Artist Christo Dies

Artist Christo died May 31 in his New York City home at the age of 84 as a result of natural causes.

Christo and his wife Jeanne-Claude were known for their massive displays of artistic endeavours that often included the use of fabric including the vinyl gates in Central Park, the Reichstag, the Pont Neuf, the Kunsthalle, Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art, and a Roman Wall.  The duo also used over 1,00 balloons for installations in Southern California and Japan.  Their projects required hundreds of workers to erect and brought millions of visitors to view their work; infusing many millions into the local economy.

Speaking on his work, Christo once said, “like classical sculpture, all our wrapped projects are not solid buildings; they are moving with the wind, they are breathing.  The fabric is very sensual and inviting; it’s like a skin.”

A posthumous installation involving L’Arc de Triomphe is scheduled to take place in September of next year and an exhibition of their work is set to run at the Centre Georges Pompidou from July to October.

He was born Christo Vladimirov Javacheff in Gabrovo, Bulgaria in on June 13, 1935.  He studied at the Fine Arts Academy in Sofia, Bulgaria before moving to Prague, Vienna, Geneva, and Paris.  It was there that he met Jeanne-Claude whom he discovered shared the exact same birth date.  The couple later moved to New York City, calling it home for the remainder of their lives.

Already wrapping smaller objects – cars, furniture, etc. – before meeting Jeanne-Claude, the artistic projects grew in size and expanse.

Predeceased by his wife Jeanne-Claude at the age of 74 as the result of a brain aneurysm, no list of survivors was given.

 

 

 

Feature photo credit: By Martin Dürrschnabel – File:Christo and Jeanne-Claude.jpg by Martin Dürrschnabel, CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3569497

Beating, Banging, and Wrecking in Thunder Valley

After plenty of thrills, spills, and rain at Charlotte Motor Speedway, NASCAR travels to Thunder Valley for the Supermarket Heroes 500 on the half mile track of Bristol Motor Speedway.

NASCAR continues to run their races with no fans in the stands.  Noting that the fans are a big part of the sport, drivers frequently lament the absence of fans at the track during pre and post race interviews.

As NASCAR continues to run the races with no practice or qualifying laps, NASCAR has set the field by random draw with Brad Keselowski sitting on the pole.

During pre race inspections, the number 37 JTG Daugherty Racing car driven by Ryan Preece and the number 27 Rick Ware Racing car driven by Gray Gaulding failed inspection twice and will have to start the race from the back of the field.

The starting lineup for the Supermarket Heroes 500:
Brad Keselowski
Aric Almirola
Joey Logano
Ryan Blaney
Martin Truex Jr
Chase Elliott
Kyle Busch
Kevin Harvick
Matt DiBenedetto
Denny Hamlin
Alex Bowman
Kurt Busch
William Byron
Matt Kenseth
Erik Jones
Ricky Stenhouse Jr
Ryan Newman
John Hunter Nemechek
Chris Buescher
Austin Dillon
Tyler Reddick
Cole Custer
Clint Bowyer
Jimmie Johnson
Michael McDowell
Bayley Currey
Joey Gase
Quin Houff
Ty Dillon
Gray Gaulding – moved to the back of the field for failing inspection
Garrett Smithley
Corey LaJoie
Ryan Preece – moved to the back of the field for failing inspection
Brennan Poole
Christopher Bell
Bubba Wallace
Daniel Suarez
Timmy Hill
BJ McLeod
JJ Yeley

Stages one and two of the race are 125 laps each with stage three lasting 250 laps for a total of 500 laps around the half mile high banked track that has been described racing at the track being like trying to fly a jet  inside a gymnasium.

After several races with rain delays, it is a perfect day for racing at Bristol with clear blue skies and 74 degrees.

Kyle Busch leads the field of active drivers who have won a race at Bristol with eight wins.  Darrell Waltrip leads the list of all drivers with 12 wins – seven of them in a row.

NASCAR brings the cars down pit road during the pace laps to set pit road speeds of 30mph.  With pit road covering both straighaways, pit road is a tricky place for the drivers.

NASCAR is calling for two competition cautions for this race; one at lap 20 and one at lap 60.

Brad Keselowski brings the field down for the green flag start of the race from the outside lane and jumps out in front of Aric Almirola for the lead.

In the first short track race of the season, the drivers are running laps at 15 seconds; it won’t take long before the leaders will start lapping cars.

Lap seven, Brad Keselowski has a lead of nearly half a second on Ryan Blaney; Joey Logano, Martin Truex Jr, and Chase Elliott round out the top five.

The first caution flag of the race comes out on lap eight for Ryan Newman when he gets loose and spins out.

Drivers may come down pit road for adjustments but cannot put fuel in the cars until the competition caution.

Brad Keselowski brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 12 and gets out in front to hold on to his lead with Martin Truex Jr in second.

In just eight laps, rookie drivers Christopher Bell had moved up 10 positions.

Lap 17 Martin Truex Jr is on leader Brad Keselowski’s bumper and challenging for the lead; Ryan Blaney, Aric Almirola, and Joey Logano round out the top five.

At the end of lap 20, NASCAR puts out the yellow flag for the first of two competition caution flags.

Not required to make a pit stop, several of the drivers stayed out on the track.

After starting the race in 24th place, seven time champion Jimmie Johnson has moved up to the top 10 in ninth place.

Corey LaJoie was caught speeding on pit road.

Chris Buescher had to change his scoring transponder.

Brad Keselowski brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 30 and once again jumps out in front for the lead.

Lap 32, the top five are Brad Keselowski, Aric Almirola, Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr, and Ryan Blaney.

Lap 40, Brad Keselowski has pulled out toa lead of nearly a second and a half on Aric Almirola; Joey Logano, Kyle Busch, and Ryan Blaney round out the top five.  The top 15 drivers are single file.

Lap 43, leader Brad Keselowski has begin lapping cars with Joey Gase the first car a lap down.

Lap 45, Brad Keselowski holds on to his one second lead on Aric Almirola; Joey Logano, Kyle Busch, and Ryan Blaney round out the top five.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr and Ryan Blaney make contact on the track but the track stays green.

Lap 55, Brad Keselowski has a second and a half lead on Aric Almirola; Joey Logano, Kyle Busch, and Ryan Blaney round out the top five.

When NASCAR displays the competition caution at the end of lap 60, Brad Keselowski had a lead of over two seconds on Aric Almirola.

This time around, all of the drivers bring their cars down pit road for service.  Brad Keselowski wins the race off of pit road with Aric Almirola coming out second.

Kyle Busch and Daniel Suarez were caught speeding on pit road and have to restart the race from the back of the field.

After staying out on the track, Matt DiBenedetto brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 68.

Lap 69, Brad Keselowski retakes the lead on fresh tires.

Lap 73, the top five are Brad Keselowski, Ryan Blaney, Chase Elliott, Matt Dibenedetto , and Aric Almirola.

With Brad Keselowski continuing to lead the race, drivers are shuffling back and forth as they vie for position.

Lap 77, Brad Keselowski has a narrow lead on team mate Ryan Blaney; Chase Elliott, Aric Almirola, and Joey Logano round out the top five.  After restarting the race from the back of the field, Kyle Busch has moved up to 29th place.

Denny Hamlin is reporting that the temperatures are rising in his engine.

Lap 86, Ryan Blaney gets around Brad Keselowski for the lead; Chasee Elliott, Aric Almirola, and Joey Logano round out the top five.  There are 33 cars on the lead lap.

Lap 95, Ryan Blaney has a lead of less than half a second on Chase Elliott; Brad Keslowski, Aric Almirola, and Joey Logano round out the top five with 31 cars on the lead lap.    Kyle Busch is up to 22nd place.

Lap 104, Chase Elliott and Ryan Blaney battle for the lead with Chase Elliott getting out in front with 20 laps remaining in stage one.

Lap 109, Chase Elliott has a half second lead on Ryan Blaney; Brad Keselowski, Aric Almirola, and Joey Logano round out the top five with 30 cars on the lead lap.

Leader Chase Elliott has encountered heavy lapped traffic. With 13 laps remaining in stage one.

Since having to restart the race from the back of the field, Kyle Busch has moved up 16 spots and is currently in 18th place.

With seven laps remaining in stage one, Chase Elliott has pulled out to a lead of over a second on Ryan Blaney; Brad Keselowski, Aric Almirola, and Joey Logano round out the top five.


With a lead of over a second, Chase Elliott wins stage one.

The top 10 at the end of stage one:
Chase Elliott
Ryan Blaney
Brad Keselowski
Aric Almirola
Joey Logano
Kevin Harvick
Matt DIBenedetto
Denny Hamlin
Ricky Stenhouse, Jr
Jimmie Johnson

Drivers bring their cars down pit road for service.  Ryan Blaney wins the race off of pit road with Chase Elliott coming out second.

Matt DiBenedetto was caught speeding on pit road.

Alex Bowman had to make a second trip down pit road for loose lug nuts and was caught speeding on pit road.

Ryan Blaney brings the field down for the green flag start of stage two on lap 137 and takes the lead with team mate Brad Keselwoski in second; Chase Elliott, Aric Almirola, and Joey Logano round out the top five.

Lap 145, Ryan Blaney has a third of a second lead on Brad Keselowski with Chase Elliott, Joey Logano, and Aric Almirola rounding out the top five.

After 152 laps, All 40 cars are still on the track with 30 cars on the lead lap.

Lap 154, Ryan Blaney has a lead of over a second on Brad Keselowski; Chase Elliott, Joey Logano, and Aric Almirola round out the top five.

Lap 168, Ryan Blaney’s lead on team mate Brad Keselowski is down to under a quarter of a second; Chase Elliott, Joey Logano, and Aric Almirola round out the top five.

Lap 171, Brad Keselowski passes Ryan Blaney for the lead.

Bayley Currey hits the wall and has to take his car down pit road but the track stays green.
Lap 173, Ryan Blaney and Brad Keselowski battle back and forth for the lead with Brad Keselowski finally getting out in front to hold on to the lead.

Lap 178, Brad Keselowski has a quarter second lead on Ryan Blaney; Chase Elliott, Aric Almirola, and Denny Hamlin round out the top five.

Lap 181, There are 30 cars on the lead lap with all 40 drivers still in the race.

Lap 185, battle around the track heat up with drivers getting three wide across the narrow track.

Brad Keselowski leads the race with Ryan Blaney in second; Chase Elliott, Aric Almirola, and Denny Hamlin round out the top five.

Lap 200, Ryan Blaney brings out the caution flag after getting loose and hitting the wall.  Ty Dillon hits Blaney in an attempt to keep from hitting Blaney.

Ryan Blaney is out of his car…and out of the race.

Drivers come down pit road for fresh tires and adjustments.

Chase Elliott wins the race off of pit road with Brad Keselowski coming out second.

Ty Dillon is out of his car and becomes the second driver out of the race.

Chase Elliott brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap and jumps out in front for the lead with Kevin Harvick jumping up to second; Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, and William Byron round out the top five.

Joey Gase brings out the caution flag on lap 212 after spinning out.

Chase Elliott brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 216 but comes back out for a wreck involving Bayley Currey.

Chase Elliott brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 222 and edges out Kevin Harvick for the lead; Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski, and Denny Hamlin round out the top five.

Lap 224, Chase Elliott and Joey Logano battle for the lead, the two make contact and barely avoid a bit crash, but Elliott holds on to the lead.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr spins out and causes a bit crash on lap 230.  Alex Bowman, Cole Custer, and Tyler Reddick were also involved.  All drivers are out of their cars.  Kurt Busch, Matt DiBenedetto, Ryan Preece, and Jimmie Johnson were also involved but are still in the race.

NASCAR has red flagged the race in order to get the track cleaned up after the multi-car crash.

After a red flag event of about 10 minutes, NASCAR pulls the red flag and displays the caution flag as the cars get moving again.

Moving once again, some of the drivers come down pit road for service.

Chase Elliott brings the field down for the green flag restart with just 16 laps remaining in stage two.  Elliott gets out in front for the lead with Denny Hamlin in second; Joey Logano, D=Kevin Harvick and William Byron round out the top five.

The caution flag comes out with 12 laps to go for a crash into the wall from Ryan Preece; who was also involved in the previous wreck.

Chase Elliott brings the field down for the green flag restart with just seven laps to go in the stage.  Once again Elliott jumps out in front for the lead with Kevin Harvick in second and getting a challenge from Denny Hamlin…and in the top five at fourth place is Rowdy Busch in the number 18 Skittles car.

Chase Elliott sweeps the stages with a stage two win.

The top 10 at the end of stage two:
Chase Elliott
Denny Hamlin
Kevin Harvick
Joey Logano
Kyle Busch
Clint Bowyer
William Byron
Erik Jones
Brad Keselowski
Chris Buescher

Drivers come down pit road for service with Chase Elliott winning the race off of pit road.

After staying out on the track, Denny Hamlin brings the field down for the green flag start of stage three with Kyle Busch alongside on the front row.  Kenny Hamlin edges out for the lead on lap 262 to start stage three with Kyle Busch on his bumper as drivers get three wide across the track.

There are 25 cars on the lead lap with seven cars out of the race.

Chris Buescher bounces off the wall but the track stays green.  William Byron also makes some contact with the wall.

The caution flag comes out on lap 269 after Chris Buescher hits the wall again and cuts a tire.

Team mates Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch bring the field down for the green flag restart on lap 275.  Denny Hamlin edges out for the lead with Kyle Busch in second; Aric Almirola, Austin Dillon, and Jimmie Johnson round out the top five.

Lap 278, Kyle Busch battles Denny Hamlin for the lead and takes the top spot after having an ill handling race car and a speeding penalty on lap 60.

Lap 287, Kyle Busch has pulled out to a one second lead on Denny Hamlin; Aric Almirola, Austin Dillon, and Jimmie Johnson round out the top five.

Lap 291, Kyle Busch has gotten out in front of the field and is showing no signs of slowing down; on lap 293 he has a lead of nearly a second and a half on Denny Hamlin who is being challenged by Aric Almirola; Jimmie Johnson and Austin Dillon round out the top five.

Matt DiBendetto takes his car to the garage with a broken tie rod.

Lap 300, Kyle Busch has pulled out to a lead of nearly two seconds on Denny Hamlin; Aric Almirola, Jimmie Johnson and Chirstopher Bell round out the top five.

Lap 305, Kyle Busch has pulled his number 18 car out to a two second lead on team mate Denny Hamlin.

Lap 314, with a lead of over two and a half seconds, Kyle Busch puts his big brother Kurt a second lap down.

Lap 318, Kyle Busch has a three second lead on Denny Hamlin with 22 cars on the lead lap; Jimmie Johnson, Denny Hamlin, Aric Almirola, and Christopher Bell round out the top five.

Lap 325, Kyle Busch has increased his lead to three and a half seconds on Jimmie Johnson with Denny Hamlin in third; Aric Almirola and Christopher Bell round out the top five.

Gray Gaulding scrapes the wall but the track stays green.

Austin Dillon is slowed on the track trying to get down pit road but cannot and brings out the 12th caution flag of the race.

Lap 331, the drivers bring their cars down pit road for service.  Busch is complaining of an aero tight condition.  Kyle Busch wins the race off of pit road.

Taking the inside lane, Kyle Busch brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 335 and gets out in front for the lead with 20 cars on the lead lap.

Lap 338, Kyle Busch has a lead of nearly half a second on Denny Hamlin; Chase Elliott, Aric Almirola, and Jimmie Johnson round out the top five.

During the last pit stop; Brad Keselowski, Austin Dillon, Joey Logano, and Bubba Wallace were all caught speeding on pit road.

Lap 345, Kyle Busch now has a lead of over half a second on Denny Hamlin with Chase Elliott over a second behind in third; Aric Almirola and Jimmie Johnson round out the top five. There are 20 cars on the lead lap with eight cars out of the race.

The caution flag comes out on lap 354 when Ryan Newman spins out but keeps the car off of the wall.

With wins in all three series, Kyle Busch has won a race at Bristol Motor Speedway a total of 22 times.

Even though they have been on pit road recently, some of the drivers come down pit road for service, but the leaders stayed out on the track.

Kyle Busch brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 360 but it is Denny Hamlin who takes the lead over Busch after getting loose; Jimmie Johnson Chase Elliott, and Christopher Bell round out the top five.

Lap 365, Denny Hamlin has pulled out the a half second lead on Kyle Busch.

Corey LaJoie makes an extended green flag stop on pit road.

With 125 laps remaining in the race, Denny Hamlin has the lead but it is now less than half a second on Kyle Busch; Jimmie Johnson, Chase Elliott, and Christopher Bell round out the top five.

There are 110 laps remaining in the race, Denny Hamlin continues to lead the race with Kyle Busch less than half a second behind; Jimmie Johnson, Chase Elliott, and Christopher Bell round out the top five.

With 105 laps to go, Kyle Busch has pulled to withing a quarter of a second on leader Denny Hamlin; Jimmie Johnson, Chase Elliott, and Kevin Harvick round out the top five.  Martin Truex Jr in eighth has said that the handling has gone on his car.

Lap 400, Kyle Busch has caught up to leader and team mate Denny Hamlin as they approach lapped traffic.

Lap 404, Denny Hamlin has increased the lead on Kyle Busch to nearly half a second.

Lap 408, Jimmie Johnson has caught up to Kyle Busch and is challenging for second place.

Kyle Busch is challenging Denny Hamlin for the lead while Jimmie Johnson is challenging Kyle Busch for second.

With 87 laps remaining in the race, Denny Hamlin is in the lead with Kyle Busch in second; Jimmie Johnson, Chase Elliott, and Kevin Harvick rounding out the top five.

With the help of some lapped traffic, Kyle Busch gets around Denny Hamlin for the lead with 87 laps to go.

Jimmie Johnson passes Denny Hamlin for second and sets his eye on the leader.  It has been 103 races since Jimmie Johnson has won a race.

Lap 422, Kyle Busch has a third of a second lead on Jimmie Johnson; Denny Hamlin, Chase Elliott, and Kevin Harvick round out the top five.

With 75 laps remaining in the race, there are only 18 cars on the lead lap with Kyle Busch leading the way by half a second over Jimmie Johnson.

With 67 laps to go, the 14th caution flag comes out for a wreck involving Erik Jones and Kevin Harvick.

Kevin Harvick spends an extended amount of time on pit road getting his car repaired.

John Hunter Nemechek’s team is reporting some overheating issues in his car.

Christopher Bell was charged with having an uncontrolled tire on pit road and will have to serve a penalty.

Austin Dillon was caught speeding on pit road.

Denny Hamlin brings the field down for the green flag restart with 60 laps remaining in the race.

Lap 445, Denny Hamlin is battling with Chase Elliott for the lead; Jimmie Johnson, Joey Logano, and Martin Truex Jr round out the top five.  Kyle Busch is in sixth place.

Lap 451, Denny Hamlin has a half second lead on Chase Elliott; Jimmie Johnson, Joey Logano, and Martin Truex Jr round out the top five.

Gray Gaulding brings out the caution flag after getting into the wall just as Chase Elliott was working to get around Denny Hamlin for the lead.

Leaders stay out, but several of the drivers come down pit road for service.

Denny Hamlin brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 463 and edges out Chase Elliott for the lead with Joey Logano in second.

Michael McDowell, Martin Truex Jr, and Aric Almirola get into a crash and brings out the 16th caution flag of the race.  Bubba Wallace, Ryan Newman, and Erik Jones were also involved.

Denny Hamlin brings the field down for the green flag restart with just 29 laps remaining in the race.    Hamlin jumps out in front of Joey Logano for the lead; Kyle Busch, Elliott Chase, and William Byron round out the top five.

Lap 474, Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano battle for the lead with Hamlin holding on to the lead; Chase Elliott, Kyle Busch, and William Byron round out the top five.

Twenty to go, Denny Hamlin leads the race by nearly half a second; Joey Logano, Chase Elliott, Kyle Busch, and Brad Keselowski round out the top five,.

Fifteen to go, leaders are about the encounter lapped traffic.
Twelve laps to go and mayhem ensues…Denny Hamlin gets loose, Joey Logano passes him with Chase Elliott on his bumper, Joey Logano gets loose and Chase Elliott takes the lead.  Hamlin makes contact with Joey Logano, spins out and gets T-boned by BJ McLeod.

Currently leading the race, Chase Elliott has yet to win a short track race in the Cup Series.

Chase Elliott brings the field down for the green flag restart with just five laps to go.  Elliott takes the lead but gets challenged by Joey Logano for the lead with Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch in a battle of their own.

Chase Elliott and Joey Logano get loose and into the wall putting Brad Keselowski in the lead.

Brad Keselowski wins the race with Clint Bowyer coming from nowhere to take second.

The unofficial results of the Supermarket Heroes 500:
Brad Keselwoski
Clint Bowyer
Jimmie Johnson
Kyle Busch
Erik Jones
Austin Dillon
Kurt Busch
William Byron
Christopher Bell
Bubba Wallace
Kevin Harvick
Ryan Preece
John Hunter Nemechek
Ryan Newman
Matt Kenseth
Denny Hamlin
Daniel Suarez
Timmy Hill
Martin Truex Jr
Joey Logano
Chase Elliott
Chris Buescher
Brennan Poole
JJ Yeley
Garrett Smithley
Quin Houff
BJ McLoed
Aric Almirola
Gray Gaulding
Matt DiBenedetto
Corey LaJoie
Joey Gase
Ricky Stenhouse Jr
Cole Custer
Tyler Reddick
Alex Bowman
Bayley Currey
Ty Dillon
Ryan Blaney

Ricky Martin Releases ‘Pausa’

The global pandemic has caused a great deal more than a respiratory disease attacking an infected person’s lungs.  It has also caused a great deal of anxiety among the surviving citizens including award winning international star Ricky Martin.

Unlike many people, Martin has found an outlet for that anxiety….his music.

The father of four noted that he has never been anxious; not even when he left his Puerto Rican home at age 12 to join the Latin American boy band Menudo.

For two weeks, Martin worked to help send personal protective gear and food stuffs to the citizens of his native land all while trying to hide his true feelings from his husband Jwan, mother, and children.

Martin said, I have seen things, I have lived, but this is a new level, this is a new monster and to top it all, it is invisible.”

He added, “I spent two weeks with a poker face so my family wouldn’t be affected, but finally I was able to raise my head and say ‘eh, something very good has to come out of this, get creative.’ And I started making music and it was my medicine, honestly, because I really felt like I was gasping for air.”

The result is a new six song EP of all Spanish music called “Pausa”.  With four news songs, the album features songs of romance…and even sadness.

PausaPlay650RM

Sting who sings in Spanish, Carla Morrison, Diego El Cigala, Pedro Capo, Residente, and Bad Bunny all appear on the album with Martin.

Like Martin, the album was recorded internationally in Paris, Puerto Rico, Los Angeles, the Dominican Republic, Miami, and New York.

“Pausa” is the first of a two part project that Martin had been working on over the past several months.  “Play” will be forthcoming at a later date.

In lockdown with a houseful, Martin notes, “many people are alone, many people are suffering. We are all living an overwhelming uncertainty, everyone. It’s OK not to feel OK and seek help.”

Martin hopes to go on tour with Fellow Latin American star Enrique Eglasias in the fall.

“Pausa” tracklist:
“Simple”
“Recuerdo”
“Cae de Una”
“Quiereme”
“Tiburones”
“Cantalo”

 

feature photo credit: By Eva Rinaldi from Sydney, Australia – Ricky Martin SydneyUploaded by tm, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=27057949

BMHOF Releases Charity Single

Musicians were born to make music, but events in the past few months have taken away many musicians ability to do just that.  As a result, artists are turning to alternative ways to continue making their music; whether it be live from home performances via Facebook, homemade music videos, or virtual collaborations with fellow musicians.

Some of these collaborations are being created and made available as charity songs.

One such song is “In This Together” by members of the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame with the proceeds going to the BMHOF Scholarship Fund.

BMHOF President Anthony Casuccio had an idea he posted on Facebook.  And like many ideas, it grew into a musical production.

Casuccio spoke on his idea saying, “I posted a simple idea asking for collaboration, the drum beat and chords, and a random group of all-star musicians responded.  Each player recorded the individual parts in their homes that helped bring this song to life, while I wrote the lyrics and added the guitar. In an era when musicians like to play live or huddle together in a recording studio, we were able to create that chemistry remotely.”

“In This Together” offers an uplifting message during a difficult time.  The song can be downloaded from Soundcloud at: https://soundcloud.com/user-537752409-610646760/together.  Proceeds from the donations for the song go to the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame Scholarship Program.

The musicians who have joined forces for “In This Together” are:
Gino Mirizio on drums
Nat Kalnitz on bass – a former BMHOF Scholarship recipient
BMHOF member Matt Young on organ
Zuri Appleby on vocals – has toured with Nick Jonas, NoMbe, PARTYNEXTSTORE,  Brent Faiyaz, and was scheduled to tour with Lizzo before tour plans were cancelled.
BMHOF member Bob Kinkle on piano – a founding member of Trans Siberian Orchestra
Three time Grammy Award nominee Anthony Casuccio on guitar; songwriter and proudcer

The Scholarship Fund is one of the programs offered by the BMHOF including providing music for seniors, songwriting scholarships, and educational support.

The Scholarship Fund offers high school seniors financial aid to further their musical endeavours; whether it be college, music camps, or expenses related to creating their music.  Recipients are also invited to participate in Hall of Fame musical events.

Buffalo Music Hall of Fame education coordinator Kim Burke spoke on past scholarship winners saying, “I continue to be greatly impressed by the accomplishments of the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame Scholarship candidates.  They are invested in their community, have been inspired deeply by music throughout their life, and are exceptional young musicians. It is exciting to see what the future holds for these remarkable individuals.”

 

 

NHL Names Award Winners

In March the world stood still as the Covid-19 virus took hold of the world infecting millions and killings thousands.  The National Hockey League has announced that their regular season ended on March 11 with a total of 189 games remaining in the season.

As a result, the NHL has decided to go ahead and hand out the season ending awards.

The Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy for the top goal scorers of the season go to Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitols and David Pastrnak of the Boston Bruins.  This is Ovechkin’s ninth award.

The Art Ross Trophy for 110 points in 71 games goes to Leon Draisaitl of the Edmonton Oilers.

The Presidents’ Trophy for topping 100 points in a season is the Boston Bruins.

The William M. Jennings Award for allowing the fewest goals goes to Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak of the Boston Bruins.

 

feature photo credit: By Brandon Zeman – Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=61778178

NHL Sets Playoff Season

The National Hockey League – NHL – is the first professional sports league to make an announcement on the fate of its season.

On May 26 the NHL announced that the regular season ended on March 11 – one day before play was shut down due to the Covid-19 pandemic lock down.  Additionally, they will begin post season play in two hub cities with a total of 24 teams.

The playoffs will include a 16 team Qualifying round and Seeding round of round robin play as the teams vie for the Stanley Cup.  The top four teams in each conference will earn a bye for the first round.  The qualifying rounds will be a best of five game series; while the Conference Finals and the Stanley Cup games will all be a best of seven series.

The games will be played in two “hub” cities – one for the Eastern Conference and one for the Western Conference.  While the two cities and the dates for play to begin have yet to be announced; Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Edmonton, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Pittsburgh, Toronto, and Vancouver are all in the running.

A return to play committee comprised of NHL executives and the NHL Player’s Association; as well as, players from the Ottawa Senators, Edmonton Oilers, Winnipeg Jets, Toronto Maple Leafs, and the Philadelphia Flyers.

In announcing the post season play, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said, “I want to make clear that the health and safety of our players, coaches, essential support staff and our communities are paramount.  While nothing is without risk, ensuring health and safety has been central to all of our planning so far and will remain so.”

He added, “let me assure you that the reason we are doing this is because our fans have told us in overwhelming numbers that they want to complete the season if at all possible. And our players and our teams are clear that they want to play and bring the season to its rightful conclusion.”

Dates will be announced once it has been determined that it is safe to do so.  Each team will be allowed to travel with 50 team members including players, coaches, and trainers.  Each person involved with the playoffs will include comprehensive testing to ensure the safety of all involved.

