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  • Friday Roval primer – lots of unknowns

    At the time of this writing, the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series has practiced once on the new Charlotte Roval, the Xfinity Series has logged two Thursday test sessions and is in midst of practice one, and rain has popped up on and off both days. The cars with speed are becoming apparent (Austin Cindric, Cole Custer, Daniel Hemric, and Ryan Preece for NXS and Kyle Busch and Erik Jones in MENCS). But how these races will play out absolutely is not certain.

    A handful of NXS cars got varying degrees of wreck damage Thursday, with Turn 5 being the [More]

  • Elliott perseveres through trials, finds new level of clutch in first Cup win

    The wait is over. Chase Elliott has won his first-career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race. He held off 2017 MENCS champion Martin Truex Jr. in a thrilling finish in the Go Bowling at the Glen at Watkins Glen Sunday. His win came in his 99th career start, just over halfway thru his third full-time season with powerhouse Hendrick Motorsports. That may not be exactly the fairytale Elliott imagined when he dreamt of becoming a Cup star like his father. But both William Clyde Elliott’s, son and father, had to suffer some near-misses before their Victory Lane kisses.

    Each driver [More]

  • Scanner Chatter: David Ragan and Erik Jones

    NASCAR is racing at Daytona International Speedway this weekend with tonight’s Xfinity Series Coca-Cola Firecracker 250 at 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN, MRN, Sirius/XM 90) and Saturday’s Coke Zero Sugar 400 at 7 p.m. (NBC, MRN, Sirius/XM 90). This kind of restrictor plate racing can produce random winners and till different names to the front of the pack. With only six different winners in Cup this season, many drivers circle this race as a ticket into the Playoffs.

    Unadilla, Georgia’s David Ragan nearly won this race in 2017 and scored his first-career MENCS win in the 2011 Daytona summer classic. His only other [More]

  • Dominance isn’t a bad thing, if there’s a tango

    The biggest story in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series this season has been the absolute beatings that Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch, with a taste of Martin Truex Jr., have laid on the field. Really, in almost any metric, no other team is close to the trio in 2018. Whether Harvick and Busch are atop the scoring pylons in practice, qualifying, and the race is a toss up. And Truex Jr., who grabbed the series by the tail and whopped it against the side of a trash can last season, is the only other driver to win multiple races [More]

  • Analyzing the Kenseth curveball and what the move says about Bayne

    Roush Fenway Racing and Matt Kenseth grabbed the news cycle by the horns this week, announcing that the champion driver will return to the organization that brought him into the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. Kenseth will drive an unspecified number of races in the team’s No. 6 Ford Fusion, splitting time with Trevor Bayne. Wyndham Hotels and Resorts will sponsor Kenseth in at least some races. Bayne will continue to run the races sponsored by Advocare.

    Team president Steve Newmark and team owner Jack Roush both said that Kenseth is coming back to evaluate the state of their mediocre [More]

  • Memories of Captain Herb highlight final Labor Day race weekend at AMS

    This is a re-post of my blog post just after the Atlanta Motor Speedway Labor Day weekend race in 2014, the first after the passing of Captain Herb Emory. Four years to the day after his passing, please enjoy the memories and thank you for Remembering Captain Herb. 

    A banner at the United Against Mouth and Throat Cancer tent, an organization that provides free screenings in the Atlanta Motor Speedway Fan Zone outside the Hampton, Georgia track, had a banner that read “Remembering Capt. Herb Emory.” That was a theme for the entire NASCAR race weekend at AMS.

    Conyers driver Chris Cockrum [More]

  • AMS throws a cold glass of water on the youth movement

    Atlanta Motor Speedway is almost every driver’s favorite track. You hear that everytime NASCAR’s circus pitches tents in Hampton, Georgia. Drivers love the 21-year old surface at the legendary 58-year old track, because it causes tire wear and forces drivers to search all over for grip. Old pavement puts the race back in the drivers’ hands and every driver I spoke to – from young William Byron to Sunday’s race-winner and longest-tenured Cup driver Kevin Harvick – say it’s fun.

