1Chase ElliottHendrick Motorsports10 FinishDriverTeamPoints 7William ByronHendrick Motorsports4 5Kyle BuschJoe Gibbs Racing6 9Brad KeselowskiTeam Penske2 4Joey LoganoTeam Penske7 1Chase ElliottHendrick Motorsports10 6Kevin HarvickStewart-Haas Racing5 8Erik JonesJoe Gibbs Racing3 10Chris BuescherRoush Fenway Racing1 6Clint BowyerStewart-Haas Racing5 2Ryan BlaneyTeam Penske9 3Kevin HarvickStewart-Haas Racing8 2Denny HamlinJoe Gibbs Racing9 Chase Elliott swept the stages Sunday at Bristol Motor Speedway, taking both green-and-white-checkered flags in the Food City presents the Supermarket Heroes 500.The No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports driver came alive late in Stage 1 and found his way back to the lead once again by Lap 204 of Stage 2, leading a total of 74 laps thus far.Elliott was trailed by Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano and Kyle Busch in order to round out the top five.RELATED: Stage 2 resultsA big wreck unfolded with 20 laps remaining in the stage, bringing out the red flag. Jimmie Johnson got into the left rear of the Ricky Stenhouse Jr.’s No. 47, spinning the JTG-Daugherty entry and sparking a pileup from oncoming traffic. Cole Custer, Alex Bowman, Kurt Busch and Tyler Reddick were also involved and took heavy, race-ending damage.WATCH: ‘Big One’ unfolds at BristolDuring a battle with his teammate for the lead, Ryan Blaney lost control of his No. 12 Team Penske Ford and appeared set to get away from the incident before being clipped by Ty Dillon’s No. 13 Chevrolet. Blaney exited the race and will finish 40th. Dillon ran two more laps than Blaney and will finish 39th.WATCH: Bad luck at Bristol continues for BlaneyRyan Preece also got into the wall late in the stage to bring out the final caution on Lap 239. STAGE 1Chase Elliott took home his fourth stage win of the season in Stage 1 of Sunday’s Food City presents the Supermarket Heroes 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway.The Hendrick Motorsports driver, who is the series’ most recent winner at Charlotte Motor Speedway, paced the field for 22 laps after taking the lead on Lap 106.RELATED: Stage 1 resultsElliott’s close friend, Ryan Blaney, finished runner-up in the stage in the No. 12 Team Penske Ford, followed by Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Team Penske Ford), Aric Almirola (No. 10 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford) and Joey Logano (No. 22 Team Penske Ford) to round out the top five.Kyle Busch’s No. 18 Toyota and Daniel Suarez’ No. 96 Toyota were caught speeding during their trips to pit road during the second competition caution. Suarez was then black-flagged and was forced to serve a pass-through penalty. They finished the stage 17th and 34th, respectively.Matt DiBenedetto stayed out during the second competition caution and led the field to green on the ensuing restart but was shuffled back to seventh by the stage’s end.The first caution came on Lap 7 when a spinning Ryan Newman brought out the yellow flag. There were two competition cautions in the first stage as well, on Laps 20 and 60.The race began with no practice or qualifying. Keselowski started first after a random draw. 5Joey LoganoTeam Penske6 4Aric AlmirolaStewart-Haas Racing7 3Brad KeselowskiTeam Penske8 FinishDriverTeamPoints 9Ricky Stenhouse Jr.JTG Daugherty Racing2 7Matt DiBenedettoWood Brothers Racing4 8Denny HamlinJoe Gibbs Racing3 10Jimmie JohnsonHendrick Motorsports1
New justice minister Jeremy Wright today said the government would cancel plans for weekend court hearings if the trial proves to be unsuccessful. Wright, in his first public speech since joining the department last month, said it would be ‘crazy’ to pursue the policy nationwide if concerns raised by the profession about the ongoing regional tests proved to be correct. The former criminal barrister told a fringe meeting of the Conservative Party conference that he had met the Bar Council this morning to hear its view that weekend and evening sittings at court would not succeed. But Wright urged sceptics to give the pilot a chance before dismissing it, and said his own experience of the court system had convinced him improvements were necessary and possible. ‘I understand the concerns about weekend courts. Lots of cases won’t work in the evening or weekends but others will. Witnesses have to take several days of time out of work to sit around in a court building only to be called at the end of day three. ‘Asking them to go in on a Saturday might be an advantage to them. We will not be expecting [lawyers] to come in routinely on Sunday mornings but there may be a case for being a little more flexible about what hours we work,’ he said. The minister outlined a number of other efficiency savings he would to introduce in the court process, including reducing the number of papers and calling witnesses – especially police officers – and defendants by video link-up where appropriate. Wright, whose portfolio includes prisons, said the Ministry of Justice was committed to 23% savings on its budget – around £2bn – every year until 2015. The Gazette understands that Chancery Lane has been told that participating courts will choose from a ‘menu of options’, including extended court sittings on weekdays and Saturday afternoons, Sunday court sittings and extended use of virtual courts and video links to prisons. The Law Society, which opposes the scheme, said: ‘It is inappropriate for the courts to sit outside normal business hours and to require solicitors to attend weekend hearings, where there is no emergency and the cases are not of the sort usually undertaken at weekend sittings.’ It said the initiative will increase costs to law firms and ‘will be an expensive way of making the magistrates’ courts less efficient, at a time of decreasing workloads and when all the criminal justice agencies are struggling with budget cuts.’ The Society said it plans to monitor the pilots and gather evidence from solicitors about the problems caused and costs incurred, which it will share with the MoJ when it evaluates the pilots in the new year. Wright denied the MoJ’s savings plans would mean a cap on prisoner numbers and said it was a matter for the courts, rather than ministers, to decide who would go to prison. He did reveal that he would not support any reduction in the number of short sentences passed by magistrates and judges, despite criticism that they offer no rehabilitation to the offender. ‘Short prison sentences do work for public protection,’ he added. ‘There’s no doubt that the reoffending rates for short term sentences is pretty horrendous, but I am not of the view that all those who would have received a short sentence shouldn’t have one.’ Wright said that those expecting immediate reform of the probation and prison service would have to wait. Four new ministers were appointed to the department in David Cameron’s reshuffle last month and Wright said they needed to ‘pause for breath’ before introducing any new legislation.
