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Entries in NASCAR (10)

Monday
May272013

Camera Cable Snaps at NASCAR Race, 10 Injured 

BananaStock(CONCORD, N.C) -- A cable supporting a Fox Sports camera snapped during the Coca-Cola 600 Sunday, delaying the race and injuring 10 fans, three of whom went to the hospital.

The nylon rope which moves across the track filming the race from a bird's-eye view, broke, for reason that are still being looked into. The falling cable whipped through the grandstand and came to rest dangling into the track. It then got caught up in the wheels of several cars.

The race was delayed for 27 minutes.

The camera did not fall, as the rope that failed was one of three supporting the equipment.

"We certainly regret that the system failure affected tonight's event, we apologize to the racers whose cars were damaged, and our immediate concern is for the race fans," Fox Sports said in a statement following the incident.

Three of the injured fans were sent to the hospital, but all have since been released.

“Everybody started screaming, said Brandi Purser, one of the injured fans. Purser was hit in the shoulder when the cable first fell, and called it who called it a chaotic situation.

Crystal Brock, another injured fan, said she heard the rope snap but couldn't get out of the way in time. “As I turned to look the cable came down and sliced me across my shoulder where it burnt me, it whipped me,” she said.

NASCAR's vice president tweeted that his thoughts and prayers are with the fans and, and said that NASCAR will work closely with Fox on this investigation into what went wrong with that camera system.

This camera system has been successfully used in the past - even at this year's Daytona 500.

 

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Feb242013

Daytona 500: Jimmie Johnson Wins NASCAR's Biggest Race

Chris Graythen/Getty Images(DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.) -- NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson won the Daytona 500 on Sunday, while Danica Patrick, who made history as the first woman to win the pole position in the race, finished in eighth place.

Crews worked overnight to repair a fence at the Daytona International Speedway for Sunday's race after a fiery crash in the final lap of the Nationwide race on Saturday injured at least 28 fans when debris flew into the stands.

While there were no reports of fans being injured on Sunday, there were a handful of crashes.

A nine-car wreck during lap 34 of the race took star drivers Tony Stewart and Kevin Harvick out of the running.  Stewart won the Nationwide race at the speedway on Saturday.

"Happy with our car, was just waiting for it to all get sorted out again," Stewart told ESPN.  "I don't know what started it, but we just got caught up in another wreck."

It was a history-making race for Patrick, who was entered the final lap in third place, but finished in eighth, the best showing for a woman at the Daytona 500.  She also became the first woman to lead a lap -- she led five -- at the prestigous race.

The previous highest woman finisher was Janet Guthrie, who came in 11th in 1980.

Several cars tangled and crashed in the final lap of the race, although nothing like Saturday's last-lap crash that sent rookie Kyle Larson's car airborne and a tire, engine and other debris barreling into the stands.

NASCAR officials did not throw a yellow flag and allowed Johnson to lead the pack to the checkered flag at the finish line.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Feb242013

Daytona International Speedway Crash Injures at Least 28 Fans

Jerry Markland/Getty Images(DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.) -- A fiery last-lap crash at the Daytona International Speedway Saturday sent chunks of debris flying into the stands, injuring at least 28 spectators, who were seen being carried away from the stands on stretchers.

At least 14 of the injured were transported to hospitals and more than a dozen others were treated at the speedway, Daytona president Joie Chitwood III. All the drivers involved in the crash have been treated and released, Chitwood said.

ESPN reported that one of the spectators taken to the hospital was on the way to surgery with head trauma.

The 12-car crash happened moments before the end of the Nationwide race, and on the eve of the Daytona 500, one of NASCAR's biggest events.

The crash was apparently triggered when driver Regan Smith's car, which was being tailed by Brad Keselowski on his back bumper, spun to the right and shot up the track. Smith had been in the lead and said after the crash he had been trying to throw a "block."

Rookie Kyle Larson's car slammed into the wall that separates the track from the grandstands, causing his No. 32 car to go airborne and erupt in flames.

When a haze of smoke cleared and Larson's car came to a stop, he jumped out uninjured.

