April 24th, 2013
06:26 PM ET

Daytona speedway to update fences

In response to a crash during a February race at the Daytona International Speedway that injured dozens of spectators in the stands, officials at the track will add cables on crossover gates and tether the frames of the gates to posts in time for NASCAR races in July, representatives for the Florida speedway said Wednesday.

Changes were also made at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama, where events will be held this weekend. The 2.67-mile track is known as one of the fastest on the NASCAR circuit.

There are seven crossover gates, a part of the massive metal fence that opens to allow people to cross the racing surface, at each track, officials said.

On February 23, a jaw-dropping wreck occurred on the last lap of the Nationwide Series race when Kyle Larson's car went airborne and pieces of his car flew into the grandstands. At least 28 people were injured, officials said.

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Jimmie Johnson squeaks out Daytona 500 win
Jimmie Johnson pushed past a crowded field to capture the Daytona 500'
February 24th, 2013
07:22 PM ET

Jimmie Johnson squeaks out Daytona 500 win

Jimmie Johnson put his experience to good use as the laps wound down in today's Daytona 500,pulling ahead of a packed field to win NASCAR's season-opening and most prestigious race of the season.

Johnson, who won the same race in 2006, edged out Dale Earnhardt Jr., who finished second for the third time in four years. Danica Patrick finished eighth.

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Danica Patrick to start first at Daytona
Danica Patrick speaks to reporters after qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on Sunday.
February 17th, 2013
03:45 PM ET

Danica Patrick to start first at Daytona

Danica Patrick became the first woman to win pole position in NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series history, posting the top qualifying time for the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on Sunday.

Her lap of 45.817 seconds - at a top speed of 196.434 mph - means she'll start in the front row in the February 24 race, alongside Jeff Gordon.

Two previous pole positions earned by women in NASCAR came in the Nationwide Series. Those were earned by Patrick last year at Daytona, and Shawna Robinson in 1994 in Atlanta, according to NASCAR.

Patrick, 30, is in her first full year as a NASCAR Sprint Cup driver. Last year she made 10 Sprint Cup starts.

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Filed under: Auto racing • Florida • NASCAR • Sports
January 29th, 2013
10:40 PM ET

Rep: Ashley Judd, Franchitti to divorce

Actress Ashley Judd and champion race car driver Dario Franchitti are divorcing after 11 years of marriage, a representative for the actress said Tuesday.

Judd and Franchitti were married in his home country of Scotland in December 2001.

Judd is best known for her roles in the films "Double Jeopardy" and "High Crimes." Franchitti won his third Indy 500 in May.

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Keselowski cruises to Sprint Cup title as NASCAR's top driver
November 18th, 2012
09:24 PM ET

Keselowski cruises to Sprint Cup title as NASCAR's top driver

"We did it!"

That exultant Tweet came from Brad Keselowski as he rolled into pit row after Sunday's season-ending race, the Ford EcoBoost 400, at Homestead-Miami Speedway in South Florida.

Keselowski didn't come in first, a prize that went to Jeff Gordon. But his 15th-place finish was more than enough for the 28-year-old to cinch his first ever Sprint Cup championship as NASCAR's top driver this year.

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NASCAR's Jeff Gordon fined $100,000 for part in post-race brawl
The two cars tangled near the end of the AdvoCare 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on Sunday.
November 12th, 2012
07:25 PM ET

NASCAR's Jeff Gordon fined $100,000 for part in post-race brawl

NASCAR has docked one of its most famous drivers $100,000 for his part in a post-race, post-crash brawl between pit crews.

Four-time champion Jeff Gordon also lost 25 points and is now 11th in the Sprint Cup championship standings with one race remaining.

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Filed under: Auto racing • NASCAR
Giants win the World Series
The San Francisco Giants storm onto the field after recording the final out Sunday night at Detroit's Comerica Park.
October 28th, 2012
11:55 PM ET

Giants win the World Series

The San Francisco Giants win Major League Baseball's World Series by defeating the Detroit Tigers 4 to 3 in extra innings.

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Filed under: Auto racing • Sports • U.S.
October 11th, 2012
01:49 PM ET

Concussion fears to keep Earnhardt Jr. out of 2 races

NASCAR star Dale Earnhardt Jr. will miss the next two races in the chase for the Sprint Cup after sustaining a concussion during a massive wreck on the last lap of Sunday's Good Sam 500 at Talladega, Alabama, Earnhardt said Thursday.

Earnhardt was part of a 25-car pileup at Talladega. He told a press conference Thursday at Charlotte Motor Speedway that he was hit and spun during the wreck, apparently aggravating a concussion injury he sustained during a test run at Kansas Motor Speedway five weeks ago.

Earnhardt's doctor told him that "if you get hit again right away, it could be catastrophic," Rick Hendrick, owner of the Hendrick Motorsports team for which Earnhardt races, said Thursday.

