at 10 a.m. via raysbaseball.com.The Rays are playing 14 home games in Port Charlotte, starting with the Feb. 23 opener vs. Pittsburgh. Tickets will be available at th...
Updated: 6 hours ago