His engine and one of his wheels were sitting in a walkway of the grandstand.

"I was getting pushed from behind," Larson told ESPN. "Before I could react, it was too late."

Tony Stewart pulled out the win, but in victory lane, what would have been a celebratory mood was tempered by concern for the injured fans.

"We've always known this is a dangerous sport," Stewart said. "But it's hard when the fans get caught up in it."

Repairs are under way on the fence where the crash happened and are expected to be completed before the Daytona 500 on Sunday, Chitwood said.

He told reporters NASCAR does not anticipate having to move any of their fans for the Daytona 500 and expects all seats will be filled.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Monday
Feb182013

Danica Patrick Points to Hard Work(outs) in Daytona 500

Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- In the 65-year history of NASCAR, there has never been a female winner.  But Danica Patrick could change all that; she won pole position for the Daytona 500 this weekend.

“I’m not far enough removed from it to be able to understand what it really means,” she said Sunday. “All I can say is, just like anyone else in this moment, I’m happy. I’m proud.”

Patrick beat out 37 other drivers, including four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon, and hit speeds of 196 miles per hour — Daytona’s fastest speed since 1990. She happens to be 8 inches shorter and 50 pounds lighter than any of her male counterparts.

In addition to her team and state-of-the-art car, she said grueling workouts helped her in Sunday’s tryouts.  Patrick has said in previous interviews that racing is like a three-hour workout.

Patrick has said she focuses on her upper-body strength, building neck muscles like an NFL linebacker to stay upright during hard turns.

Mike Massaro, an ESPN reporter, said he had no doubt that Patrick was in top physical shape.

“She is constantly working out, watching her diet,” Massaro said. “In fact, yesterday, after she turned in her qualifying lap and had a two-hour wait to see how it all played out, she spent her time by going to the gym. That’s how dedicated she is to her fitness routine.”

Patrick has said keeping a grip on the steering wheel during a race is like holding a medicine ball for two hours, and hitting the break pedal during the turns is like pushing down with 300 pounds of force.

She does all of this in sauna-like 150-degree temperatures inside the car, wearing a fireproof bodysuit.

Drivers can sweat off 7 pounds during a single race.

“She has said time and time again that she has not set out to be the fastest girl,” Massaro said. “She has set out to be the fastest driver and she proved that.”
 
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Monday
Feb182013

Danica Patrick Becomes First Woman to Take Pole at Daytona 500

Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Danica Patrick pulled off the biggest coup of her four-year NASCAR career, becoming the first woman to ever take the pole at the Daytona 500 and the first to clinch a pole in any race in NASCAR’s premier series, the Sprint Cup.

Clocking 196 miles per hour, she beat out 37 other drivers, including four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon.

“I was brought up to be the fastest driver, not the fastest girl,” Patrick said. “That’s how I’ve always approached my racing career. I’ve been lucky enough to make history and be the first woman to do many things. We have a lot more history to make and we are excited to do it.”

Gordon was the only other driver who topped 196 mph. He locked up the No. 2 spot in the Daytona 500, which kicks off the Sprint Cup season next week.

“It’s great to be part of history,” Gordon said. “I can say I was the fastest guy today. I think we all know how popular she is, what this will do for our sport. Congratulations to her. Proud to be on there with her.”

Patrick is not new to making racing history. She was the first woman to lead laps in the Indianapolis 500, and her third-place finish in 2009 at the Brickyard was the best showing ever by a woman. She is also the only woman to have ever won an IndyCar race.

Since her move to NASCAR, though, she had not fared as well, but her performance Saturday could be an indication of better things to come.

“That’s a huge accomplishment,” team owner and fellow driver Tony Stewart said. “It’s not like it’s been 15 or 20 years she’s been trying to do this. It’s her second trip to Daytona here in a Cup car. She’s made history in the sport. That’s stuff that we’re proud of being a part of with her. It’s something she should have a huge amount of pride in.”