The Eastern Conference teams are:
Boston Bruins
Tampa Bay Lightning
Washington Capitals
Philadelphia Flyers
Pittsburgh Penguins
Montreal Canadiens
Carolina Hurricanes
New York Rangers
New York Islanders
Florida Panthers
Toronto Maple Leafs
Columbus Blue Jackets

The Western Conference teams are:
St. Louis Blues
Colorado Avalanche
Vegas Golden Knights
Dallas Stars
Edmonton Oilers
Chicago Blackhawks
Nashville Predators
Arizona Coyotes
Vancouver Canucks
Minnesota Wild
Calgary Flames
Winnipeg Jets

The Buffalo Sabres, New Jersey Devils, Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings, San Jose Sharks, Ottawa Senators, and Detroit Red Wings did not qualify for the playoffs and their season is over for this year.

 

feature photo credit: By Aude – Own work, CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=433351

Guitarist Bob Kulick Dies

Veteran rock guitarist Bob Kulick died at the age of 70.  His brother Bruce announced the death via a Facebook post but gave no details on how and when the death occurred.

Over the course of his long career as a band member, session worker, and producer, he has worked with KISS, Meatloaf, Lou Reed, W.A.S.P, Tim “Ripper” Owens, Motorhead, Paul Stanley, Dianna Ross, Michael Bolton, Roger Daltrey, Allice Cooper, and the “SpongeBob SquarePants” song “Sweet Victory”.

Kulick was only 16 when he began his professional music career playing with the Random Blues Band on their album “Winchester Cathedral”.

In 1973 Kulick auditioned for KISS but was passed over for Ace Frehley; however, he appeared on a number of the band’s albums.

Survivors include his brother Bruce.

 

 

Feature photo credit: By Rino – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Zriu9Veh9k, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=76568126

Wild Ride for Cup Series at CMS

With their fourth race in a row with no practice and only one qualifying event for the Coca-Cola 600; NASCAR has used the rule book and some inversions to set the field since the sport has returned to racing.

Taking the finishing results from the Coca-Cola 600; NASCAR has inverted the top 20 finishers putting William Byron on the pole for the Alsco Uniforms 500 (kilometres) with Hendrick Motorsports team mate Alex Bowman starting alongside on the front row.

Drivers who finished the 600 from 21st on down will start the race from their finishing position.  In the case of a new entry or a driver change, those teams will be moved to the back of the field.

The starting lineup for the Alsco Uniforms 500:
William Byron
Alex Bowman
Michael McDowell
Matt DiBenedetto
John Hunter Nemechek
Aric Almirola – moved to the back of the field for unapproved adjustments
Austin Dillon
Joey Logano
Cole Custer
Erik Jones
Chris Buescher
Christopher Bell
Tyler Riddick
Kurt Busch
Martin Truex Jr
Kevin Harvick
Kyle Busch
Ryan Blaney
Chase Elliott
Brad Keselowski
JJ Yeley
Ryan Preece
Corey LaJoie
Ricky Stenhouse Jr
Ty Dillon
Matt Kenseth
Ryan Newman
Daniel Suarez
Denny Hamlin
Brennan Poole
Gray Gaulding
BJ McLeod
Garrett Smithley
Timmy Hill
Quin Houff
Joey Gase
Josh Bilicki
Bubba Wallace
Clint Bowyer
Jimmie Johnson

And once again, Mother Nature wins.  After Tropical Storm Bertha has come to the Charlotte area, NASCAR has postponed the race one more day with some Thursday night racing.

After a near 24 hour delay for rain, the track at Charlotte Motor Speedway is dry, the sun is shining, and the teams are ready for racing.

“The Voice” season three winner and country music singer Cassadee Pope sang the National Anthem.

Stage one of the race is 55 laps long, stage two is 60 laps in length, and stage three is 93 laps in length for a total of 208 laps around the mile and a half track.

NASCAR has called for a competition caution flag on lap 20.

William Byron brings the field down for the green flag start of the race and gets out in front for the initial lead after a push from Matt DiBenedetto but then DiBenedetto passes Byron for the lead.

The caution flag comes out on the first lap after a crash involving Garrett Smithley and Joey Gase leaving Smithley’s car in flames.  Garrett Smithley exits his car safely.

Ty Dillon’s team is working on his car trying to repair a broken power steering issue.

Matt DiBenedetto brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 10 and goes nose to nose with William Byron before getting three wide.  Byron and DiBenedetto battle back and forth for the lead for a few laps before William Byron finally gets out in front for the lead on lap 12.

Lap 15, the top five are William Byron, Alex Bowman, Matt DiBenedetto, Austin Dillon, and Joey Logano.

Lap 18, William Byron has a half second lead on Alex Bowman.

After starting from the back of the field, Jimmie Johnson has moved up to the 23rd spot.  After finishing second in the Coca-Cola 600, NASCAR discovered an infraction during post race inspection and Johnson had his second place finish disqualified and was moved to last place.

NASCAR throws the competition caution flag at the end of lap 20.

Garrett Smithley and Joey Gase are out of the race.

Drivers bring their cars down pit road for service with William Byron winning the race off of pit road after taking only two tires.  Several of the drivers took only two tires.

William Byron makes contact with Corey LaJoie on pit road and causes some damage to his car.  Byron has to make a second trip down pit road.

Clint Bowyer and Denny Hamlin were caught speeding on pit road and will have to serve a pass through penalty.

After staying out on the track, Joey Logano brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 25 and gets out in front for the lead.

The top five are Joey Logano, Ryan Blaney, Matt DiBenedetto, Michael McDowell, and Kurt Busch.

Drivers are getting three wide across the track.

FOX Sports broadcaster Mike Joy reports that there is lightening in the area.  The race will continue, but the camera crews will have to come down from their spots leaving only the remote and drone cameras.

The caution flag comes out on lap 29 for a spin from Matt Kenseth after getting loose from a flat tire.

Brad Keselowski was slowed on the track with a flat tire.

NASCAR has put out the red flag on lap 30 at 7:56pm for lightening and possible rain which is moving up from the south.

After a red flag delay of over an hour and 10 minutes, NASCAR puts out the caution flag and the cars are once again moving.

Some of the drivers come down pit road for service before the race goes green once again.

The teams only have seven sets of tires for the race, including the ones they started the race on.

Joey Logano brings the field down for the green flag restart with 22 laps remaining in stage one and holds on to the lead.

Clint Bowyer had too many crew members over the wall during his pit stop and he had to restart the race from the back of the field.

Lap 37, the top five are Joey Logano, Matt DiBenedetto, Kurt Busch, Ryan Blaney, and Alex Bowman.

Lap 40, Joey Logano has pulled out to a lead of over a second on Matt DiBenedetto; Ryan Blaney, Kurt Busch, and Alex Bowman round out the top five.

Lap 45, Joey Logano continues to lead the race, but Matt DiBenedetto is very slowly closing the gap on Logano; Ryan Blaney, Kevin Harvick, and Kurt Busch round out the top five.

With eight laps remaining in stage one, Joey Logano has increased his lead to over a second and a half on Matt DiBenedetto; Ryan Blaney, Kevin Harvick and Alex Bowman round out the top five.

With a lead of nearly two seconds, Joey Logano wins stage one.

The top 10 at the end of stage one:
Joey Logano
Ryan Blaney
Matt DiBenedetto
Kevin Harvick
Alex Bowman
Ricky Stenhouse Jr
Austin Dillon
Kurt Busch
Chase Elliott
Chris Buescher

Drivers bring their cars down pit road for service with Joey Logano edging out Ryan Blaney for to win the race off of pit road.

Joey Logano brings the field down for the green flag start of stage two on lap 63 and goes nose to nose the Ryan Blaney before taking the laed.  Divers get four wide across the track.  Kyle Busch made contact with another driver during the four wide and has to bring his car down pit road.  He is now two laps down.

Lap 67, Kevin Harvick gets around Joey Logano for the lead and is pulling away.

Lap 70, Kevin Harvick has pulled out to a lead of over a second on Joey Logano; Alex Bowman, Ryan Blaney, and Kurt Busch round out the top five.

Lap 72, there are 35 cars on the lead lap and only two drivers out of the race.

Lap 73, Kevin Harvick now has a lead of two second on Alex Bowman.

The caution flag comes out on lap 74 after Quin Houff hits the wall after making contact on the track with Brennan Poole.

Chase Elliott is reporting that he may have a loose wheel.

Some of the drivers come down pit road for service with Erik Jones winning the race off of pit road after taking only two tires.

After staying out on the track, Alex Bowman is the leader and brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 79 and gets out in front for the lead after a push from Ryan Blaney.

The top five are Alex Bowman, Joey Logano, Ryan Blaney, Kurt Busch, and Austin Dillon.

Lap 84, Alex Bowman leads the race with Joey Logano in second; Ryan Blaney, Kurt Busch, and Tyler Reddick round out the top five.

Lap 88, Alex Bowman has his number 88 car out in front of the field by half a second over Joey Logano; Ryan Blaney, Kurt Busch, and Tyler Reddick round out the top five.  In sixth place, Chase Elliott is running speeds faster than the leader.

With 25 laps remaining in stage two, team mates Joey Logano and Ryan Blaney battle it out for second with Alex Bowman nearly a second out in front.

Lap 93, Alex Bowman has a lead of over a second on Ryan Blaney; Joey Logano, Chase Elliott, and Kurt Busch round out the top five.

After a pit road penalty put him at the back of the field, Clint Bowyer has entered the top 10 on lap 97.

Lap 100, Alex Bowman is running the fastest speeds on the track and has pulled out to a lead of over two seconds on Ryan Blaney; Joey Logano, Chase Elliott, and Kevin Harvick round out the top five.

Brennan Poole has gone to the garage and is out of the race.

Matt Kenseth had to bring his car down pit road for a loose wheel and is now two laps down.

Lap 105, with 30 cars on the lead lap, Alex Bowman’s lead is down to a second and ahalf on Ryan Blaney; Joey Logano, Chase Elliott, and Kevin Harvick round out the top five.

With 10 laps remaining in stage two, Alex Bowman has increased his lead to two seconds over Ryan Blaney.

Lap 110, Alex Bowman has pulled out to a lead of nearly two and a half seconds on Ryan Blaney; Joey Logano, Chase Elliott, and Kevin Harvick round out the top five with 29 cars on the lead lap.

With a lead of nearly three seconds, Alex Bowman wins stage two for his fourth stage win of the season.

The top 10 at the end of stage two:
Alex Bowman
Ryan Blaney
Joey Logano
Chase Elliott
Kevin Harvick
Kurt Busch
Austin Dillon
John Hunter Nemechek
Christopher Bell
Bubba Wallace

Drivers bring their cars down pit road for service with Alex Bowman winning the race off of pit road followed by Joey Logano and Kevin Harvick.

For the second time, Clint Bowyer was caught speeding on pit road and will have to serve a penalty.

John Hunter Nemechek  has a slow pit stop after the car fell of of the jack.

Alex Bowman brings the field down for the green flag start of stage three with Joey Logano alongside on the front row with 86 laps remaining in the race.  Bowman goes nose to nose with Logano before getting out in front for the lead with Kevin Harvick in second.

With 82 laps to go, Kevin Harvick passes Alex Bowman for the lead; Chase Elliott, Ryan Blaney, and Joey Logano round out the top five.

With 31 cars on the lead lap, Kevin Harvick is out in front with a lead of nearly half a second on Alex Bowman; Chase Elliott, Ryan Blaney, and Joey Logano round out the top five.

Alex Bowman has some damage to his car after getting loose and hitting the wall.  The track stays green but Bowman has to bring his car down pit road for repairs.

With 72 laps remaining in the race, Kevin Harvick has a lead of over two seconds on Ryan Blaney; Chase Elliott, Joey Logano, and Denny Hamlin round out the top five.  Alex Bowman is now a lpa down.

The caution flag comes out on lap 173 for Timmy Hill.

Drivers bring their cars down pit road for service.  They can make it to the end of the race on fuel from this point with 62 laps remaining in the race.

Kevin Harvick wins the race off of pit road with drivers getting four wide behind him.

Erik Jones was caught pitting outside of his pit box and will lose a lap.

Kevin Harvick brings the field down for the green flag restart with 60 laps to go; he jumps out in front of Denny Hamlin and Ryan Blaney to take the lead.

With 57 laps remaining in the race, the drivers are getting three wide across the track and Ricky Stenhouse Jr pulled an elevator move to gain position.

Fifty five laps remain in the race, Kevin Harvick ahs a half second lead on Ryan Blaney; Chase Elliott, Denny Hamlin, and Ricky Stenhouse Jr round out the top five.

Fifty to go, Kevin Harvick is still in the lead but Chase Elliott is closing the gap and is now less than half a second back; Ryan Blaney, Ricky Stenhouse Jr, and Denny Hamlin round out the top five.

With 47 laps to go, Kevin Harvick has again pulled out to a lead of over half a second on Chase Elliott; Ryan Blaney, Ricky Stenhouse Jr, and Denny Hamlin round out the top five.

With 43 laps to go, Bubba Wallace brings his car down pit road for an unscheduled pit stop after getting loose and into the wall.

Forty to go, Kevin Harvick has a lead of nearly a second on Chase Elliott.

FOX Sport reporter and former crew chief Larry McReynolds reports that he thinks leader Kevin Harvick is about half a lap shy on fuel for making it to the end of the race; however, Harvick can save some fuel with 36 laps to go.  Harvick has a half second lead on Chase Elliott.

Thirty to go. Kevin Harvick holds on to his half second lead on Chase Elliott; Ryan Blaney Ricky Stenhouse Jr, and Denny Hamlin round out the top five with 27 cars on the lead lap.

With 28 laps to go, Chase Elliott has caught up to leader Kevin Harvick and with help of a lapped car, Chase Elliott passes Harvick for the lead.  Harvick reports that he has lost the grip.

Twenty five to go and Chase Elliott has a lead of nearly a second on Kevin Harvick.

Running the fastest laps on the track, Chase Elliott has pulled out to a lead of nearly a second and a half on Ryan Blaney; Kevin Harvick, Ricky Stenhouse Jr, and Denny Hamlin round out the top five.

Twenty to go, Chase Elliott has a lead of nearly two seconds on Ryan Blaney with 26 cars on the lead lap.

Kevin Harvick continues to fall back in the field as Ricky Stenhouse Jr passes Harvick for third.

Bubba Wallace is out of the race.

Sixteen to go, Ryan Blaney has cut into Chase Elliott’s lead with Elliott less than a second and a half in front of Blaney; Ricky Stenhouse Jr, Denny Hamlin, and Kevin Harvick round out the top five.

Ten to go, Chase Elliott has a lead of over a second and a half on Ryan Blaney; Ricky Stenhouse Jr, Denny Hamlin, and Kevin Harvick round out the top five with 23 cars on the lead lap.

five to go, Chase Elliott has pulled out to a lead of over two seconds on Ryan Blaney.

With a lead of three seconds, Chase Elliott takes the white flag.

Aaaannnnnd the folks down in Dawsonville, George will be ringing the siren tonight with Chase Elliott winning the race!

The unofficial results of the Alsco Uniforms 500:
Chase Elliott
Denny Hamlin
Ryan Blaney
Ricky Stenhouse Jr
Kurt Busch
Joey Logano
Brad Keselowski
Austin Dillon
Martin Truex Jr
Kevin Harvick
Jimmie Johnson
William Byron
John Hunter Nemechek
Tyler Reddick
Matt DiBenedetto
Clint Bowyer
Ryan Newman
Cole Custer
Corey LaJoie
Aric Almirola
Christopher Bell
Chris Buescher
Matt Kenseth
Ryan Preece
Michael McDowell
Erik Jones
Ty Dillon
Daniel Suarez
Kyle Busch
Gray Gaulding
Alex Bowman
Quin Houff
Timmy Hill
JJ Yeley
BJ McLeod
Josh Bilicki
Bubba Wallace
Brennan Poole
Joey Gase
Garrett Smithley

News Exec William Small Dies

Journalist and News executive William Small died May 24, 2020 after a non Covid-19 related illness in New York City at the age of 93.

Whether it be running a small radio station or a network executive, Small was seen as a “hero to journalism”.  Speaking on Small, Lesley Stahl said via a statement, “he was heroic and steadfast, especially during Watergate, when it seemed we were getting angry calls from the White House every night.  He made us want to be better — and nobody wanted to disappoint him.”

Current CBS News president Susan Zirinsky, whom Small hired when she was 20, spoke on Small saying he was a “hero to journalism.  Every one of us carries Bill Small’s legacy with us — it’s the core to who we are as journalists.”

During a career that crossed six decades; he oversaw the reporting of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, events during the Civil Rights movement, the Vietnam War, Watergate and the resulting resignation of President Richard Nixon, and was responsible for hiring some of the most well known news anchors and reporters in history including Dan Rather, Eric Sevareid, Daniel Schorr, Connie Chung, Diane Sawyer, Ed Bradley, Lesley Stahl, and Bob Schieffer.

Born in Chicago in 1926, the WWII veteran got his journalistic career started as the news director for the Chicago radio station WLS-AM.  From there he went on to be the news director of WHAS-TV in Louisville where the station was named the top news operation in the nation in 1957, assistant news director and news director of the CBS Washington bureau news director, the head of CBS News, the head of NBC News in 1979, the president of the United Press International wire service in 1982, and concluded his career as the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences chairman.  Small retired in 2010.

Small is the author of two books and was on the faculty of Fordham University and the University of Louisville.

The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences is responsible for handing out the news Emmys and in 2014, they presented Small with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Predeceased by his wife Gish, Small is survived by his daughters and six grandchildren.

 

feature photo credit: Connecting Vets Facebook page

The Doobie Brothers

Grammy Award winning rockers and new Rock and Roll Hall of Fame members The Doobie Brothers are among the hundreds of musicians who have had to cancel tours due to the global pandemic.

The Brothers have rescheduled the dates to celebrate 50 years of making music.  The tour is set to begin next July and run through October.

While the rockers have tried to reschedule all of the dates, schedule conflicts have forced the shows in dates Mount Pleasant, MI; Sioux City, IA; Boise, ID; Albuquerque, NM; Little Rock, AR; Bossier City, LA; and Memphis, TN have all been cancelled.

Tickets purchased for the postponed dates will be good for the new shows but for fans who are unable to attend the shows may get a refund and should contact the point of purchase.

The Doobie Brother new 50th Anniversary tour dates:
July 17 at the Coral Sky Amphitheatre in West Palm Beach, FL
July 18 at the MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa, FL
July 21 at Daily’s Place in Jacksonville, FL
July 23 at the Ameris Bank Amphitheatre in Alpharetta, GA
July 24 at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, TN
July 26 at the PNC Music Pavilion in Charlotte, NC
July 27 at the Walnut Creek Amphitheatre in Raleigh, NC
July 29 at the Veterans United Home Loans Amphitheatre in Virginia Beach, VA
July 30 at the Jiffy Lube Live in Bristow, VA
Aug 1 at the PPL Center in Allentown, PA
Aug 2 at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, NJ
Aug 4 at the BB&T Pavilion in Camden, NJ
Aug 5 at the Jones Beach Theater in Wantagh, NY
Aug 7 at the Darien Lake Amphitheatre in Darien, NY
Aug 8 at the St. Joseph’s Health Amphitheater at Lakeview in Syracuse, NY
Aug 10 at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center n Saratoga Springs, NY
Aug 12 at the Xfinity Center in Mansfield, MA
Aug 14 at the Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion in Gilford, NH
Aug 15 at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT
Aug 26 at the Budweiser Gardens in London, ON
Aug 27 at the Budweiser Stage in Toronto, ON
Aug 29 at the Hollywood Casino Amphtheatre in Tinley Park, IL
Aug 31 at the Minnesota State Fair in St. Paul, MN
Sept 2 at the DTE Energy Music Theatre in Clarkston, MI
Sept 4 at the KeyBank Pavilion in Burgettstown, PA
Sept 5 at the Toledo Zoo Amphitheatre in Toledo, OH
Sept 8 at the Riverbend Music Center in Cincinnati, OH
Sept 9 at the Blossom Music Center in Cuyahoga Falls, OH
Sept 11 at the Ruoff Home Mortgage Center in Noblesville, IN
Sept 12 at the Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, MI
Sept 14 at the Starlight Theatre in Kansas City, MO
Sept 15 at the Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in St. Louis, MO
Sept 27 at the Pepsi Center in Denver, CO
Sept 29 at the USANA Amphitheatre in Salt Lake City, UT
October 1 – Spokane, WA – Spokane Arena
October 2 – Seattle, WA – White River Amphitheatre
Oct 5 at the Sunlight Supply Amphitheatre in Ridgefield, WA
Oct 8 at the North Island Credit Union Amphitheatre in Chula Vista, CA
Oct 9 at The Forum in Los Angeles, CA
Oct 11 at the Save Mart Center in Fresno, CA
Oct 13 at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, CA
Oct 14 at the Toyota Amphitheatre in Wheatland, CA
Oct 16 at he Ak-Chin Pavilion in Phoenix, AZ
Oct 19 at the Toyota Music Factory in Irving, TX
Oct 21 at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion in The Woodlands, TX
Oct 23 at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, LA

 

Phantom Tour Closes

One of the longest running musicals in history – “The Phantom of the Opera” – was set for a fourteen month run in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

The award winning musical by Lord Andrew Lloyd Weber had given only one performance in Leicester in March before everything was shut down due to the Covid-19 pandemic.  Since then the performances in Manchester and Dublin have been cancelled.  Now the remaining performances in Birmingham, Edinburgh, Sunderland, Cardiff, Plymouth, Southampton, and Bradford have also been cancelled.

Fans who have purchased tickets for the shows will be contacted about a refund from the point of sale.

 

feature photo credit: By Egor Kurlyuk – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=47583114

 

NASCAR Sets Rules for Next Races

As NASCAR prepares for the next round of races beginning at Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend, officials have released the rules and procedures for the races.

Over the next four weekends, NASCAR has planned eleven races between the three racing series – NASCAR Cup, Xfinity, and Gander RV and Outdoors Series at Bristol Motor Speedway, Atlanta Motor Speedway, Martinsville Speedway, Homestead-Miami Speedway, and Talladega Superspeedway.

Currently NASCAR will continue to run the races with no fans in the stands.

In the NASCAR Cup Series, NASCAR will continue to use the random draw for the starting lineup.  Using team owner points to determine the order; positions one through 12 will draw first, positions 13 through 24 will draw next, followed by positions 25 through 36, with positions 37 through 40 going last.

Pit stall selection choice will be determined by the finishing order from the previous race.  This will be used in all three series for all eleven races.

So far, all of the races have been run without the drivers having the opportunity to get in any practice time.  The no practice rule will continue with the exception of Talladega Superspeedway where the NASCAR Cup drivers will be allowed a 50 minute practice session on Saturday morning in preparation for the Sunday race.

In the Xfinity Series; will also use the random draw with the exception of the doubleheader weekend at Homestead-Miami where the inversion of race order will be used.

In the Gander RV and Outdoors Truck Series: NASCAR will use the random draw with positions one through 10 going first, positions eleven through 21 will draw next, then positions 22 through 32.  Normally only 32 trucks run in a single race, but NASCAR has expanded the field to 40 with the final seven potential spots drawing last.

Actor Richard Herd Dies

Veteran character actor Richard Herd died May 26, 2020 as a result of cancer in his Los Angeles home at the age of 87.

Appearing in over 150 film and television productions, Herd is best known for his roles the sitcom “Seinfeld” and a number of shows in the “Star Trek” franchise.

Herd made his screen debut in 1970 as a television presenter in “Hercules in New York”.  His over 150 roles during his career include “All the President’s Men”, “The Streets of San Francisco”, “The China Syndrome”, the mini series “Ike: The War Years”, “M*A*S*H”, “Dallas”, the mini series “V” and “V: The Final Battle”, Captain Dennis Sheridan in 36 episodes of “T. J. Hooker”, “Knight Rider”, “Planes, Trains, & Automobiles”, “Knott’s Landing”, “Murder, She Wrote”, Tom Paris’ father the admiral in “Star Trek: The Next Generation”, the Klingon L’Kor in “Star Trek: Voyager”, “Quantum Leap”, “SeaQuest 2032”, “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil”, “JAG”, “CSI: Miami”, admiral Paris in the pilot of “Star Trek: Renegades”, and “Hawaii Five-O”.  The role of Mr. Frances in “Turning Tables” had been announced prior to his death.

Herd was a three time vice-president of the Screen Actors Guild.

Richard Thomas Herd Jr was born September 26, 1932 in Boston, Massachusetts the son of a railroad engineer.  His father died when Richard was very young.  He had bone marrow cancer as a child which affected his legs but surgery saved them from becoming deformed.  His introduction to the arts first came in the form of the drums but later moved to the stage.

A knee injury during basic training kept Herd from serving in the military, but spent some time with the Army Signal Corps working on training films.

Herd is survived by his third wife of 40 years Patricia and children – Erica, Rick, and Alicia.

 

 

By Uja3000 at the English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5563279

 

Playwright and Activist Larry Kramer Dies

Award winning playwright and activist Larry Kramer died May 27, 2020 as a result of complications from pneumonia in New York City less than a month from his 85th birthday.

Living with HIV much of his adult life, Kramer became an avid activist for action and awareness for HIV and AIDS; especially in the early days of the disease when everyone else was pushing it under the rug.

Kramer left a piece of himself in everything he wrote; using aspects of his own life, whether it be the struggles of a gay man on an Ivy League campus in the fifties or striving for a voice amid the mire of a heterosexual world.

In an age when being “out of the closet” did not exist, Kramer sought to help a community of people who were suddenly dying from a mysterious new disease that had doctors baffled.  His efforts resulted in helping to form the New York City Gay Men’s Health Crisis and later ACT UP – AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power.

When he failed to get his message across via the political ring, Kramer turned to the other mighty sword – the pen!  His compositions include “The Normal Heart”, “The Destiny of Me”, “Women in Love”, “Lost Horizon”,  “Sissies’ Scrapbook” – later “Four Friends”, the novel “Faggots”, “The Furniture of Home”, “Just Say No”, “The American People: Volume 1” and Volume 2, subtitled “The Brutality of Fact”.  Kramer was working on a new piece – “Army of Lovers” at the time of his death.

In the end, Kramer achieved some of what set out to – bring a debilitating health crisis to the forefront, incite awareness, and bring desperately needed help to a community.  Those efforts also brought forth some accolades for Kramer in the form of an OBIE Award, a Lucille Lortel Award, the Tony Award’s Isabelle Stevenson Award, and the revival of “The Normal Heart” on Broadway earned three Tony Awards.

He was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut on June 25, 1935 and later graduated from Yale University.

He is survived by his husband David Webster.

 

 

feature photo credit: By David Shankbone – Larry Kramer 2010, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10409115

Trucks Return with a Bounty Race

Since NASCAR has returned to racing, the Cup Series has run three races and the Xfinity Series has run two.  Now it is time for the Gander RV and Outdoors Truck Series to take to the track with the North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

It has been 95 days since the drivers have fired the engines in Atlanta – longer even than the normal off season.  Since the end of the 2019 racing season, the Truck Series drivers have only run two races.

Nearly a third of the field – 12 drivers – have never run a truck race at Charlotte with an expanded field of 40 drivers instead of the normal 32.

Early in the season, Kevin Harvick issued a challenge that he would give $50,000 to any Truck Series driver who could beat Kyle Busch – he hasn’t lost in two years, seven in a row.  The challenge is on but with a few changes.  The conditions have changed to any driver and they don’t have to win the race, just beat Kyle at the finish line.  And since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, the money will be donated to the Covid relief fund of the winner’s choosing.  Since the challenge was issued, it has been matched by the owner of Gander Outdoors.

Can anyone beat Rowdy in a truck race???

Joining Busch in the race is Cup driver Chase Elliott who hasn’t been behind the wheel of a truck in over two years, Garrett Smithley, John Hunter Nemechek, and The Melon Man Ross Chastain.

After a random draw for the starting lineup, Ben Rhodes will silt on the pole and bring the field to green with Tyler Ankrum starting alongside on the front row.

Stages one and two of the race are 30 laps each with stage three lasting 74 laps for a total of 134 laps around the mile and a half track.

After no practice or qualifying runs, NASCAR will throw a competition caution around lap 15.

In a Truck Series first, Ben Rhodes brings the field down for some Tuesday night racing.  Rhodes jumps out in front for the lead but before the lap is complete Austin Hill takes the lead.

Lap two the top five are Austin Hill, Ben Rhodes Tanner Gray, Ty Majeski, and Matt Crafton.

Only three laps into the race, Kyle Busch has moved from 16th to ninth.