    But since drivers matter so much, NASCAR’s youth movement had to sit on the carpet and hear from the teachers [More]

  • AMS Friday notes: Busch up front, Truex in the back, and an interesting proposition from Dylan Lupton

    Busch takes MENCS pole, Truex Jr.’s team in hot water

    Kyle Busch claimed his first-ever Atlanta Motor Speedway pole in Friday qualifying. Busch actually was fastest at AMS in 2016, but NASCAR disqualified his time. His 184.652 mph lap in Round 3 this year put the No 18 Snickers Toyota on the front row for the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500, alongside seven-time AMS pole winner Ryan Newman.

    Kevin Harvick, who dominated last year’s race, was fastest in Round 2 and starts 3rd. Brad Keselowski, who won this race a year ago, was another fast Ford, but could only muster 5th [More]

  • Elliott says Earnhardt Jr. played big role in reviving the 9 car

    22-year-old Chase Elliott is driving the No. 9 car in 2018 and the retiring Dale Earnhardt Jr. had a lot to do with it.

    Elliott’s arrival full-time in NASCAR came on the wings of Earnhardt Jr., in the form of the 2014 NASCAR Xfinity Series schedule in the No. 9 NAPA Chevy for JR Motorsports. One championship and two seasons later, Elliott found himself replacing the retiring Jeff Gordon in the legendary Hendrick Motorsports No. 24, as a teammate to Earnhardt Jr. Now entering his third season in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, Elliott remains with his same race [More]

  • 2017 Georgia NASCAR drivers review and 2018 preview

    The 2018 season was one of almost utter exuberance and certain, sighing heartbreak for the Georgia drivers gang – and several drivers struggling with middle or back marker teams. Here’s a quick breakdown of how each driver in NASCAR’s top series fared and what they look forward to this quickly approaching season.

    Chase Elliott:

    Wins: 0, Top 5s: 12, Top10s: 21, Poles: 1, Rank: 5, Avg. fin.: 12.0, DNFs: 4, LLFs: 27

    That goose egg in the win column should not be of worry; Elliott notched five runner-up finishes (four in the Playoffs), out performed all of his teammates (including seven-time [More]

