NASCAR's first lady of racing Louise Smith is the inspiration for 'Barnstormer' in 'Cars 3'

“Cars 3” character Louise “Barnstormer” Nash was inspired by real-life racer Louise Smith.

Before Janet Guthrie and Danica Patrick, there was Louise Smith — pioneering race car driver and NASCAR legend. As the first woman inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1999, the “Good ‘Ol’ Gal” from Greenville, South Carolina, is also the inspiration behind Disney Pixar’s “Cars 3” character Louise “Barnstormer” Nash (voiced by Margo Martindale). The name serves as a tribute to the driver and her infamous No. 94 1950 Nash Ambassador. Known for her flair and fearless crashes, Smith’s success and style made history in the racing world.

Her journey began with the support of a then-young promoter, Bill France Sr., the eventual co-founder of NASCAR. France helped launch Smith’s career, and she quickly fell in love with the sport.

She gained national notoriety in 1947 at the Daytona Beach and Road Course race, where, legend has it, Smith went to watch but ended up on the track. Entering her husband’s new Ford coupe in the race, the “Barnstormer” wrecked and landed herself on the front page of newspapers across the country.

Known as the “First Lady of Racing,” Smith crashed several cars and broke innumerable bones. In fact, one wreck left her with 48 stitches and four pins in her left knee; others are claimed to have nearly taken her life. Her boldness and spectacular speed took the racing world, and many of the men in it, by surprise.

Smith won an impressive 38 races across four divisions from 1947 to 1956, when she retired. She remained active in the racing world for nearly four more decades before her death in 2006 at age 89. Her legacy lives on with “Car 3,” which hits theaters on Friday.


Louise Smith
ISC Images & Archives via Getty Images

Smith posed in front her car after a crash at North Carolina’s Occoneechee Speedway in the late 1940s. Her car went airborne into the surrounding woods. It took rescue workers more than a half-hour to free Smith from the wreckage.

Louise Smith
ISC Archives/Getty Images

At the first NASCAR Cup Series in Daytona Beach on June 19, 1949, Smith accepted the trophy for sportsman win. Daytona Beach was instrumental in the formation of NASCAR, home to several of its earliest events and the sport’s first track: the Daytona Beach Road Course. Smith was one of three women to compete in the race.

Louise Smith
ISC Archives and Research Center/Getty Images

In another accident at Occoneechee Speedway during the inaugural NASCAR Strictly Stock Series on Aug. 7, 1949, Smith emerged with several injuries from the crash but crawled back into the crushed car for a photo op. Most early NASCAR races, including this one, were held on dirt-surfaced short tracks or dirt fairground ovals. The race was renamed the Grand National series in 1950.

Ethel Flock Mobley, Sara Christian and Louise Smith
ISC Images & Archives/Getty Images

Ethel Flock Mobley and Sara Christian were the two other female NASCAR drivers to compete in the circuits of that era. Before a race at Philadelphia’s Langhorne Speedway on Sept. 11, 1949, the three posed in their rides for a publicity photo intended to attract women to the sport. Mobley drove No. 92, the ’48 Cadillac. Christian, middle, wheeled No. 71 — the ’49 Oldsmobile — finishing best of the three at sixth place overall. Smith sported a ’47 Ford.

Louise Smith
ISC Archives/Getty Images

Smith standing next to her Leslie Motor Co. Nash Ambassador at Occoneechee Speedway on Oct. 29, 1950. Her famed No. 94, the car she raced in the NASCAR Grand National Series in both 1949 and 1950, was the inspiration for the style and name of Disney Pixar’s “Cars 3” character, Louise “Barnstormer” Nash. Smith was both the driver and the owner of this car, an extraordinary claim for a woman behind a NASCAR wheel. She finished 19th in the 200-miler, holding her own against some of the sport’s early greats including Buck Baker and Flock brothers Tim and Fonty.

Louise Smith
AP Photo/Mary Ann Chastain

Smith, the first woman inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame, showcasing memorabilia in her Greenville, South Carolina, home in 1998. After retiring in 1956, she returned to the racing realm in the 1970s as an owner, sponsoring cars and supporting drivers. Her decades-long involvement in the sport is captured in this room.

SWM Superdual first ride

SWM’s new Superdual might not be big on bhp, cylinders or electronics, but it’s a proper little do-anything, go-anywhere machine.

Big adventure bikes are now caught up in the same power and technology race as sportsbikes, but who really needs a superbike on stilts and knobblies, or can afford their five figure price tags?