Jordan Anderson has some issues with his truck and has to make an unscheduled trip down pit road.

Lap six, Austin Hill has a sone second lead on Ben Rhodes; Matt Crafton, Ty Majeski, and Tyler Ankrum round out the top five.  Kyle Busch is in seventh.

Lap 10, Austin Hill continues to lead the race but Ben Rhodes has closed the gap to less than a second; Matt Crafton, Ty Majeski, and Tyler Ankrum rounding out the top five with Kyle Busch coming on in sixth.

Lap 15, Austin Hill continues to lead the race but by less than half a second over Matt Crafton; Ben Rhodes Tyl Majeski, and Tyler Ankrum round out the top five with Kyle Busch in sixth.

NASCAR throws the competition caution at the end of lap 15.  Some of the drivers bring their truck down pit road for service but the leaders stayed out on the track.

Austin Hill brings the field down for the green flag restart with 10 laps remaining in stage one with Matt Crafton going nose to nose before Austin Hill gets back out in front.  After making a pit stop, Kyle Busch restarts the race in 31st position.

Lap 23, Austin Hill has led every lap so far.  Rowdy Busch has moved up to 19th place in two laps.

With five laps to go in stage one, Austin Hill leads the race with Ross Chastain, Matt Crafton, Ty Majeski, and Zane Smith rounding out  the top five.  Kyle Busch is in 17th place.

Lap 27, Melon Man Ross Chastain has put his watermelon truck out in front for the lead.

With a lead of over a second, Ross Chastain wins stage one for his first stage win of the season.

The top 10 at the end of stage one:
Ross Chastain
Austin Hill
Zane Smith
Matt Crafton
Ty Majeski
Chase Elliott
Todd Gilliland
Ben Rhodes
Tyler Ankrum
Brett Moffitt

Austin Hill wins the race off of pit road.

Kyle Busch has a second extended pit stop while the crew tries to make adjustments to the truck.

After staying out on the track, Zane Smith brings the field down for the green flag start of stage two with Raphael Lessard starting alongside on the front row.  On lap 38, Raphael Lessard gets out in front for the lead while drivers battle for second place.

Lap 39, Raphael Lessard leads the race with Matt Crafton, Ben Rhodes, Zane Smith, and Ty Majeski rounding out the top five.  After some truck issues, Kyle Busch restarted the race in 25th place and on lap 40, he has moved up to 17th place.

Lap 42, Matt Crafton leads the race with Chase Elliott in second; Zane Smith, Ross Chastain, and Ben Rhodes round out the top five.

Lap 44, Chase Elliott takes the lead and pulls away from the field.

Lap 45, Kyle Busch has made it back to the top 10 in ninth place.

The top five are Chase Elliott, Matt Crafton, Ben Rhodes, Zane Smith, and Ross Chastain.

Lap 50, Chase Elliott has a lead of nearly a second and a half on Matt Crafton; Ben Rhodes, Zane Smith, and John Hunter Nemechek round out the top five.  Kyle Busch is in seventh place.

Only seven laps remain in stage two; Chase Elliott is driving away with it, he has a lead of three seconds on Ben Rhodes; Matt Crafton, Zane Smith, and John Hunter Nemechek round out the top five with Kyle Busch in sixth.

With a lead of three seconds, Chase Elliott wins stage two after not being in a truck for over two years.

The top 10 at the end of stage two:
Chase Elliott
Ben Rhodes
John Hunter Nemechek
Kyle Busch
Matt Crafton
Brett Moffitt
Zane Smith
Todd Gilliland
Ross Chastain
Austin Hill

Drivers bring their trucks down pit road for service.  Chase Elliott wins the race off of pit road; followed by Ben Rhodes and Kyle Busch.

Chase Elliott brings the field down for the green flag start of stage three on lap 69 but it is Ben Rhodes who gets out in front first before Kyle Busch takes the top spot.

Todd Gilliland gets into the wall but so far the track stays green.

Lap 71, Kyle Busch has pulled out to a lead of over half a second on Austin Hill; Brett Moffitt, Todd Gilliland, and Chase Elliott round out the top five.

Lap 73, there are 32 trucks on the lead lap with only one truck out of the race.

Lap 74, Kyle Busch leads the race by nearly a second on Austin Hill; Chase Elliott, Brett Moffitt, and John Hunter Nemechek round out the top five.

Lap 76, Kyle Busch has increased his lead to over a second on Austin Hill.

The caution flag came out on lap 79 for a crash involving Jesse Iwuji, Brennan Poole, and Stewart Friesen.

With 48 laps remaining in the race, Kyle Busch brings the field down for the green flag restart and jumps out in front for the lead with Brett Moffitt in second.

Brett Moffitt gets around Kyle Busch for the lead.

The caution flag comes out after Brennan Poole and Natalie Decker get into a wreck.

Some of the drivers come down pit road for service.

After staying out on the track, Kyle Busch brings the field down for the green flag restart with 43 laps remaining in the race.  Going nose to nose with Austin Hill, Zane Smith makes it three wide to lead the race.

Kyle Busch continues to battle for the top spot, getting back out in front for the lead with 40 lpas remaining in the race.

The caution flag comes out with 39 laps to go after Garrett Smithley slams into the wall.

The leaders who stayed out last time, come down pit road; including Kyle Busch.  He will restart the race in 24th place.

Just before the green flag comes back out, Matt Crafton brings his truck down pit road for an unscheduled pit stop.

Zane Smith brings the field down for the green flag restart with 34 laps to go.  With Smith leading the way the drivers get spread out three and four across the track.

Zane Smith leads the race with Chase Ellioto in second.

Todd Gilliland brings out the seventh caution flag with 32 laps to go with a crash.

Matt Crafton’s team indicates that they are out of a race with some issue under the truck.

Reports are that the trackbar mount broke on Matt Crafton’s truck.

Zane Smith brings the field down for the green flag restart with just 27 laps remaining in the race.  Johnny Sauter makes it three wide and takes the lead.  In a three wide move, Kyle Busch is now in the top five in fourth place.

Twenty five to go, Johnny Sauter leads the race with Chase Elliott in second; Zane Smith, Kyle Busch and Brett Moffitt round out the top five.

Chase Elliott passes Johnny Sauter for the lead as Kyle Busch takes third place.

Lap 111, Chase Elliott has pulled out to a lead of nearly a second on Zane Smith with Kyle Busch, Brett Moffitt, and Johnny Sauter rounding out the top five.

Twenty to go, Chase Elliott has a lead of nearly a second on Kyle Busch; Zane Smith, Brett Moffitt, and Johnny Sauter round out the top five.

Fifteen to go, Chase Elliott holds on to a lead of over half a second on Kyle Busch with Zane Smith, Brett Moffitt, and Johnny Sauter rounding out the top five.

With 12 laps to go, Kyle Busch has closed the gap on leader Chase Elliott to uder half a second.

Ten to go, Chase Elliott holds on to his half second lead on Kyle Busch with 25 trucks on the lead lap.

Nine laps remaining in the race and Kyle Busch has closed the gap on leader Chase Elliott to just a quarter of a second.

Five to go, Chase Elliott holds on to his lead over Kyle Busch as they enter lapped traffic.

Kyle Busch has not lost a truck race in over two years.  If he can hold on to the lead and win the race, he will win the $100,000 bounty that will be donated to the Covid relief charity of his choice.

Chase Elliott takes the white flag with Kyle Busch three quarters of a second behind.

Chase Elliott wins the race and becomes the first driver in over two years to beat Kyle Busch!

The unofficial results for the North Carolina Education Lottery 200:
Chase Elliott
Kyle Busch
Zane Smith
Brett Moffitt
Sheldon Creed
John Hunter Nemechek
Johnny Sauter
Ty Majeski
Austin Hill
Ben Rhodes
Ross Chastain
Grant Enfinger
Tyler Ankrum
Christian Eckes
Raphael Lessard
Derek Kraous
Tate Fogleman
Codie Rohrbaugh
Austin Wayne Self
Tanner Gray
Jessi Little
Timmy Hill
Angela Ruch
Korbin Forrister
Spencer Boyd
Jennifer Jo Cobb
Natalie Decker
Bayley Currey
Clay Greenfield
Stewart Friesen
Jordan Anderson
Cory Roper
TJ Bell
Bryan Dauzat
Matt Crafton
Garrett Smithley
Todd Gilliland
Brennan Poole
Jesse Iwuji
Spencer Davis

Jazz Drummer Jimmy Cobb Dies

Jazz drummer and percussionist Jimmy Cobb died May 24, 2020 as the result of lung cancer in his New York City home at the age of 91.

Cobb was the last surviving member of the band that performed on the Miles Davis album “Kind of Blue” in 1959.

“Kind of Blue” also featured sax man Cannonball Adderly and John Coltrane.  The album went on to be certified multi platinum for selling five million copies in the United States.

He would go on to appear on several more of Davis’ albums; as well as, Dinah Washington, Pearl Bailey, Clark Terry, Dizzy Gillespie, Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holiday, Wynton Kelly, Stan Getz; along with a number of solo releases.

Washington D.C. native Wilbur James Cobb was born in 1929 where he worked as a busboy at a local drugstore’s lunch counter and used the money to buy his first drum set when he was 13 years old.  Cobb did take a few lessons, but mostly taught himself how to play.

Cobb’s survivors include his wife Eleana.

a partial Jimmy Cobb discography:
“Encounter”
“Only for the Pure of Heart”
“So Nobody Else Can Hear”
“Four Generations of Miles: A Live Tribute to Miles”
“Cobb’s Groove”
“Tribute to Wynton Kelly & Paul Chambers”
“Cobb is Back in Italy!”
“Marsalis Music Honors Series: Jimmy Cobb”
“Taking a Chance on Love”
“New York Time”
“Cobb’s Corner”
“Jazz in the Key of Blue”
“Live at Smalls”
“Remembering Miles: Tribute to Miles Davis”
“The Original Mob”
“You’ll See”
“This I Dig of You”
“Cobb’s Pocket”

 

 

 

Feature photo credit: By Tom Beetz – Jimmy Cobb, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3915282

College Basketball HOF Coach Eddie Sutton Dies

Basketball Hall of Fame Coach Eddie Sutton died May 23, 2020 as a result of natural causes in his Tulsa home at the age of 84.  He was surrounded by family at the time of his death.

Sutton was the first basketball coach to take teams from four different schools to the NCAA tournament – three of them went all the way to the final four – Arkansas, Oklahoma State, Kentucky, and Creighton.  In all, he made 25 trips to the annual NCAA Basketball tournament.  Sutton’s credits also include a two time Associated Press Coach of the Year recipient.

During his 37 year career as a Division I head basketball coach, Sutton had a record of 806 wins and 328 losses.

It took six nomination attempts before Sutton was finally selected for induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in April.

A native of Bucklin, Kansas; Sutton played basketball at Oklahoma State before beginning his coaching career as an assistant in 1958 at his alma mater.

His first head coaching job came in 1969 at Creighton.

Coaching positions at Arkansas, Kentucky, Oklahoma State, and San Francisco as an interim coach; ending with his retirement in 2008.

Predeceased by his wife Patsy, Sutton’s survivors include his sons and their families.

 

 

Feature photo credit: By Creighton University – 1971 Bluejay yearbook, p. 213, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=90640317

Wild Ride for Xfinity in Charlotte

On the most solemn days in America – a day for remembering those who have died serving their country – the Xfinity Series takes to the track at Charlotte Motor Speedway for the Alsco 300.

Known as the “melon man” Ross Chastain will sit on the pole and bring the field to the green flag after a random draw set the field.

Like the Cup Series drivers, the Xfinity drivers will be carrying the names of fallen heroes on their windshields.

Joining the Xfinity Series regular drivers is the winningest Xfinity Series driver and NASCAR Cup champion Kyle Busch starting in 18th place in the number 54 car.

Prior to the waving of the green flag, NASCAR is bringing the drivers down pit road so that they may set pit road speeds – something they would normally do during practice, but again this week there was no practice time.

Stages one and two of the race are 45 laps each with stage three lasting 110 laps.

NASCAR is calling for a competition caution on lap 20, this will be a normal competition caution.

Ross Chastain brings the field down for the green flag start of the race from the inside lane and jumps out in front for the lead.

Ross Chastain leads lap one with Justin Haley, Brandon Jones, Riley Herbst, and Austin Cindric rounding out the top five.

Lap three, Ross Chastain has pulled out to a one second lead on Justin Haley.  Kyle Busch has already moved up to eleventh place.

Kody Vanderwal brings out the first caution flag of the race on lap five after hitting the wall.

Ross Chastain brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap seven from the outside lane and holds on to his lead.

Lap eight, Ross Chastain has a lead of over half a second on Riley Herbst; Justin Haley, Noah Gragson, and Chase Briscoe round out the top five.  Kyle Busch is now in the top 10 in seventh place.

Lap 12, Ross Chastain has a lead of nearly a second on Justin Haley; Riley Herbst, Chase Briscoe, and Kyle Busch round out the top five.

Justin Allgaier is experiencing some gremlins in his car, radio issues and settings going crazy.

Lap 18, Ross Chastain has led every lap so far and has a lead of under half a second on Justin Haley; Chase Briscoe, Kyle Busch, and Noah Gragson round out the top five.

At the completion of lap 21, NASCAR throws the competition caution flag; allowing teams to make adjustments to the cars.

Leading all 21 laps so far, Ross Chastain has led more laps in tonight’s race then he has in the previous five races combined.

The teams only get five sets of tires for this race.

Ryan Sieg and Joe Graf Jr were caught speeding on pit road.

After a number of teams stayed out on the track, Ross Chastain brings the field down for the green flag restar on lap 25 and after a bit of a battle, Ross Chastain retains his lead with Kyle Busch in second place; Riley Herbst, Justin Haley, and Austin Cindric round out the top five.

Kody Vanderwal brings out another caution flag, this time for a smoking car.

Justin Allgaier reports that after recycling his system, the gremlins are still there; adding that the gauges are everywhere and may cause some speeding on pit road issues.

Justin Allgaier made an extended pit stop to try and fix his issues.

Ros Chastain brings the field down for the green flag restart with 13 laps remaining in stage one and after some back and forth side by side racing, Ross Chastain gets Busch loose and takes the lead.  Riley Herbst, Justin Haley, and Noah Gragson round out the top five.

After his crew came over the wall too soon and an extended pit stop, Justin Allgaier has moved up to 20th place after starting from the back of the field.

Lap 37, Ross Chastain has a narrow lead on Kyle Busch with Justin Haley, Noah Gragson, and Riley Herbst rounding out the top five.

Lap 38, Kyle Busch takes the lead from Ross Chastain.

Lap 40, Kyle Busch has pulled out to a lead of over half a second on Ross Chastain; Justin Haley, Noah Gragson, and Brandon Jones round out the top five.

With a lead of over a second and a half, Kyle Busch wins stage one.

The top 10 at the end of stage one:
Kyle Busch
Ross Chastain
Justin Haley
Noah Gragson
Brandon Jones
Austin Cindric
Riley Herbst
Chase Briscoe
Daniel Hemric
Harrison Burton

Drivers come down pit road for service.  Kyle Busch wins the race off of pit road with Ross Chastain right behind him.

Jeffrey Earnhardt has the jack stuck on his car and will have to serve a penalty for leaving pit road with equipment.

Ryan Sieg has taken his car to the garage but returns to the track two laps down.

Kyle Busch brings the field down for the green flag start of stage two from the outside lane but it is Ross Chastain that gets out in front for the lead.

Lap 53, Ross Chastain has the lead with Chase Briscoe, Kyle Busch, Justin Haley, and Austin Cindric rounding out the top five.

Lap 55, Ross Chastain is in the lead with Kyle Busch in second place with 32 cars on the lead lap and three drivers out of the race.

Lap 60, Ross Chastain has a narrow lead on Kyle busch; Chase Briscoe, Austin Cindric, and Noah Gragson round out the top five.

Lap 68, Ross Chastain continues to lead the race with Kyle Busch two tenths of a second behind; Chase Briscoe, Austin Cindric, and Noah Gragson round out the top five.

Lap 70, Ross Chastain and Kyle Busch battle for the lead and on lap 71, Chase Briscoe joins the battle.

Lap 75, Ross Chastain holds on to the lead with Chase Briscoe in second; Kyle Busch, Austin Cindric, and Noah Gragson round out the top five.

Lap 80, Kyle Busch gets around Ross Chastain to take the lead amidst lapped traffic.  Chase Briscoe, Austin Cindric, and Noah Gragson round out the top five.

With seven laps remaining in stage two, Kyle Busch has pulled out to a lead of over a second on Ross Chastain with 19 cars on the lead lap.

Electrical issues and all, Justin Allgaier has put his car in 13th place.

Four laps to go in stage two, Kyle Busch now has a lead of over two seconds on Ross Chastain.

With a lead of over a second, Kyle Busch wins stage two.

The top 10 at the end of stage two:
Kyle Busch
Ross Chastain
Chase Briscoe
Austin Cindric
Noah Gragson
Brandon Jones
Daniel Hemric
Riley Herbst
Justin Haley
Harrison Burton

Drivers come down pit road for service.  Kyle Busch edges out for the win off of pit road over Ross Chastain.

Chase Briscoe was charged with having an uncontrolled tire on pit road and will have to restart the race from the back of the field.

Kyle Busch brings the field down for the green flag start of stage three from the outside lane on lap 99 and goes nose to nose with Ross Chastain before Chastain gets out in front for the lead.

Lap 100, halfway, Ross Chastain has the lead but is getting a challenge from Kyle Busch; Brandon Jones, Austin Cindric, and Justin Haley round out the top five.

Lap 102, Kyle Busch gets around Ross Chastain to retake the lead.

Lap 105, Kyle Busch has a lead of nearly a second on Ross Chastain; Brandon Jones, Austin Cindric, and Justin Haely round out the top five with 18 cars on the lead lap.

The drivers cannot complete the final stage of the race on a single fuel load and will have to make at least one pit stop.

Lap 113, Kyle Busch has pulled out to a lead of over two seconds on Ross Chastain; Brandon Jones, Austin Cindric, and Justin Haley round out the top five.

Lap 120, Kyle Busch has pulled out to a lead of over three seconds on Brandon Jones; Ross Chastain, Austin Cindric, and Justin Haley round out the top five.  Even with all of his gauge issues, Justin Allgaier has moved up to seventh place.

Lap 125, Kyle Busch holds on to a three second lead on Brandon Jones; Ross Chastain, Austin Cindric, and Justin Haley round out the top five.  There are 17 cars on the lead lap with three drivers out of the race.

Lap 132, Kyle Busch now has a lead of nearly four seconds on Brandon Jones with 17 cars on the lead lap.

Lap 135, Kyle Busch has increased his lead to four secons on Brandon Jones; Ross Chastain, Austin Cindric, and Justin Haley round out the top five.

Kyle Busch has a commanding lead of the race with a lead of over four seconds on lap 145 as the teams begin making green flag pit stops.

Chase Briscoe was caught speeding on pit road.

Leader Kyle Busch comes down pit road for his green flag pit stop on lap 148; giving the lead over to Noah Gragson.

Kyle Busch was caught speeding on pit road.

Lap 150, Michael Annett is the new leader

Brandon Jones was caught speeding on pit road.

Lap 153, Michael Annett, Brett Moffitt, and Myatt Snider have yet to make their pit stops.

Timmy Hill brings out the caution flag on lap 154 with a heavily smoking car.  At the time of the caution flag, there were only six cars on the lead lap.

Ross Chastain and Chase Briscoe hit the wall after Timmy Hill’s car left heavy smoke…and possibly oil…on the track.

Brett Moffit is sitting on pit road with some possible issues with his car.

Lap 159, Austin Cindric is listed at the leader with Justin Haley in second; Michael Annett, Myatt Snider, and Noah Gragson round out the top five

Justin Haley brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 162 but it is Austin Cindric who gets out in front for the lead; Myatt Snider, Noah Gragson, and Daniel Hemric round out the top five with Kyle Busch in tenth.  There are 13 cars on the lead lap.

With 35 laps remaining in the race, Austin Cindric leads the race with Justin Haley, Noah Gragson, Daniel Hemric, and Myatt Snider rounding out the top five.  Kyle Busch is now in seventh place.

Thirty to go, Austin Cindric has a one second lead on Noah Gragson; Justin Haley, Daniel Hemric, and Kyle Busch round out the top five.

Chase Briscoe brings out the caution flag with 29 laps to go after getting into the wall.

The leaders stay out but fifth place driver Kyle Busch brings a group down pit road for service.  There are only 14 cars on the lead lap.

Austin Cindric brings the field down for the green flag restart with just 25 laps remaining in the race.  Noah Gragson and Austin Cindric go nose to nose for the lead but before the lap is completed, Austin Hill brings out the caution flag with a wrecked car.

Austin Cindric brings the field down for the green flag restart with only 17 laps remaining in the race with Kyle Busch in third.  With a push from Kyle Busch, Austin Cindric takes the lead but cars are wrecking behind them.  Myatt Snider hits the wall after making contact with Justin Allgaier.

Austin Cindric brings the field down for the green flag restart with just 12 laps remaining in the race and edges out Noah Gragson for the lead with Kyle Busch in third.

Eleven to go, Kyle Busch takes second.

With 10 laps to go, Justin Allgaier hits the wall but the track stays green and Kyle Busch gets around Noah Gragson to retake the lead.  Busch has led the most laps tonight with over 80 laps.

The tenth caution flag comes out when Riley Herbst makes contact and makes a run through the infield.

Kyle Busch brings the field down for the green flag restart from the outside lane with just four laps remaining in the race and jumps out in front of Austin Cindric for the lead.  And the caution flag comes out once again for a big wreck involving several drivers including Justin Haley, Tommy Joe Martins, Brandon Jones, and Noah Gragson.

The race will go into overtime.

Kyle Busch brings the field down for the first attempt at an overtime finish with Austin Cindric edging out Kyle Busch for the lead.

Austin Cindric takes the white flag.

Kyle Busch battles Austin Cindric for the lead and earns win number 97 in the Xfinity Series!

The unofficial results of the Alsco 300:
Kyle Busch
Daniel Hemric
Austin Cindric
Ross Chastain
Justin Allgaier
Brett Moffitt
Michael Annett
Brandon Brown
Harrison Burton
Noah Gragson
Myatt Snider
Riley Herbst
Dillon Bassett
Josh Williams
Jesse Little
Alex Labbe
BJ McLeod
Bayley Currey
Joe Graf Jr
Chase Briscoe
Mason Massey
Chad Finchum
Tommy Joe Martins
Vinnie Miller
Brandon Jones
Jeffrey Earnhardt
Joe Nemechek
Justin Haley
Ryan Sieg
Matt Mills
Garrett Smithley
Jeremy Clements
Austin Hill
Timmy Hill
Kody Vanderwal
Jeff Green
Colby Howard

 

Hamlin Crew Members Suspended

During the pace laps of the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 24, some of the ballast in Denny Hamlin’s car fell out onto the track.

NASCAR mandates that each car must weight 3,400 pounds and ballast must be added once the car is completed to bring it up to the required weight.  Hamlin had to bring his car down pit road to repair the issue; which resulted in Hamlin going from a starting spot of 13th to being eight laps down once he got back on the track.

As a result of the ballast falling out of the number eleven Joe Gibbs Racing car, crew chief Chris Gabehart, car chief Brandon Griffeth, and car engineer Scott Simmons have all been suspended for the next four NASCAR Cup Series races.

The team has the right to appeal the ruling.

NASCAR’s Johnson’s Woes Continue

Seven time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson has not won in nearly 100 races; and after finishing second to Brad Keselowski in the Coca-Cola 600, Johnson’s woes continued.

Johnson’s number 48 Hendrick Motorsports car failed post race inspection in the wee hours of Memorial Day after a long night of racing.

NASCAR officials said that Johnson’s car failed the rear alignment in the Optical Scanning portion of the inspection process.

As a result of the failure Johnson was disqualified from the race and moved to the last position in the 40 car field.  Johnson’s disqualification also resulted in the remaining 38 drivers moving up one spot in the race results.

Johnson also must forfeit the eleven stage points he had earned during the three stages of the race.

Crew chief Cliff Daniels noted that the post race inspection failure may have been due to something breaking in the car; adding that the team will investigate the issue.

The 48 team can appeal the decision if they feel it was unjustly issued.

 

feature photo credit: By Zach Catanzareti – https://www.flickr.com/photos/58980992@N03/29710540367/, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=85520690

Overtime Finish in Coca-Cola 600

It’s the longest race of the season but the drivers and teams are ready to run 400 laps around Charlotte Motor Speedway for 600 miles of racing as they honour those who have served, fought for their country, and died in the name of freedom.

Along with the traditional opening prayer, a group of pipers plays “Amazing Grace”, there is a 21 gun salute, the playing of “Taps”, and the performance of the National Anthem.

Only a few hours ago with no practice, Kurt Busch put his number one car on the pole with seven time champion driver Jimmie Johnson starting alongside on the front row.

The starting line up for the Coca-Cola 600 is:
Kurt Busch
Jimmie Johnson
Chase Elliott
Matt Kenseth
Tyler Reddick
Austin Dillon
Joey Logano
Martin Truex Jr
Brad Keselowski – moved to the back of the field due to unapproved adjustments
William Byron
Kyle Busch
Alex Bowman
Denny Hamlin
Erik Jones
Christopher Bell
Ty Dillon
Ricky Stenhouse Jr
Ryan Newman
Chris Buescher
Clint Bowyer
Ross Chastain
Kevin Harvick
Bubba Wallace
Corey LaJoie
John Hunter Nemechek
Ryan Blaney
Michael McDowell
Cole Custer
Ryan Preece
Quin Houff
Gray Gaulding
Timmy Hill – moved to the back of the field
Matt DiBenedetto – moved to the back of the field in a backup car
JJ Yeley – moved to the back of the field
Brennan Poole
BJ McLeod
Daniel Suarez
Garrett Smithely
Joey Gase
Aric Almirola – did not post a qualifying time and made unapproved adjustments

With 400 miles in the race, NASCAR has added a fourth stage to the race with each stage lasting 100 laps.

Denny Hamlin’s car is losing some ballast out of his car on the pace laps.  NASCAR has called Hamlin to pit road to replace the ballast

NASCAR has called for a competition caution on lap 20.

Kurt Busch brings the field down for the green flag start of the race and jumps out in front for the lead.

Kurt Busch leads the first lap with Jimmie Johnson in second; Matt Kenseth, Chase Elliott, and Tyler Reddick round out the top five.

Lap five, Denny Hamlin is still on pit road getting his car repaired with the the proper ballast.

Kurt Busch has led the first five laps with Jimmie Johnson in second; Matt Kenseth, Chase Elliott, and Tyler Reddick round out the top five.

Denny Hamlin returns to the track six laps down.

Ten laps in, Kurt Busch has led every lap so far.

Lap 17 Kurt Busch continues to lead the race with Jimmie Johnson in second; Chase Elliott, Matt Kenseth, and Tyler Reddick round out the top five.

At the end of lap 20, NASCAR throws the competition caution.  This is a normal caution flag where teams have the option to come down pit road for service.  The cars will line up according to how the leave pit road…or stayed out on the track.

Kurt Busch wins the race off of pit road and holds on to his lead.

Erik Jones was charged with an uncontrolled tire on pit road.  Chris Buescher and Daniel Suarez’ crews were charged with coming over the pit wall too soon.

Kurt Busch brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 28 with Martin Truex Jr alongside; but it is Busch who gets out in front to hold on to the lead.  Chase Elliott, Tyler Reddick and Jimmie Johnson round out the top five.

Jimmie Johnson has slowed and is falling through the field and is now in 12th place.

Lap 34 Kurt Busch leads the race with Martin Truex Jr in second; Chase Elliott, Tyler Reddick, and Joey Logano round out the top five.

Lap 47, Kurt Busch has led every lap so far with Martin Truex Jr a quarter of a second behind in second; Chase Elliott, Tyler Reddick, and Joey Logano round out the top five.

The caution flag comes out on lap 49 for rain at the track.  NASCAR has red flagged the race due to the rain and have sent out the track drying equipment as the drivers exit their cars and cove the cars.

After nearly 30 minutes, the rain has stopped and the track drying activities continue as NASCAR works to get the race going once again.

After a delay of nearly an hour, the covers come off of the cars and the crews get them ready to take to the track once again.

