Frenchman Pagenaud Takes 1st Indianapolis 500 Pole

Simon Pagenaud turned a stressful weekend into an unforgettable celebration.

Pagenaud earned his first career Indianapolis 500 pole with a four-lap average of 229.992 mph, edging three-time pole winner Ed Carpenter and Spencer Pigot on Sunday. He is the first Frenchman to win the Indy 500 pole in 100 years.

Carpenter, also the team owner, will start second while Pigot, the fastest qualifier Saturday, completes the front row and Chevrolet sweep of the top three spots.

Pagenaud will try to become the 18th Indy 500 winner for Team Penske and second consecutive to sweep the month of May at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Will Power of Penske did it last season.

“This is incredible, this is the biggest race in the world,” said Pagenaud, who snapped a 21-race losing streak last week with a win on Indy’s road course.

This month has been every bit as memorable for Pagenaud as it has been for Roger Penske, who is celebrating the 50th anniversary of making his first 500 as a team owner.

But Pagenaud came to the party on shaky footing because his job status with Penske is believed to be unsecure.  But the road course win was his first since the 2017 season finale and now Pagenaud has his first pole since 2017 and momentum heading into next weekend’s race.

“We gave it everything we had and it balanced well,” he said. “We trimmed (the car) more than yesterday but the car was just outstanding.”

Penske’s other drivers couldn’t even come close to Pagenaud, who moved up two spots from Saturday.

Defending race winner Power qualified sixth at 228.645. Josef Newgarden, the 2017 series champ, qualified eighth at 228.396 and three-time 500 champion Helio Castroneves did not make the nine-car pole shootout.

All three of Carpenter’s cars were fast and Ed Jones will start fourth as the trio went 2-3-4 behind Pagenaud.

“That’s the way this series is now, everything is thousandths and hundredths of a second all the way through,” Carpenter said. “You’ve got to be perfect to really put it together because if you’re not, you’re going to slide down.”

Rookie Colton Herta was the top Honda-powered driver at fifth with a speed of 229.086.

Sebastien Bourdais was seventh at 228.621 and Alexander Rossi, the 2016 Indy winner, was ninth at 228.247. Bourdais drives for Dale Coyne with Vasser-Sullivan and Rossi is the only Andretti Autosport driver in the first three rows.

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Boeing Admits Flaw in 737 MAX Simulator Software

Boeing acknowledged it had to correct flaws in its 737 MAX flight simulator software used to train pilots, after two deadly crashes involving the aircraft that killed 346 people.

“Boeing has made corrections to the 737 MAX simulator software and has provided additional information to device operators to ensure that the simulator experience is representative across different flight conditions,” it said in a statement Saturday.

The company did not indicate when it first became aware of the problem or whether it informed regulators.

Its statement marked the first time Boeing acknowledged there was a design flaw in software linked to the 737 MAX, whose MCAS anti-stall software has been blamed in large part for the Ethiopian Airlines tragedy.

According to Boeing, the flight simulator software was incapable of reproducing certain flight conditions similar to those at the time of the Ethiopian Airlines crash in March or the Lion Air crash in October.

The company said the latest “changes will improve the simulation of force loads on the manual trim wheel,” a rarely used manual wheel to control the plane’s angle.

“Boeing is working closely with the device manufacturers and regulators on these changes and improvements, and to ensure that customer training is not disrupted,” it added.

Southwest Airlines, a major 737 MAX customer with 34 of the aircraft in its fleet, told AFP it expected to receive the first simulator “late this year.”

The planes have been grounded around the world, awaiting approval from U.S. and international regulators before they can return to service.

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Company Touts the Value of Ice Cream Made with Insects

Lately we’ve been hearing about the nutritional value of eating insects, such as high-protein ants, grasshoppers and crickets. But what about insects in ice cream? A company in South Africa is producing just that, saying the sweet treat may even be better with bugs. VOAs Deborah Block tells us about it.

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The Neon Attraction of Las Vegas

The famous Las Vegas strip lights up the night with neon signs and animated images. The Las Vegas Neon Museum has been lighting up the city since 2012. That’s when activists, art lovers and local officials decided that neon signs that have seen better days deserved to be viewed and enjoyed by a new generation of tourists. Roman Mamonov traveled to Las Vegas and visited the unusual museum. Anna Rice narrates his story.

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Scientists Building Proteins See a World of Possibilities

The old saying goes “you can’t beat Mother Nature.” But in a lab at New York University, scientists are trying to duplicate one of her basic activities building proteins. Faith Lapidus reports.

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Radio Telescope Explores Cosmic Mysteries

Every year astronomers are seeing farther and more clearly into the cosmos than ever before. One of the ways they are doing it is by linking telescopes together to make them more powerful. The Very Large Array in New Mexico supported by the National Science Foundation is one incredible example. VOA’s Kevin Enochs reports.

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