Archive for the 'nascar' Category

Vegas Raiders Win In “Death Star” Stadium, NFL Mask Violations, Jordan Forms NASCAR Team

FOOTBALL

The Las Vegas Raiders played their first game in their new $2 billion stadium (called the “Death Star“) and beat the New Orleans Saints. In a 34-24 win, the Raiders are now 2-0 to start the season.

The NFL is getting serious about COVID-19 restrictions and is imposing fines of $100,000 per coach and $250,000 per club for violating the League’s mask policy. Denver’s Vic Fangio, San Francisco’s Kyle Shanahan, and Seattle’s Pete Carroll have already been fined. Other offenders include Patriots coach Bill Belichick and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, Colts coach Frank Reich, and Rams coach Sean McVay. Raiders coach Jon Gruden was shown wearing his mask like a chin strap, and Saints coach Sean Payton appeared wearing his gaitor like a turtleneck. Only the players are exempt from wearing face masks.

NASCAR

Michael Jordan formed a new NASCAR team with driver Denny Hamlin (as acting minority partner) and Bubba Wallace as their driver. Jordan released a statement saying, “Growing up in North Carolina, my parents would take my brothers, sisters and me to races, and I’ve been a NASCAR fan my whole life. The opportunity to own my own racing team in partnership with my friend, Denny Hamlin, and to have Bubba Wallace driving for us, is very exciting for me. Historically, NASCAR has struggled with diversity and there have been few Black owners. The timing seemed perfect as NASCAR is evolving and embracing social change more and more. In addition to the recent commitment and donations I have made to combat systemic racism, I see this as a chance to educate a new audience and open more opportunities for Black people in racing.”

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Baseball Will Return, FBI Says Noose Not Hate Crime, NFL Allows Cities To Determine Fans, No Bradley For Lakers

BASEBALL

The Major League Baseball Players Union officially approved the imposed 60-game season, so it looks like we’ll have a baseball season after all. July 1st will mark the start of “spring” training with opening day on July 24th.

NASCAR

The FBI announced there was no hate crime against Bubba Wallace at Talladega over the weekend where a noose was found in Wallace’s garage. The investigators reported the noose had been in the garage since last October where it was used as a garage door pull. In addition, the report claimed that no one could have known Wallace would be assigned to that particular garage. Wallace commented on the report saying,  “The image that I have, that I have seen, of what was hanging in my garage is not a garage loop. I’ve been racing all of my life, we’ve raced out of hundreds of garages that have never had garage pulls like that… It was a noose. Whether it was tied in 2019 or whatever, it was a noose. It wasn’t directed at me, but someone tied a noose. It is a noose.”

FOOTBALL

According to reports, the NFL might allow individual teams and cities to determine how many fans will be allowed in the stadium. The NFL appears determined to allow fans to avoid losing billions in revenue. It’s estimated that the NFL could lose $3 billion if the season is played in empty stadiums.

BASKETBALL

The Los Angeles Lakers Avery Bradley announced he will not play when the NBA season resumes at Disney World. According to ESPN, Bradley is concerned about his family’s health particularly his six-year-old son who has a history of respiratory illnesses.

For those players reporting to Orlando, the NBA will have ring data monitors (called Oura rings) which can potentially access COVID-19 through heart rate and heart rate variability.

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MLB Imposed Season, NASCAR Shows Solidarity With Bubba Wallace

BASEBALL

After months of trying to agree on a deal to start the Major League Baseball season, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred announced the league is imposing a 60-game season with no expanded playoffs. The imposed season asks players to report to camp on July 1st with opening day the weekend of July 24-26th. The players have until 5:00 pm today to respond to the league.

NASCAR

The NASCAR community rallied behind Bubba Wallace in a show of solidarity for the horrendous noose incident that took place over the weekend. The drivers, pit crew, and others pushed Wallace’s #43 car to the front of pit row prior to the Geico 500 at Talledega on Monday.  Wallace said it was emotional and meaningful and teared up saying,  “Sorry for not wearing my mask but I wanted to show whoever it was that you’re not going to take away my smile… The pre-race deal was probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to witness in my life from all the supporters from drivers from crew members, from everybody here, the badass fan base, thank you guys for coming out here… This is truly incredible and I’m proud to be a part of this sport”

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Tiz the Law Wins Belmont, Horrific Racist Incident At Talladega

HORSE RACING

Tiz the Law ran away from the competition in a decisive win at the Belmont Stakes on Saturday. Tiz the Law, the fourth New York-bred horse to win the Belmont, was the heavy favorite having won four of his first five races. Roger Sofer, a part-owner of Tiz the Law, described the race saying, “It was great. Our (horse) just looked clear as can be. And once we got in the gate I was just hoping that we got out strong. … When we were sitting third or fourth I just kept saying, ‘I love where we are.’ ” Next up in this non-traditional Triple Crown series is the Kentucky Derby on September 5th and the Preakness Stakes on October 3rd.