As the sun makes an appearance as it begins to set, the drivers are called to their cars and prepare to get the race going again.

After a red flag condition of over an hour for bad weather, NASCAR pulls the red flag and puts out the caution flag as the drivers get moving once again.  The cars continue making laps while NASCAR and the crews get pit road dried.

On lap 54, pit road is open and the lead lap cars come down for some fresh tires and service.

For the first time in the race there is another driver in the lead, after taking only two tires, Alex Bowman brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 58 and takes the lead with team mate Chase Elliott is second; Martin Truex Jr, Tyler Reddick, and Kyle Busch round out the top five.

With 35 cars on the lead lap, Alex Bowman leads the race with Chase Elliott, Martin Truex Jr, Tyler Reddick, and Kurt Busch rounding out the top five.

One hundred miles in, lap 69, Alex Bowman holds on to the lead with team mate Chase Elliott in second; Martin Truex Jr, Tyler Reddick, and Joey Logano round out the top five.  The Busch brothers occupy spots six and seven.

Ty Dillon makes an unscheduled trip down pit road for a possible loose tire and is now two laps down.

Fully under the lights, Alex Bowman continues to lead the race on lap 77 with Chase Elliott over a half a second back; Martin Truex Jr, Tyler Reddick, and Joey Logano round out the top five.

Lap 80, Alex Bowman has increased his lead to over a second on Chase Elliott.  There are 33 cars on the lead lap.

With the sun gone and a rain storm to cool down the track, the drivers are making their fastest laps of the race.

Christopher Bell and Ryan Blaney make contact on the track sending Bell slideways but the track stays green.

Lap 85, Alex Bowman’s lead is down to under half a second.

Lap 87, Alex Bowman has increased his lead to over half a second on Martin Truex Jr; Chase Elliott, Tyler Reddick, and Joey Logano round out the top five.  Since losing the lead, Kurt Busch has been mired back in the field.

Only six laps remain in stage one, Alex Bowman leads the race; Martin Truex Jr, Chase Elliott, Tyler Reddick, and Joey Logano round out the top five.

Timmy Hill makes an unscheduled trip down pit road.

Clint Bowyer brings out the caution flag with just three laps remaining in stage one after hitting the wall hard from eleventh place with a flat tire.  Bowyer gets out of his car gingerly but unaided.

Stage one ends under caution with Alex Bowman taking the win.

The top 10 at the end of stage one:
Alex Bowman
Martin Truex Jr
Chase Elliott
Tyler Reddick
Joey Logano
Kyle Busch
Austin Dillon
Jimmie Johnson
William Byron
Kurt Busch

Ricky Stenhouse Jr makes a trip down pit road for tire issues before pit road is open and has to restart the race from the back of the field.

Drivers come down pit road for service with Alex Bowman getting out first and Kyle Busch right behind.

Alex Bowman brings the field down for the green flag start of stage two from the inside lane on lap 107 and goes nose to nose with Kyle Busch before edging out for the lead.

Lap 108, Alex Bowman has the lead; Martin Truex Jr, Kyle Busch, Chase Elliott, and Joey Logano round out the top five.

After being checked out at the infield care center for the mandatory exam, Clint Bowyer is fine and ready to go for the next race on Wednesday.

Lap 112, Alex Bowman continues to lead the race with Martin Truex Jr in second; Kyle Busch, Chase Elliott, and Joey Logano round out the top five.  Pole sitter Kurt Busch has dropped to 15th place.

Lap 117, Alex Bowman has pulled out to a lead of over half a second on Martin Truex Jr.

Kurt Busch led the first 54 laps of the race, but since then Alex Bowman has led the rest; at lat 125,he has a lead of over a second on Martin Truex Jr.

Bubba Wallace makes an unscheduled pit stop with brake issues…or lack thereof.  Bubba takes his car to the garage.  Under the current NASCAR rules, the 43 team can take their car to the garage and work on it due to mechanical issues.  It is only after an accident that the car is considered out of the race if it goes to the garage.

Lap 132, Alex Bowman has pulled out to a lead of nearly two seconds on Martin Truex Jr; Kyle Busch, Chase Elliott, and Joey Logano round out the top five.

Reports are that there was a tire hub issues on Bubba Wallace’s car.

Lap 142, Alex Bowman continues to lead the race with 1.62 seconds on Martin Truex Jr; Kyle Busch, Chase Elliott, and William Byron round out the top five.  In 12th place, Jimmie Johnson is the only Hendrick Motorsports driver not in the top five.  There are 28 cars on the lead lap.

Lap 150, Alex Bowman continues to hold on to his lead of over a second on Martin Truex Jr; Kyle Busch, Chase Elliott, and William Byron round out the top five.

Green flag pit stops have begun just after the halfway point of the stage.

After leader Alex Bowman made his pit stop, Jimie Johnson became the new leader.  The top seven drivers have yet to make their pit stop.

Matt Kenseth was caught speeding on pit road and will have to make a pass through penalty.

Lap 163, Jimmie Johnson makes his pit stop giving the lead over the John Hunter Nemechek.

Lap 164, Ryan Preece is the new leader.

Lap 165, Ricky Stenhouse Jr is the new leader but is quickly passed by Alex Bowman who retakes the lead on fresh tires.

After green flag pit stops have cycled through, Alex Bowman has a two second lead on Martin Truex Jr with Kyle Busch in third.

With 22 laps remaining in stage two, Alex Bowman has pulled out to a lead of over four seconds on Martin Truex Jr, Chase Elliott, and William Byron round out the top five.

“Driving the wheels off of it,” Alex Bowman has increased his lead to over five seconds on Martin Truex Jr with 17 cars on the lead lap.  Kyle Busch, Chase Elliott, and William Byron round out the top five with Erik Jones on his bumper.

Dominating the race, Alex Bowman is now over six seconds out in front of the Martine Truex Jr; Kyle Busch is in third over 10 seconds back.  There are only 16 cars on the lead lap.

After dominating the stage, Alex Bowman wins stage two by over three seconds on Martin Truex Jr.

The top 10 at the end of stage two:
Alex Bowman/’Martin Truex Jr
Kyle Busch
William Byron
Chase Elliott
Erik Jones
Joey Logano
Austin Dillon
Ryan Blaney
Jimmie Johnson

At the end of lap 203, NASCAR brings the field down pit road for a “pause to remember” for 30 seconds to remember those who have died in the service of their country.

The engines are again fired and the pace car brings the field around before making pit stops.

Leader Alex Bowman wins the race off of pit road with Kyle Busch in second.

Kyle Busch was caught speeding on pit road and will have to restart the race from the back of the field.

Chase Elliott’s team had an issue during his pit stop and Elliott had to make a second trip down pit road.

Alex Bowman brings the field down for the green flag start of stage three on lap 209 and holds on to his lead.

Lap 210, the top five are Alex Bowman, Martin Truex Jr, Erik Jones, William Byron, and Austin Dillon.  Chase Elliott is in 16th place and Kyle Busch is in 18th place.

Lap 214, Alex Bowman is holding on to a very narrow lead on Martin Truex Jr.  Kyle Busch and Chase Elliott are mired back in the pack and have yet to make any progress.

Since the start of the race, the track temperature has dropped some 25 degrees.

Lap 220, With Alex Bowman in the lead, there is less than half a second between the top three drivers of Alex Bowman, Martin Truex Jr, and William Byron.

On lap 224, Martin Truex Jr gets around Alex Bowman with a little help from lapped car Joey Gase to take the lead.

Lap 230, Martin Truex Jr has pulled out to a one second lead on Alex Bowman; Erik Jones, William Byron, and Ryan Blaney round out the top five.

Ryan Newman’s team is reporting a battery issue.

Lap 237, Martin Truex Jr has increased his lead to over a second and a half on Alex Bowman; Erik Jones, William Byron, and Ryan Blaney round out the top five.

Lap 238, Ryan Newman makes a pit stop to address the battery issue.

Lap 242, Martin Truex Jr has pulled out to a lead of over two and a half seconds on Alex Bowman; Erik Jones, William Byron, and Ryan Blaney round out the top five,

FOX Sports reports that it was a lower control arm and not a flat tire that sent Clint Bowyer into the wall.

Lap 249, Martin Truex Jr is now two and a half seconds out in front of Erik Jones; Alex Bowman, William Byron, and Ryan Blaney round out the top five.

Alex Bowman is reporting a vibration as drivers begin making green flag pit stops.

Lap 255, Martn Truex Jr has a lead of over three seconds on Erik Jones.

Leaders come down pit road for service on lap 254 giving Brad Keselowski the lead.

Lap 262, leader Brad Keselowski finally makes his green flag pit stop and gives the lead back to Martin Truex Jr with Erik Jones less than two seconds back; Alex Bowman, William Byron, and Ryan Blaney round out the top five.

With the end of stage three only 30 laps away, there has been only one caution flag for an on track incident when Clint Bowyer got into the wall after a lower control arm broke.

Lap 274, Martin Truex Jr has a one second lead on Alex Bowman; Erik Jones, Ryan Blaney, and William Byron round out the top five.  There are 18 cars on the lead lap.

Matt Kenseth brings out just the second caution flag for an on track incident on lap 275 when he has a flat tire and gets slideways into the wall.

Taking only two tires, Martin Truex Jr wins the race off of pit road; as did several other drivers.  Erik Jones is the first driver to take four tires.

Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick, and Chase Elliott did not come down pit road and are now the top three drivers.

Joey Logano brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 281 from the outside lane and edges out Kevin Harvick for the lead.

Lap 282, the top five are Joey Logano, Martin Truex Jr, Alex Bowman, Jimmie Johnson, and Ryan Blaney.

The drivers are getting three wide as they battle for position…and clean air.

Of the three drivers who stayed out on the track at the caution flag, Joey Logano is the only one to hold on to his position; the other two, Kevin Harvick and Chase Elliott have fallen through the field and are near the end of the lead lap.

Ten laps remain in stage three, Joey Logano is the leader with Alex Bowman, Ryan Blaney, Jimmie Johnson, and Martin Truex Jr rounding out the top five.

Joey Logano wins stage three for his first stage win of the season…and it’s his birthday.

The top 10 at the end of stage three:
Joey Logano
Alex Bowman
Ryan Blaney
Jimmie Johnson
Martin Truex Jr
Kyle Busch
Erik Jones
Brad Keselowski
Austin Dillon
William Byron

The drivers come down pit road for service with Matt DiBenedetto winning the race off of pit road after taking only two tires.

Matt DiBenedetto brings the field down for the green flag start of stage four on lap 307  and goes nose to nose with Joey Logano before getting out in front for the lead.  As the drivers volley for position, Martin Truex Jr gets out out in front.

Lap 309, Matt DiBenedetto retakes the lead; Martin Treux Jr, Jimmie Johnson, Alex Bowman, and William Byron round out the top five.  DiBenedetto is in a backup car after crashing on his qualifying round.

Lap 311,Martin Truex Jr passes Matt DiBenedetto for the lead.  Jimmie Johnson gets around DiBenedetto for second place.

Kurt Busch makes an unscheduled trip down pit road for a possible tire issue.

Lap 114, Martin Truex Jr is in the lead; Jimmie Johnson, Matt DiBenedetto, Alex Bowman, and William Byron round out the top five.

Lap 321, Martin Truex Jr is in the lead with Jimmie Johnson, Alex Bowman, Brad Keselowski, and Matt DiBenedetto rounding out the top five.

After getting only two tires on the last pit stop, Matt DiBenedetto is beginning to fall through the field as the tires wear.

After dominating two of the last four 600 races, Martin Truex Jr has a lead of just over half a second on seven time champion Jimmie Johnson as he looks to notch another win at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

After over 300 of the 400 laps in the books, there are only three cars out of the race with 19 cars on the lead lap.

Lap 334, Martin Truex Jr has pulled out to a lead of over a second on Jimmie Johnson; Alex Bowman, Brad Keselowski, and William Byron round out the top five.

Sixty to go, Martin Truex Jr has a lead of over a second and a half on Jimmie Johnson; Alex Bowman, Brad Keselowski, and William Byron round out the top five.

The caution flag comes out on lap 347 when Joey Gase spins out and makes an off road excursion.

With just 51 laps remaining in the race the drivers come down pit road for service.  Jimmie Johnson wins the race off of pit road with Brad Keselowski in second.  Martin Truex Jr comes off of pit road in third.

Joey Logano was caught speeding on pit road and will have to start at the back of the field.

Kyle Busch entered pit road in eleventh place but came out in sixth.

Jimmie Johnson brings the field down for the green flag restart from the outside lane on lap 353.  Getting a push from Martin Truex Jr, Brad Keselowski takes the lead but gets a challenge from Jimmie Johnson before Johnson falls to third place.  The top five are Brad Keselowski, Chase Elliott, Jimmie Johnson, Martin Truex Jr, and Alex Bowman.

Drivers are getting three wide back in the field.

Leader Brad Keselowski started the race from the back of the field after his crew made unapproved adjustments to his car after qualifying.

Forty to go, Brad Keselowski has a half second lead on Chase Elliott; Jimmie Johnson, Martin Truex Jr, and Alex Bowman round out the top five.

Lap 365, Chase Elliott gets around Brad Keselowski to take the lead; Jimmie Johnson, Martin Truex Jr, and Alex Bowman round out the top five.

Thirty to go, Chase Elliott has a lead of over half a second on Brad Keselowski; Jimmie Johnson, Martin Truex jr, and Alex Bowman round out the top five.  With William Byron in sixth place, all four of the Hendrick Motorsports cars are in the top six positions.

Twenty five to go, Chase Elliott has a one second lead on Brad Keselowski with 20 cars on the lead lap.

Only 20 laps remain in the race and as the clock approaches midnight, Chase Elliott has a once second lead on Brad Keselowski; Jimmie Johnson, Martin Truex Jr, and Alex Bowman round out the top five.

The young Elliott is looking to do something his Dad, Hall of Famer Bill Elliott never did…win the Coca-Cola 600.  With only 14 laps remaining in the race, he has a lead of nearly a second and a half on Brad Keselowski.

Ten to go, Ryan Newman reports a second battery issue.

Chase Elliott has increased his lead over Brad Keselowski to nearly two seconds with Jimmie Johnson, Martin Truex Jr, and Alex Bowman rounding out the top five.

Five to go, with 20 cars on the lead lap, Chase Elliott has a lead of over a second and a half on Brad Keselowski.

With only two laps remaining in the race, William Byron brings out the caution flag with a flat tire.  The race will go into overtime and a green/white/checker finish.

Some of the drivers come down pit road for fresh tires, but many stayed out on the track.

Brad Keselowski is the new leader with Jimmie Johnson starting alongside on the front row.

With the overtime finish, this becomes the longest race in NASCAR history.

Brad Keselowski brings the field down for the green flag restart and edges out Jimmie Johnson for the lead.

Brad Keselowski takes the white flag with Jimmie Johnson in second.

Brad Keselowski wins the race with Jimmie Johnson in second.  Chase Elliott ends up in third after making a pit stop with two to go.

The unofficial results of the Coca-Cola 600:
Brad Keselowski
Jimmie Johnson
Chase Elliott
Ryan Blaney
Kyle Busch
Kevin Harvick
Martin Truex Jr
Kurt Busch
Tyler Reddick
Christopher Bell
Erik Jones
Chris Buescher
Cole Custer
Joey Logano
Austin Dillon
Aric Almirola
John Hunter Nemechek
Matt DiBenedetto
Michael McDowell
Alex Bowman
William Byron
Ross Chastain
Ryan Preece
Corey LaJoie
Ricky Stenhouse Jr
Ty Dillon
Matt Kenseth
Ryan Newman
Daniel Suarez
Denny Hamlin
Brennan Poole
Gray Gaulding
BJ McLeod
Garrett Smithley
Timmy Hill
Quin Houff
Joey Gase
JJ Yeley
Bubba Wallace
Clint Bowyer

 

NBA HOF Coach Jerry Sloan Dies

Basketball Hall of Fame coach and former player Jerry Sloan died May 22, 2020 at his home in Salt Lake City as a result of Parkinson’s Disease and Lewy body dementia at the age of 78.

Sloan was the head coach for the National Basketball Association Utah Jazz for 23 years and led the team to the championship twice.  He ranks fourth on the NBA list of winningest coaches with 1,221 wins.

Over the course of his career, Sloan spent a total of 34 years with the Jazz as a scout, assistant coach, head coach, and senior basketball advisor.

As a player, Sloan was on the NCAA national championship team twice and a two time All Star as a member of the Chicago Bulls where his number four jersey was the first to be retired by the Bulls.  His career was cut short due to a knee injury.  In an era where players look to rack up statistics, Sloan remains the only player in the NBA to have at least seven rebounds and two steals in every game during his career.

He was an assistant coach on the Olympic Gold Medal winning Team USA basketball team in Atlanta in 1996.

In 1977, Sloan was set to take over the head coaching duties at his alma mater Evansville when head coach Arad McCutcheon retired, but he suddenly backed out citing personal reasons.  Later that year, a plane carrying the team crashed, killing all aboard.  Many years later Sloan spoke on the incident saying, “that incident on December the 13th, 1977, made me realize that there are a lot more things more important than basketball.  Even though I love this game, I will always be grateful for what it’s given me.”

Gerald Eugene Sloan was born on March 28, 1942 inMcLeansboro, Illinois the youngest of 10 children and grew up on the family farm and later a basketball star at McLeansboro High School.  He was only four years old when his father died.

Predeceased by his first wife Bobbye, Sloans’ survivors include his second wife Tammy; children Brian, Holly, and Kathy; and step-son Rhett.

 

feature photo credit: By Stephanie Young Merzel – https://www.flickr.com/photos/justthismoment/2064741452/, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=90601489

NASCAR Drivers Qualify for 600

For the first time in over two months the NASCAR Cup Series cars will qualify for a race as they prepare for the longest race on the circuit – the Coca-Cola 600.  But again this week, there has been no practice…and Charlotte Motor Speedway has put down some of the traction compound on the track.

The 600 is the first of four races to be held at Charlotte Motor Speedway with all three NASCAR Series running races over the next few days.

Last week the drivers carried the names of front line health workers on their windshields; this week, they will carry the names of fallen military personnel on their windshields.  Many of the drivers have military themed paint schemes.

On a cloudy North Caroline Sunday afternoon BJ McLeod is the first driver out on the track…and took advantage of the traction compound.  With no practice, many of the drivers were concerned about the compound and were weary of driving through it.

Qualifying order for the field was set by the NNASCAR rule book.

Just the fourth driver to go out, William Byron ran a lap of less than 30 seconds at 29.95 seconds.

JJ Yeley cut a tire during his qualifying lap, but kept it on the track and off the wall.

With a time of 29.79 seconds around the mile and a half track, Jimmie Johnson goes to the top spot as the provincial pole sitter.

Matt DiBenedetto smacked the wall on his qualifying lap, causing some significant damage to the car. FOX Sports reports that DiBenedetto was running 173mph when he hit the wall.  The team has only a few hours to either repair the car or bring out the backup car.   After an inspection, the team and NASCAR officials have determined that there is too much damage to the car and they will have to move to the backup car.  DiBenedetto will have to start the race from the back of the field due to the car change.

Aric Almirola spins out coming to the green flag for his qualifying lap but manages to keep from smacking the wall…just kisses it.  Unfortunately he crossed the start/finish line and took the green flag at the end of his slide in the artificial grass and the lap will count as his qualifying run.

Kurt Busch beats out Jimmie Johnson by nine one thousandths of a second to take P1.

Kurt Busch wins the pole for the Coca-Cola 600 and will bring the field to the green flag at 6pm.

African Musician Mory Kante Dies

African musician Mory Kante died May 22, 2020 in Conakry, Guinea at the age of 70.  An official cause of death was not given but his son stated that he will be tested for the Covid-19 virus; adding that his father had not been feeling well for some time.

An influential artist in African and world music, Kante introduced Guinean and Mandingo culture to the world.  An ambassador of African Pop music, his song “Yeke Yeke”, which sold over a million copies, has been covered and remixed numerous times.

Along with the kora; Kante played the balafon and guitar; and was a singer.  More than a musician, Kante was a Goodwill Ambassador to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization.  He also helped to stimulate the Guinean economy.
He was born March 29, 1950 in Albadarya in southeastern region of Guinea to a family of girots.  Coming from a musical family, Kante began playing music when he was only seven years old.  He became a very accomplished kora player – an African harp.

Kante’s survivors include his son Balla.

Mory Kante’s discography:
“10 Cola Nuts”
“Akwaba Beach”
“Touma”
“N Diarabi”
“Tatebola”
“Un A Paris”
“Les Nuits de Bamako”
“Nongo Village”
“Tamala le Voyageur”
“Sabou”
“Mixtus”

 

feature photo credit: Mory Kante’s Facebook page

 

Mauve Gets ‘Close’

Toronto’s multi instrumentalist and songwriter Mauve has just released her new single “Close” – a song love and separation.

 

 

Mauve notes, “life happens. Changes can break you. But music gives you the chance to create a new story.”

 

She began by performing cover songs from a variety of genres, but after some inspiration from Sia, the Arctic Monkeys, and Amy Winehouse; Mauve branched out on her own with some original music.  Though listed as an EDM artist, Mauve weaves a variety of musical styles into her music.

 

In 2019, her original song “Come Around” won an InterContinental Music Award as the Best North American Pop Song.

 

Thomas Rhett

Country star Thomas Rhett has rescheduled his The Center Point Road tour dates that had to be postponed this spring and summer due to the Covid-19 virus.  Fellow country singer Cole Swindell will be joining Rhett on the tour.

Tickets purchased for the original tour dates will be honoured at the rescheduled shows.  For fans who cannot attend the new dates, may obtain a refund.  Fans needing a refund will receive an email shortly with instructions on how to obtain hat refund.

Thomas Rhett 2021 rescheduled tour dates:
June 3 & 4 at the Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion in Gilford, NH
June 10 at the St. Joseph’s Health Amphitheater at Lakeview in Syracuse, NY
June 11 at the S&T Bank Music Park in Burgettstown, PA
June 12 at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, NJ
June 17 at the Ruoff Music Center in Indianapolis, IN
June 18 at the Blossom Music Center in Cuyahoga Falls, OH
June 19 at the Riverbend Music Center in Cincinnati, OH
July 9 at the PNC Music Pavilion in Charlotte, NC
July 10 at the Coastal Credit Union Music Park in Raleigh, NC
July 15 at the Oak Mountain Amphitheatre in Birmingham, AL
July 16 at the Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in St. Louis, MO
July 29 at the Toyota Amphitheatre in Sacramento, CA
July 30 at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, CA
Aug 5 at the Isleta Amphitheater in Albuquerque, NM
Aug 20 at the Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion in Bangor, ME
Aug 21 at the Xfinity Theatre in Hartford, CT
Aug 22 at The Constellation Brands-Marvin Sands Performing Arts Center in Canandaigua, NY
Aug 26 at the Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater in Wantagh, NY
Aug 27 at the BB&T Pavilion in Philadelphia, PA
Aug 28 at the Jiffy Lube Live in Bristow, VA

The dates for the concerts in Boise, ID; Salt Lake City, UT; and Tampa, FL have yet to be determined.

Barenaked Ladies

After postponing their summer tour dates for this year, the Barenaked Ladies have announced that they have rescheduled the tour dates for next summer.  Fellow rockers the Gin Blossoms and Toad the Wet Sprocket will be joining The Ladies on the tour of the United States with a stop in Toronto.

However, the concerts scheduled for Houston, San Diego, St Louis, and Pittsburgh could not be rescheduled.  Fans may obtain a refund from the point of purchase.

Fans who have already purchased tickets for the postponed shows can use them for the new dates.

Barenaked Ladies 2021 tour dates:
June 4 at the Cadence Bank Amphitheatre in Atlanta, GA
June 5 at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre in St. Augustine, FL
June 8 at the Toyota Music Factory in Irving, tX
June 10 at the Arizona Federal Theatre in Phoenix, AZ
June 11 at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles, CA
June 12 at the Vina Robles Amphitheatre in Paso Robles, CA
June 17 at the Marymoor Park Amphitheatre in Redmond, WA
June 18 at the Edgefield in Troutdale, OR
June 19 at the Northern Quest Resort and Casino in Airway Heights, WA
June 22 at the Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, CO
June 25 at the Stir Cove in Council Bluffs IA
June 26 at the Mystic Lake Casino in Prior Lake, MN
June 28 at the Chicago Theatre in Chicago, IL
June 30 at the Starlight Theatre in Kansas City, MO
July 2 at the Farm Bureau Insurance Lawn in Indianapolis, IN
July 3 at the Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica in Cleveland, OH
July 4 at the DTE Energy Music Theatre in Clarkston, MI
July 6 at Artpark in Lewiston, NY
July 7 New York City as a venue yet to be determined
July 9 at the Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion in Gilford, NH
July 10 at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT
July 11 at the Rockland Trust Bank in Boston, MA
July 13 at The Met in Philadelphia, PA
July 14 at Wolf Trap in Vienna, VA
July 16 at the North Charleston Coliseum in Charleston, SC
July 17 at the Red Hat Amphitheatre in Raleigh, NC
July 18 at the MECU Pavilion in Baltimore, MD
July 20 at the PNC Music Pavilion in Cincinnati, OH
July 21 at the Budweiser Stage in Toronto, ON

 

Manilow Reschedules Vegas Dates

When Las Vegas shut down like the rest of the country due to the Covid-19 virus, all of the shows and residencies were also closed down.

Barry Manilow has rescheduled the dates that have been postponed in his residency at the International Theater at the Westgate Las Vegas.

Barry Manilow Westgate show dates:
Sept 17-19
Sept 24-26
Oct 8-10
Oct 15-17
Oct 22-24
Nov 12-14
Nov 19-21
Dec 3-5
Feb 11-13
Feb 18-20
March 4-6
March 11-13

Tickets for the remainder of this year’s shows are on sale now.

Wild Finish for Xfinity Series Race

After a two day delay because of rain, the Xfinity Series makes its return to racing with the Toyota 200 at Darlington Raceway.

And for the third day in a row, weather is causing delays at the track.

After a delay of over four hours, the drivers can finally get ready to race.

Like the Cup Series drivers, the Xfinity Series drivers have had no practice or qualifying on the track and nearly one third of the field has never raced at Darlington before.  Oh, and NASCAR Cup champion and winningest driver in the Xfinity Series Kyle Busch is in the race.

After a random draw, JR Motorsports team mates Noah Gragson and Michael Annett will start on the front row with Daytona winner Noah Gragson bringing the field to the green flag from the pole position.

Stages one and two of the race are 45 laps each with stage three lasting 57 laps for a total of 147 laps around the 1.366 mile track.

NASCAR has called for a competition caution on lap 15.

Noah Gragson brings the field down for the green flag start of the race from the outside lane and edges out his team mate Michael Annett for the lead.

The drivers quickly get spread out down the track.

The top five are Noah Gragson, Ryan Sieg, Justin Haley, Riley Herbst, and Melon Man Ross Chastain.  Kyle Busch has already moved up to 12th after starting the race in 26th place.

Lap six, Noah Gragson has pulled out to a lead of over half a second on Ryan Sieg; Justin Haley, Ross Chastain, and Austin Cindric round out the top five…and Kyle Busch has entered the top 10.

Lap 10, Ryan Sieg has caught up to leader Noah Gragson and is challenging for the lead; Kyle Busch is just outside the top five in sixth place.

When NASCAR throws the competition caution flag, it will be a modified caution where the field will be frozen.  The top 20 cars will come down pit road first and be allowed to make adjustments that they would have made during a practice session, then the second 19 will pit.  Once the drivers have made their first pit stop, the process will be made again.  As long as a driver gets back on pit road before the pace car comes back around, the driver will keep his spot at the time of the caution flag.

When the caution flag came out at the end of lap 15 Noah Gragson was the leader with Ryan Sieg, Justin Haley, Ross Chastain, and Kyle Busch rounding out the top five.

Noah Gragson brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 23 and jumping out in front after a little push from Ross Chastain.

Lap 26, Noah Gragson is in the lead; Ross Chastain, Austin Cindric, Ryan Sieg, and Justin Allgaier round out the top five.  Kyle Busch dropped back to ninth after restarting from the inside lane.

Lap 30, Noah Gragson has a half second lead on Ross Chastain; Austin Cindric, Ryan Sieg, and Justin Allgaier round out the top five.  Kyle Busch has moved up to seventh place.

