Ask Ryan Blaney about this weekend’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway and the Team Penske driver gives a noticeable pause as contemplates the uncertainty he faces heading into the second race of the season.Blaney’s pause is understandable with the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 the first race featuring the 2019 aerodynamic rules package that was designed to slow the cars down by reducing horsepower with the intent to create additional passing opportunities on intermediate-sized speedways. Precisely the kind of track the 1.54-mile Atlanta is. And with this package not used in the season-opening Daytona 500, this weekend represents the first time many drivers, including Blaney, will get to experience the rules package in either race or test conditions.“I am trying not to anticipate much just because I haven’t driven the new package,” Blaney told NASCAR.com. “I try not to think about it too much. I just want to go out because you don’t know what to expect yet.“We’ll just have to see how [the package] drives and how it races. I’m very curious.”RELATED: Full Atlanta schedule | Atlanta 101 | Who’s favored to win at Atlanta?Although Blaney didn’t take part in a test over the offseason, Penske teammates Brad Keselowski and defending Cup champion Joey Logano each participated in different tests where they got a feel for the new rules package. Keselowski tested at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, while Logano tested at Auto Club Speedway. Keselowski posted the fastest single-lap speed (of the non-wheel force cars, 178.436 mph) in one of the three sessions at Las Vegas, site of next week’s NASCAR tripleheader weekend that includes races for all three national series.Not only did Blaney solicit feedback from both his teammates, he also watched the stream of the Las Vegas test to form his own opinion. From his conversations with Keselowski and Logano, as well as his own observations, Blaney believes drivers will have to balance pursuing speed with getting their car to handle properly.“It’s a pretty interesting game of how far do you want to trim your car out for overall speed versus handling,” Blaney said. “There were some cars that handled really well but maybe were a little bit slower at the beginning of a run. But, there were cars that were really fast at getting a run [on other cars] because the cars were trimmed-out but as the tires went away they became a handful to hang onto.“It’s going to be neat to see how teams go about finding a middle ground. It’s just not something we’ve dealt with before in the Cup Series.”PODCAST: Are you a Blaney fan? Check out ‘Glass Case of Emotion’Figuring out the quirks of the rules package is not the only unknown Blaney is dealing with this weekend, Atlanta is also just the second race for the new Ford Mustang. And since there is little correlation between 2.5-mile Daytona International Speedway and the high-speed Atlanta oval with an abrasive surface that greatly increases tire wear there wasn’t much Ford and its teams learned during Daytona Speedweeks that can be applied to Atlanta.Ford’s switch to a different model style comes a season after the manufacturer dominated on the track. In addition to Logano capturing the Cup title, Ford drivers combined to win 19 of 36 races and their collective performance delivered Ford its first manufacturer championship since 2002.Nonetheless, the expectation within the Ford camp is that even with a new car and the inevitable growing pains that come with it, their drivers will be able to replicate their many successes from a year ago.“It’s hard to improve on last year, we won a lot of races, but we’re always trying to be better,” Blaney said. “I love the look of them at Daytona; I thought they were really fast at Daytona. And you hope that carryovers to every other racetrack.”
In the presence of representatives of the taxi company and Mayor Milan Bandić, special taxi stickers were presented yesterday in front of the City Administration building, which should facilitate the work of legal taxi drivers.With this move, as they point out from the City of Zagreb, passengers will be able to clearly see on the stickers who they are riding with and at what rate. “Considering that the supervisory services noticed numerous irregularities and illegal performance of autotaxi activities in the area of Zagreb, we were looking for a simple solution in order to put an end to this.” said the executive director of Radio Taxi Zagreb, Jozo Kovačević.This way, a clear message is sent to illegal taxi carriers, which is absolutely fine, but also the message is indirectly, in our opinion, sent to Uber, against which spears are broken in Zagreb and Split. Uber recently reduced transportation prices by 25 percent in Zagreb, and expanded to Split. Dissatisfaction and various pressures with the arrival of Uber on our market, by other taxi carriers, have been going on since the first days.In addition to passengers, the stickers will facilitate the work of supervisory services, such as the municipal police, the Road Traffic Inspectorate and the Interior Ministry, it was pointed out at a press conference. “Irregularities are to the detriment of end users, citizens and many tourists, so we need to arrange the service and operate according to clear rules. These stickers will help passengers feel safe as soon as they sit in the vehicle” said Dubravko Mahović, head of the Department for Public City, Road and Taxi Traffic.The mayor of Zagreb, Milan Bandić, said that the stickers will be on all city taxis by the end of November, and will be issued free of charge. An application has also been launched e-Taxi, which will allow a quick overview and search of the database. Also, the data will be in English to prevent fraud by foreigners, and inspectors and Communal stewards will be able to read the bar code from the stickers for quick verification of the correctness of the vehicle.It is absolutely necessary to regulate the market, but it is also necessary to ensure a free market for everyone, including Uber. We should let the market only regulate, ie fair play, and leave consumers the option of freedom of choice to decide for themselves what is better and better for them.
Segun Toriola and Ajoke Ojomu yesterday emerged champions in the men and women’s table tennis event of the ongoing 19th National Sports Festival in Abuja.Toriola, representing Akwa Ibom State, had lost in the mixed double he paired with Funke Oshonaike.After the first game, which he lost 9-11, Toriola came with his wealth of experience and fought a grim battle to subdue Ahimiyi Ganiyu of Bayelsa State 9-11, 11-7, 11-9, 11-7, 11-9 to grab the gold medal in the men singles decided yesterday.“It was painful that I lost in the mixed double with Funke Oshonaike. And I had to be very careful in the single, as these our young brothers here are determined and ready to disgrace any body.“After the first game, I knew I had the chance of coming out victorious”, Segun Toriola said.Earlier, Ajoke Ojomu of the FCT, defeated Cecilia Otu-Akpan of Cross River in the women’s singles final, to smile away with the gold medal.In the grueling encounter, Ojomu came out 4-3 (8-11, 11-4, 7-11, 11-2, 2-11, 11-9, 13-11) superior to clinch the gold medal.“I’m so, so happy to have defeated Cecilia for the gold medal. I pray to get good international exposure to improve my standard,” Ajoke Ojomu said.Coach Ezekiel David of the FCT table tennis team was excited at his ward’s feat.“I was not disturbed that Ajoke had cruised to the final. I know her capability, and I was very sure of a gold medal from her after Nimota had removed Funke Oshonaike that would have been an obstacle to her victory.“This festival gold medal is not the end of it all, as we will resume training to ensure she qualifies to be in the national team for any international assignment,” coach David said.The national coach, Bello Nasiru, has however, expressed satisfaction at the level if performance displayed in the matches played.According to Nasiru, the decision to involve the ex-internationals has brought glamour to the table tennis event in the festival.“It provided a good opportunity for the home-based to play against the foreign-based.”According to him, Toriola’s cool headedness won him the gold medal in the men’s singles.Related