NASCAR

A horrible event took place at Talladega on Sunday when a noose was found in Bubba Wallace’s garage during the Geico 500. NASCAR is launching an investigation and issued a statement saying, “Late this afternoon, NASCAR was made aware that a noose was found in the garage stall of the 43 team. We are angry and outraged and cannot state strongly enough how seriously we take this heinous act. We have launched an immediate investigation and will do everything we can to identify the person(s) responsible and eliminate them from the sport. As we have stated unequivocally, there is no place for racism in NASCAR and this act only strengthens our resolve to make the sport open and welcoming to all.”

Wallace, NASCAR’s only black driver, also issued a statement saying, “Today’s despicable act of racism and hatred leaves me incredibly saddened and serves as a painful reminder of how much further we have to go as a society. … As my mother told me today, ‘They are just trying to scare you.’ This will not break me, I will not give in nor will I back down. I will continue to proudly stand for what I believe in.”

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NASCAR Bans Confederate Flag, Drivers Cut Ties With Beam Designs, MLS Tournament July 8th

NASCAR

NASCAR announced it is banning the display of the Confederate flag at all events (five years ago the organization requested fans not display the flag). The organization also removed a rule mandating that team members stand for the national anthem. Bubba Wallace, the only black driver on the circuit, praised the new rules while also debuting his new Black Lives Matter-themed car. Wallace told CNN, “No one should feel uncomfortable when they come to a NASCAR race. So it starts with Confederate flags. Get them out of here. I am 100% confident that a real NASCAR fan has the ability to enjoy a weekend in the infield just as much while flying an American flag as they do under the flag of a misguided, defeated nation that hasn’t existed for 155 years. If they can’t, then they’ve never loved NASCAR as much they have always claimed. They certainly have never loved it as much as I do.”

In related NASCAR news, drivers Jimmie Johnson, Bubba Wallace, Ryan Blaney, and Kyle Busch cut ties with Jason Beam of Beam Designs, a racing helmet designer, for comments on social media defending keeping the confederate flag.

SOCCER

Major League Soccer (MLS) announced the league will return to action on July 8th with matches played at Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex. Assuming all goes as planned, MLS will be the first of the major North American sports leagues to return to competition. The tournament will last 35 days with the games counting towards the regular season, which is slated to begin after the tournament concludes.

 

 

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Brady/Manning Trash Talk In Memorable Match, Kyle Busch Wins At Charlotte Motor Speedway, SEC Volunteer Workouts June 8th

GOLF

The much anticipated The Match: Champions for Charity did not disappoint. After a rain-delayed start, Tom Brady entertained the crowd for the first half of the afternoon by shooting so poorly that Charles Barkley (among others) had a field day roasting him. In typical Brady fashion, though, he found his mojo and hit a beautiful hole-out birdie on the 7th hole. Peyton Manning more than held his own for the day, looking relaxed and shooting well. Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning were favorites, but even though they led most of the day, Brady and Phil Mickelson came back strong and ended up only losing by a single hole. The best part of the day was hearing Manning and Brady trash talk each other all afternoon. By all accounts, the charity event was a huge success raising $20 million and providing much-needed sports entertainment.

NASCAR

Kyle Busch beat out Austin Cindric on the final lap of overtime at Charlotte Motor Speedway. With no fans in the stands, Busch won his 97th career Xfinity Series race which marked his 210th overall win across NASCAR’s top three series (the most of any driver).

NCAA

The SEC voted to allow voluntary workouts to resume on June 8th. This development is a step towards college sports resuming in the fall, which could help stem the financial suffering of college sports programs. Universities have already lost hundreds of millions of dollars, but if the 2020 football season is canceled, losses could rise up to $4 billion.

 

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Rooney Rule Expanded, Big Ben Trims Beard, NASCAR’s Increase In Viewers

FOOTBALL

The NFL is expanding the Rooney Rule, which was established in 2003 to address diversity and require teams to interview at least one minority candidate for a head coaching spot. The new rules require teams to interview at least two minority candidates for a head coaching spot and one minority candidate for any coordinator vacancies. The coordinator jobs are seen as feeders for head coaching positions, so this new rule is seen as significant. Since 2009, almost 40% of head coaches hired in the NFL were previously offensive coordinators.