It’s refreshing to find the Italian-built 600cc, 54bhp single cylinder SWM costs just £7599 and for that you get a lot of bike for the money. It’s well equipped, beautifully built and after riding it in the Italian hills near their factory (the old Husqvarna HQ) near Varese, just over the lake from MV Agusta, it impresses with its comfort, refinement and character.

Like its tubular steel chassis and chunky aluminium swingarm the Superdual’s thumping motor is based on the old Husqvarna TE610 enduro bike. SWM has developed it further, replacing the carb with fuel injection, adding an electric start, a new Euro 4-friendly exhaust, valves, clutch, oil pump and updated electronics.

SWM Superdual first ride

These refinements all add up to a single-cylinder engine with a snatch-free throttle pick-up and lots of easy to manage, playful power through the revs. 54bhp might not sound a lot, but it’s enough for smart acceleration, fun on B-roads, the ability to keep with unhinged Milanese motorway traffic and to tease out the odd cheeky wheelie.

A light hydraulic clutch, six-speed gearbox and twistgrip make life on the SWM strees-fee, the neat rasp from the exhaust is music to the ears and it’s a testament to the single’s smoothness that the mirrors remain un-blurred at all speeds. With so few vibes spilling out from the engine and such a flat spread of power on the non-ride-by-wire tap, you’d swear you’re on a twin.

But it’s hard to change out of second or third gear in traffic when the bike is hot. SWM can’t explain why, other than a possible dragging clutch on this pre-production test machine. On the move the gears snick nicely home again.

Although ABS is always a no-brainer on a road bike, electronic riders aids are both a luxury and more than ever, are there to control spiralling power outputs. But here on the Superdual it’s none the worse for not having traction control, fussy rider modes, a quickshifter, anti-wheelie or semi-active suspension.

On long, cold journeys you might pine for heated grips, or even cruise control, but you’ll stay warm and smug in the knowledge of how little you paid for this perky little mile-muncher.

With its enduro bike genes running deep it’s no surprise the Superdual has plenty of space to move about in. Legroon is generous, the seat won’t pain your derrier after you’ve drained the generous 18-litre fuel tank, the non-adjustable screen offers decent wind protection and the wide bars are set to perfection.

It’s a short and small bike, though, which is fine for solo riding, but going two-up will be a squeeze, especially if you’re taking the kitchen sink to Europe with you.

Soft, but well-damped and controlled suspension offers a plush ride and helps you find grip on and off-road. It sinks down nicely when you hop on, so shorter riders won’t have a big problem getting their feet down, despite its 890mm seat height.

With its conservative chassis set-up, the Superdual won’t dart from corner to corner using telepathy, or drag its pegs like a maniac. It’s not what you’d call sporty in the handling department, but it’s surefooted, dependable, stable and steers with little fuss. Spoked wheels are shod with Metzler Tourance dual purpose tyres (140/80 x 17” rear, 110/80 x 19” front) and give plenty of grip in the wet, dry and mud.

Built in this former state-of-the-art factory BMW-built Husqvarna factory, the SWM is screwed together with a mix Germanic quality and Italian flair. You get a lot of top-notch equipment for your seven-and-a-bit grand: Brembo calipers, wavy discs, steel braided brake lines, Sachs shock, Fast Ace forks, handguards, engine bars, LED fog lights and useful-size Givi panniers.

The Superdual is remarkable value for money and now Yamaha has dropped its XT660Z Tenere it’s also the only real option if you want to go the simple, lightweight, single-cylinder adventure route.

With its big-money Chinese backing, impressive manufacturing facilities, the knowhow of some of the cleverest brains in the Italian motorcycle industry, a flair for racing and the ambition to produce a wide range of exciting new models in the future, SWM are making their mark. Their new Superdual is a great way to let the world know its coming.

VERDICT

SWM’s new single-cylinder Superdual is proof that adventure bikes don’t need to be big, expensive, techno-packed monsters to make sense. It doesn’t come with the latest raft of rider aids and it might be physically small for some, especially with luggage and a pillion, but the Husqvarna-based machine is punchy, refined, easy to manage, full of lovely designed touches and above all, affordable.