Noah Gragson’s team is reporting that the crew cannot hear him but he can hear the crew and spotter.

Myatt Snider’s rear bumper is loose after some contact but so far the track stays green.

The caution flag comes out on lap 34 for Myatt Snider’s car.

With just six laps remaining in stage one, Noah Gragson brings the field down for the green flag restart and goes nose to nose with Ross Chastain but Gragson holds on to his lead.  Noah Gragson has led every lap so far.

With a lead of a second, Noah Gragson wins stage one for his second stage win in a row.

The top 10 at the end of stage one:
Noah Gragson
Ross Chastain
Ryan Sieg
Kyle Busch
Austin Cindric
Justin Allgaier
Daniel Hemric
Chase Briscoe
Michael Annett
Justin Haley

The drivers come down pit road for a normal pit stop.  NASCAR has issued each team five sets of tires for this race.

Kyle Busch wins the race off of pit road with Noah Gragson out second.

Kyle Busch brings the field down for the green flag start of stage two from the outside lane and goes nose to nose with Busch before Kyle Busch pulls out in front for the lead.

FOX Sports broadcaster Adam Alexander reports that more rain is approaching the area.

Lap 53, Kyle Busch has a one second lead on Justin Allgaier; Ross Chastain, Noah Gragson, and Daniel Hemric round out the top five.

Lap 58, Kyle Busch continues to lead the race but Justin Allgaier is very slowly eating into the lead which is now down to three quarters of a second; Ross Chastain, Noah Gragson, and Chase Briscoe round out the top five.

Lap 67, Kyle Busch has increased his lead to back over a second on Justin Allgaier; Noah Gragson, Chase Briscoe, and Ross Chastain round out the top five with 30 cars on the lead lap.  Landon Cassill and Stephen Liecht are out of the race.

Lap 71, Kyle Busch has increased his lead to two seconds on Justin Allgaier; Noah Gragson, Chase Brisco, and Ross Chastain rund out the top five.

After breaking both legs in a motorcycle accident, Brett Moffitt makes his return to racing at Darlington.

Only six laps remain in stage two with Kyle Busch leading the way by nearly two seconds over Justin Allgaier; Noah Gragson, Chase Brisco, and Michael Annett round out the top five.  There are 20 cars on the lead lap.

With a lead of two and a half seconds, Kyle Busch wins stage two for his first stage win of the year.

The top 10 at the end of stage two:
Kyle Busch
Justin Allgaier
Noah Gragson
Chase Briscoe
Michael Annett
Daniel Hemric
Ross Chastain
Austin Cindric
Ryan Sieg
Jeremy Clements

Kyle Busch wins the race off of pit road.

As more bad weather approaches, the temperatures are starting to drop in Darlington.

Kyle Busch was caught speeding on pit road and will have to restart the race from the back of the field; but rain is approaching.

Justin Allgaier brings the field down for the green flag start of stage three with 51 laps remaining in the race.  Chase Briscoe takes the lead with Noah Gragson in second.

Fifty to go, Chase Briscoe leads the race; Justin Allgaier, Noah Gragson, Daniel Hemric, and Michael Annett round out the top five.  Kyle Busch is in 17th position.

Brandon Jones brings his car down pit road for an unscheduled pit stop with 46 laps remaining in the race.

Brandon Jones had a loose wheel.

With 43 laps remaining in the race, Chase Briscoe has a lead of over half a second on Justin Allgaier.  Kyle Busch is in 14th place.

With 37 laps remaining in the race, Chase Briscoe continues to lead the race with Justin Allgaier in second; Noah Gragson, Daniel Hemric, and Michael Annett round out the top five.  Kyle Busch has moved up to eleventh place.

Thirty five to go, Kyle Busch is back in the top 10.

Thirty to go, Chase Briscoe has increased his lead on Justin Allgaier to over half a second; Noah Gragson, Daniel Hemric, and Michael Annett round out the top five.  Kyle Busch is now in eighth place.

With 25 laps remaining in the race, Chase Briscoe bounces the wall but holds on to the lead with Justin Allgaier in second; Noah Gragson, Daniel Hemric, and Michael Annett round out the top five.  Kyle Busch is mired back in seventh.

Twenty to go, Chase Briscoe holds on to the lead but is now less than half a second ahead of Jusitn Allgairer.

Chase Briscoe and Justin Allgaier battle for lead, swapping back and forth with Justin Allgaier finally taking the lead.  Daniel Hemric, Michael Annett, and Austin Cindric round out the top five.  Kyle Busch remains in seventh place.

Michael Annett spins out with a flat tire and brings out the caution flag with just 15 laps remaining in the race.

Drivers bring their cars down pit road for service.  Chase Briscoe wins the race off of pit road; followed by Justin Allgaier and Kyle Busch.

Chase Briscoe brings the field down for the green flag restart with just nine laps remaining in the race.  Briscoe and Justin Allgaeir go side by side before Briscoe gets out in front.

Eight to go, Chase Briscoe is in the lead but Kyle Busch has moved into second place and is coming on.  Drivers are getting three wide back in the field.

Seven to go, Chase Briscoe has a half second lead on Kyle Busch.

Six to go, Kyle Busch has closed the gap to less than half a second on leader Chase Briscoe.

Five to go, Chase Briscoe holds on to the lead with Kyle Busch in second; Justin Allgaier, Noah Gragson, and Austin Cindric round out the top five.

Four to go, Chase Briscoe holds on to his half second lead on Kyle Busch.

Two to go, Kyle Busch has closed the gap on leader Chase Briscoe to under half a second.

Chase Briscoe takes the white flag but is getting challenged by Kyle Busch for the lead.

Chase Briscoe beats out Kyle Busch by a nose to win the Toyota 200 after a delay of nearly two days because of bad weather.

the unofficial results of the Toyota 200:
Chase Briscoe
Kyle Busch
Justin Allgaier
Austin Cindric
Noah Gragson
Daniel Hemric
Ryan Sieg
Ross Chastain
Harrison Burton
Justin Haley
Brett Moffitt
Jeremy Clements
Brandon Brown
Anthony Alfredo
BJ McLeod
Josh Williams
Alex Labbe
Riley Herbst
Joe Graf Jr
Brandon Jones
Ray Black II
Timmy Hill
Jeffrey Earnhardt
Chad FInchum
Michael Annett
Tommy Joe Martins
Colby Howard
Joe Nemechek
Vinnie Miller
Mason Massey
Ronnie Bassett Jr
Kody Vanderwal
Bayley Currey
Matt Mills
Myatt Snider
Jesse Little
Colin Garrett
Landon Cassill
Stephen Leicht

 

James Taylor with Jackson Browne

Like many other artists, James Taylor was forced to postpone concert dates this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.  Taylor was set to tour with Jackson Brown this spring and summer; those dates have now been rescheduled for next year.

This is the first time the two music icons have toured together.

Any tickets already purchased will be honoured for the new dates.

James Taylor and Jackson Browne 2021 tour dates:
May 14 at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, LA
May 15 at the Toyota Center in Houston, TX
May 17 at the Dickies Arena in Ft. Worth, TX
May 20 at the Maverik Center in Salt Lake City, UT
May 21 at the ExtraMile Arena in Boise, ID
May 23 at the Tacoma Dome in Tacoma, WA
May 24 at the Moda Center in Portland, OR
May 26 at the Chase Center in San Francisco, CA
May 28 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, CA
May 29 at the Perchanga Arena in San Diego, CA
June 9 at the United Center in Chicago, IL
June 11 at the Blossom Music Center in Cuyahoga Falls, OH
June 12 at the DTE Energy Center in Clarkston, MI
June 14 at the Nutter Center in Dayton, OH
June 15 at the Charleston Coliseum in Charleston, WV
June 17 at the PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, PA
June 23 at the Berglund Center Coliseum in Roanoke, VA
June 25 at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, KY
June 26 at the FedExForum in Memphis, TN
June 28 at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, TN
June 29 at the Infinite Energy Center in Atlanta, GA
July 1 at the Giant Center in Hershey, PA
July 2 at the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts in Bethel, NY
July 4 at Tanglewood in Lenox, MA – no Jackson Browne
July 7 at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, NJ
July 9 at the BB&T Center in Camden, NJ
July 10 at the Northwell Health at Jones Beach in Wantagh, NY

 

Rain Shortens Toyota 500 at Darlington

For the first time since 1984, NASCAR is running a race on a Wednesday night as the NASCAR Cup Series returns to Darlington Raceway for the Toyota 500 (kilometres – about 300 miles).  This marks the first time in NASCAR’s 70 plus year history that they have run two full races – other than qualifying races in Daytona – in the same week…or even a month.

With the second race without any practice or qualifying, NASCAR has taken the results from the Real Heroes 400 and inverted part of the field.  The top 20 finishers have been inverted putting race winner Kevin Harvick in the 20th spot and the 20th place driver Ryan Preece on the pole with Ty Dillon sitting alongside on the front row.

After the Xfinity Series return to racing was postponed on Tuesday night due to rain and rain showers throughout the day, NASCAR has called for a competition caution on lap 20.

The starting lineup for the Toyota 500:
Ryan Preece
Ty Dillon
Joey Logano
Clint Bowyer
Ryan Blaney
Ryan Newman
Matt DiBenedetto
Brad Keselowski
Aric Almirola
Austin Dillon
Matt Kenseth
John Hunter Nemechek
Erik Jones
Tyler Reddick
Martin Truex Jr
Kenny Hamlin
Chase Elliott
Kurt Busch
Alex Bowman
Kevin Harvick
Bubba Wallace
Cole Custer
Michael McDowell
Christopher Bell
Daniel Suarez
Kyle Busch
Brennan Poole
Gray Gaulding – moved to the back of the field due to a driver change
JJ Yeley – moved to the back of the field due to a driver change
Joey Gase
Corey LaJoie
Chris Buescher
Timmy Hill
William Byron
Quin Houff
Garrett Smithley
Jimmie Johnson
BJ McLeod
Ricky Stenhouse Jr

Originally scheduled for an 8pm start, NASCAR adjusted the start time to 6pm due to weather issues; however, the rains during the day have caused a further start time change while NASCAR works to dry the track.

After over an hour delay for track drying, the cars and teams are on the track with the drivers heading from their motorhomes to the cars.

Again for this race, there are names of front line workers on the upper windshield of the cars.

At 7:30pm Hall of Fame team owner Joe Gibbs gets the pre-race festivities started with the opening prayer.

Award winning artist Jewel performs the National Anthem.

And the most famous words in motor sports are given by Grand Marshall Chef Guy Fieri gives the command to start engines.

Stage one of the race is 60 laps long, stage two is 65 laps, and stage three is 103 laps in length for a total of 228 laps around the 1.66 mile track.

As a part of the pace laps, NASCAR brings the cars down pit road to check pit road speeds.

Erik Jones has been moved to the back of the field due to unapproved adjustments.

JJ Yeley replaces Reed Sorenson in the number 77 car; allowing Grey Gaulding to take over the driving duties of the number 27 car.

Ryan Preece brings the field down for the green flag start of the race at 8:00pm.  Preece edges out Ty Dillon to take the lead of the race.

Once the green flag dropped, BJ McLeod had to make a pass through penalty down pit road due to some inspection issues.

Lap two, Ty Dillon takes the lead, this is the first time Dillon has led a race at Darlington.

John Hunter Nemechek brings out the first caution flag of the race on lap four after he gets into the outside wall, causing significant damage to his car.

Ty Dillon brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap eight with Dillon getting out in front for the lead with Joey Logano in second; Ryan Blaney, Ryan Preece, and Matt DiBenedetto round out the top five.

Lap 10, Joey Logano takes the lead with Ty Dillon in second; Ryan Blaney, Matt DiBenedetto, and Clint Bowyer rounding out the top five.

John Hunter Nemechek brings out the second caution of the race on lap 12 when he spins out.  FOX broadcaster Jeff Gordon speculates that Nemechek had a tire rub and cut the tire.

Some of the drivers come down pit road for fresh tires and service.

NASCAR has moved the competition caution to at least lap 25.

The drivers are running speeds faster than the times of the race on Sunday.

Joey Logano brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 15 with Ty Dillon edging out Logano for the lead.

Joey Logano has retaken the lead with Ryan Blaney in second; Clint Bowyer, Ty Dillon, and Ryan Newman round out the top five.

Lap 18, the top five are Joey Logano, Clint Bowyer, Ryan Blaney, Ryan Newman, and Aric Almirola.

Lap 20, Joey Logano has pulled out to a one second lead on Clint Bowyer.

Kyle Busch is reporting radio issues in his car; he cannot hear his crew chief.

Lap 23, Clint Bowyer has closed the gap on leader Joey Logano to just a quarter of a second; Ryan Blaney, Aric Almirola, and Ryan Newman round out the top five.

When NASCAR throws the competition caution flag on lap 26, Logano and Bowyer had a lead of over four seconds on Ryan Blaney.  Unlike Sunday’s race, this competition caution follows normal pit stop procedures.

The seven week break did not harm Clint Bowyer’s team at all, they just completed a 13.1 second pit stop for four tires and fuel.

Aric Almirola was charged with an uncontrolled tire penalty after it was clipped by Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

NASCAR has rescinded the penalty on Almirola since the tire issue was not his team’s fault.

After staying out on the track, Bubba Wallace brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 30 and takes the lead.

Lap 31, Clint Bowyer takes the lead.

Lap 33, Clint Bowyer has the lead with Ryan Blaney in second; Joey Logano, Alex Bowman, and Aric Almirola round out the top five as the drivers get aggressive on the track.

Lap 35, leader Clint Bowyer has pulled out to a one second lead on Ryan Blaney.

After staying out on the track, Bubba Wallace has fallen through the field and is now in eleventh.  Clint Bowyer continues to lead the race with a lead of nearly two seconds on Ryan Blaney; Alex Bowman, Joey Logano, and Martin Treux Jr round out the top five.

Lap 47, Clint Bowyer has pulled out to a lead of over two seconds on Ryan Blaney; Alex Bowman, Martin Truex Jr, and Joey Logano round out the top five.

Sunday’s race winner Kevin Harvick has been mired back in the pack and is currently in 17th place.

Lap 52, leader Clint Bowyer now has a lead of over three seconds on Ryan Blaney; Martin Truex, Jr, Alex Bowman, and Joey Logano round out the top five.

With four laps remaining in stage one, there are 30 cars on the lead lap.

With a lead of some three and a half seconds, Clint Bowyer wins stage one.

The top 10 at the end of stage one:
Clint Bowyer
Ryan Blaney
Martin Truex Jr
Alex Bowman
Joey Logano
Aric Almirola
Chase Elliott
Denny Hamlin
Matt Kenseth
Ryan Preece

Clint Bowyer wins the race off of pit road.

Cole Custer was charged with having an uncontrolled tire on pit road.

With 31 cars on the lead lap, Clint Bowyer brings the field down for the green flag start of stage two on lap 69 from the outside lane and goes nose to nose with Ryan Blaney before getting out in front for the lead.

Lap 70, Ryan Preece has a smoking car but the track stays green as Preece gets his car down pit road.

Chris Buescher spins out on lap 73 and brings out the caution flag after Buescher makes contact with Michael McDowell.

Some of the drivers come down pit road for service.  The teams were given nine sets of tires for this race, but with the threat of more bad weather in the area, crew chiefs are engaging in some strategic moves in anticipation of a shortened race.

Clint Bowyer brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 77 and jumps out in front for the lead leaving Alex Bowman and Martin Truex Jr to battle it out for second.

The top 13 cars stayed out on the track when the last caution flag came out.

Getting aggressive, some drivers are getting three wide across the track.

Lap 80, Clint Bowyer has a  narrow lead on Martin Truex Jr; Alex Bowman, Aric Almirola, and Ryan Newman round out the top five.

Lap 82, Ryan Preece is the only driver off the track with 31 cars on the lead lap.

Lap 83, the caution flag comes out after Ricky Stenhouse Jr hit the wall.

Drivers come down pit road for service; including those that did not stop during the last caution flag.

Clint Bowyer wins the race off of pit road with Alex Bowman in second.

After staying out on the track, Martin Truex Jr brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 87 and goes nose to nose with Kevin Harvick for the lead with Truex eventually getting out in front.

Lap 89, Martin Truex Jr are in the lead with Kevin Harvick in second; William Byron, Ty Dillon, and Cling Bowyer round out the top five.

Ryan Blaney comes down pit road after hitting the wall.  The track stays green.

Lap 95, Martin Truex Jr has a lead of just under half a second on Kevin Harvick; Clint Bowyer, William Byron, and Ty Dillon round out the top five.

Driving the exact same car as he drove to a win on Sunday, Kevin Harvick has closed the gap on leader Martin Truex Jr and takes the lead on lap 100.

After retaking the lead, Kevin Harvick has pulled out to a second lap on Martin Truex Jr in just one lap.

Lap 104, Kevin Harvick has a half second lead on Clint Bowyer; Martin Truex Jr, William Byron, and Aric Almirola round out the top five.

Cole Custer brings out the caution flag on lap 108 after he gets into the wall.

Drivers come down pit road for service with Clint Bowyer just edging out Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr.

Clint Bowyer brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 113 – one lap shy of halfway – and edges out Martin Truex Jr for the lead thanks to a little help of a push form Chase Elliott.

Lap 114, Clint Bowyer is in the lead with Chase Elliott in second; Martin Truex, William Byron, and Erik Jones round out the top five.  Kevin Harvick is in sixth place.  Harvick has finished every race in to the top 10 including a race win on Sunday.

Clint Bowyer wins stage two to sweep the stage wins for the race.  This is the first race of the 2020 season that the same driver has won both stages of the race.

The top 10 at the end of stage two:
Clint Bowyer
Chase Elliott
Martin Truex Jr
Erik Jones
Kevin Harvick
William Byron
Denny Hamlin
Alex Bowman
Joey Logano
Matt DiBenedetto

Lead lap drivers bring their cars down pit road for service.  Kevin Harvick and Clint Bowyer come out of pit road nearly nose to nose with Harvick edging out for the lead.

After staying out on the track, Ryan Newman brings the field down for the green flag start of stage three with 96 laps remaining in the race.  Drivers get three wide across the track battling for position.  Erik Jones takes the lead.

Erik Jones has the lead; Ryan Newman is in second; Chase Elliott, Kevin Harvick, and Clint Bowyer round out the top five.

With reports of rain in the area, the drivers are taking chances and getting very aggressive as they battle for position.

With 92 laps to go, Erik Jones has a lead of over half a second on Chase Elliott; Kevin Harvick, Clint Bowyer, and Ryan Newman round out the top five.

Ninety to go, Erik Jones increases his lead to over half a second on Chase Elliott; Kevin Harvick, Clint Bowyer, and Ryan Newman round out the top five.

With 85 laps to go, Erik Jones has pulled out to a lead of nearly a second on Chase Elliott; Kevin Harvick, Clint Bowyer, and Kyle Busch round out the top five.

With 81 laps to go, Erik Jones has increased his lead to over a second on Chase Elliott.

With 78 laps to go, Chase Elliott is slowly cutting into Erik Jones’ lead and is now less than a second back; Kevin Harvick, Clint Bowyer, and Kyle Busch round out the top five.

With 74 laps remaining in the race, there are 29 cars on the lead lap and only one driver out of the race – Ryan Preece.

Erik Jones’ lead is down to just half a second on Chase Elliott; Kevin Harvick, Clint Bowyer, and Denny Hamlin round out the top five.

With 69 laps remaining in the race, Erik Jones and Chase Elliott battle it our for the lead with Chase Elliott getting the spot; Kevin Harvick, Clint Bowyer, and Denny Hamlin round out the top five.

Sixy five laps to go, Chase Elliott has pulled out to a two second lead on Erik Jones; Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, and Clint Bowyer round out the top five.

Sixty to go, Denny Hamlin is cutting into Chase Elliott’s lead which is now under a second and a half; Erik Jones, Clint Bowyer, and Kyle Busch round out the top five.

Fifty-six laps to go, Chase Elliott has pulled out to a lead of nearly two seconds on Denny Hamlin; Erik Jones, Clint Bowyer, and Kyle Busch round out the top five.

With 54 laps to go, drivers are beginning to make green flag pit stops.

Leader Chase Elliott comes down pit road for service with 53 laps to go and gives the lead over to Brad Keselowski.

Fifty to go, Brad Keselowski and Brennan Pooole have yet to make their pit stops.

Matt Kenseth spins out with a flat tire and brings out the caution flag with 49 laps remaining in the race.

There were only four cars on the lead lap when the caution flag came out with Kyle Busch the “lucky dog”.

Drivers left one lap down when the caution flag came out took the wave around.  Twenty-three drivers took the wave around.

Matt Kenseth’s team reports that they believe something under the car broke and caused his flat tire.

Chase Elliott brings the field down for the green flag restart with only 42 laps remaining in the race.  Chase Elliott edges out Brad Keselowski to take the lead as drivers battle back and forth for position.

Forty to go, Chase Elliott is in the lead with Brad Keselowski in second; Denny Hamlin, Clint Bowyer, and Kyle Busch round out the top five.

Brad Keselowski is on Chase Elliott’s bumper and challenging for the lead with 38 laps remaining in the race.

With 36 laps remaining in the race, there are 23 cars on the lead lap.

Clint Bowyer brings out the 10th caution flag of the night on lap 195 after cutting a tire and getting into the wall.

Even though the drivers were on pit road only a short time ago, they come back for fresh tires.  Denny Hamlin and Matt DiBenedetto stayed out on the track.

Denny Hamlin brings the field down for the green flag restart with just 29 laps remaining in the race.  Denny Hamlin gets out in front for the lead but he is getting a challenge from Kyle Busch, Chase Elliott, nad Kevin Harvick.

Chase Elliott and Kyle Busch make contact sending Elliott across the track and into the wall; bringing out the caution flag.  Chase Elliott becomes just the second driver out of the race.

And rain has come to Darlington Raceway as the laps count down under the caution flag.

With 20 laps remaining in the race, NASCAR brings the cars down pit road and halted the race at 10:40.

A fox has come onto the track.

The rain has stopped but things are very damp.

At 10:48 NASCAR has called the race, giving the win to Denny Hamlin.  Denny’s mask is a smiling face of himself.

And the rains return…

The unofficial results of the Toyota 500:
Denny Hamlin
Kyle Busch
Kevin Harvick
Brad Keselowski
Erik Jones
Joey Logano
Aric Almirola
Jimmie Johnson
Matt DIBenedetto
Martin Truex Jr
Christopher Bell
William Byron
Tyler Reddick
Ryan Newman
Kurt Busch
Bubba Wallace
Michael McDowell
Alex Bowman
Ty Dillon
Austin Dillon
Ryan Blaney
Clint Bowyer
Chris Buescher
Corey LaJoie
Ricky Stenhouse Jr
Quin Houff
Daniel Suarez
JJ Yeley
Joey Gase
Matt Kenseth
Cole Custer
Gray Gaulding
Timmy Hill
Garrett Smithley
John Hunter Nemechek
BJ McLeod
Brennan Poole
Chase Elliott
Ryan Preece

Ramstein

While the fate of their North American tour dates are still unknown, German rockers Ramstein have announced the rescheduled dates for their postponed European dates next spring and summer.

The rockers have stated that fans who have purchased tickets for the postponed shows, may use them for the new dates.

Ramstein 2021 European dates:
May 22 & 23 at the Red Bull Arena in Leipzig, Germany
May 27 at the Worthersee Stadion in Klagenfurt, Austria
May 31 & June 1 at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Stutgart, Germany
June 5 & 6 at the Olympiastadion in Berlin, Germany
June 12 at the Boucher Road Play Fields in Belfast, UK
June 16 at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, UK
June 19 at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry, UK
June 23 at the Ceres Park in Aarhus, Denmark
June 26 & 27 at the Merkur Spiel-Arena in Dusseldorf, Germany
June 30 & July 1 at the Volksparkstadion in Hamburg, Germany
July 3 at the Goffertpark in Nijmegen, Netherlands
July 7 at the Park De Nieuwe Koers in Ostend, Belgium
July 5 & 6 at the Stadion Letzigrund in Zurich, Switzerland
July 9 & 10 at the Groupama Stadium in Lyon, France
July 13 at the Stadio Olimpico Grande in Turin, Italy
July 17 at the PGE Narodowy in Warsaw, Poland
July 21 at the Song Festival Grounds in Tallinn, Estonia
July 25 at the Leangen Travbane in Trondheim, Norway
July 30 & 31 at the Ullevi Stadium in Gothenburg, Sweden

 

John Glenn’s Widow Annie Dies

Astronaut John Glenn’s widow Annie died May 19, 2020 in a nursing home near St. Paul as a result of complications from the Covid-19 virus at the age of 100.

Dealing with a severe stutter, Annie became an advocate for people with speech impairments.

Besides advocating for speech disorders, Annie worked with child abuse organizations.  The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association has an award named for Annie Glenn given to people who have overcome communication disorders.

She was 53 when she entered what was then Hollins College and the Communications Research Institute to learn the skills that would help her control her stuttering.  She later became an adjunct professor of speech pathology at Ohio State University.

Annie found herself thrust into the spotlight in 1962 when husband John became the first American to go into space when he orbited the earth.

Husband John wasn’t the only member of the Glenn family to earn honours; Annie was presented with the Department of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service.  In 2009 Ohio State presented her with an honourary doctorate degree.

Anna Margaret Castor was born on February 17, 1920 in Columbus, Ohio.  She gave up an organ scholarship to the Julliard School of Music just as World War II broke out and chose to stay in Ohio with longtime friend John.

Predeceased by husband John, who died in 2016, Annie’s survivors include her children Lyn and David.

John and Annie had been married for 73 years at the time of his death.

 

feature photo credit: By NASA Kennedy from United States – KSC-JohnGlenn-0021, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=90456483

 

Broadway Alliance Award Winners

Even though large crowds are still prohibited due to the Covid-19 virus, as they say, “the show must go on.”

On May 19 the Broadway Alliance Awards were revealed via live stream by actors Charles Busch and Julie Halston.

The Broadway Alliance Awards celebrate the best in Off Broadway productions and performances.

A real celebration is being planned for later this year.

Along with the awards in seven categories that reward the productions, Legends of Broadway awards were also presented to Gretchen Cryer, Woodie King, Ju, Eric Krebs, and Barbara Zinn Krieger.

Mark Blum, Wynn Handman, and Julia Miles were inducted into the Off Broadway Hall of Fame posthumously.

The Drama Bookshop was presented with the Friend of Off Broadway Award for its dedication to Off Broadway.

And the winners are:
Best New Play: “Life Sucks”
Best Revival of a Play: “The Woman in Black”
Best New Musical: “A Strange Loop”
Best Revival of a Musical: “The Unsinkable Molly Brown”
Best Unique Theatrical Experience: “Dana H.”
Best Solo Performance: Bill Posley for his role in “The Day I Became Black”
Best Family Show: “She Persisted, The Musical”

‘The Voice’ Crowns Season 18 Winner

It all comes down to one final results show on “The Voice” where the final five will all learn their fates and a new winner is crowned.

On performance night CammWess, Micah Iverson, Todd Tilghman, Thunderstorm Artis, and Toneisha Harris laid it all on the line for fan votes.

The grand finale opens with a group performance including the coaches, finalists, and former coaches.

In the first performance of the night, new coach Nick joins his brother “The Jonas Brothers” with Carol G for their new single “X”.

Todd Tilghman joins his coach, Blake Shelton for a duet of the John Mellancamp song “Authority Song”.

Coach John Legend made a surprise visit to a local Los Angeles hospital to pay tribute to the nurses with “Conversations in the Dark” and “All of Me”.

Seven time Grammy winning Country Artists come to “The Voice” for a performance of their new single “Champagne Night”.  A song they chose from their appearance on “Songland”.

Hawaiian singer Thunderstorm Artis pairs up with his coach Nick Jonas for a performance of “You’ll Be in My Heart” by Phil Collins.

Blake visits an Oklahoma food bank via video to thank the food bank workers.  Blake and Gwen Stefani perform “Nobody But You”.

CammWess pairs up with his coach John Legend for a performance of the Sir Elton John classic “Rocket Man”.

Coach Kelly Clarkson performs her new single “I Dare You”…to Love.  The song features multi languages.

Toneisha Harris joins her coach Blake Shelton for a duet of “Don’t Stop” by Fleetwood Mac.