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger had surgery eight months ago to repair his right elbow in an injury he suffered in week 2 of the season. Roethlisberger said he wasn’t going to shave his beard until he was making NFL caliber throws again. On Monday, he posted a video throwing to three of his teammates, James Conner, Ryan Switzer, and JuJu Smith-Schuster. He then posted a video of his haircut with a caption saying, The beard is trimmed……you know what that means”

 NASCAR

NASCAR’s return to live racing at Darlington Raceway over the weekend garnered a big increase in viewership averaging 6.32 million viewers, a 38% increase over their last pre-COVID-19 race.

 

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Harvick Wins Darlington, Magnus Carlsen’s Online Chess Tournament

NASCAR

Kevin Harvick won NASCAR’s first race back following a 10-week pause due to the pandemic. With no fans in the stands, Harvick (who recorded his 50th victory) spoke about his win at Darlington Raceway and said, “I just want to thank everybody from NASCAR and all the teams for letting us do what we do. I didn’t think it was going to be that different, then we won and it’s dead silent out here. We miss the fans.”

CHESS

Chess is one of the few sports that can easily be played and watched online, so it’s no wonder it’s gaining in popularity. World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen organized a successful and profitable online chess tournament, the Magnus Carlsen Invitational (which he won), and will be adding three more tournaments plus a grand final event with combined prize money of $1 million dollars. The tournament marks the first time online chess has been broadcast on TV. Carlsen is planning to kick off the next tournament on May 19th with the final on August 20th. Many athletes have been playing online chess recently including NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo who said, “Chess is tough, it takes skill. You can’t just be 7 feet and dunk over everybody.”

 

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NASCAR Returns To Darlington, Baker/Dunbar Armed Robbery, DiMaggio’s Hitting Streak

NASCAR

NASCAR returns on Sunday with live racing at South Carolina’s Darlington Raceway. The new rules during this pandemic will require teams to race with no fans in the stands and fewer than 900 credentialed personnel (normally NASCAR has as many as 3,700 personnel including media, track workers, and others). Team rosters will be limited to only 16 members, and precautions will be taken to monitor crew member temperatures. Everyone will also be required to wear face masks.

FOOTBALL

In an odd story out of the football world, New York Giants cornerback DeAndre Baker, Seattle Seahawks cornerback Quinton Dunbar, and a third unidentified man have been issued arrest warrants in connection with an alleged armed robbery. According to reports, the incident occurred late Wednesday night at a party in South Florida where Baker and Dunbar were caught stealing money and watches while armed with semi-automatic firearms. Baker has also been accused of intentionally threatening victims. The Giants, Seahawks, and the NFL said the incident is under review.

BASEBALL

On May 15th, 79 years ago, Joe DiMaggio started what would become a historic 56-game hitting streak. No one has even come close to breaking this record (it’s 12 games better than any other attempt–Pete Rose had 44 hits in 1978).

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Hamlin Wins Daytona, Newman’s Horrific Crash, Mike Trout Weighs In On Astros Cheating

MOTORSPORTS

Denny Hamlin made history by winning his second straight Daytona 500 (third overall), edging out Ryan Blaney in a photo finish. There was no victory celebration, however, as the 62 running of the race will be remembered for Ryan Newman’s horrific crash. Newman was in the lead until Blaney nudged him on the final lap causing his car to spin out of control, hit the wall and flip in the air. NASCAR issued a statement two hours after the race saying Newman is in “serious condition, but doctors have indicated his injuries are not life-threatening.” The crash comes nineteen years after racing legend Dale Earnhardt Sr. died on the final lap of the Daytona 500. According to Hamlin, however, “NASCAR is a safer sport now than it was then.”

BASEBALL

The Houston Astros cheating scandal is making news every day. Players and fans are not forgetting how the players and coaches of the Astros cheated their way to a 2017 World Series-winning season. And, they are not forgetting MLB commissioner Rob Manfred’s weak punishment. Manfred suspended the team’s general manager and manager for a year (both have subsequently been fired), but none of the players received a punishment, which isn’t sitting well for the players and the fans.

One of the best players in the game (and not someone who makes a scene), Los Angeles Angels Mike Trout, recently excoriated the Astros for cheating and Major League Baseball for the weak punishments. Trout told ESPN, “It’s sad for baseball. It’s tough. They cheated. I don’t agree with the punishments, the players not getting anything. It was a player-driven thing. It sucks, too, because guys’ careers have been affected, a lot of people lost jobs. It was tough. Me going up to the plate knowing what was coming — it would be pretty fun up there. I lost some respect for some guys… All the stuff coming out, it’s tough to see.”

 

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