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Power has top speed in IndyCar testing

– Will Power topped the speed charts for a second consecutive day of IndyCar testing at Barber Motorsports Park.

The Penske Racing driver turned a lap at 1:07.1329, which was more than three seconds faster than last year’s pole winning time set by teammate Helio Castroneves.

“Good start for the spring training,” Power said. “I think we got some good stuff to come back here for the race. It’s just phenomenal how tight it is up front all the way through the field, and also just how fast these cars are around here, it’s just unbelievable.”

The IndyCar season opens March 24 in St. Pete, and Power said he’s got little planned between now and the opener.

The fourth and final session Wednesday saw 14 of the 28 driver-car combinations post their best lap times.

James Hinchcliffe was right behind Power at 1:07.3839, followed by Justin Wilson and Scott Dixon.

Tony Kanaan’s time of 1:07.5478 in Wednesday morning’s session stood as fourth best overall.

Defending series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay was fifth fastest overall with a lap turned Wednesday morning but felt the Andretti Autosport group is a long way off from the Penske cars of Power and Castroneves right now.


USC women’s coach quits

Michael Cooper has quit as Southern California women’s basketball coach after four seasons. Athletic director Pat Haden said Cooper resigned Tuesday and a national search will be conducted for his replacement. The Trojans went 11-20 this season and finished seventh in the Pac-12 with a 7-11 record. Cooper was 72-57 overall at USC.


Garrett senior to Manchester

Garrett senior receiver Drake Landes has committed to play at Manchester University. Landes was recently named to the North All-Star team by the Indiana Football Coaches Association.


Diaz vice captain of Solheim team

Laura Diaz was appointed vice captain of the U.S. Solheim Cup team, pairing her with Dottie Pepper six years after their friendship seemingly ended over Pepper’s blunt televised comment during the matches. Diaz, selected by captain Meg Mallon to join Pepper as an assistant for the August matches against Europe at Colorado Golf Club, was the most vocal critic after Pepper referred to the U.S. players as “chokin’ freakin’ dogs” during Golf Channel’s coverage of the 2007 event. Believing the network was in a commercial break, Pepper made the comment after Diaz and Sherri Steinhauer settled for a halve when Steinhauer missed a 3-foot putt on the 18th.


Pitcher throws 2 perfect games

Baldwin Wallace (Ohio) University junior Tabitha Murray pitched consecutive perfect games in a doubleheader. She set down 15 batters in a row in an 8-0 victory over Sul Ross (Texas) University and 18 straight in a 10-0 win over Edgewood (Wis.) College. Murray struck out six in the opener while going 2 for 3 as designated hitter with a run scored and an RBI. In the nightcap, she struck out seven and went 2 for 4 with a double and two RBI.


Kirilenko in semis

Maria Kirilenko has outlasted No. 5 seed Petra Kvitova 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 in searing heat to reach the semifinals of the BNP Paribas Open for the first time. Kirilenko improved to 6-0 in three-set matches this year. Seeded 13th, the Russian is playing her first tournament since mid-February when she retired with a right shoulder injury in the first round at Doha. On the men’s side, No. 8 seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga outlasted No. 17 Milos Raonic 4-6, 7-5, 6-4, and Kevin Anderson defeated No. 13 Giles Simon 6-3, 1-6, 6-4.