Though Earnhardt said he felt completely recovered from the Kansas wreck by the time the green flag fell at Talladega, he said he knew immediately that the Talladega wreck had caused an injury.

“You know how your body is and you know when something’s not quite right, and I knew as soon as it happened that I had re-injured myself,” Earnhardt said Thursday.

“It wasn’t even half of the impact I had at Kansas, but it was enough to cause me some concern,” he said.


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U.S. sports going the way of the gladiators?
Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel gets attention after a hit Sunday, and a wreck takes out 25 cars at the Good Sam 500 in Alabama.
October 8th, 2012
03:14 PM ET

U.S. sports going the way of the gladiators?

Are American sports fans turning into the citizens of ancient Rome, turning up to sports events to see mayhem akin to gladiators fighting for their very lives?

Stars in two of the country's most prominent sports were asking those kinds of questions Sunday.

Dale Earnhardt Jr., arguably the sport’s most popular personality in NASCAR racing, said he wonders if fans are "bloodthirsty."

If they watch races to see what transpired at the end of Sunday’s race at Talladega Superspeedway, Earnhardt said they are.

And he’s had enough.

Earnhardt was part of a 25-car pileup at speeds of 200 mph on the final lap of Sunday’s Good Sam 500 that left the Alabama track looking like a junkyard.

"It's not safe. Wrecking like that, it's ridiculous. It's bloodthirsty if that's what people want,” Earnhardt said afterward, according to news reports, including SI.com.

"If this is what we did every week, I wouldn't be doing it. I'd find another job," Earnhardt said.


Racer Busch suspended for verbal abuse of reporter
Kurt Busch is the 2004 NASCAR season champion.
June 5th, 2012
06:35 AM ET

Racer Busch suspended for verbal abuse of reporter

Former stock car season champion Kurt Busch won't be racing this weekend in Pocono, Pennsylvania, after NASCAR suspended him for verbally abusing a reporter following Saturday's race in Dover, Delaware.

Busch was already on NASCAR probation following a confrontation with an opponent's crew in Darlington, South Carolina, in May.

When Sporting News reporter Bob Pockrass asked Busch on Saturday whether being on probation affected his performance on the track, Busch berated Pockrass.

"It refrains me from not beating the (expletive) out of you right now because you ask me stupid questions," Busch replied. "But since I'm on probation, I suppose that's improper to say as well."

Busch's probation was to have ended July 25. NASCAR has extended that for the rest of the year as well as suspending Busch for any races this weekend in Pocono, according to a NASCAR press release.

"Busch violated Section 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing; violation of probation; verbal abuse to a media member) of the 2012 NASCAR Rule Book," the press release said.

In a statement, Busch accepted his punishment, according to a report on NASCAR.com.

"I put them in a box," he said of NASCAR officials. "They had to take action, and it's my fault for putting them in this position. I apologize for the comments I made to Bob Pockrass."

Busch has 24 career victories and was the 2004 series champion.

Can Busch's career survive his temper?

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Filed under: Auto racing • Sports
May 26th, 2012
05:20 PM ET

What to know about this year's Indy 500

Before the 96th Indianapolis 500 race on Sunday, "Back Home Again in Indiana" will be sung, and by the end, the winning driver will drink his Victory Lane bottle of milk. But superhero-esque cars and an all-female racing team are adding a few changes to the event's storied traditions.

The Brickyard

The Brickyard is the historic nickname for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It was built in 1909 as an automobile testing ground to support the state's growing auto industry, according to the event's website. However, the track was soon used for racing purposes.

Today, it remains the world's largest seating facility, with 250,000 permanent seats. The oval itself, which covers 253 acres, can fit Churchill Downs, Yankee Stadium, the Rose Bowl, the Roman Colosseum and Vatican City, according the site.

Originally constructed with crushed rock and tar, 3.2 million paving bricks were laid on top later in 1909, giving rise to the Brickyard nickname, according to the event's website.

Over the years, the brick has been covered with asphalt - except for a 36-inch strip of the original bricks that have remained intact and uncovered at the start/finish line, known as the "Yard of Bricks."

The winning driver and team of the Indy 500 kneel for a tradition started in 1996 of "kissing the bricks."

Girl power

Katherine Legge isn't the first woman to qualify for the Indy 500 - she's actually the ninth ever - but Legge is making the most of her position.

The rookie driver brings an all-female racing team with her to the Indy, the first ever in the history of the race.

She is also sporting a Girl Scouts logo on her helmet and representing STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) as an ambassador.

This year's 'Batmobile' design

For cars that can race at 224 mph, speed, efficiency and safety measures reign supreme. And given the tragic death of two-time Indy 500 winner Dan Wheldon in a 15-car crash at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway in October, this is the year of safety measures.