News

  • After Matt Ryan and Jameis Winston traded touchdown pass after touchdown pass, it came down to a few wacky flips near the goal line. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers nearly pulled off a miracle. But, in the end, the Atlanta Falcons finally got a much-needed victory to bounce their way. Ryan threw for 354 yards and three touchdowns as the Falcons snapped a three-game losing streak, holding off Tampa Bay 34-29 Sunday in Winston's return as the Bucs' starter. The Falcons (2-4) scored on their first three possessions and held off a wild comeback by Tampa Bay (2-3), avoiding their first 1-5 start since 2007. The Bucs lost their third in a row. 'It was all hands on deck,' Atlanta coach Dan Quinn said. Especially on the final play . Winston and the Bucs drove to the Atlanta 21 but were out of timeouts. With the Falcons dropping nearly everyone toward the end zone, expecting a pass, Winston took the snap and darted straight up the middle of the field. When he was about to be tackled at the 10, he pitched the ball toward receiver Adam Humphries, who was so intent on going for the winning score he couldn't hang on. The ball skipped to Mike Evans, who blindly flung it in the direction of DeSean Jackson along the sideline at the 5. Jackson might've had a chance to dive for the end zone, but he couldn't come up with another bouncing ball. It rolled harmlessly out of bounds to end the game. Jackson ripped off his helmet and kicked the pylon in disgust on his way to the locker room. 'The play is a play you run once,' tight end O.J. Howard said. 'It was a great call. We almost got it.' Winston, who was suspended for the first three games of the season and came off the bench in Week 4, threw for 395 yards and four TDs. His performance, though, was marred by a pair of interceptions, one a deep ball that was picked off at the Atlanta 1 and a deflected pass in the end zone that ricocheted high in the air and was grabbed by Brian Poole to deny a red-zone scoring chance. Ryan's three TD passes gave him 274 in his career, passing Joe Montana for 16th on the career list. 'Obviously it's very special any time your name is brought up with Joe's,' Ryan said. 'But I'm more excited about the win.' He also had a big scramble on third-and-9, powering for a 13-yard gain that set up his final scoring pass. Quinn made a gutsy call with just over a minute remaining, sending on Matt Bryant to attempt a 57-yard field goal with Atlanta clinging to a 31-29 lead. Bryant's kick just cleared the crossbar, extending the Falcons' lead. The 43-yard-old Bryant put everything into the kick and immediately grabbed his right hamstring before hobbling off the field. Quinn's decision forced the Bucs to go for a touchdown. 'I can't say enough about Matt Bryant and the kick he had,' Quinn gushed. 'He's definitely one of the most mentally tough players I've had a chance to coach.' JULIO'S DAY Julio Jones went another game without a touchdown catch. The Falcons didn't mind a bit. Jones had 10 receptions for 143 yards — his third 100-yard game of the season — and constantly drew attention away from his teammates. That allowed Austin Hooper, Mohamed Sanu and Tevin Coleman to haul in scoring passes. Jones has gone 11 straight regular-season games without a TD since a Nov. 26, 2017, victory over Tampa Bay, when he had two scoring catches. BUC-KLING DOWN The beleaguered Tampa Bay defense, which is guided by former Falcons coach Mike Smith, was shredded in the first half for three touchdowns, a last-second field goal and 275 yards. It showed a bit of improvement after the break, actually forcing Atlanta to punt on three straight possessions. But, with the game on the line, the Bucs surrendered a 75-yard drive capped by Ryan's 6-yard TD pass to Coleman and a 36-yard possession that set up Bryant's long field goal. Tampa Bay came into the game allowing 34.75 points per game, more than any team in the league. INJURY REPORT Atlanta's receiving corps took a beating. Calvin Ridley, who was leading the Falcons with six touchdown catches, went out in the first half with an ankle injury and didn't return. Sanu was sidelined in the second half with a hip problem after hauling in a 35-yard touchdown pass. The loss of two receivers forced the Falcons to give more playing time to Justin Hardy, Marvin Hall and Russell Gage. Hardy had three catches and Gage came up with a big catch on Atlanta's touchdown drive in the fourth quarter. The Bucs lost defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, who walked slowly off the field in the fourth quarter with an undisclosed injury. Also, cornerback Ryan Smith was evaluated for a possible concussion. UP NEXT Buccaneers: Return home next Sunday to host the Cleveland Browns (2-3-1). Falcons: Host the struggling New York Giants (1-5) on Monday, Oct. 22, to close out a stretch of five home games in the first seven weeks of the season. ___ Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963 . His work can be found at https://apnews.com/search/paul%20newberry ___ For more AP NFL coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/NFLfootball and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL
  • A small plane crashed while taking off at the Gwinnett County Airport on Sunday afternoon, officials said. The two occupants of the plane were able to exit safely before the plane caught fire at about 12:40 p.m., according to a statement from the Gwinnett County Department of Fire and Emergency Services. The occupants, an instructor and a student, were not seriously injured, the fire department said. One was evaluated and released by paramedics at the scene, and the other said they were not injured. READ MORE: 1 reported dead in plane crash in Paulding County The Cessna 172 “experienced a nose dive and hard landing” while taking off from Runway 7 at Briscoe Field, the Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement. The plane went up in flames, but crews put out the fire shortly after 1 p.m., officials said. The aircraft was deemed a total loss. The crash occurred just a day after another small plane crashed in Paulding County, killing the pilot. In other news:
