Danica headlines 100th anniversary of Indy 500

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Danica headlines 100th anniversary of Indy 500

May 28, 2011
INDYCAR PAGE DRIVER PROFILES
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) When Alex Tagliani leads the 33-car field into the first turn of the Indianapolis 500, he'll be tugging along a century's worth of triumphs, thrills and tragedy.But in this, the 100th anniversary of America's most famous race, the focus is clearly on the future.RELATED: From wheelchair, Schmidt inspires others at Indy
The IndyCar series is showing signs of emerging from 15 years of irrelevance, a period of darkness that began with an open-wheel war between two feuding series and ended with a peace agreement hardly anyone noticed. The sport that produced such giants as A.J. Foyt, Mario Andretti and Rick Mears found itself relegated to niche status. Heck, there were even empty seats at the Brickyard, a sight no one could have envisioned a couple of decades ago."There was almost a lost generation," Andretti moaned. "There were those 15 years where things were precarious, at best."Now, there's a semblance of hope. Two new manufacturers will enter the series in 2012, powering a futuristic new machine. The field for this year's 500 is undoubtedly deeper and more talented than it has been since the glory days. Sponsorships are up, attendance is improving and an energetic new leader seems willing to try anything that might bring more attention to the sport.In a sense, Sunday's race can be seen as a jumping-off point to a new era (and, no, we're not talking about the giant orange ramp set up on the infield for a Hot Wheels promotional stunt before the green flag waves)."I'm proud of the series for what we've done, for all the hard work we've put in," said Danica Patrick, who has just one win in her career but remains the only driver widely known outside of IndyCar circles.Of course, the fact that everyone is wondering whether Patrick will bolt to a more profitable gig in NASCAR next year shows the checkered flag remains in the distance. No matter what happens, there's still plenty of work to be done.A third of the field is composed of part-time drivers, most of whom are doing Indy-only deals and hope it leads to something biggerLook at Dan Wheldon, a former race winner who should be in the prime of his career. He was squeezed out of his last job, and this is the only sure thing on his schedule in 2011. Look at Townsend Bell, who has finished as high as fifth at Indy and will start from the inside of the second row. Asked what's on his schedule for the rest of the year, he replied, "Well, there's Christmas. And New Year's, I guess."Good line, but not good for IndyCar."I stopped many years ago trying to rationalize or problem-solve the racing industry," Bell said. "I'm resigned to the fact that if I just go out and win the damn race, everything else will probably take care of itself."Randy Bernard, who was brought in from the Professional Bull Riders series to bring some pizazz to IndyCar, has certainly shown he's willing to shake thing up. One of his changes - double-file restarts, which are used in NASCAR - has drawn the ire of the drivers. They see them as impractical with the high-speed, open-wheel machines, which can't go banging into each other like the good ol' boys.Tagliani, the surprising pole-winner, was one of the most outspoken critics. He fears that Sunday's race could turn into a gruesome crashfest. He even went so far as to raise the possibility of debris flying into the stands and injuring someone in the massive crowd of more than 200,000."I don't want to be responsible for that," the Canadian said. "If our wheels touch while we're racing side-by-side, all of a sudden cars are going to be flipping."IndyCar officials have promised extra sweeping in the corners during caution periods to provide a wider racing groove, but they appear unwilling to back off from the double-file concept. If nothing else, it has given people something to talk about, which might have been the main purpose all along."It's brought a lot of new controversy and attention to the sport, in a good and positive way," Bernard said.There are other positive signs:- Tagliani was part-owner of a financially challenged team that appeared on the verge of folding before the season. Then it was bought by Sam Schmidt, a former racer who became a car owner after a 2000 crash left him a quadriplegic. The joyful celebration between Tags and his wheelchair-bound boss when the No. 77 car stunningly captured the pole will remain one of the most heart-warming memories of this May, no matter who wins the race.- Helio Castroneves will make another attempt at his record-tying fourth win. He struggled in qualifying, managing only the 16th-best speed, but look for him to make a quick charge through the field. He'll likely be joined by others starting farther back than expected, such as defending champ Dario Franchitti (ninth) and Ryan Briscoe (26th). "I think those guys will be up front pretty quickly," said Will Power, another of the favorites.- Patrick could be making her final start at the 500 if, as most people expect, she moves full time to stock cars in 2012. While coy about her future, she denied a report that a tentative NASCAR deal was already in place and insisted she has not made a final decision."We're very far from the finish line on any of that," she said.Patrick has always run strong at Indy, most notably her fourth-place finish as a rookie in 2005, but don't look for any DanicaMania this year. Her Andretti Autosport team has struggled all month to get up to speed. In fact, two of the team's four regulars didn't even qualify on bump day, leading to a deal that put Ryan Hunter-Reay in a car Bruno Junqueira actually qualified for rival A.J. Foyt Racing.Hunter-Reay, it turns out, might have a better chance in the No. 41 car than he would've had slipping into the field in an underpowered Andretti machine. He was faster than any of his actual teammates in the final practice session Friday.As for Schmidt, he's reveled all week in the attention that goes with putting a car on the pole, especially one that beat out powerhouse organizations run by Roger Penske and Chip Ganassi. Considering the personal side to the story, the team's qualifying run is even more inspiring."I do it because this is my passion," Schmidt said. "But if gets a lot of people out of bed, gets 'em active, gets 'em in shape, gets 'em back to work so they can be an active part of society, that's what it's all about."Although Schmidt's team has shown it can produce a fast car, a 200-lap race is more than pure speed. There's reliability. There's strategy. There's pit stops."It comes down to the total package," two-time winner Franchitti said. "You've got to be flawless. Every year, it's the same thing: To win this thing, you've got to be flawless. It's very unusual to make a mistake and come back from it."Which is why, despite the closeness of the field and the surprising strength shown by smaller teams in qualifying, the winner likely will be wearing the Penske (Castroneves, Briscoe and Power) or Ganassi (Franchitti and Scott Dixon) colors."Part of me wants to say the winner will come from outside of those guys," said Tony Kanaan, who's one of those outsiders. "But I know what they're capable of. I know Dario. I know Scott Dixon. And Helio, you can't count Helio out. Helio running from behind is something else. I would say it will be between those two teams, unfortunately for me."