Wheldon died when his vehicle became airborne and hit a fence pole. The new design is supposed to prevent cars from becoming airborne. Italian firm Dallara has created the new DW12 chassis, named for Wheldon, who helped test the car before his accident.

Wider cockpits, wheel guards, a smaller engine, vertical wings on the side panels and energy absorption foam have all been added to keep drivers safer on the track, and in the event of an accident.

Sizzling temperatures expected

It's going to be a hot one on Sunday with temperatures expected to reach the low 90s. The humidity could actually be the worst enemy. The event's website has warned spectators to come prepared.

Drinking plenty of water, wearing loose-fitting clothing and wide-brimmed hats or taking shade breaks should help people beat the worst of the heat.

But if all of that still leaves spectators feeling wilted, there are also 78 "misting stations" on the grounds to help cool people down fast.

Nostalgic noshing

Given the heat warning, fans may cut back on some of the track's signature fare, but it won't stop diehards from eating their favorite things.

The Indy Dog, Brickyard Burger, Track fries, bratwurst and elephant ear (fried flat dough with butter, sugar and cinnamon) are all part of the tradition.

But the breaded pork tenderloin sandwich is king at the race. A favorite in the state, it's a bit like schnitzel in a bun.

Are you an Indy 500 fan? Let us know your personal traditions, or how you'll be celebrating in the comments below.

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Filed under: Auto racing • Automobiles • Indiana • Sports • U.S.
Gotta Watch: Craziness on the highway
Several supercars were involved in a 14-vehicle pile up along a stretch of the Chugoku highway in western Japan.
December 5th, 2011
11:39 AM ET

Gotta Watch: Craziness on the highway

In what may be one of the most expensive car wrecks in history, 14 high-end luxury cars were demolished in a highway pileup in Japan this weekend. The totaled supercars included eight Ferraris, three Mercedes-Benz cars and a Lamborghini. Today, we decided to take a look back at some of the craziest highway moments.

Multi-million dollar wreck – A group of luxury car enthusiasts were driving on Chugoku Expressway in southwestern Japan when witnesses say one driver skidded out of control and started a chain-reaction crash. Several drivers were hospitalized but no one was seriously injured.
[cnn-video url=http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/world/2011/12/05/vo-japan-luxury-car-pile-up.cnn]


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Filed under: Animals • Auto racing • Automobiles • Georgia • Gotta Watch • Japan • Michigan • Pennsylvania • Race • Thanksgiving • Transportation • Travel • U.S. • Uncategorized
Thursday's intriguing people
Petra Ecclestone, 22, has reportedly bought a 123-room mansion, raising a question among observers: Why?
June 23rd, 2011
11:41 AM ET

Thursday's intriguing people

Petra Ecclestone

Perhaps The Daily Beast's source put it best: "Why would a 22-year-old want this?" The heiress is rumored to have purchased the California mansion of the late Aaron Spelling, which was listed for $150 million. Ecclestone - known as the “Paris Hilton of Britain” - is the youngest daughter of Formula One racing CEO Bernie Ecclestone, who has a net worth of $4.2 billion. The sale of the Spelling home reportedly went for $85 million in cash, raising questions as to why the young Ecclestone would want a 123-room house that design experts say needs updated interiors, according to The Daily Beast. One theory is that the house is for one of her father’s wealthy friends. A real-estate source told The Daily Beast, “It doesn’t make sense. It will take years of painstaking construction, designing, and decorating to get the house right.” FULL POST

SI.com: Bosh proves his worth
Miami Heat center Chris Bosh goes in for the dunk over a herd of Chicago Bulls on Sunday night. Bosh scored 34 in the victory.
May 23rd, 2011
03:01 PM ET

SI.com: Bosh proves his worth

If Sunday night was any indication of what the Bulls have to contend with for the remainder of the Eastern Conference finals, now may be a good time to start worrying.

Chris Bosh put up an impressive 34 points in Miami's 96-85 win over the Bulls and showed he has much more to offer than just his strength on defense. As SI.com's Ian Thomsen explains, Bosh not only delivered Miami a 2-1 lead in their series against the Bulls, but answered critics who dismissed him as the least of The Big Three.


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Filed under: Auto racing • Baseball • Basketball • Golf • NBA • Sports
SI.com: Sixth Man Odom comes up big for Lakers
The Lakers' Lamar Odom showed on Wednesday night why he won the NBA's Sixth Man Award.
April 21st, 2011
12:54 PM ET

SI.com: Sixth Man Odom comes up big for Lakers

A crucial Game 2 victory for the Lakers came courtesy of the team's Sixth Man Award winner, Lamar Odom. With 16 points against the New Orleans Hornets, Odom proved exactly why he deserved the accolade. As SI.com's Lee Jenkins explains, while Odom has been widely criticized for his inconsistency and off-court distractions, he displayed incredible skill when it mattered most - particularly on a quiet night for stars Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol.