SWM Superdual

Price £7599
Engine 600cc 4v single
Frame Tubular steel double cradle
Seat height 890mm
Suspension 43mm Fast Ace forks adjustable for rebound damping. Single rear Sachs shock, fully adjustable.
Front brake 300mm disc. Four-piston caliper.
Colours Grey/black.
Available Now

Power 54bhp@7500rpm
Torque 39ftlb@7000rpm
Kerb weight (no fuel) 169kg
Tank capacity 18 litres

HP Says PC, Printer Businesses Grew for First Time Since 2010

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Revenue from personal systems business rose 9.6 percent to $7.66 billion
  • HP and Lenovo remain the world’s two largest PC makers
  • HP warns of uncertainty in PC business for next two quarters

HP reported better-than-expected results in what its chief executive termed a “breakthrough” quarter as both its PC and printer businesses grew for the first time since 2010.

Shares of the company rose 3.6 percent to $19.7 after the bell on Wednesday.

Revenue from personal systems business, which makes notebooks, desktops and workstations, jumped 9.6 percent to $7.66 billion (roughly Rs. 49,432 crores) in the second quarter ended April 30. The business accounts for nearly two-thirds of the company’s total sales.

Worldwide shipments of PCs rose for the first time in five years in the first quarter of 2017, with HP taking the top spot, according to research firm IDC.

HP Says PC, Printer Businesses Grew for First Time Since 2010

The PC market has benefited as more businesses replace or upgrade their older systems as part of their refresh cycle.

The company’s printer and copier business also posted its first rise in revenue since 2011, driven partly by strong demand for HP Sprocket, a handheld photo printer.

“It’s been a long time since we’ve been able to say that,” Chief Executive Officer Dion Weisler said on a post-earnings call, referring to the growth in its printing business.

Last year, HP bought Samsung’s printer business for $1.05 billion to bolster the unit.

However, the company warned about a “little bit of uncertainty” in the PC business for the next two quarters as the company struggles to raise prices on products sold to corporate customers.

The company’s net earnings from continuing operations fell to $559 million, or 33 cents per share, in the latest quarter from $660 million, or 38 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding items, the company earned 40 cents per share. Analysts were expecting adjusted earnings of 39 cents per share according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Net revenue rose about 7 percent to $12.39 billion (roughly Rs. 79,969 crores), topping analysts’ estimate of $11.94 billion.

The company also forecast full-year adjusted profit of $1.59-$1.66 per share, while analysts are estimating $1.62 per share.

Up to Wednesday’s close, shares of the Palo Alto, California-based company had risen 28.1 percent this year.

ZTE’s Nubia Z17 Receives Its First Android Software Update

ZTE’s latest flagship smartphone, the Nubia Z17 is now receiving its first Android software update. The handset is currently running on Nubia UI 5.0, and the new update will bring the build version to v2.39. Based on the changelog posted, the package brings several optimizations and fixes to the device, including a fix for a Wi-Fi issue whereby the phone is unable to detect Wi-Fi hotspots. The power consumption in certain scenarios has also been fixed and the usual system improvements are included. On top of that, a bug which has been causing the return key to be unresponsive has also been solved. This problem has prevented some units from charging properly, according to previous reports.

The update is being rolled out over-the-air (OTA) and is relatively sizable, weighing in at over 139MB. If you own the Nubia Z17 and have received a push notification from its manufacturer, it is best to download the update while being connected to a Wi-Fi network. ZTE launched the Nubia Z17 earlier this month and it has since been made available for purchase throughout China. The Nubia Z17 is the first smartphone to go on sale with 8GB of RAM, though not the first phone to be launched with that configuration. That honor goes to the ASUS ZenFone AR which was announced at CES 2017 and has just been made available. When it comes to specs, the Nubia Z17 is packed with a 5.5-inch Full HD display panel and is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor along with the Adreno 540 GPU to handle graphics. Memory-wise, it comes in variants with 6GB of RAM and 64GB/128GB of internal storage and 8GB of RAM with 128GB of flash memory.

For optics, the handset sports a dual camera setup on its rear consisting of a 23-megapixel shooter and a 12-megapixel sensor. The setup is assisted by 2x optical zoom support along with Dual Pixel autofocus. Selfies are handled by a 16-megapixel camera which is equipped with an 80-degree wide-angle lens. Keeping the lights on is a 3,200mAh battery with support for Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 4.0. It’s currently unclear how long will ZTE take to release the Nubia Z17 in markets outside of China but more details on its efforts to do so should follow soon.

 

HTC U11’s First Software Update Brings ‘System Enhancements’

The HTC U11 just started selling in North America, and it seems like HTC is already pushing a software update for the device. According to HTC’s US website, the update is already on its way, and it will upgrade your phone’s software to version 1.11.617.3. HTC did not share an extensive changelog for this update, though, all the company listed under new changes is ‘System Enhancements’, which suggests that the company is patching up some bugs with this update, and probably bringing some optimizations as well.