CAPTION: Helsinki Transport has started testing the first of 20 Variotrams ordered from Adtranz and Rautaruukki Oy in July 1996. The bodies were built at Otanmäki, to a design styled by Creadedesign, with trucks from Siegen, six IGBT inverters from Mannheim and 12 x 45 kW traction motors from Wien. Floor height is 375mm above rail. To cope with winter conditions it has air-conditioning, electric floor heating and double-glazed windows. Series deliveries are expected to start in AprilThree consortia have expressed interest in a 30-year concession to build and operate a 12·8 km light rail line in the Mexican city of Tijuana at a cost of US$240m. Project Director Jesus Torres announced at the end of January that Empresas ICA with Alstom, Bufete Industrial SA with Bombardier, and Grupo Protexa SA with Adtranz are due to submit formal bids in May or June; the winner will be announced in September, with work starting by the end of this year.
CANADA: Plans to establish a High Speed Rail Planning Advisory Board to support the development of proposals for a 250 km/h electrified passenger service on the Windsor – Toronto corridor were announced by the Premier of Ontario Kathleen Wynne on October 23.The High Speed Rail Planning Advisory Board would bring together experts to provide strategic advice on business issues, and would engage with stakeholders, the private sector and indigenous communities during the environmental assessment, design and ridership forecasting processes. A formal environmental assessment process is expected to get underway in spring 2018.The project would comprise a mix of upgraded existing infrastructure and new dedicated tracks. The first phase is envisaged for completion by 2025 at the earliest, and would run from Toronto Union Station to Pearson airport, Guelph, Kitchener-Waterloo and London. The second phase would extend the route to Chatham and Windsor in 2031. On completion the project would reduce end-to-end travel times from more than 4 h to just over 2 h, and serve a region of more than seven million people. ‘High speed rail will dramatically change what’s possible for people in Southwestern Ontario’, said Wynne. ‘Whether that’s giving people a faster, greener way to get to a great job in the tech industry, allowing family members to visit more often or helping people discover more of our beautiful province. Canada’s first high speed rail service will also help companies along the Toronto – Windsor corridor to continue to attract top talent and take their business to the next level.’
Who between Nonito Donaire Jr. (left) and Carl Frampton will snag the WBO interim world featherweight belt? GETTY IMAGES MANILA – Nonito Donaire Jr. will face Carl Frampton of United Kingdom today as he aims for the WBO interim world featherweight title at the SSE Arena in Belftast, Northern Ireland.Both fighters showed their readiness for the world title bout after reaching the required weight. Donaire tipped the scales at 125.5 pounds while Frampton submitted 125 pounds.A victory will be huge for Donaire’s career as it could possibly lead to him getting back to the top of the WBO featherweight division while a defeat could be a huge blow.“Mas malakas pa ako kay Frampton, mas mabilis pa ko, mas matangkad at saka ang ano lang nila ay may edad na’ko kaya nilagay ako underdog,” Donaire said in an interview. “But it’s just a matter of working hard.” The Filipino said he will hang up the gloves only if “my skills had been diminished” and “it’s not safe for me.”“But as of now I am capable of beating a lot of the guys – big, big chance of winning the fight,” Donaire stressed.For his part, Frampton – despite being tipped by many as the favored fighter – is not taking chances against the Talibon, Bohol native.“I have a lot of respect for Donaire,” Frampton said. “He’s a quality fighter.”“In terms of accolades, he’s (Donaire) accomplished more than any other fighter I’ve ever fought. He’s a future Hall of Famer. Hopefully, I can put myself in that bracket one day,” said the British man.The 35-year-old Donaire is set to parade a 38-4-0 win-loss-draw record, including 24 stoppage wins, while the 31-year-old Frampton has 24-1-0, with 14 knockout victories./PN