Warriors announce 2017 Summer League schedule, roster

Warriors announce 2017 Summer League schedule, roster

OAKLAND – The Golden State Warriors have announced the team’s roster and schedule for 2017 NBA Summer League in Las Vegas. Warriors Assistant Coach/Player Development Chris DeMarco will serve as head coach of the team in Golden State’s 12th summer in Vegas, which tips off on Saturday, July 8.

Golden State’s Summer League roster is highlighted by current Warriors players Damian Jones, Kevon Looney and Patrick McCaw, who helped the club capture its second NBA championship in three years and fifth in franchise history in 2016-17. The Warriors’ Summer League entry will also feature Jordan Bell, the 38th selection in last week’s NBA Draft, who was named the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year last season as a junior at Oregon. Additionally, Golden State’s squad includes Jabari Brown, Elgin Cook and Alex Hamilton, who were all members of the Santa Cruz Warriors, Golden State’s NBA G League club, in 2016-17.

The Warriors, who won the inaugural Summer League title in 2013, own a 36-23 (.610) all-time record at NBA Summer League, the most wins in the history of the annual event. Teams will play three preliminary games between July 7-11 before being seeded in a tournament that begins on July 12 and concludes with the Championship Game on Monday, July 17. Each team will play a minimum of five games in Las Vegas.

Below is the Warriors’ 2017 NBA Summer League schedule and broadcast information for their three preliminary games in Las Vegas:

Saturday, July 8 vs Philadelphia 76ers -- 7:30pm PDT
Monday, July 10 vs Cleveland Cavaliers -- 5:30pm PDT (On NBC Sports Bay Area)
Tuesday, July 11 vs Minnesota Timberwolves -- 5:30pm PDT

Listed below is Golden State’s roster for 2017 NBA Summer League:

GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS 2017 SUMMER LEAGUE ROSTER*

 

NO

Player

POS

HT

WT

BORN

COLLEGE/FROM

LAST TEAM

NBA EXP.

12

Bryce Alford

G

6-3

185

1/18/95

UCLA/USA

UCLA

R

18

Noah Allen

G/F

6-7

215

2/1/95

Hawaii/USA

Hawaii

R

2

Jordan Bell

F

6-9

224

1/7/95

Oregon/USA

Oregon

R

25

Chris Boucher

F

6-10

200

1/11/93

Oregon/Canada

Oregon

R

32

Jabari Brown

G

6-4

215

12/18/92

Missouri/USA

Santa Cruz Warriors

1

8

Elgin Cook

F

6-6

206

1/15/93

Oregon/USA

Santa Cruz Warriors

R

10

Deividas Dulkys

G

6-5

196

3/21/88

Florida State/Lithuania

Obradoiro (Spain)