Now, according to some reports by users, this update will fix issues with Android Pay, and other apps which are using SafetyNet, so that’s great news if you’re using Android Pay. Now, the phone will let you know when the update is ready to install, but if you’re eager to check for yourself, you’ll need to navigate to All apps -> Settings -> About and then select ‘Software updates’. After you do that, you’ll need to tap the ‘Check now’ option, and then ‘Download’. Do keep in mind that your phone might reboot several times during the upgrade process, so don’t panic if that happens. Also, you’ll need to make sure that you have at least 35 percent battery left on the HTC U11 if you want to update it, otherwise, you’ll need to connect the device to a charger. Now, there’s a way for you to manually update the HTC U11 if that’s what you want, you will need to download HTC’s Sync Manager and install the RUU file yourself. If you’d like to get more info regarding manual installation, HTC explains it step-by-step, all you have to do is follow the source link down below.

The HTC U11 was announced last month by the company, and it is made out of metal and glass. This phone sports a 5.5-inch QHD (2560 x 1440) display, along with 4GB / 6GB of RAM and 64GB / 128GB of native storage, depending on the market. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 64-bit octa-core SoC fuels this smartphone, and a 3,000mAh non-removable battery is also a part of this package. A 12-megapixel OIS snapper can be found on the back of this smartphone, and Android 7.1 Nougat comes pre-installed with HTC’s Sense. If you’d like to know more about the HTC U11, check out our official announcement of this smartphone.

One in 10 brand new cars has to go back to the garage for repairs in the first year – but what’s the most reliable motor you can buy?

HUNDREDS of thousands of new car buyers are having to return cars to their dealer with problems, a study has found.

Electrical gripes, engine woes and rattling interior trim are leaving owners frustrated with their brand new motors.

Jaguar XF

2
Almost a third of owners reported problems in the first year with their Jaguar XF

Driver Power, the UK’s biggest car satisfaction survey, found 12 per cent of owners said their car had gone wrong within the first 12 months.

And with a record-setting 2.69million vehicles registered in 2016, it could mean more than 300,000 have already developed faults and needed repairs.

Figures from the Driver Power study – which quizzed drivers on cars aged between two and 12 months – show the Jaguar XF was the car with the most issues.

Cars with most recorded faults in the first year

  1. Jaguar XF: 31%
  2. Jaguar XE: 27%
  3. Land Rover Discovery Sport: 25%
  4. Range Rover Evoque: 24%
  5. Nissan X-Trail: 22%
  6. Skoda Superb: 21%
  7. Nissan Pulsar: 21%
  8. Subaru Forester: 20%
  9. Citroen C4 Cactus: 20%
  10. Subaru Outback: 20%

A third of owners (31 per cent) said their car failed in the first year.

And there was more bad news for British makers, too, with the Jaguar XE the next worst following by the Land Rover Discovery Sport – more than a quarter of owners reported problems with both.

The car deemed most reliable over long-term ownership was the Toyota RAV4.

Top 10 most reliable cars

  1. Toyota RAV4
  2. Skoda Yeti
  3. Audi Q3
  4. SEAT Leon
  5. Lexus RX
  6. Kia Cee’d
  7. Lexus CT
  8. Suzuki Vitara
  9. Lexus NX
  10. Volvo XC60

Dodgy reliability of new vehicles is supported by the record number of contacts The Motor Ombudsman has received for its dispute resolution service.

In the first four months of 2017, it saw a 45 per cent rise in disgruntled customers get in touch compared to 2016.

And the top reason for an owner to contact The Motor Ombudsman related to the quality of the vehicle at the time of purchase.

Holly McAllister, head of customer service and quality at The Motor Ombudsman, said: “Case volumes as a proportion of contacts remain low which demonstrates the great efforts that all parties are going to in order to resolve any disagreements before needing formal adjudication which is very encouraging for all involved.”

Land Rover Discovery Sport

2
A quarter of Land Rover Discovery Sport owners had early issues

SpaceX's First Reused Dragon Capsule Arrives at ISS

HIGHLIGHTS

  • SpaceX’s first-ever reused spaceship arrived at the ISS on Monday
  • Live images showed the spaceship approaching the orbiting outpost
  • The latest mission is SpaceX’s 11th cargo resupply trip to the ISS

SpaceX’s first-ever reused spaceship arrived Monday at the International Space Station, two days after the unmanned Dragon cargo capsule launched atop a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Live images on NASA television showed the spaceship approaching the orbiting outpost, then being grabbed with the station’s robotic arm at 9:52am (1352 GMT or 7:22pm IST).SpaceX's First Reused Dragon Capsule Arrives at ISS

“Capture complete,” said NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson, who operated the robotic arm from inside the station.

