Thanks to a landmark television deal, a massive snowstorm and a spectacular ending that included an infield brawl, the 1979 Daytona 500 was instrumental in broadening NASCAR’s southern roots. Forty years later, it still resonates as one of the most important events in NASCAR history. Hall of Fame driver Darrell Waltrip says “it was just a storybook day. It started off almost as a disaster, but it ended up like a big, old soap opera.”
NASCAR’s biggest race features eight drivers making their Daytona 500 debut and a handful of new sponsors. It is part of a changing landscape that has returned NASCAR to its roots. Underfunded teams and hardscrabble drivers have worked their way into Sunday’s race, giving it a throwback feel. But the top teams are still the favorites and Ford drivers have been strong in the debut of the Mustang. Hendrick Motorsports has the youngest front row in race history.
Joe Gibbs has been touched by support from the NASCAR community since his eldest son J.D. died last month following a long battle with a degenerative neurological disease. Gibbs says his son lives on in his family and the rest of the NASCAR community. J.D. Gibbs was 49. He is survived by his wife and four children.
Ford drivers swept both of the Daytona 500 qualifying races to position the manufacturer for a strong run in “The Great American Race.” Kevin Harvick won the first qualifying race and Joey Logano won the second. Both won in the Mustang that has been introduced by Ford for competition in NASCAR’s top series this season. Ford drivers hold rows two through four in the Daytona 500, behind a pair of Chevrolets from Hendrick Motorsports.
Matt Linehan isn’t the highest-paid player on the Salt Lake Stallions’ 52-man roster. He isn’t fighting for scraps on the startup organization’s payroll, either.
NASCAR has put a ban in place on drivers gambling on races, not that it was really a problem. But the rest of the fan base? NASCAR is all in and hopes an interest in legalized betting in a growing number of states can stir interest in the sport.
Chad Knaus is the winningest crew chief in NASCAR right now but goes into the new season essentially starting over
Ticha Penicheiro, Ruth Riley and Valerie Still are headed to the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame.
Jeff Gordon’s immense influence on NASCAR was highlighted during a star-packed Hall of Fame induction ceremony headlined by the driver who changed the trajectory of an entire sport. Gordon was the top vote-getter in the 10th class of the Hall of Fame, which included the late drivers Davey Allison and Alan Kulwicki, as well as team owners Roger Penske and Jack Roush. Gordon received 96 percent of the vote, falling just short of the Hall of Fame’s first unanimous selection.
Defending champion Bradie Tennell has the lead after the short program at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, and 13-year-old Alysa Liu is a strong second after landing a triple axel. Tennell skated a sharp, clean program and earned a score of 76.60, nearly three points higher than her short program when she won this competition in 2018. But nobody else was able to top Liu, the reigning U.S. junior champion who could be well on her way to stardom.
Spokane 10-year-old Emma Dickau placed 11th out of 12 in the Juvenile girls free skate, the opening event of the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, on Friday morning in Detroit.
In the course of about one minute and 30 seconds, UCLA’s Katelyn Ohashi stunned the crowd, coaches, teammates and judges, earning a perfect score for an electrifying performance full of gravity-defying flips, killer dance moves and a healthy dose of sassy confidence that has since gone viral with many heralding it as one of the best floor routines they have ever seen.
Marina Mabrey scored 18 points and No. 1 Notre Dame dominated from start to finish in a 78-48 victory over Wake Forest on Sunday at South Bend, Indiana. Jessica Shepard had 16 points while Brianna Turner had 14 points and 12 rebounds for the Fighting Irish (16-1, 4-0 Atlantic Coast Conference), who got a rare off-day from leading scorer Arike Ogunbowale. Ogunbowale, who had 30 points Thursday in Notre Dame’s 82-68 win over No. 2 Louisville, saw her 37-game double-digit scoring streak end. She scored just four points on 1-of-11 shooting from the field.
Jon Teske scored all 17 of his points in the first half, and No. 2 Michigan is now off to its best start in program history after an 80-60 victory over Northwestern on Sunday night at Ann Arbor, Michigan. The Wolverines (17-0, 6-0 Big Ten) started 16-0 on two previous occasions, but this season’s team surpassed that by routing Northwestern. Zavier Simpson scored a career-high 24 points for Michigan, and Teske matched his own career high in scoring.
Olympic champion swimmer Ryan Lochte is among the cast announced for the second season of “Big Brother: Celebrity Edition.”
Matt Kuchar kept another clean card and shot a 4-under 66 to take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Sony Open, giving him a chance to win twice in one PGA Tour season for only the second time in his career.
J.D. Gibbs, eldest son of Pro Football Hall of Fame coach Joe Gibbs, was remembered as the visionary behind the stellar career of several NASCAR stars following his death from complications a long battle with a degenerative neurological disease. He was 49.
Dylan Strome broke a tie 1:48 into the third period and the Chicago Blackhawks beat Pittsburgh 5-3 on Sunday night to end the Penguins’ winning streak at eight games. Strome scored seconds after a power-play expired, beating fallen goalie Casey DeSmith off a pass from Patrick Kane. Jonathan Toews added an empty-net goal and had an assist to run his points streak to six games.
Charles Matthews scored 16 of his 18 points in the first half to help No. 2 Michigan build a double-digit lead and the undefeated Wolverines held on for a 74-63 victory over No. 21 Indiana on Sunday.
Katie Lou Samuelson had 19 points, Napheesa Collier added 18 points and the top-ranked UConn Huskies rebounded from a rare regular-season loss with an 81-61 win over Houston on Sunday, at Houston. Megan Walker had 14 points and seven rebounds, Crystal Dangerfield had 13 points and six assists and Christyn Williams had 12 points for UConn (12-1, 1-0 American), which had its streak of 126 consecutive regular-season wins snapped in a 68-57 loss to No. 8 Baylor on Thursday.
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