R

31

Dylan Ennis

G

6-2

195

12/26/91

Oregon/Canada

Oregon

R

33

Alex Hamilton

G

6-4

195

10/5/93

Louisiana Tech/USA

Santa Cruz Warriors

R

40

Justin Harper

F

6-10

225

8/30/89

Richmond/USA

Globalport (Philippines)

3

15

Damian Jones

C

7-0

245

6/30/95

Vanderbilt/USA

Golden State Warriors

1

5

Kevon Looney

F

6-9

220

2/6/96

UCLA/USA

Golden State Warriors

2

0

Patrick McCaw

G

6-7

185

10/25/95

UNLV/USA

Golden State Warriors

1

6

Xavier Munford

G

6-2

180

6/1/92

Rhode Island/USA

FC Barcelona (Spain)

1

7

Joe Rahon

G

6-2

195

10/1/93

St. Mary’s/USA

St. Mary’s

R

19

Tai Webster

G

6-4

195

5/29/95

Nebraska/New Zealand

Nebraska

R

55

Darrell Williams

F/C

6-8

245

9/15/89

Texas A&M-Commerce/USA

Bnei Herzliya (Israel)

R

4

JaCorey Williams

F

6-8

220

6/12/94

Middle Tennessee State/USA

Middle Tennessee State

R

 The Golden State Warriors media services provided this report.

Won't be easy for interested teams to pull off double jackpot with Iguodala

Won't be easy for interested teams to pull off double jackpot with Iguodala

Andre Iguodala is a wanted man, by the Warriors, who have spent four seasons benefitting from his presence, and also by a few teams around the NBA seeking to hit the double jackpot.

That is, adding Iguodala to their team while subtracting him from the Warriors.

Understand, though, it won’t be easy to pry Iguodala away -- even if seven teams, according to an ESPN report on Tuesday, plan to chase the veteran forward when he becomes a free agent this weekend.

And while Iguodala is as delighted as he is flattered by the interest, he has a clear vision of what he wants from himself, and it goes beyond the numbers on a contract. Remember, he chose to come to the Warriors in the summer of 2013 for $48 million over four years despite being offered more by other teams.

Though Iguodala, 33, might not be willing to make the same financial sacrifice, any team that recognizes the significance of such a move has to know straight cash alone won’t be enough to lure him -- unless it’s an offer that blows his mind.

Iguodala’s mind runs too deep to be easily blown, but a deal upward of $18 per year would create a considerable breeze. And, remember, the Warriors will have Iguodala’s Bird Rights the second Kevin Durant officially declines his option.

That would provide room for the team, should it choose, to push its financial offer.

Iguodala came to the Warriors to join an alluring team with growth potential, with a new-age ownership in a location that aligned with his personal plan for his future. All those factors remain in play.

If the dollars are equal, or close to equal, Iguodala almost certainly will be back. That he realizes the folly of taking the same to go elsewhere has been related to NBCSportsBayArea.com on several occasions in recent months.

“I know they appreciate me here,” he said last month.

It was Iguodala’s arrival that pushed the team to another level. He provided a superior wing defender, a leader on the court and in the locker room and was practically perfect as an offensive complement to Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, while providing a tremendous boost to a defense then built around Andrew Bogut, with Draymond Green and Thompson still on the rise.

Considering the team’s accomplishments since then, and Iguodala’s role throughout, it has worked exceedingly well for both parties. Which is why the team has placed such a high value on him.

“It’s hard to quantify it, other than two world championships,” coach Steve Kerr said recently. “And I’m not sure we’d have any without him.

“I know we wouldn’t have won two years ago without him. And probably wouldn’t have won this year, either, just based on everything that he means to us as a backup point guard, as the primary defender on LeBron, as the guy who gets us organized, who keeps us sane at times when things are getting a little out of control.

“And then, of course, the example that he sets, coming off the bench, as an All-Star, as a Finals MVP, as an Olympian,” Kerr added. “For him to willingly come off the bench and accept that role, it sets a great tone for the rest of the guys. He mentors those young guys on the bench constantly, too, and that’s a big factor for us as well.”

Now there is no mistaking the Warriors drafted Pat McCaw last June with the hope he’ll someday be able to provide much of what Iguodala has given them. Iguodala sees this, even noting during the team’s championship celebration that the rookie will be his replacement.

It was a joke. Had to be, for that day has not yet arrived, and the Warriors know it.