The spaceship is carrying almost 6,000 pounds (2,700 kilograms) of science research, crew supplies and hardware.

It was originally flown on SpaceX’s fourth resupply mission in 2014.

Its arrival makes it the first US spaceship to return to the space station since the American space shuttle program ended in 2011.

 

The latest mission is SpaceX’s 11th cargo resupply trip to the ISS under a $1.6 billion contract with NASA.

“We also want to note the special significance of SpaceX 11, which if we followed the naming convention of the artist Prince, could be called ‘The SpaceX formerly known as SpaceX 4,'” quipped NASA astronaut Jack Fischer as he spoke to mission control in Houston.

“We have a new generation of vehicles now, led by commercial partners like SpaceX, as they build the infrastructure that will carry us into the future of exploration,” he said.

“Now we’d better get back to work. We have a lot of stuff to unload.”

SpaceX is working on a version of its Dragon capsule that will carry crew to the space station, perhaps as early as next year.

The California-based company headed by Elon Musk also regularly returns the first stage of its Falcon 9 rockets to upright landings on Earth, as part of an effort to increase reusability and lower the cost of spaceflight.

Logitech Introduces World's First Wireless Charging Mousepad, Two New Gaming Mice

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Powerplay mousepad will continually charge your wireless mouse
  • Logitech G903 and G703 wireless gaming mouse also announced
  • Powerplay is will cost around $100 (roughly Rs. 6,433)

While we’ve been distracted by the benefits of wireless charging technology for smartphones, Logitech has found a very practical use for it in the form of a mousepad. The Logitech G Powerplay is the world’s first wireless charging system for gaming mice, which is being launched alongside two new flagship gaming mice Logitech G903 and G703. The Logitech Powerplay is priced around $100 (roughly Rs. 6,433) and will be available some time in August, while the Logitech G903 and G703 wireless gaming mice are priced at $150 (roughly Rs. 9,650) and $100, respectively and will be available in June. India pricing and availability are yet to be known.

Logitech Introduces World's First Wireless Charging Mousepad, Two New Gaming Mice

Logitech G, a brand of Logitech, says that Powerplay is a departure from existing wireless charging standards and is designed to deliver uninterrupted charging over surface of the mousepad, which essentially means your wireless mouse will constantly be charged when in use. The wireless charging system uses an application of electromagnetic resonance that creates an energy field on the surface of the 275x320mm mousepad. Notably, the company also says that this will not hamper or cause any interference with the mouse’s functionality.

“For decades, we’ve pioneered development in wireless gaming, and our new Powerplay and Lightspeed wireless technologies continue this commitment to wireless superiority,” said Ujesh Desai, vice president and general manager of Logitech G. “With Powerplay, Lightspeed and our new G903 and G703 mice, you’ll get unbeatable precision, lag-free performance and infinite power, which gives gamers the highest-quality experience.”

logitech g903 mouse logitech

The new Powerplay mousepad is accompanied with two new wireless gaming mice, Logitech G903 and G703. Logitech says the mice come equipped with PMW3366 optical sensor which has zero smoothing, filtering or acceleration across the entire DPI range (200-12,000 DPI) for accurate tracking and consistent responsiveness, even at speeds over 400 IPS.

In terms of looks, the mice have a pretty intimidating body design with advanced mechanical button tensioning that give the left and right mouse buttons a good feel, response and consistency. The buttons are also more durable with up to 50 million click switches. Despite its solid feel, the mice have been designed to give a perfect grip, with rubber grips on either sides for greater control. Gamers can assign the buttons with custom game commands using Logitech Gaming Software (LGS).

Lastly, at the heart of both the Powerplay mousepad and the gaming mice is Logitech G’s Lightspeed wireless technology that delivers competition-level responsiveness at speeds faster than many competitive wired gaming mice.

Russ Darrow Group ranked first in Wisconsin for used car sales

Russ Darrow Group was again ranked as the number one used car dealer in Wisconsin based on results compiled by Automotive News and published in the publication’s March 2017 issue.

Image result for Russ Darrow Group ranked first in Wisconsin for used car sales

Darrow was ranked number 43 in the country, selling 13,691 used vehicles in 2016, an increase of more than three percent when compared to the group’s 2015 used car sales.