"The reality show, the cologne, the billboards featuring Odom and [Khloe] Kardashian make him an easy target, both inside the locker room and out," writes Jenkins. "But Odom remains the most popular Laker, beloved by teammates for his genial nature and generous spirit, which made it impossible for him to stew over his demotion two years ago. Because Odom was willing to come off the bench, the Lakers could start Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol, keeping all three pillars of their dominant frontcourt. Although Gasol was as ineffective in Game 2 as he was in Game 1 - he is now 4-for-19 in the series - Bynum and Odom combined for 33 points and 18 rebounds. The Lakers, who were improbably outscored in the paint in Game 1, finally exploited their stark size advantage."


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Filed under: Auto racing • Baseball • Basketball • NBA • Sports
Gotta Watch: Formula One's need for speed
The 2011 Formula One season kicked off Sunday in Melbourne, Australia
March 28th, 2011
11:21 AM ET

Gotta Watch: Formula One's need for speed

It's not enough to call Formula One racing "fast driving." It's more like flying, just really low. The F1 season kicked off Sunday in Melbourne, Australia. Today, we're blowing your hair back with two of the fast and furious: Team Ferrari and Team Lotus. Don't worry, these guys aren't texting while driving, but CNN found out many of the top drivers have a huge following on Twitter.

Vroom! - The "Prancing Horse" rides again. Team Ferrari has 215 Grand Prix wins to celebrate. Will they grab 216? That depends largely on drivers Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso.

This year's model - Team Lotus' Mike Gascoyne shows us how even the slightest modification to one of these four-wheeled wonders can cost a driver a "make or break" one-hundredth of a second.

Tweets on the track - If you can't make it to the grandstand during a Formula One race, Twitter may offer the next best thing: tweets from the pit and jokes from the drivers.

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Filed under: Auto racing • Gotta Watch • Sports
Monday's intriguing people
February 21st, 2011
01:53 PM ET

Monday's intriguing people

Trevor Bayne

After he had just driven 500 mentally exhausting miles to win NASCAR’s most prestigious race, Trevor Bayne needed to ask for directions Sunday evening. He wasn’t sure how to get to Victory Lane. Well, he made it there eventually.

You see, 20-year-olds aren’t supposed to win the Daytona 500. The race is about working closely on the track with another driver, and rookies don’t have the history for other racers to be comfortable around them at 200 mph.

At least, that’s how it usually works. Driving a car with the number 21 - made famous by one of the greatest drivers ever, David Pearson - Bayne became the youngest winner of the race and only one of two drivers to win an event in his second Cup start.   ESPN’s Ed Hinton says it’s exactly what a struggling sport could hope for.

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February 21st, 2011
08:35 AM ET

Rookie says he 'set the bar high' with Daytona win

On Sunday, NASCAR had its version of the Super Bowl: the Daytona 500. And this year, a 20-year-old became the first rookie and the youngest driver to win it.

Trevor Bayne, who turned 20 the day before the race, won the event and joined "American Morning's" Kiran Chetry and T.J. Holmes to explain how it felt to win big.

"You set the bar high when you win your first ever Daytona 500. There is still a lot of history to be written," he said.

"It is cool to be the winner," he added. "It is because of everybody around me ... we got to work with Jeff Gordon in that race. That was incredible."

Watch the entire interview here:

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Filed under: Auto racing • Sports
Thursday's intriguing people
Sunday will mark Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s 400th race of the Sprint Cup series.
February 17th, 2011
10:16 AM ET

Thursday's intriguing people

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Ten years ago, his legendary father died after a crash at the Daytona 500. His death in the final turn of "NASCAR’S Super Bowl" shook the sports world. Since then, according to USA Today, NASCAR and the surviving Earnhardt have struggled. Dale Earnhardt Jr. initially catapulted to fame, yet he feuded with his stepmother and left Earnhardt Racing. Though he was slated to start in pole position at the Daytona 500 this weekend, he wrecked his car in a practice Wednesday and landed at the back of the pack. Still, Sunday will be Earnhardt's 400th race of the Sprint Cup series. The last driver who won on his 400th career start was Earnhardt Sr.


Congresswoman wants to end military's NASCAR sponsorships
The National Guard logo is displayed all over popular NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s car, cap and fire suit.
February 16th, 2011
08:24 AM ET

Congresswoman wants to end military's NASCAR sponsorships

A member of Congress wants to end the military's sponsorship of NASCAR race teams, saying it's a waste of taxpayers' money.

Rep. Betty McCollum, D-Minnesota, is offering an amendment to the 2011 House budget bill to ban the sponsorships, which her office said has cost the military $100 million over the past 10 years, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

The National Guard sponsors Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s team, the Army sponsors Ryan Newman, and the Air Force sponsors AJ Allmendinger, according to HamptonRoads.com.


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