Micah Iverson pairs up with his coach Kelly Clarkson for a duet of “I Run to You” by Lady Antebellum.

“The Voice” singers from seasons past join forces for a performance of the Burt Bacharach song “What the World Needs Now”.

Coach Nick Jonas performs his new single “Until We Meet Again” which he dedicates to front line workers.

After over an hour of teasing from host Carson Daly, Grammy Award winning rockers Bon Jovi perform their new single “Limitless”.

And now it is finally time to hear some results…
The artist who came in in fifth place is Team Kelly’s Micah Iverson.

The artists in fourth place is Team Legend’s CammWess.

It’s down to Todd, Toneisha, and Tnunderstorm.  The winningest coach on “The Voice”, Blake Shelton has two singers in the final three.

The winner of season 18 on “The Voice” goes to…

 
Team Blake’s Todd Tilghman!!!
The Mississippi preacher and father of eight gives Blake another win.

NFL Amends Rooney Rule

While the NFL facilities are closed and there is no activity during the Covid-19 shutdown, the NFL officials and team owners have not been idle.

On May 18, the NFL has expanded the minority interview and hiring policy.

Previously the Rooney Rule required teams only interview one non-white coaching candidate before making any hiring decisions.  Under the amended policy, teams must now interview at least two minority candidates when seeking a new head coach and at least one minority candidate for coordinator, senior football operations and general manager positions.

The new addition to the rule extends to the front offices of the teams and the NFL itself.

This past year has seen the NFL hire two female coaches; but only three of the past 20 coaching hires have gone to minorities.

The Rooney Rule was was created in 2003 and named for former Pitssburgh Steelers owner and league diversity committee chairman Dan Rooney.

In 2002, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers fired head coach Tony Dungy despite a winning record and the Minnesota Vikings fired head coach Dennis Green after Green had his first losing season in 10 years.

In the wake of the firings, two studies were held and revealed that despite winning records, non-white coaches and coordinators were more likely to be fired.

NASCAR Moves May 20 Race Start

On May 17, NASCAR got off to a roaring start with a 38 percent rise in viewership over their last race in March.

But spring and summer in the south often means nasty weather that interferes with racing events.

Such is the case for the second and third races at Darlington Raceway.  While the return to racing for the Xfinity Series is in a rain delay; the second race in four days for the NASCAR Cup Series race has a schedule change.

Originally scheduled for an 8pm start, NASCAR has moved the start time for the Toyota 500 to 6pm.  Officials made the change due to a forecast of precipitation in the area.

NASCAR uses smooth tires to maximize tire contact with the racing surface; as a result, the cars have no traction when they become slippery and wet.  The smooth tires prohibit the drivers from running under wet weather conditions.

After some inversions from the results of the Real Heroes 400 on May 17, Ryan Preece will sit on the pole with Ty Dillon starting alongside on the front row.

The May 20 race will mark the first time since 1984 that NASCAR has run a race on a Wednesday.
 

NFL Prepares to Reopen

As lock down rules begin to relax, professional sports begin making plans to get started once again.

Hoping to start the season, NFL Commissioner Roger Goddell has issued orders to teams for opening their facilities.

First and foremost for owners to reopen is that they are complying with all state and local regulations regarding the Covid-19 pandemic.  Owners must also ensure that all of the proper safety protocols are met.

The earliest an owner may open team facilities is May 25; however, if a state’s orders are still in lock down, the facilities must remain closed.

Team facilities that do open must:
limit facility staff to 50 percent of the staff with a limit of 75 people
Coaching staff are prohibited from entering the facilities
the strength and conditioning coach may be present only if they are aiding in a player’s rehabilitation
Only players involved in rehab are allowed on the premises
Teams must report any changes in government regulations
And, the teams MUST report any positive test or diagnosis of the Covid-19 virus.

‘Leave it to Beaver’s’ Eddie Haskell Dies

“Leave it Beaver” star Ken Osmond died May 18, 2020 in Los Angeles at the age of 76.  No official cause of death was given but son Eric said that his father was surrounded by family at the time of his death.

Ken_Osmond_2014By Louise Palanker – https://www.flickr.com/photos/louisepalanker/15475130127, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=86249885

“Leave it to Beaver” was one of numerous “Family values” programs that were aired on television during the 50’s, 60’s, and into the 70’s.  Eddie Haskell was always trying to drag Wally and Beaver Cleaver into one scheme or another and the one character that viewers loved to hate.

Osmond is best known for his role as Eddie Haskell but has appeared in dozens of film and television productions including his 1952 debut in the “Plymouth Adventure”, “Annie Oakley”, “Circus Boy”, “Fury”, “Colt. 45”, “Wagon Train”, “Petticoat Junction”, “The Munsters”, “Lassie”, and an uncredited role in “With Six You Get Eggroll”.

But his iconic role as Eddie Haskell had typecast Osmond and new roles became few and far between; as a result, he left acting behind and joined the Los Angeles Police Department.

Osmond made a return to Hollywood in 1983 with a reprise of his iconic role in “Still the Beaver”.  He continued to act for the next 30 years including “High School U.S.A.”, “Happy Days”, “Rags to Riches”, “The New Leave it  Beaver”, “Parker Lewis Can’t Lose”, “Hi Honey, I’m Home”, Eddie Sr. on the 1997 “Leave it to Beaver”, and his final role in 2016 in “CHARACTERz”.

As himself, Osmond appeared in documentaries, game shows, “Top Cops”, and the Hollywood Christmas Parade in 2013.

Kenneth Charles Osmond was born on June 7, 1943 in Glendale, California where he began his acting career barely out of diapers at age four.  Beginning with commercials and bit parts until a supposed to be one off role ended up defining his career.

Osmond is survived by his wife of nearly 50 years Sandra and sons Eric and Christian.

 

 

feature photo credit: By It is unclear whether this was distributed by Osmond’s personal publicity agency or whether ABC Television had employed an agency to distribute the press materials. – Possession of the uploader (original press-photograph obtained from the The Morning Call newspaper archives), Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=18495504

Final Five on ‘The Voice’

It’s the final night of competition on “The Voice” where the five finalists will perform for fan votes in hopes of being crowned season 18’s “The Voice” on Tuesday’s final results show.

The finalists will be performing two songs – a cover and a new original single.

But before the competition gets started Micah, CammWess, Thunderstorm, Todd, and Toneisha join forces for a performance of “Shine”.

Getting the competition started off, is Team Legend’s CammWess gives “The Voice” debut performance of the Prince song “Purple Rain”.  CammWess said that Prince was his first concert.  This is the first time that the song has been cleared for a performance on the show.  Kelly called CammWess so gifted.  Saying wow, Nick said that CammWess delivered; adding that he did the song justice.  John agreed that Camm delivered; adding that he has passion and artistry.  John said that CammWess did a beautiful job.

On results night, the singers will be pairing up with their coaches for duets that fans will be able to purchase and download.

Next up is Team Blake’s Todd Tilghmann with “I Can Only Imagine” by MercyMe.  Todd has chosen a very appropriate venue to perform the Christian music song…his church.  John said that it was a wonderful performance.  An emotional Kelly called Todd’s performance moving; adding that she would love to come to his church to hear Todd.  Coach Blake said that it was a good of a vocal he has heard from Todd; adding that he is a “special dude”.

In the first original song performance of the night, Team Kelly’s Micah Iverson performs “Butterflies” which was written by award winning songwriter Shane McAnally.  Nick called Micah fun to watch; adding that he one ups himself with each performance.  Coach Kelly called Micah intensely creative; adding that she could not wait to hear the song on the radio.

Team Nick’s Thunderstorm Artis pairs up with Ryan Tedder for his original composition “Sedona”.  Ryan said that he could listen to Thunderstorm for hours; adding that Thunderstorm is someone he would bet on for decades.  Host Carson Daly called the performance mesmerizing.  John agreed; adding that Thunderstorm has a magical vocal.  Nick called Thunderstorm a true artist; adding that Thunderstorm gave his best performance of the season.

Team Blake’s Toneisha Harris is the last girl standing.  She performs the Journey song “Faithfully”.  Carson called it a great performance.  An excited Kelly said that Toneisha reminds her of Chaka Khan; adding that she loves Toneisha’s voice.  Coach Blake said that Toneisha has changed the game and have the best performance of the season.

Todd returns for his original song.  Todd works with Shane McAnally and Esther Dean on “Long Way Home”.  Shane said that Todd’s song sounds like it has already been a part of his catalog.  Blake called Todd an incredible talent.  Blake noted that Todd can take an original song and breathe life into it.

Team Legend’s CammWess returns to perform his original song “Save it for Tomorrow”.  Camm works with Ryan Tedder on the song.  John called CammWess a great singer; adding that he can hear the song on the radio right now.

Team Kelly’s Micah returns to perform one of Kelly’s favourite songs…and one that has never been cleared for the show – “Chasing Cars” by Snow Patrol.  Micah was the only guy on Kelly’s team.  Kelly called Micah so magical; adding he makes every song look easy and effortless.  She adds that he is better than many people on the radio right now.

Toneisha returns to perform her original single “My Superhero”, a song that is very personal to her – a song about her son.  She works with Shane McAnally on the song.  John noted that everything has happened the way it was supposed to happen; adding that it was beautiful.  Blake said that Toneisha just touched millions of people; adding that it was as good as it gets.

Closing out the night is Thunderstorm Artis with the Louis Armstrong iconic classic “What a Wonderful World”.  Nick said that he is so grateful that Thunderstorm sang the song with such pure artistry and vocal excellence.

NASCAR Issues Darlington Penalties

In their return to racing at Darlington May 17,  NASCAR stressed safety; the races were run with no fans in the stands or practice sessions for the teams prior to racing.  As a result, the drivers and crew members had to dust off the rust quickly and get back to work.

But for half a dozen Cup Series teams, there were a few issues and penalties have been assessed.

On their first day back after a 71 day hiatus, lug nuts became an issue for some of the teams.

In the case of the Joe Gibbs Racing number 20 car driven by Erik Jones, the car was found to have two lug nuts loose during post race inspection.  As a result, crew chief Chris Gayle has been suspended for one race and has been fined $20,000.

There were five other racing teams who were also assessed penalties for lug nut infractions and have had their crew chiefs fined $10,000 each for a single lug nut being loose:
The race winning team, the Stewart-Haas Racing number four car driven by Kevin Harvick with Rodney Childers as crew chief
The Joe Gibbs Racing number eleven driven by Denny Hamlin with Chris Gabehart as crew chief
The Team Penske number 22 car driven by Joey Logano with Paul Wolfe as crew chief
The Chip Ganassi Racing number 42 driven by Matt Kenseth with Chad Johnston as crew chief
and The Leavine Family Racing number 95 driven by Christopher Bell with Jason Ratcliff as crew chief

MLB Suggests Safety Measures for Return

After the nation…and much of the world…begins to “get back to business”, professional sporting teams are also working toward a start or restart including Major League Baseball.

The MLB is hoping to get back to playing in the next couple of months, but there will be many changes for everyone especially when it comes to the teams and how the players must conduct themselves.

For the most part, players demonstrate social distancing while on the field but once off the field, things are a bit different.  They will be required to keep their distance during the performances of the “Star Spangled Banner” and “American the Beautiful”.

During the game, the infielders are being “encouraged” to keep their distance between themselves and baserunners between pitches and there is to be no contact between the base coaches, umpires, and players.  Players are being encouraged not to communicate with opposing players during the game.

The players are being encouraged to take showers at home and come to the park already in uniform.

Team personnel will not be allowed to eat out in restaurants while on the road.  Masks must be worn while in the dugout and everyone must wear protection while traveling on buses and planes.

But perhaps the biggest change that will affect fans and players alike is the disappearance of the team mascots.  The most famous of them The Philly Phanatic and Mr. Met who are known for their antics will be conspicuously missing from the game.

The traditional exchange of lineup cards at home plate is being eliminated and players will no longer be allowed the exchange high fives or fist pumps; spitting, and the licking of fingers are prohibited, signs may no longer include touching the face; and bat boys and girls are being eliminated.

The tradition of  throwing the ball around the infield is being discouraged and if multiple players touch a ball during a single play, the ball will be taken out of the game.  Employees who “rub the ball” with mud must now wear gloves.

Water jugs, saunas, steam rooms, pools, and cryotherapy chambers are prohibited.  The players are being discouraged from using the indoor batting cages and the wearing of batting gloves in highly encouraged.  Outdoor batting cage practice pitchers must wear a mask.

Dugout phones must be disinfected after each use.

Each team is limited to a 50 man roster with the number of active players at game time yet to be determined.  Teams are being encouraged to conduct all team meetings outside where the participants can observe social distancing.

Only team staff will be allowed to enter the clubhouse, the dugouts, or the field.

The field seats around the dugouts will remain empty to aid in distancing.

MLB has asked the teams to respond with any comments or suggestions by May 22.

MLB Deputy Commissioner Dan Halem spoke on the proposed rules saying, “we emphasize that this is a first draft, and will undergo several rounds of changes as we collect comments and suggestions from the clubs, the players’ association, players, and government officials.  The document is designed to set minimum standards and identify best practices, but we have attempted to provide clubs with enough flexibility to achieve the desired health and safety objectives in a manner that is tailored to their particular circumstances, including ballpark configuration, location, and the nature of any local governmental regulations or restrictions.”

At least for the early games, fans will not be allowed to attend.  In an effort to limit the number of personnel at the field, scoreboard video is not be allowed but music will be to help “provide a familiar background.”

Once the teams are permitted to report for “spring training”, there will be restrictions as to the number of players allowed at one time and everyone will be screened when they arrive with an additional quarantine until testing results are available.

A 67 page “manual” of the new rule changes was given to each of the 32 teams.

 

Sportscasting Pioneer Phyllis George Dies

In today’s world sports fans can hardly turn on a sporting event without seeing a female either on the sidelines, in the pits, or in the broadcast booth; but there was a time when former Miss America Phyllis George was the only female face on the air.

The sportscasting pioneer died May 14, 2020 in Lexington, Kentucky as a result of a long battle with a blood disorder.

The former First Lady of Kentucky and Miss Texas was crowned Miss America in 1971.  And in 1975, she broke the gender line in broadcasting; along with Jane Chastain, when she joined Brent Musburger and Irv Cross for the “NFL Today” on CBS despite not knowing anything about the sport.  Via Twitter, Brent Musburger said, “Phyllis didn’t receive nearly enough credit for opening the sports broadcasting door for the dozens of talented women who took her lead and soared.”

Ex-husband and former Governor of Kentucky John Y. Brown spoke on Plyllis saying, “Phyllis was a great asset to Kentucky.  We had a great partnership. I think we enjoyed every single day.”

Along with her appearances on “The Kraft Music Hall”, “The New Candid Camera”, “The Mike Douglas Show”, “I’ve Got a Secret”, “The Hollywood Squares”, “The $10,000 Pyramid”, “The $25,000 Dollar Pyramid”, “Celebrity Challenge of the Sexes”, “Happy Birthday, Charlie Brown”, “The Muppet Show”, “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson”, awards shows, news shows, and numerous sporting programs; George appeared in “Meet the Parents” as Linda Banks and the short film “My Mother is Retarded”.

More than just a pretty face, George founded the food business “Chicken By George”, began the cosmetic line “Phyllis George Beauty”, founded the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft, founded the Henry Clay Center for Statesmanship, and authored a number of books.

Phyllis Ann George was born June 25, 1949 in Denton, Texas.  She attended the University of North Texas and TCU – Texas Christian University.

Her survivors include children Lincoln and Pamela.

 

 

 

Feature photo credit: By John Mathew Smith & http://www.celebrity-photos.com from Laurel Maryland, USA – Phyllis George, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=75610301

Idol Crowns a Winner

“American Idol” has come to the end of another season with a grand finale filled with performances and the crowning a new Idol.

But first, the results that will reveal the final five…
Dillon James is the first artist moving on to the final.
Jonny West is also moving on to the finals.
The third person in the finals is Arthur Gunn.
Francisco Martin also moves on to the finals.
And the final spot goes to Just Sam…the only girl in the finale.

Julia Gargano and Louis Knight have been eliminated.

This is a live voting event with the winner announced at the end of the show.

For round one, the singers were asked to pick the song they would celebrate with and sing once the pandemic is over.

Dillon James is up first with “Change the World” by Eric Clapton.  Katy called it one of his best performances; adding that it was effortless.  Luke said that it felt natural.  Lionel said that Dillon’s vocal performance was stellar.

Up next is Francisco Martin with “Adore You” by Harry Styles.  Luke enjoyed watching Francisco.  Lionel said that Francisco earned his spot in the finals.  Katy agreed that Francisco deserved to be there.

Host Ryan Seacrest announced that “American Idol” would be back next year.

Just Sam chose “Stronger” by original Idol Kelly Clarkson for her celebration song.  The judges kept saying wow.  Lionel said that Sam brought attitude; adding that she killed it.  Katy noted that Sam doesn’t need to go back to singing in the subway…unless she wants too.  Luke called Sam a wonderful blessed singer.

Arthur Gunn put down his guitar this week to rock out the Gavin DeGraw song “I Don’t Wanna Be”.  In the pre-song video, the producer asked Arthur what his dream was and Arthur said that he is living it.  Katy said that Arthur is leaving it all on the floor; adding that he has grown so much.  Luke noted that Arthur connected with the camera and did a great job.  Lionel called the performance unbelievable and magical.

Finishing out round one, Jonny West performed “You Can’t Keep a Good Man Down”.  Lionel noted that Jonny can take any song in any style and make it his own.  Luke said that Jonny navigates the songs like a 40 year seasoned performer.  Katy said that she was getting lost in the performance.

Round two performances are the songs the singers would release if they won the title.

For his round two song, Dillon James chose the Bob Dylan classic “The Times They are a Changing”.  Lionel said that Dillon turned it into his song.  Katy noted that Dillon’s performance showed off more vocally.  Luke noted that this performance was better than the one Dillon did for his showcase in Hawaii.

Francisco returns with a performance of “Alaska” by Maggie Rogers.  Katy called the performance an elevated version; adding that it sounded like it was recorded in a professional studio.  Luke said that the sky is the limit for Francisco’s career.  Lionel called Francisco a model student; adding that he has taken all of their notes.

Just Sam returns with a performance of “Rise Up” by Audra Day.  After much clapping, Luke noted that Sam has grown on all levels.  Lionel called Sam an inspiration; adding that others can relate to her.  Lionel said that Sam has won in life.  Katy said what she gave them was that she rose up.

Mentor Bobby Bones noted that Arthur Gunn has travelled over 7,000 miles to realize his dream.  Arthur put his own spin on the Credence Clearwater Revival song “Have You Ever Seen the Rain”.  Lionel called Arthur an absolute star; adding that he has carved his place.  Katy said that Arthur was tremendous.  Luke said that Arthur is a star and authentic.  Luke told Arthur that if there are any more singers like him in Katmandu, to call them and tell them to come out next year.  Idol host Ryan Seacrest noted that Arthur has performed the song three times but has performed it differently every time.

Jonny West closes out the competition portion of the show with a performance of his original song “Makin’ Love”.  Katy noted that Jonny is already thinking about the future; adding that the song has soul and she is a fan.  Luke called the song radio ready.  Lionel called Jonny a singer, songwriter, producer extraordinaire.

Idol judge and Country music star Luke Bryan kicks off the superstar performance portion of the show with what he calls a drinking song – “One Margarita”.

At the Savannah auditions, Douglas Kiker sang “Bless the Broken Road”.  He returns to perform the song with Rascal Flatts.

Award winning Christian singer Lauren Daigle joins Just Sam for a performance of Daigle’s song “You Say”.

Katy Perry debuts her new single “Daisies”.

Broadway actor and award winning singer Cynthia Ervio and the top eleven singers pay tribute to “The Queen of Sou” Aretha Franklin.

In the next results, Arthur Gunn learns that he is one of the top two finalists.

And joining him is Just Sam.

Francisco, Dillon, and Jonny have been eliminated.

And in the final results of the season…

The new “American Idol” for 2020 is Just Sam!

New Idol Sam, Luke Bryan, Katy Perry, and some Idol alums including Phillip Phillips, Lauren Alaina, Kelly Pickler, Scotty McCreery, Reuben Stoddard, and Fantasia join Lionel Richie for a new performance of “We are the World”.  Richie penned the song with Michael Jackson as a charity single 35 years ago.  Richie has not performed the song since its original recording in 1985 in an all night recording session after the Grammy Awards.

NASCAR Returns!

NASCAR IS BACK!!!!

The drivers and teams are ready to go, officials have increased the safety measures, and the fans are watching from home; but the engines will be fired once again after two months of being locked down due to the global pandemic.

The drivers and teams have had no practice; in fact, they will not even see the car until they climb in behind the wheel and qualifying was set by random draw with Brad Keselowski sitting on the pole and Alex Bowman starting alongside on the front row.

Normally, each team has 22 crew members at the track, but under the new rules NASCAR is allowing only 16 crew members per team at the track. Teams have been given a designated track arrival time where they are screened before moving on to their haulers. The drivers will remain in their motor homes, which are not in the lot but scattered about the track, until the last moment when they will go directly to their cars.

NASCAR has hired a infectious disease specialist to aid them in ensuring the return to racing is as safe as it can be.

The stands are empty, but the drivers are ready to take on the “Lady in Black” and earn their stripes at Darlington Raceway for the Real Heroes 400.

FOX broadcasters Mike Joy, Larry McReynolds, and Jeff Gordon will be broadcasting from the Steve Burns Studio in Charlotte, North Carolina while the drivers race in Darlington, South Carolina.

Much has changed in the world over the past couple of months, but the traditions continue in NASCAR with the opening prayer, the singing of the National Anthem by Darius Rucker, and the command to start engines by health workers all from different locations around the country.

Kyle Busch drew fourth for a starting position, but his team had some inspection issues and “The Candy Man” will be starting the race from the back of the field.

The drivers will be carrying the names of health workers on their windshields for the race today.

On an 85 degree day in Darlington, stage one will be 90 laps, stage two will be 95 laps and stage three lasting 108 laps for a total of 293 laps around the 1.38 mile track.

The starting line up for the Real Heroes 400:
Brad Keselowski
Alex Bowman
Matt DiBenedetto
Kyle Busch – moved to the back of the field
Aric Almirola
Kevin Harvick
Ryan Blaney
Jimmie Johnson
Joey Logano
Denny Hamlin
Chase Elliott
Matt Kenseth
Clint Bowyer
Cole Custer
Martin Truex Jr
Austin Dillon
Bubba Wallace
William Byron
Corey LaJoie
Erik Jones
Ryan Newman
Kurt Busch
Ricky Stenhouse Jr
Chris Buescher
Ryan Preece
Garrett Smithley
Quin Houff
Christopher Bell
Tyler Reddick
JJ Yeley
Michael McDowell
Joey Gase
Ty Dillon
John Hunter Nemechek
Brennan Poole
Reed Sorenson
Daniel Suarez
Timmy Hill
BJ McLeod
Josh Bilicki

Brad Keselowski brings the field down for the green flag start of the race with Keselowski getting out front for the lead.

Before the first laps is completed, Ricky Stenhouse gets turned around and hits the inside wall, causing significant damage to his car and brings out the first caution flag of the race. Taking his car to the garage, Stenhouse’s car has flames coming from the back of the car.

Brad Keselowski brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap seven and holds on to his lead with Kevin Harvick in second. Kyle Busch has moved up to 30th place after starting in last place.

Lap eight, the top five are Brad Keselowski, Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Denny Hamlin, and Matt DiBenedetto.

Lap 15, Brad Keselowski has pulled out to a lead of three quarters of a second on Kevin Harvick with Denny Hamlin, Jimmie Johnson, and Alex Bowman rounding out the top five. Kyle Busch has moved up to 25th. There are 38 cars on the lead lap.

Lap 25, Brad Keselowski has led every lap so far after winning the pole; Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamllin, Jimmie Johnson, and Alex Bowman round out the top five.

After no practice time or qualifying, NASCAR is calling for a competition caution that will freeze the field and allow the teams to make any adjustments that normally would have been made during practice.

Lap 30, the competition caution comes out. Once the pits are open, the top 20 drivers will come down pit road, then on the next lap the remaining drivers will come down pit road. The drivers will be able to reclaim their original spot unless there is a pit road penalty. The teams will make a second trip down pit road in the same order for a total of two pit stops under the caution.

Lined up once again, Brad Keselowski brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 40 and continues to lead the race. This is the seventh Darlington race in a row that Brad Keselowski has led.

Lap 41, Jimmie Johnson challenges Brad Keselowski for the lead but Keselowski holds on to the top spot. There are 31 cars on the lead lap.

Lap 45, Alex Bowman passes Brad Keselowski for the lead with Jimmie Johnson taking second; Brad Keselowski, Kevin Harvick, and Denny Hamlin round out the top five.

Lap 53, Alex Bowman has pulled out to a lead of nearly two seconds in front of team mate Jimmie Johnson. There are 31 cars on the lead.

Lap 55, the top three drivers – Alex Bowman Jimmie Johnson and William Byron are all Hendrick Motorsports drivers with team member Chase Elliott in seventh.

Kyle Busch has moved up to 18th.

Lap 64, Alex Bowman continues to lead the race with a lead of three seconds over Jimmie Johnson; William Byron, Denny Hamlin, and Brad Keselowski round out the top five.

Lap 70, Alex Bowman has a lead of over two seconds on Jimmie Johnson; William Byron, Denny Hamlin, and Brad Keselowski round out the top five. In his return to the track, Ryan Newman is in tenth place, nearly 10 seconds back. There are 30 cars on the lead lap.

Lap 77, Jimmie Johnson has cut the lead to Alex Bowman down to less than half a second after Bowman had gotten out to a three second lead.

With the aid of a slower car, Jimmie Johnson gets around team mate Alex Bowman to take the lead on lap 80.

Kyle Busch has gotten around big brother to take 16th place.

With five laps remaining in stage one, Jimmie Johnson lead the race with team mate William Byron in second; Denny Hamlin, Alex Bowman, and Brad Keselowski round out the top five.

On the final lap of stage one, leader Jimmie Johnson gets loose and hits the wall to bring out the caution flag.

William Byron wins stage one.

The top 10 at the end of stage one:
William Byron
Denny Hamlin
Alex Bowman
Kevin Harvick
Brad Keselowski
Aric Almirola
Clint Bowyer
Tyler Reddick
Jimmie Johnson
Ryan Newman

Kevin Harvick wins the race off of pit road.

Kevin Harvick brings the field down for the green flag start of stage two and goes nose to nose with Alex Bowman. Harvick takes the lead. Kyle Busch is now in the top 10 in eighth place.

Lap 99, Kevin Harvick is in the lead; Alex Bowman, William Byron, Denny Hamlin, and Aric Almirola round out the top five.

Chase Elliott was caught speeding on pit road and had to start the stage from the back of the field.

Lap 105, Kevin Harvick ahs pulled out to a half second lead on Alex Bowman; William Byron, Denny Hamlin, and Aric Almirola round out the top five.

Lap 109, Kevin Harvick now has a lead of over a second on Alex Bowman.

William Byron has a flat tire and gets into the wall, bringing out the caution flag on lap 110.

The drivers come down pit road for fresh tires. Darlington is tough on tires and the drivers come down to get fresh tires whenever possible.

Kevin Harvick wins the race off of pit road.

Kevin Harvick brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 115 with Harvick edging out Alex Bowman for the lead.

FOX broadcaster Mike Joy announces that NASCAR is in the number spot for trending on Twitter.

Lap 118, Kevin Harvick has pulled out to a lead of over half a second on Kurt Busch; Alex Bowman, Denny Hamlin, and Brad Keselowski round out the top five.

Since joining Stewart-Haas Racing, Kevin Harvick has never finished outside the top 10 at Darlington.

Daniel Suarez brings out the fifth caution flag of the day when he spins out with a flat tire on lap 124.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr, BJ McLeod, and Jimmie Johnson are all out of the race with Quin Houff 82 laps down in his first race at Darlington.

Even though they have been on the track for about 10 laps, the drivers come down pit road for fresh tires. Kevin Harvick with the number one pit stall wins the race off of pit road.

Kevin Harvick brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 130 and jumps out to take the lead; Alex Bowman, Denny Hamlin, Kurt Busch, and Brad Keselowski round out the top five.

Lap 135, Kevin Harvick has pulled out to a lead of nearly a second on Alex Bowman; Denny Hamlin, Kurt Busch, and Clint Bowyer round out the top five.