 

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Monday
Nov192012

Christmas Abbott, First Female NASCAR Pit Crew Member, Fights Against the Odds

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- NASCAR has seen a few women drivers at the elite level, but never before has a woman muscled her way into the extremely physically demanding positions getting down and dirty in the pit.

Christmas Abbott, 30, is the first female pit crew member in NASCAR, where in less than 12 seconds, she and her team refuel the car and change the tires.

Abbott is responsible for the front tire position, in which she must remove five lug nuts, sometimes as the car is still moving, muscle off the tire and put it aside, then get a new one on and replace the lug nuts, all within seconds. Then she must race around to the other side of the car and do it all over again.

In her recorded practices that are studied each night, Abbott's times are within milliseconds of the big leagues.

Her job is crucial in a multi-billion-dollar business. If there's just a few extra seconds at a pit stop, the driver loses.

 

Abbott was discovered in January at an audition and recruited just like the former football and professional hockey players she works beside. Her competitive nature drew her to the high stakes of racing.

With heels on, Abbott stretches to five-foot-three but don't be fooled by her size. She is an incredible brand of athlete called a cross-fitter. Abbott has built her body through intense workouts and crazy competitions. In one competition, Abbott carried a 125-pound friend with one arm and a 70-pound weight in the other. Combined, Abbott was carrying twice her weight.

"Now I can see that my body is developing into this very precise machine where whatever I want to do, or whatever I believe I can do, ultimately I will be able to do," she said.

At first, Abbott's pit crew coach, Shaun Peet, wasn't so sure about her.

"To be honest with you, I thought it was a publicity stunt, you know what I mean, and I wanted no part of it," Peet said. "And I think, I was convinced, when I saw her. She ran a 6.8 [second] right side the other day, which for as long as she's being doing it is exceptional."

But Abbott does have her detractors in the garage. Men whisper that she won't last and they appreciate her for all the wrong reasons. But she doesn't care. All that's on her mind is her first race in three weeks.

"I feel like I'm bringing something huge to the sport, but this ultimately is much bigger than me," Abbott said. "I find that those things that scare you most are most rewarding once you've conquered them."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Aug062012

One Dead, Nine Injured by Lightning at NASCAR Race

Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images(LONG POND, Pa.) -- One person was killed and nine others were injured Sunday evening after lightning struck at a racetrack in Pennsylvania.

The NASCAR race at the Pocono Raceway had been called because of severe weather, with just 98 of the scheduled 160 laps completed.  Racetrack officials made announcements telling fans to evacuate, and as they were leaving, at least one bolt came crashing down into the parking lot.

ABC News' Michael Barr was at the racetrack for the Pennsylvania 400.

"Lightning struck several spectators.  The race had just completed the halfway point when heavy storms started rolling through the area and people started scurrying from the stands, and at that point that's when the lightning bolts started coming into the area.  People were trying to take shelter," he said.

"Those lightning bolts, they were were rather scary.  There was a couple of times I'm looking at the car and I had do a double take like, whoa, that was pretty severe," Barr added.

Ten people were injured by the lightning, one of whom later died at a hospital.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Apr172012

Obama Hails NASCAR Champ ‘Smoke’ Tony Stewart

President Obama looks at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship trophy as he approaches Tony Stewart's car during an event on the South Lawn of the White House, April 17, 2012. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers Tony Stewart, center, Kyle Busch, and Ryan Newman, right, watch nearby. Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy(WASHINGTON) -- There were no checkered flags or revving race car engines, but for an hour this afternoon the White House south drive resembled part of a NASCAR race track.

Flanked by the top 12 NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers of 2011 and two Chevy Impalas, each emblazoned with the number 14, President Obama gave a pat on the back to champion driver Tony Stewart for what he called an “impressive win.”

“This was Tony’s year. And ‘Smoke’ gave us one of the most dramatic finishes that we have ever seen,” Obama said. Stewart drives No. 14.

“After barely making the [Sprint] Chase, Tony took off, winning an amazing four races in the post-season.  And then came the final race in Miami -- a must-win. Tony went all out,” he said. “Twice he came from back of the pack, passing 118 cars -- sometimes three wide.  Tony said it felt like he passed half the state of Florida.  But in the end, he hung on to take the checkered flag and win the championship with a tie-breaker.”