  • A Melania Trump spokeswoman is asking people to boycott Atlanta rapper T.I. because of his promotional album video that shows a woman resembling the first lady taking off her clothes in the oval office. Trump's communications director, Stephanie Grisham, tweeted Saturday asking how the video was acceptable. How is this acceptable? #disgusting #boycottT.I. @Tip https://t.co/HvnFahfsVK — Stephanie Grisham (@StephGrisham45) October 13, 2018 T.I., whose real name is Clifford Harris, tweeted Friday 'Dear 45, I ain't Kanye' before sharing the video. The woman is wearing a jacket that reads 'I REALLY DON'T CARE, DO U?'  Trump wore a jacket with that wording on her way to visit migrant children in Texas.  She said recently in an interview with ABC News that she wore the jacket to troll reporters. Those tweets follow T.I. posting on Instagram that he was done working with rapper Kanye West, who is a President Donald Trump supporter. TRENDING STORIES: Drivers say cars had to be towed from gas station after pumping bad fuel Police hope new video will help solve model's mysterious murder 13-year-old girl missing after parents found dead in Wisconsin  
  • One person in Mississippi is in custody after the Bolivar County sheriff said that a baby was stabbed, WTVA reported. The baby was then placed in an oven at the home and baked, the sheriff told WTVA. >> Read more trending news  The person, whose name and relationship to the baby has not been released, is in the Bolivar County Regional Correctional Facility, according to Sheriff Kelvin Williams. Williams said deputies found the baby, whose age has not been determined, after being called to the home Monday evening, WTVA reported. They are unsure though when the baby died. The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation and the crime lab are investigating.
  • A Massachusetts school employee is under investigation by the Secret Service for allegedly threatening President Donald Trump on social media. >> Watch the news report here The employee, a Fitchburg Public Schools paraprofessional who works with special-needs students, has also been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of this investigation. Her husband, a principal at Fitchburg's Longsjo Middle School, spoke only to WFXT about his wife's alleged tweet, which was captured in screen shots and shared multiple times on social media. At first, the tweet caught the attention of the local police force and subsequently of federal agents. 'People have their preferences, but sometimes you should just keep your 2 cents to yourself, you know?' said Roger Valcourt, a parent. The tweet, posted Oct, 10 which read, 'No just kill Trump,' has been generating controversy around town. Parents were shocked to learn what happened, saying both the principal and his wife are star educators. After the tweet was reported to Ashburnham police, the Secret Service launched an investigation, telling WFXT that they are aware of the incident and investigate all threats made against the president. 'I don’t know what was going through her head, I guess, but it’s not a good thing to say you want to kill the president,' said Alex Clemente, a parent. Clemente, a veteran who fought in Iraq, says the tweet went too far. 'Even though you don’t like him, you can’t say that,' Clemente said. >> Read more trending news  The employee's husband told WFXT in an off-camera interview she meant no harm, saying, 'It was lapse in judgment, a mistake. It was a bad choice of words that were taken out of context. My wife is not a malicious person, and has an impeccable work record. She’s embarrassed by this situation.' While Craig Chalifoux spoke to WFXT on the record, his wife isn't being identified because she is not facing any charges. The superintendent told WFXT that the employee has been placed on paid administrative leave, saying, in a statement, this 'is being done to protect her interests as well as the interest of the district [and] it will allow the investigation to conclude and minimize any disruption and distraction and protects her safety and security.
  • A U.S. Customs and Border Protection beagle named Hardy detected a roasted pig’s head in checked luggage at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. >> Read more trending news  Hardy, a six-year-old rescue beagle, alerted his handler to a bag belonging to a traveler from Ecuador. Inside was the pig’s head, which weighed nearly 2 pounds. The director of the Port of Atlanta for Customs and Border Protection, Carey Davis, issued a statement saying the seizure demonstrates “the tremendous expertise of our four-legged K-9 partners in protecting the United States.” >> Related: Beagle rescued from abuse now detects contraband at Hartsfield-Jackson The agency seized the pig’s head and destroyed it, saying pork and pork products from other continents are prohibited from entering the United States to prevent the introduction of diseases like classical swine fever, foot and mouth disease and swine vesicular disease. Travelers are supposed to declare fruit, vegetable and food products to Customs and present them for inspection. Hardy, a member of the Customs and Border Protection “Beagle Brigade,” got his job in 2015 after training at the National Detectors Dog Training Center in Newnan, Georgia. It’s not the first time a beagle has intercepted a pig at Hartsfield-Jackson. In 2016, a K9 beagle named Joey detected a whole roasted pig in the baggage of a traveler from Peru.