Lap 141, Kevin Harvick has increased his lead to over a second on Alex Bowman; Denny Hamlin, Kurt Busch, and Clint Bowyer round out the top five.

Lap 146, halfway, Kevin Harvick has pulled out to a lead of over two seconds on Alex Bowman.

Denny Hamlin has some debris on his front grille – a banner fell off the wall. He will have to get the debris off quickly or his car will overheat and blow the engine. Hamlin pulls up to Clint Bowyer’s bumper and gets the debris loose. But part of the debris caught onto Tyler Reddick’s car.

Lap 154, Kevin Harvick continues to lead the race with a lead of nearly two seconds on Alex Bowman; Kurt Busch, Denny Hamlin, and Clint Bowyer round out the top five.

The caution flag comes out on lap 154 for track repairs – workers are pulling the remainder of the sign off of the wall.

Kyle Busch has some damage to the right front side of his car and it is causing a tire rub.

Drivers bring their cars down pit road for service and fresh tires. The teams were issued a total of 12 sets of tires for this race.

Kevin Harvick wins the race off of pit road with Brad Keselowski in second.

Kevin Harvick brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 161 with Harvick edging out Brad Keselowski for the lead.

The top five are Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski, Martin Truex Jr, Joey Logano, and Kurt Busch. There are 29 cars on the lead lap.

Lap 165, Kevin Harvick has a half second lead on Brad Keselowski; Martin Truex Jr, Joey Logano, and Kurt Busch round out the top five.

Lap 170, Kevin Harvick has increased his lead to over a second on Brad Keselowski.

Garrett Smithley is out of the race.

The caution flag comes out with 13 laps remaining in stage two after Christopher Bell gets slideways down the track and taps the inside wall.

Brad Keselowski has debris on his grille.

After a slow pit stop from Kevin Harvick’s team, Brad Keselowski wins the race off of pit road.

Lap 175, JJ Yeley is the leader.

Brad Keselowski brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 176 with Keselowski and Martin Truex Jr swapping the lead back and forth.

With seven laps remaining in stage two, Brad Keselowski leads the race; Alex Bowman, Martin Truex Jr, Kevin Harvick, and Clint Bowyer round out the top five.

Brad Keselowski wins stage two.

The top 10 at the end of stage two:
Brad Keselowski
Alex Bowman
Martin Truex Jr
Kevin Harvick
Clint Bowyer
Kurt Busch
Ryan Preece
Joey Logano
Denny Hamlin
Erik Jones

Alex Bowman wins the race off of pit road followed by Brad Keselowski and Kevin Harvick.

Brad Keselowski brings the field down for the green flag start of stage three on lap 293 and edges out Alex Bowman for the lead.

Lap 195, the top five are Brad Keselowski, Alex Bowman, Martin Truex Jr, Kevin Harvick, and Denny Hamlin.

Lap 200, Brad Keselowski is in the lead with Alex Bowman in second less than half a second behind; Martin Truex Jr, Kevin Harvick, and Denny Hamlin round out the top five.

Lap 205, there are 31 cars on the lead lap with four cars out of the race.

Lap 210, pole sitter Brad Keselowski has returned to the top spot with Alex Bowman in second; with Martin Truex Jr, Kevin Harvick, and Denny Hamlin rounding out the top five.

The caution flag comes out on lap 212 for a spin out by Chris Buescher that resulted in some car damage.

When the caution flag was coming out, Joey Logano was attempting to come down pit road. Logano got back on the track and stayed on the lead lap.

After a couple of slow pit stops, Kevin Harvick reclaims the top spot by edging out Brad Keselowski to win the race off of pit road.

Kevin Harvick brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 219. Harvick and Keselowski go nose to nose before Harvick pulls out in front of Keselowski for the lead; Alex Bowman, Chase Elliott, and Martin Truex Jr round out the top five.

Lap 225, Kevin Harvick has a lead of over half a second on Alex Bowman; Brad Keselowski, Chase Elliott, and Martin Truex Jr round out the top five.

Lap 232, Kevin Harvick has increased his lead over Alex Bowman to a second; Brad Keselowski, Chase Elliott, and Kurt Busch round out the top five.

Martin Truex Jr reports that he has a loose wheel and has to come down pit road; but later reports that the issue is getting better.

With 59 laps remaining in the race, Kevin Harvick pulls out to a lead of over a second and half on Alex Bowman; Brad Keselowski, Chase Elliott, and Kurt Busch round out the top five.

Lap 240, Kevin Harvick has increased his lead to nearly three seconds on Alex Bowman; Chase Elliott, Kurt Busch, and Brad Keselowski round out the top five.

Forty five laps remain in the race, Kevin Harvick has a three second lead on Alex Bowman; Kurt Busch, Chase Elliott, and Martin Truex Jr round out the top five.

Ryan Newman brings out the tenth caution flag of the race when he gets loose and spins out with 41 laps remaining in the race.

Kevin Harvick wins the race off of pit road, followed by Alex Bowman.

Kevin Harvick brings the field down for the green flag restart with just 34 laps remaining in the race. After going side by side with Alex Bowman for a couple of laps, Kevin Harvick gets out in front for the lead; Kurt Busch, Chase Elliott, and Erik Jones round out the top five.

Kyle Busch brings his car down pit road with 27 laps to go for a possible loose wheel. Busch goes a lap down.

Twenty five to go, Kevin Harvick has a lead of over half a second on Alex Bowman; Kurt Busch, Chase Elliott, and Erik Jones round out the top five. Jones is reporting a possible tire or vibration issue with his car.

Twenty to go, Kevin Harvick has increased his lead to over a second on Alex Bowman. Harvick has finished the first four races of the season in the top 10, but has yet to earn a win in the 2020 season.

Fifteen to go, Kevin Harvick continues to stretch out his lead over Alex Bowman; he now has a two second lead on Bowman.

Ten to go, Kevin Harvick’s lead is now over two and a half seconds on Alex Bowman; Kurt Busch, Chase Elliott, and Denny Hamlin round out the top five.

At 48, returning driver Matt Kenseth is the oldest driver in the field. He has not run a Cup race in over a year.

There is more sign debris on the track and has attached itself to the front end of Clint Bowyer’s car.

Five to go, Kevin Harvick holds on to his two second lead on Alex Bowman.

Kevin Harvick takes the white flag with a lead of over two and a half seconds.

After four races and 10 weeks off, Kevin Harvick wins he race…and career win number 50. Harvick becomes the fourth different race winner in the five races of the 2020 racing season.

Unofficial results of the Real Heroes 400:
Kevin Harvick
Alex Bowman
Kurt Busch
Chase Elliott
Denny Hamlin
Martin Truex Jr
Tyler Reddick
Erik Jones
John Hunter Nemechek
Matt Kenseth
Austin Dillon
Aric Almirola
Brad Keselowski
Matt DiBenedetto
Ryan Newman
Ryan Blaney
Clint Bowyer
Joey Logano
Ty Dillon
Ryan Preece
Bubba Wallace
Cole Custer
Michael McDowell
Christopher Bell
Daniel Suarez
Kyle Busch
Brennan Poole
JJ Yeley
Reed Sorenson
Joey Gase
Corey LaJoie
Chris Buescher
Timmy Hill
Josh Bilicki
William Byron
Quin Houff
Garrett Smithley
Jimmie Johnson
BJ McLeod
Ricky Stenhouse Jr

 

Comedian Fred Willard Dies

Comedic actor and improv artist Fred Willard died May 15, 2020 as a result of natural causes at the age of 86.
He was rarely a leading actor but was kept very busy over his career of more than 50 years with appearances in over 300 film and television productions.

The upcoming series “Space Force” where Willard played the role of Fred Naird was in post production at the time of his death.

After making his debut in an episode of “Pistols ‘n’ Petticoats”, Willards hundreds of roles include “Get Smart”, “Love, American Style”, “Laverne and Shirley”, “Silver Streak”, “Forever Fernwood”, “America 2-Night”, “Salem’s Lot”, “Mama’s Family”, “This is Spinal Tap”, “The Love Boat”, “Fame”, “Murder, She Wrote”, “Friends”, “Roseanne”, “The Simpsons”, “Mad About You”, the Mission Commander in “Austin Powers:  The Spy Who Shagged Me”, “The Legend of Tarzan”, “Family Guy”, “Saturday Night Live”, “Everybody Loves Raymond”, an episode of “Stargate SG-1”, “King of the Hill”, “WALL-E”, “Hot in Cleveland”, seven episodes of “The Bold and the Beautiful”, and 14 episodes of “Modern Family” as Frank Dumphy,

As himself, Willard made nearly 200 appearances on variety shows, late night talk shows, game shows, comedy shows, award shows, documentaries, “The Bachelor”, and even a few sports related shows.

Before making his television debut in 1966, Willard worked as an improv sketch artists including forming the sketch comedy group the Ace Trucking Company.

He was born September 18, 1933 in Shaker Heights, Ohio.

When not acting, Willard could be found working with Big Brothers/Big Sisters, City of Hope, and Actors and Others for Animals.

Predeceased by his wife Mary, Willard’s survivors include his daughter Hope and grandson Freddie.

 

 

Feature photo credit: By Bridget Laudien – Wikipedia:Contact us/Photo submission, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=43656938

Designer Frank Bielec Dies

Designer on the TLC reality series “Trading Spaces” Frank Bielec died May 15, 2020 in Houston, Texas as the result of a heart attack at the age of 72.

Appearing in 44 episodes of the series, Bielec had been a part of the show since it came on the air in 2000.  The show ended in 2008.  He participated in a cast reunion via Zoom last month and was a part of the 2018 reboot.

Besides his numerous appearances on “Trading Spaces”, Bielec appeared in an episode of “Trading Spaces: Family”, “Trading Spaces: Home Free”, and was the voice of Chef Best in “Elf Sparkle and the Special Red Dress”.

When not a part of “Trading Spaces”, the holder of degrees in art, Bielec owned a crafting company – Mosey ‘N Me with his wife.  He also worked as a florist and an elementary school teacher.

Frank Enos Bielec Jr. was born on September 24, 1947 in Wallis, Texas.

Survivors include his wife Judy.

 

feature photo credit: “Trading Spaces” Facebook page

 

NASCAR: Ready for the Return

After a two month hiatus, NASCAR is ready to rev the engines once again when the NASCAR Cup Series takes to the track at Darlington Raceway on May 17.

When the drivers return to Darlington, they will race without having driven a car since early March or even taking any practice prior to the race.  Qualifying was done on Thursday night via a random draw with Brad Keselowski sitting on the pole.

The Real Heroes 400 will kick off a series of seven races over the next week and a half as NASCAR makes an attempt to return to some semblance of normal…albeit with numerous safety precautions.  Known for its salutes to the military and first responders, on May 17 NASCAR will be paying tribute to all the front line medical workers.

And possibly one of the biggest events of the return to racing is Rocket Man Ryan Newman returns to racing after being involved in a horrific crash at the end of the Daytona 500.

When NASCAR was last on the track…
The Cup series had run only four races with Joey Logano leading the way with two races.  Alex Bowman, and Denny Hamlin have all earned their way into the playoffs with wins.  Denny Hamlin got the year started off by winning the Daytona 500.

While he has yet to win a race, Kevin Harvick sits atop the leader board with 164 points; with Joey Logano one point behind in second, and Chase Elliot in third; Alex Bowman and Jimmie Johnson round out the top five.

NASCAR chose Darlington as the first race back due to its location.  Nearly all of the owners have their team shops in and around the Charlotte area; making Darlington the closest track for the teams who can drive to the track.

Musician Jorge Santana Dies

Musician Jorge Santana died May 14, 2020 in San Raphael, California as a result of natural causes at the age of 68.

Jorge is the youngest of the three Santana brothers including award winning performer Carlos.

After not learning to play the guitar until he was 14, Jorge formed the band Malibus with some high school friends in San Francisco.  The band’s name was later changed to Malo.

They charted their first hit song with “Suavecito” – also called the Chicano national anthem.  In 1972, the band performed the song on the hit music show “American Bandstand”.

Jorge was also a part of The Fania All-Stars and performed as a solo artist; as well as, performing with big brother Carlos.

Jorge spent some time working for Carlos as director of artist relations at Santana’s management company.

He was born in Jalisco, Mexico in 1951 but the family moved to the San Francisco area in the early sixties.

Other than being survived by brother Carlos, no list of survivors was given.

Jorge Santana discography:
“Jorge Santana”
“It’s All About Love”
“Santana Brothers”
“Love the Way: The Solo ‘70s Recordings”

 

feature photo credit: Jorge Santana’s Facebook page

Opera Singer John Macurdy Dies

Metropolitan Opera singer John Macurdy died May 7 in Stamford, Connecticut as a result of natural causes at the age of 91.

Macurdy spent nearly forty years at The Met; the bass performed in over 1,000 productions during his career.  He also gave performances in Paris, Milan, and Salzburg.

Among his most notable performances were the world premiere performances in “Wuthering Heights”, “Six Characters in Search of an Author”, “The Golem”, “Antony and Cleopatra”, and “Morning Becomes Electra”.  Macurdy performed over 60 characters while at The Met.  He gave his final performance at The Met in 2000.

Macurdy, Leontyne Price, and Cesare Siepi were among the performers to appear in the NBC Opera Theatre production of “Don Giovanni” in 1960.

Macurdy also appeared in the television productions of “Les Contes d’Hoffmann”, “Les Troyens”, “Tannhauser”, “Lohengrin”, and the television series “Directions”.  He provided the singing voice of “Massimo Foschi” in “Otello” in 1986.

John Macurdy was born on March 18, 1929 in Detroit, Michigan.  A young John studied voice before enlisting in the United States Air Force and worked as a radar instructor.  Sergeant Macurdy was stationed at Keesler Air Force Base in Mississippi when he did some vocal coaching in New Orleans.  It was there that New Orleans Opera conductor Walter Herbert discovered Macurdy.  He made is performance debut in New Orleans in 1952.  He made is New York City Opera debut in 1959 and his Met debut in 1962.

Macurdy is survived by his wife of over 60 years Justine, children John and Allison, and two grandchildren.

 

feature photo credit: Military.com Facebook page

 

 

 

 

Broadway’s ‘Frozen’ Closes

Broadway has once again put off reopening at least until the fall. One of the shows that will not return once the theatres reopen is the Broadway adaptation of the award winning film “Frozen”.

When the Tony Award winning musical

“Frozen” closed on March 11, it had given a total of 851 performances.

However, Disney Theatrical Productions intends to continue the tour of the musical once the productions continue. Along with the performances around the country; “Frozen” is also scheduled to appear on the West End, in Australia, Japan, and Germany during 2021.

The plays “Hangman” and “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” have previously announced that they have closed their productions and will not return once Broadway reopens.

Melissa Etheridge’s Son, Beckett, Dies

Award winning entertainer Melissa Etheridge has announced that her son Beckett Cypher – the second of two children with former wife Julie Cypher – died May 13 in Denver, Colorado as a result of an opioid addiction at the age of 21.

Etheridge revealed that the sperm donor for her son and daughter Bailey was Rock and Roll Hall of Fame artist David Crosby.

Speaking on her son’s death; Etheridge said, “today I joined the hundreds of thousands of families who have lost loved ones to opioid addiction.  My son Beckett, who was just 21, struggled to overcome his addiction and finally succumbed to it today.  My heart is broken. We struggle with what else we could have done to save him, and in the end we know he is out of the pain now. I will sing again, soon. It has always healed me.”

Beckett is survived by his sister Bailey, and mothers Melissa Etheridge and Julie Cypher.

 

 

Feature photo credit: By Angela George, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=16859497

NASCAR Announces More Races

NASCAR is set to restart their 2020 racing season on May 17 when the green flag drops at Darlington Raceway.

As they work to continue the season, NASCAR is dedicated to running the full season, but has reworked some of the race locations to limit travel as much as possible.

Officials have scheduled the next series of races for all three racing series.  All races will be held without fans and the stricter health safeguards.

The next series of races will be held at Bristol, Atlanta, Miami-Homestead, Talladega, and Martinsville including a night race.

The next series of races beginning May 30 are:
May 30 – an Xfinity Series race at Bristol Speedway
May 31 a NASCAR Cup race at Bristol Speedway
June 6 a Gander RV and Outdoors Truck Series race Atlanta Speedway
June 6 an Xfinity Series race in Atlanta
June 7 a NASCAR  Cup race in Atlanta
June 10 a NASCAR Cup race in Martinsville
June 13 a Gander RV and Outdoors Truck Series race at Miami-Homestead
June 13 an Xfinity Series race at Miami-Homestead
June 14 an Xfinity Series race at Miami-Homestead
June 14 a NASCAR Cup race at Miami-Homestead
June 20 an ARCA race at Talladega Speedway
June 20 an Xfinity race at Talladega Speedway
June 21 a NASCAR Cup race at Talladega Speedway

Races at Kansas Speedway, Michigan International Speedway, Mid-Ohio, and Texas Motor Speedway have all been put on hold.

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race at Iowa Speedway has been cancelled.  The National series races have been cancelled for the remainder of the season.

The Xfinity Series race originally scheduled for June 13 has been moved to Homestead-Miami on June 14.

Extreme Sports Comes to Racing

Chip Ganassi Racing and Andretti Autosport have become the first two American racing teams to join the newest racing series – an automotive extreme sporting event.

The electric SUV off road racing series is set to begin next year with a five race series in various extreme locations around the globe.

With races scheduled in Greenland, the Amazon, Senegal, Nepal, and Saudi Arabia; league officials are calling it, “some of the most remarkable, remote and severely damaged locations on the planet.”

Race fans who are science buffs will recognize the locations as those with issues involving climate change including global warming, melting ice, carbon emissions, deforestation, drought, and rising sea levels.

The new racing league has planned to use an Odyssey 21 E-SUV.

The teams will include both male and female drivers to participate in two day races in a head to head knockout.  In a two lap race, each driver will take one lap behind the wheel with a driver change incorporated in the race.

Speaking on the adventure, Andretti Autosport team owner Michael Andretti said, “the current Covid-19 crisis is bringing attention to a changing world, and our traditional mindsets have to adapt with that.  We feel that announcing now can help bring hope for the future of motorsport and a new focus to the sustainability message.  I believe the entire motorsport industry is going to emerge from this time stronger than ever, and I look forward to seeing our team join Extreme E to do our part in leaving an impactful legacy in each race location.”

Chip Ganassi also spoke on the new venture saying, “I’ve always been passionate about pushing the boundaries of what is possible, and Extreme E checks that box for us in a big way.  It represents an opportunity in motor racing to use the latest technologies to attract a new, younger audience to this great sport.  Everything about Extreme E is cool, from the car to the race format and the in-built technology. We’re thrilled to join the championship and to play a part in developing the future of our sport.”

The cars are not the only aspect of the series that will see new innovations; it will also feature remote broadcasting, cross platform coverage for fans, and a “floating garage called the RMS St. Helena” all designed to minimize the carbon footprint of the series.

The RMS St. Helena is a former Royal Mail cargo and passenger ship which is being refitted and will be used to transport equipment including the cars to the racing locations.  The ship will also feature a laboratory for scientific research.

Feature photo credit: By Musicbox68 – Own work, CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=14692527

IndyCar to Begin in June

NASCAR is set to begin its season on Sunday, May 17 with the Indy cars to follow suit next month.

IndyCar is set to begin their racing season on June 6 at Texas Motor Speedway under the lights but without fans.

The Texas race was the next one on the schedule after portions of the races were postponed or cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

IndyCar President Jay Frye and TMS President Eddie Gossage have worked with public health officials to, “ensure the safety of our event participants alongside an exciting return to competition for our drivers, teams and viewers tuning in from around the world.”

Eddie Gossage spoke on the event saying, ““America needs live sports and they are not going to believe what they see when the Genesys 300 storms into their living rooms on TV from Texas.  One of the world’s greatest sporting events, the Indy 500, has been postponed until August by coronavirus, so all of that pent-up energy, anticipation, frustrations and anxiety will be pounding through the drivers’ nervous systems.”

The event will feature practice, qualifying, and racing in the same day.

IndyCar will have health screenings to all participants, personal protection equipment available for everyone on site, and initiate strict access to the track.  Social distancing practices will also be enforced.

IndyCar has been running races at the mile and a half track in Texas since 1997.

 

feature photo credit: By jwbruijn – IndyCar street legal two-seater, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=89226115

Twitter Offers Workers a Choice

The global Covid-19 pandemic has not only changed the way we see the world, but how we interact with it.  Millions of people are out of work; while others are working from home.

Retailers and office workers must change the way they do business, restaurants will have to change the way they serve customers, and office workers may be given the option of where they choose to work.

Currently, like many businesses, Twitter’s employees are working from home.  In the first of its kind announcement, Twitter has told employees that once their offices are again open for business, there will be a choice to be made.

In a statement from a Twitter spokesman, “we were uniquely positioned to respond quickly and allow folks to work from home, given our emphasis on decentralization and supporting a distributed workforce capable of working from anywhere. The past few months have proven that we can make that work. So, if our employees are in a role and situation that enables them to work from home and they want to continue to do so forever, we will make that happen. If not, our offices will be their warm and welcoming selves, with some additional precautions, when we feel it’s safe to return.”

However, jobs like server maintenance will require the employees to be present on site.

Twitter adds that once they are allowed to open once again, it will be a slow and gradual process; one that will not happen before September.  Even if the offices open before the year is out, no “in-person company events” will take place until further notice.

The move could save employees a great deal in time and money when it comes to issues like daycare and commuting.

Twitter suspended all noncritical business travel beginning March 1 and mandated at home working conditions on March 11, after giving workers the option on March 2.

 

 

 

 

Nick Mason

Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason has rescheduled the postponed tour dates for his “Saucerful of Secrets” European tour dates.

Mason and his band perform the music of Ponk Floyd, but only music that was released before “Dark Side f the Moon”.

The dates that were originally set to begin this month, will now take place in May 2021.

Fans who have purchased tickets for the postponed dates, may use them for the new dates.

The “Saucerful of Secrets” album is set for a September 18 release date.

Nick Mason 2021 tour dates:

May 21 at the Laeiszhalle in Hamburg, Germany

May 22 at the Tempodrom in Berlin, Germany

May 23 at The Forum in Prague, Czech Republic

May 24 at the KKL in Lucerne, Switzland

May 26 at the Meistersinger Halle in Nuremburg, Germany

May 27 at the Jahrunderhalle in Frankfurt, Germany

May 28 at the Grand Rex in Paris, France

May 30 at Den Atelier in Luxembourg, Luxembourg

May 31. At the Cirque Royale in Brussels, Belgium

June 1 at the Muziekgebouw in Eindhoven, Netherlands

June 3 at Vaerket in Randers, Denmark

June 4 at the Konzerthaus in Freiburg, Germany

June 5 at the Insel Grafenwerth in Bad Honnef, Germany

June 7 at the Alehela Hall in Tallinn, Estonia

June 8 at the House of Culture in Helsinki, Finland

June 10 at the BKZ Ohtyabrsky in St. Petersburg, Russia

June 11 at the Crocus City Hall in Moscow, Russia

June 16 at the Arenele Romane in Bucharest, Romania

June 18 at the National Palace of Culture in Sofia, Bulgaria

June 19 at the Sava Centar in Belgrade, Serbia

June 22 at the Budapest Park in Budapest, Hungary

June 24 at the Gasometer in Vienna, Austria

June 26 at the Luca Summer Festval in Lucca, Italy

June 27 at the Stupinigi Sonic Ark in Turin, Italy

June 28 at the Theatre de la Mar in Stet, France

Finalist Revealed on ‘The Voice’

It’s the final results show before a new champion is revealed on “The Voice”.

In the past, the final four was determined by fan vote with no assurances that each of the four coaches would have a singer in the finals; but for this season, each coach is assured of at least one singer in the finale with the singer in each team with the most votes will be moving on to the finals.  The five remaining singers will have to compete for the fifth spot – a first in “The Voice” history – via the instant save.

In the first results of the night, Team Kelly’s Megan Danielle and Micah Iverson learn their results with Micah Iverson moving on to the finals.

Up next are Team Nick with Allegra Miles and newlywed Thunderstorm Artis learning their results with Thunderstorm Artis moving on to the finals.

Next up is Team Legend with CammWess and Zan Fiskum.  Earning the most votes and moving on to the finals is CammWess.

John Legend has a new single out – “Bigger Love”.  Before the next results “The Voice” airs a video for the song.

And finally Team Blake gets their results.  After the instant save last week, Blake has three singers on his team.  Toneisha Harris, Joanna Serenko, and Todd Tilghman all await their results with Todd Tilghman getting the most votes and moving on to the finals.

First up with the last chance performance is Megan Danielle with the Lynyrd Skynyrd song “Simple Man”.

Allegra Miles performs the Sean Mendes song “In My Blood”.

Zan Fiskum sings “Always Remember Us this Way” by Lady Gaga.

Joanna Serenko sings “Unaware” by Alan Stone.

And closing out the performances is Toneisha Harris with “Loving You” by Minnie Riperton.  Riperton died many years ago, but Toneisha did a perfect rendition of the song.

And the final singer moving on to the finals is…

…Toneisha Harris!

NASCAR Sets Rules for May Races

When NASCAR returns to the track on May 17, things will look very different from what fans…and the teams…have been used to for the past 70 plus years of NASCAR racing.

As the country slowly tries to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic NASCAR is looking to minimize the amount of contact team members and NASCAR officials will have with each other.

When the drivers take to the track for the race at Darlington on Sunday, they will do so with no practice…or qualifying.

Normally the starting line up for a NASCAR Cup race is determined by Busch Pole qualifying; however if qualifying is unable to take place, the field is set according to the NASCAR rule book via owner points.  For the Cup race at Darlington Raceway, the starting line up will be done via a random draw with the drawing order determined by team owner points:

Teams from first to 12th draw first
Teams from 13th to 24 will draw next
Teams from 25th to 36th will draw after that
The final four spots will be determined owner points

When the drivers return to Darlington on May 20, the inversion will come into play with the results from the May 17.  The top 20 finishing positions will be inverted with the driver in 20th place taking the pole.  Spots 21 through 40 will also be inverted.  If there are any changes in drivers for the second Darlington race, they will be placed at the back of the field.

Positions on pit road will be set by owner points for the May 17 race, but for the May 20 race, pit positions will be set according to the finishing order on May 17.

When the NASCAR Cup travels to Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 24 for the longest race of the season at 600 miles, the starting line up will be determined by same day qualifying – much as the Xfinity and Gander Truck series does -; but for the May 27 race, the inversion process will again be used with spots one through 20 from the Coca-Cola 600 being inverted and spots 20 through 40 from the 600 being inverted.

Pit stall spots for the 600 will be determined after qualifying; with pit positions on May 27 being determined by Coca-Cola 600 results.

Once the race itself begins, the competition caution will be used in a modified format that includes “freezing” the field so that teams can make extended adjustments – those that would normally be made during practice.  The first driver a lap down will get their lap back, but wave arounds will not be allowed.  In a normal race, lead lap cars will pit first with the drivers lap(s) down going second; but with the “frozen” competition caution the top 20 drivers will go first and then the second 20 will go next.  The process will repeat itself for a second pit stop.

Drivers will keep their spot on the track at the time the caution flag came out unless the driver does not exit pit road before the pace car comes back around.  If a driver does not beat the pace car, they will be scored a lap down.  If a driver pits more than two times or outside of their designated time will be moved to the back of the field; otherwise the field will be reset back to the running order at the time of the competition caution.

The Xfinity and Gander RV and Outdoors Truck Series will also race without any practice time or a qualifying run; the field will be set via the random draw.

The Xfinity Series will use the same process as the NASCAR Cup for determining the starting lineup.  Pit stall positions will be determined based on the qualifying results from the last race run prior to the shutdown at Phoenix Raceway.

With only 32 trucks in the field, the selection process for the starting line up at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 26 is slightly different.
Going by team owner points the order for the random draw is…
positions one through 10 pick first
next spots eleven through 21 will pick
finally spots 22 through 32 will draw
NASCAR is allowing for more trucks in the field, the remaining teams will draw for their starting spot

When it comes to pit stall selections, the spots will be determined by the qualifying results from the February 21 race in Las Vegas – the last race run the Truck Series.

Comedic Actor Jerry Stiller Dies

Comedian and actor Jerry Stiller died May 11, 2020 in New York City as a result of natural causes at the age of 92.