Obama joked that he also had an ulterior motive in inviting the outspoken Stewart to the White House:  to glean some “tips on the media.”

“He’s got that quiet, reserved personality and I was figuring I’d stay out of trouble if Tony gave me some advice on that,” Obama said with a smile.

The president praised all the drivers at his side -- calling them the “best of the best” -- and thanking them for their outreach to military veterans and their families as part of a NASCAR initiative.

“Underneath the helmets, behind all the trash talking -- and I notice it seems to be picking up quite a bit lately -- these are some outstanding men.  And it’s true about the whole NASCAR organization.”

Besides Stewart, Obama was joined by drivers Carl Edwards, Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth, Brad Keselowski, Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon, Denny Hamlin, Ryan Newman, Kurt Busch and Kyle Busch.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Nov212011

Michelle Obama, Dr. Jill Biden Draw Boos at NASCAR Event

Larry Marano/WireImage(MIAMI) -- First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden were grand marshals at Sunday’s NASCAR season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, appearing as part of their charitable campaign to support military veterans and their families.

But their charitable cause wasn’t enough to prevent public fallout as they were introduced before the crowd.

ESPN video from the event documented loud boos from some in the stands as the announcer named Obama and Biden, seconds before they told drivers to start their engines.

The pair -- who co-chair the Joining Forces initiative -- stood beside retired Army Sgt. Andrew Barry and his family.  Barry was wounded in action in Iraq and Afghanistan, retired from the military in 2009 and now volunteers at an Orlando, Fla., veterans center, the announcer said.  He received resounding applause.

A source traveling with the first lady downplayed the incident, telling ABC News there was no discernible booing during the “loud chaotic program with jets flying over and tons of noise.”

Before the race, the first lady addressed a barbeque for military families that NASCAR had invited to the event.

“Everyone around the country is focused on you.  And this isn’t just an effort today,” she said.  “Jill and I through Joining Forces, we want to make this a part of the dialogue in this country forever.  Whether Jill or I are here or not, whether this administration is here or not, this is about the way we want this country to talk about our troops, veterans and military families forever.  We want you to feel that appreciation and that gratitude so that you know your sacrifice is not in vain.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Sep072011

Obama Honors NASCAR Drivers at the White House

Comstock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Being a NASCAR driver is a lot like being president: “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong at some point during the season,” Obama said Wednesday.
 
The president welcomed eight of the 2010 Chase for the Sprint Cup drivers to the White House Wednesday to honor Jimmie Johnson’s series championship and to pay tribute to their work on and off the track.
 
“Jimmie has got a lot to be proud of.  And that’s especially true when you think of what it means to win five championships in a row,” Obama said in the East Room of the White House. “With so much extraordinary talent that is going bumper to bumper in every race, just making the Chase is hard enough, let alone winning the whole thing.”
 
Despite the similarities between their positions, the president seemed a little jealous of the drivers. “It’s great to have Number 48 parked outside,” Obama said of Johnson’s Lowe’s Chevrolet racing car. “I was just telling these guys I’m not allowed to drive much these days, basically just my golf cart at Camp David, which is called Golf Cart One. True,” he said to laughter from the crowd. “But I will say that it’s pretty tough to look at Number 48 and not want to jump in and take a few laps -- although I'm sure Jimmie would not be happy if I was doing that.”
 
The president also highlighted the work that NASCAR does to support military families. “What also makes NASCAR special is the difference that it makes in the lives of so many people, especially our troops and their families,” Obama said. Last month the drivers and staff toured Walter Reed Hospital, serving dinner to 400 wounded service members and their loved ones. This weekend NASCAR will honor military and first responders in Richmond, Va., before the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
 
Four of the Chase drivers made the unusual decision to decline the invitation to the White House Wednesday, but have denied snubbing the president. While the move led to speculation that they were making a political statement about Obama’s policies, the drivers cited scheduling conflicts and said it had nothing to do with politics.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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