Stiller, along with his partner and wife Anne Meara entertained audiences for decades with their comedy routines.

Stiller is best known for his most recent roles in “Seinfeld” and “King of Queens”, but he appeared in over 100 Hollywood productions including his 1957 debut in “The Hoax”, The Courtship of Eddie’s Father”, 36 episodes of “The Ed Sullivan Show”, “Love, American Style”, the original “The Taking of Pelham One Two Three”, “Airport 1975”, “Rhoda”, “The Love Boat”, “Reading Rainbow”, “Tales from the Darkside”, the Israeli version of “Sesame Street” “Shalom Sesame”, “Hairspray”, “Murder, She Wrote”, a rabbi in the television series “In the Heat of the Night”, “Law & Order”, “Touched by an Angel”, and “The Good Wife”.

Stiller also wrote his autobiography “Married to Laughter”.

Gerald Isaac Stiller was born January 8, 1927 in New York City. After serving in the United States Army during World War II, Stiller returned home to earn a drama degree from Syracuse University before going back to New York City to begin his acting career.

Before making his way to Hollywood Stiller spent a little time with the Shakespearean Theater that included performances in “Coriolanus” with Jack Klugman. He has also spent some time on Broadway in “The Golden Apple”, “Threepenny Opera”, “The Carefree Tree”, “Diary of a Scoundrel”, “The Good Woman of Setzuan”, “Measure for Measure”, “The Taming of the Shrew”, “The Power and the Glory”, “The Ritz”, “Unexpected Guests”, “Passione”, “Hurlyburly”, “Three Men on a Horse”, “What’s Wrong with this Picture?”, and “The Three Sisters”.

He met his future wife Anne in 1953 and were married before the year was over. Along with their comedy routines, the duo appeared in radio ads.

Stiller’s son Ben followed in his father’s footsteps; father and son appeared together in a number of productions including the Academy Award winning film “Shoeshine”, “The Heartbreak Kid”, and “Zoolander”.

Predeceased by his wife of over 60 years, Stiller is survived by his children Amy and Ben and grandchildren.

Feature photo credit: By Daniel Krieger (Smoothdude), CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3339430

Top 9 Perform on ‘The Voice’

The coaches and their teams open this week of “The Voice” with their own rendition of “Everyday People” as a tribute to all those working during the pandemic.

The singers are just one week away from the finale and the end to another season.

It’s fan week on “The Voice” and the show will be checking in with fans throughout the show.

Team Blake’s instant save Joanna Serenko got the night of competition started off with her performance of “Lean on Me” for her sister.  Former coach Nick said that Joanna was incredible; adding that he is a fan.  John loved the heart, soul, and honesty in Joanna’s performances.  Coach Blake said that her voice floats like a butterfly.

Host Carson Daly announced that the top vote getter from each team moves on to the finale with the remaining five singers competing for the final spot with an instant save performance.  This will mark the first time that all four of the coaches will be represented in the finals and that there will be five singers in the finals.

Team Kelly’s Micah Iverson dedicates his performance of “I Will Follow You into the Dark” by Death Cab for Cutie to his coach Kelly Clarkson.  Nick noted that having to do the shows from home has forced the singers to be creative; adding that Micah is very creative and gave an awards program performance.  Kelly noted that Micah is always learning; adding that he is a great vocalist and artist.

Team Blake’s Todd Tilghman performs at his church…where it all began.  The father of eight  dedicated his performance of “Love Me” to his children.  A screaming Kelly said that if she could sing like a man, she would want Todd’s voice; adding that he is amazing.  Coach Blake liked that he saw a different side of Todd.

Country star Kane Brown comes to “The Voice” for a performance of his new single “Cool Again”.

Team Legend’s Zan Fiskum notes that everyone’s individuality with their homes.  She is performing the Camilla Cabello song “Never Be the Same”.  Nick noted that it is not an easy song to sing but her performance was well done.  Coach John Legend noted that Zan was very involved in the arrangements of her songs; adding that few singers can accomplish what Zan is doing.

Team Nick’s Thunderstorm Artis dedicated his song “Home” by Michael Buble to his new wife Faith.  The two were married on Good Friday – April 10.  Blake liked the guitar work; adding that Thunderstorm made the song his own.  Coach Nick agreed that Thunderstorm has made everything his own and has carved his path to the finale.

Team Kelly’s Megan Danielle chose the Rascal Flatts song “What Hurts the Most” and is dedicating it to her siblings.  Kelly called Megan magical with a distinct tone; adding that every time she opens her mouth, Megan sounds like a broken heart trying to fly.

Singer and rapper Doja Cat performs her single “Say So”.

Team Nick’s Allegra Miles dedicates her performance of “Overjoyed” by Stevie Wonder to her 92 year old Grandma.  John said, “Allegra, you sang that song!”.  He called it an All Star performance.  Coach Nick said that Allegra came out swinging; adding it was one of her best performances yet.

Grammy Award winning singer and “The Voice” mega coach James Taylor and son Andrew give a performance of the classic “Moon River”.

Team Blake’s Toneisha Harris dedicated her performances of the Celine Dion hit “Because You Love Me” to her husband of 24 years.  Kelly invited Toneisha to perform the song on the stage at her Las Vegas show next year.  Coach Blake noted it was an awesome thing for Kelly to do; adding that if he ever gets to do a show again, she can sing with him too.  Blake said that Toneisha deserves to be in the finale.

Closing out the night of music is Team Legend’s CammWess with a performance of “Rainbow” by Kacey Musgraves that he is dedicating to one of his cousins.  John said that CammWess’ voice is honey butter.

On the Tuesday results show the final five will be revealed.

MLB Cuts Draft Rounds

The draft for future professional baseball players can be a complicated affair.  Dozens of rounds, compensatory rounds, high school players, eligible college players…

This year when the annual amateur draft by Major League Baseball begins on June 10 and is being reduced to only two days instead of the normal three; it will be reduced from 40 rounds to just five.  That means that only 160 future players will be drafted in the 2020 draft.  That is the fewest number of players drafted since it began in 1965.

The move is estimated to save the teams $30 million dollars.

The teams have earned the right to reduce the number of rounds after the player’s association signed a new agreement on March 26.

The decision to shorten this year’s draft came in the wake of the Covid-19 virus and the delay in the start of the 2020 MLB season.

Not everyone is happy with the decision; agent Jeff Berry called it, “grossly shortsighted”.  He added, “to drastically reduce opportunity and talent and talent pools, it stunts growth and diversity at all levels and is really a self-inflicted sabotage of the long-term health and popularity of the game.”

Signing bonuses will be limited to 2019 levels with the bonus amount limited to no more than $20,000 for non-drafted players.  The move may lead to more high school players entering college and junior college.  Agent Scott Boras noted that a minor league player could not live on $20,000; adding that such a move may entice high school players to enter college where they could develop…maybe even into first round players; which Boras said “is the category we’re looking for.”

Boras noted, “on every major league team, development and scouting departments are extremely upset about this.  This is strictly about minimal short-term economic benefit that could cost millions of dollars, with the loss of a number one pick being injured or a number one pick not developing to the full stature of his potential.”

According to statistics released by the Commissioner’s office, of the 1,082 players who played last year – only 180 were first round draft picks with a total of 589 drafted in the first five rounds.  A total of 204 players were drafted from rounds six to 10, 102 in rounds 11 to 15, 63 in rounds 16 to 20, 74 from round 21 to 30, and only 50 from rounds 31 to 50.

At one time the number of draft rounds was unlimited but they were limited to 50 rounds in 1998 and reduced further to just 40 rounds in 2012.

Also included in the new agreement, the 2021 draft can be reduced to just 20 rounds.

MLB previously announced that beginning with the 2021 season, the minor leagues will drop from 160 affiliations to 120 – essentially eliminating one farm team per organization.

Top Seven Revealed on Idol

This week on “American Idol” the top 10 becomes the top seven, just one week shy of the grand finale.

This week many of the performances were prerecorded.

To salute mother’s and Mother’s Day, this week’s theme is the Disney Songbook as the singers continue to perform from their homes.

This week in honour of Disney Week, Katy is dressed a “Jumbo” – Dumbo’s mother and she has a baby elephant in her arms – her dog in a costume.

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The first person moving on to the top seven is Arthur Gunn.  Arthur chose “Kiss the Girl” from “The Little Mermaid”.  Katy noted that Arthur seemed very relaxed.  Luke noted that Arthur has become a potential massive star.  Lionel noted that Arthur puts his own stamp on every song.

The next singer in the top seven is Just Sam who sings “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes” from “Cinderella”.  After congratulating Sam, Luke said that she did a great job.  Lionel noted that Sam is their kid who has grown up right in front of them; adding that she is a star.  Katy loves Disney week, said that Sam is already a star.

Next up moving on to the top seven is Jonny West with “Almost There” from “The Princess and the Frog”.  Lionel called Jonny their casual assassin; adding that he is so effortless.  Katy called him a mix of Randy Newman, Billy Joel and Paul Simon; adding that he picked the right song and stayed true to himself.  Luke noted that Disney week forces people down a path they don’t normally go.

Also moving on to the top seven is Louis Knight.  Louis was mobbed by his family after the news.  He sang “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” from “The Lion King”.  Katy said that Niall Horan better watch out; adding that he is going to be a massive star and look back on this moment.  Luke loved the tenderness of the performance; adding that Louis has a great future.  Lionel noted how difficult it is to perform solo with no audience.

Also moving on to the top seven is Julia Gargano who calls it insane.  She sings the title track from “Beauty and the Beast”.  Luke thought the song was a bit low.  Lionel noted that Julia’s low register needed a bit more work but he mid and highs were great.  Katy said that Julia has a gorgeous voice; adding she loved the arrangement but agreed with the guys on her voice.

The next singer moving on to the top seven is Francisco Martin who got cheers from the judges.  Francisco sings “You’ll Be in My Heart” from “Tarzan”.  Lionel said that they were witnessing the transition of Francisco; adding they loved to see the emotion.  Katy called the performance amazing; adding he showed the confidence and was spot on with his performance.  Luke said that Francisco did a great job; adding that he was king of the jungle.

And the final singer in the top seven goes to Dillon James.  Dillon said that they were going to give him a heart attack; adding that he was speechless.

With Dillon taking the final spot, Jovin Webb, Sophia James, Grace Leer, and Makayla Phillips have all been eliminated.

Dillon sang “Our Town” from “Cars”.  Katy said that Dillon took everything they said last week and applied it magnificently.  Luke noted that the performance had dynamics and emotion in the performance and felt great from top to bottom.  Lionel called Dillon a storyteller and a true artist.

Last year’s Idol winner Laine Hardy returns to Idol to perform “Life is a Highway” from “Cars”.  Laine will return next week for the grand finale.

With only seven singers moving on, they all sing two songs with the second round a Mother’s Day dedication.

Katy gets out of her costume for the second half of the showing off her baby bump; adding that the baby is kicking; especially during the performances.

Up first with his Mother’s Day dedication is Arthur with “Hey, Ma” by Bon Iver.  Luke noted that the high part of Arthur’s voice was done so well; adding it was a great performance.  Lionel said that Arthur could sing the phone book; adding no matter what he sings, it’s Arthur Gunn.  Katy called the performance beautiful; adding that Arthur makes her think he is a professional touring artist.

While this season is winding down, Idol is already promoting the submission of auditions for the next season at AmericanIdol.com/auditions.

Cynthia Erivo, Lauren Daigle, Rascal Flatts, judge Katy Perry, and judge Luke Bryan are all performing next week.  One of the singers…and co-writers…of “We are the World”, Lionel will be performing the song on the grand finale next week.

Just Sam returns with a dedication to her grandmother and “I Turn to You” by Christina Aguilera.  Lionel called Sam the angel of the group; adding that it is just one step closer to being Sam the star.  Katy said that Sam has shown incredible growth.  Luke noted that Sam has so many tools and left a forever mark on them; adding that she is an inspiration to the little girls out there.

Jonny West gave his dedication to his mother and sang his own version of “Amazing Grace” that included some original verses.  Jonny headed home to surprise his mom and gave his performance from his parent’s home.  Katy called Jonny original and talented; adding that she is 100 percent sold.  Luke noted that the added lyrics were great; adding that he has songwriting talent.  Lionel called Jonny a songwriter; noting that writing an “Amazing Grace” mother’s day verse might be difficult even for him.

Louis Knight returns with a dedication to his mom and him mom’s favourite song “You’ve Got a Friend” by Carole King and James Taylor.  Lionel kept saying, “way to go”.  Luke wanted more dynamics on his Disney performance and he heard them all of that song; adding it was his best so far.  After wishing his mother a Happy Mother’s Day, Lionel said that it way exactly what Louis needed to do.  Louis made Katy cry; saying it was one of his best performances ever.

Julia Gargano dedicates her performance of “Sweetest Devotion” by Adele to her mom. An emotional Katy, said that when the moms cry, she cries.  Katy called it a fantastic launching pad for Julia.  Luke said that Julia owned the performance.  Lionel said that it was probably the first time Julia delivered the song and was in the moment.

Francisco Martin gives a dedication to his mom for Mother’s Day…and her birthday…by cooking breakfast.  His mom is a nurse working on the frontlines.  Francisco performed “River” by Leon Bridges.  Katy said that Francisco has grown even more from his first performance to this one;  adding it was soulful and real.  Luke said that Francisco’s performance was better than the original; adding he would buy the song right now.  Lionel loved that the confidence was front and center; adding Francisco has a career.

Closing out the night of performances is Dillon James with a dedication to his mom and a performance of “Hang On. Hang On” by Amos Lee.  Luke noted that Dillon gave a great performance; adding that he will go far.  Lionel noted that there are kids out there struggling like Dillon did and he is an inspiration to them.  An emotional Katy noted that Dillon had come from a dark place but is much lighter now.

Next week it all comes to an end with the grand finale and the crowning of the new “American Idol”.

Soul Singer Betty Wright Dies

Grammy Award winning Soul singer Betty Wright died on May 8, 2020 at her home in Miami, Florida as a result of cancer.

Aretha Franklin was THE Queen of Soul but Betty Wright was the Queen of Miami Soul.  She was known as much for her vocal range as she was the music itself.

Bessie Regina Norris was born on December 21, 1953; the youngest of seven children in a musical family.  At the time she was the youngest singer heard on a record when a two year old Bessie joined her family’s Gospel group Echoes of Joy on an album.

Her solo career began at age eleven when she began performing R&B music in local talent shows.  It was only a year later that she was signed to a record deal with a full length album release at age 14.  Her first hit song was “Girls Can’t Do What the Guys Do”.

Still in her teens, “Clean Up Woman” became her first million selling hit song and her signature song.  That was the beginning of a string of hits for Wright who later became the first female artist of colour to reach gold status with a self released album – “Mother Wit”.  An album is certified gold by the RIAA – Recording Industry Association of America – when it sells 100,000 copies in the United States.

Along with her own hit songs and albums, Wright provided backup vocals for numerous artists including Erykah Badu, Regina Belle, David Byrne, Jimmy Cliff, Alice Cooper, Gloria Estefan, Stephen Stills, Peter Tosh, and Stevie Wonder.

Her final album “Betty Wright: The Movie” features all original songs co-written by Wright and featured guest appearances by Joss Stone, Snoop Dogg, Lil Wayne, and Lenny Williams.

She was also a vocal coach, writer, producer, and engineer who worked with many other artists including Gloria Estefan, Kelly Clarkson, Keyshia Cole, Destiny’s Child, Michael Jackson, Tom Jones, Jennifer Lopez, and Joss Stone.  She was a vocal coach on the Sean Comb’s show “Making the Bank”.

A very busy lady, Wright has collaborated with Sean Combs, Ace Hood, Big Sean, DJ Khaled, the Game, Kendrick Lamar, Lil Wayne, Nas, Rick Ross, and Angie Stone.

Mary J Blige, Afrika Bambaataa, Beyoncé, Chance the Rapper, Sublime, and SWV were among the artists who sampled Wright’s music in their singles.

Her music appears in dozens of film and television productions including “The Duece”, “Atlanta”, “The Dream of a Life”, “The Mo’Nique Show”, “The Kids are All Right”, “You Don’t Mess with the Zohan”, “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”, “The Bernie Mac Show”, “Speed 2: Cruise Control”, and a number of reality competition music shows.  She also appeared in an episode of “Magic City” as a lead singer.

Wright is survived by her children – Aisha, Patrice, Chaka, and Asher.

Betty Wright discography:
“My First Time Around”
“I Love the Way You Love”
“Hard to Stop”
“Danger High Voltage”
“Explosion”
“This Time for Real”
“Betty Wright Live”
“Betty Travelin’ in the Wright Circle”
“Betty Wright”
“Back at You”
“Sevens”
“Mother Witt”
“4U2Njoy”
“Passion & Compassion”
“B-Attitudes”
“Distant Lover”
“Fit for a King”
“Betty Wright: The Movie”

 

feature photo credit: By Loer48 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=90074336

 

Music Mogol Andre Harrell Dies

Record executive and founder of Uptown Records 8Andre Harrell died May 8, 2020 in West Hollywood at the age of 59.  The sudden death is suspected to be as a result of cardiac arrest.

Harrell was the vice chairman of REVOLT Media and TV at the time of his death.  It was REVOLT that broke the news.

After founding Uptown Records, Harrell helped to launch the careers of Mary J Blige, Heavy D, and Sean “P Diddy” “Puffy” Combs who went on to become a mogul himself.

Not only did he help to launch musical careers, Harrell helped to shape the musical styles of Hip-Hop, Urban, and modern R&B.

It was Uptown Records that released the debut single by The Notorious B.I.G. but label distributor MCA Records had qualms about releasing the debut album because of its, “raw and rough subject matter about street life”.  As a result, Harrell let Combs go so that Combs could go out and “get rich”.

The television network BET has planned a three part program focusing on Harrell and Uptown Records.

Other artists that saw success with Harrell are Boyz II Men, Al B. Sure!, Guy, Jodeci, Soul for Real, Lost Boyz, Christopher Williams, Monifah, Father MC, and Teddy Riley.

Andre O’Neal Harrell was born on September 26, 1960 in Harlem, New York where he became a part of the Rap duo Dr. Jeckyll & Mr. Hyde.  The duo released their debut album “The Champagne of Rap” in 1985.

Before becoming a record executive, Harrell worked with Russell Simmons at Def Jam where he helped launch the careers of Run-DMC and LL Cool J.

He was also a CEO and president of Motown Records.

Harrell did not limit his talents to music; he also produced a number of productions on TV.  Along with executive producing 76 episodes of “New York Undercover”; Harrell’s name also appears as producer or executive producer on “State of the Culture”, “Icon Award Gala Honoring Queen Latifah”, “Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop, A Bad Boy Story”, “Music Talk: Babyface”, “Breaking Genres”, “Black and White: A Portrait of Sean Combs”, “Borrow My Crew”, “Honey”, “Cousin Skeeter”, “Finesse & Synquis: Straight from the Soul”, “Guy: Spend the Night”, “Heavy D & The Boyz: Somebody for Me”, “Finesse & Synquis: Soul Sisters”, “Guy: Groove Me”, “Heavy D & The Boyz: Don’t You Know”, “Heavy D & The Boyz: Moneyearnin; Mount Vernon”, and “Heavy D & The Boyz: The Overweight Lovers in the House”.

Harrell made three appearances in the music videos of Al B. Sure!, Heavy D & The Boyz, and The Uptown Crew.

No list of survivors was given.

 

 

 

Feature photo credit: By Shuttershock – Shuttershock, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=90022777

Siegfried and Roy’s Roy Dies

Roy Horn – one half of the magic duo Siegfried and Roy – died May 8, 2020 in Las Vegas as a result of complications from the Covid-19 virus at the age of 75.  Horn had announced that he had tested positive for the virus on April 28.

Speaking on his partner’s death, Siegfried Fischbacher said, “Roy was a fighter his whole life including during these final days.  I give my heartfelt appreciation to the team of doctors, nurses and staff at Mountain View Hospital who worked heroically against this insidious virus that ultimately took Roy’s life.”

Horn was critically injured in 2003 after being attacked by one of his white tigers during a performance at the Mirage in Las Vegas.  While he went through an extended rehabilitation, the attack ended the long standing act.  But the duo made one final performance in 2009 with the white tiger Montecore as a fundraiser for the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health.

Natives of Germany, the duo first came together in 1957 putting on their act on a cruise ship.  They made their Las Vegas debut in 1967 and moved to the Mirage in 1990.  Over the course of their careers, Siegfried and Roy performed thousands of shows.  The productions included several white tigers and other exotic animals including an elephant and a cheetah.

More than magicians, the duo had a compound where they saved white tigers, white lions, and other rare animals.

After retiring from his magic act with Siegfried, Roy produced the series “Father of the Pride”.  He also appeared in a few productions as an actor including the film “Ocean’s Eleven”.

Uwe Ludwig Horn was born October 3, 1944 in Nordenham, Germany.

Horn is survived by his brother Werner.

 

 

 

 

By Carol M. Highsmith – Library of CongressCatalog: http://lccn.loc.gov/2011636119Image download: https://cdn.loc.gov/master/pnp/highsm/17900/17925a.tifOriginal url: http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/highsm.17925, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=90023213

Rock Pioneer Little Richard Dies

“Good Golly Miss Molly”, Little Richard has died.  The Rock and Roll pioneer died May 9, 2020 in Tullahoma, Tennessee as a result of bone cancer at the age of 87.

A flamboyant performer, Little Richard was out of the closet before the rest of the world even knew the closet existed.

Known for his high pitched singing and pounding piano, Little Richard changed the face of music when he introduced what was then known as “Black Music” to white audiences.  He sold over 30 million records and influenced dozens of artists from The Beatles to David Bowie.  He earned the name Little Richard as a child because he was rather small.

“Wop-bop-a-loo-bop-a-lop-bam-boom”, Little Richard burst onto the scene in 1956 with “Tutti-Frutti” and put Rock and Roll on its head.  It wasn’t long before teens across the country and around the world were bopping to hits like “Lucille”, “Keep a Knockin’”, “Long Tall Sally”, and “Good Golly Miss Molly”.

Little Richard was once quoted as saying that Elvis Presley may be the king of rock and roll, but he is the queen.

As a rock pioneer, Little Richard was among the inaugural class of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees along with Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis, James Brown, Ray Charles, Fats Domino, The Everly Brothers, Alan Freed, John Hammond, Robert Johnson, Sam Phillips, Jimmie Rodgers, Sam Cooke, and Jimmy Yancey.  Other accomplishments include a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Recording Academy and the Pioneer Award from the Rhythm and Blues Foundation.  Along with induction into the Rock Hall, Little Richard is a member of the Georgia Music, the NAACP Image Award, and the American Songwriters, the Apollo Theater, the Louisiana Music, The Blues, and the Rhythm and Blues Music Halls of Fame.

He was born Richard Wayne Penniman on December 5, 1932 in Macon, Georgia; one of 12 children where he grew up singing in the church, playing the piano, the saxophone, and playing in the school marching band.  He began performing with bands in his early teens including sharing the stage on one occasion with Sister Rosetta Tharpe.  After running away from home, he joined a minstrel show where he sometimes appeared in drag.

Constantly in conflict with his religious upbringing, sexuality, and rock and roll; Little Richard left the world of rock in 1957 to join the seminary and get married to Ernestine Campbell.

After a 1962 arrest, he got a divorce and made a return to rock and roll.

Before becoming a rock and roll pioneering star in his own right, Jimi Hendrix performed in Little Richard’s band.

After relaunching his career in the seventies, Little Richard disappeared again and made a return to religion, denying his sexuality and to recover from a drug habit.

The film “Down and Out in Beverly Hills” and induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame brought Little Richard out of hiding and back into the limelight.

His music appears on over 200 film and television productions including “Hunters”, “Better Call Saul”, “The Smurfs 2”, “The Expendables 2”, “Cold Case”, “The Simpsons”, “Why Do Fools Fall in Love”, “The Wonder Years”, “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventures”, “Quantum Leap”, “Road House”, “Moonlighting”, “Mask”, “The Right Stuff”, “WKRP in Cincinnatti”, and a number of competition reality shows.

Little Richard also appeared as an actor in a couple of dozen productions including “NightMan”, “The Drew Carey Show”, “Baywatch”, “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventures” TV series, “Down and Out in Beverly Hills”, and “Miami Vice”; as well as portraying himself in numerous variety, documentary, talk, and awards shows.

He retired from touring in 2002 but continued to make appearances on television.

Little Richard’s survivors include his son Danny.

Little Richard’s discography:
“Here’s Little Richard”
“Little Richard”
“Clap Your Hands”
“Pray Along with Little Richard, Vol. 1: A Closer Walk with Thee”
“Pray Along with Little Richard, Vol. 2: I’m Quitting Show Business”
“King of the Gospel Singers”
“Little Richard with Sister Rosetta Tharpe”
“Sings Spirituals”
“Coming Home”
“Little Richard is Back (and There’s a Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On!)”
“The Wild and Frantic Little Richard”
The Explosive Little Richard”
“Rock N Roll Forever”
“Good Golly Miss Molly”
“Right Now”
“Rock Hard Rock Heavy”
“Little Richard” (1970)
“The Rill Thing”
“Mr. Big”
“King of Rock and Roll”
“Historic Figures and Ancient Heads”
“The Second Coming”
“You Can’t Keep a Good Man Down”
“Recorded Live”
“Talkin’ ‘Bout Soul”
“Keep a Knockin’”
“Little Richard Live”
“Sings”
“Lifetime Friend”
“Shake it All About”
“Best of Little Richard”

 

 

Feature photo credit: By Anna Bleker – Own work (Original text: self-made), Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=74918108

 

 

Pro Invitational Series Concludes at North Wilksboro

The eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series concludes its short season with an inaugural race at one of the most iconic tracks in the NASCAR circuit – North Wilksboro.

There has not been a race on the track at North Wilksboro since 1996 when Jeff Gordon took the checkered flag at the final race.

A part of NASCAR before it was NASCAR, North Wilksboro fell into disrepair after it was no longer a part of the regular NASCAR schedule, but thanks to Dale Earnhardt Jr who took a group of volunteers to the track last December to clean up the track so that iRacing could laser scan the track to add it to their list of virtual tracks.

While it won’t be available to the general public until next month, the NASCAR drivers will debut the track for the Wilksboro 160 to close out the Pro Invitational Series.

After a supposed one and done at Talladega, Jeff Gordon has decided to give it one more try and make a run at the new virtual North Wilksboro.  Also making their iRacing PIS debut are Martin Truex Jr and Jon Wood.

With Jeff Gordon back in the simulator, attired with his helmet from 1988 is Michael Waltrip to join FOX commentator Mike Joy.

F former driver and now award winning Country music artist, Chase Rice performs the National Anthem before the race.

And performing the most famous words in motor sports – the command – is Houston Texan JJ Watt with an enthusiastic command to start engines.

Parker Kligerman won the pole, but after an inverted top 10, Cole Custer will bring the field to green with Ryan Preece starting alongside on the front row.

After failing to complete his qualifying round, Clint Bowyer will bring up the rear of the field.

While the drivers will be able to complete the race on a single fuel load, the tires will not last as long.

The drivers will get one quick repair reset in the race.

Cole Custer brings the field down for the green flag start of the race with Cole Custer quickly takes the top spot.

North Wilksboro is one of the many short tracks on the circuit at just over half a mile around.

The first caution flag of the race comes out on lap five after John Hunter Nemechek gets turned around with several other drivers getting caught up in the melee.

Cole Custer brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 12 with Ryan Preece on the outside lane getting out in front for the lead.

Lap 23, Ryan Preece continues to lead the race  with Garrett Smithley in second; Ross Chastain, Dale Earnhardt Jr, and Cole Custer round out the top five.

The caution flag comes out on lap 30 when Timmy Hill and Michael McDowell make contact; Erik Jones was also involved in the wreck.

Drivers bring their cars down pit road for service.

After staying out on the track, Ross Chastain brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 38.  Ross Chastain holds on to the lead with Ryan Preece in second; Timmy Hill, Garrett Smithley, and Dale Earnhardt Jr round out the top five.

Cole Custer spins out and gets into the grass bringing out the third caution flag of the race.

Ryan Preece brings the field down for the green glag restart on lap 47 and jumps out in front for the lead.

Lap 52, Ryan Preece has pulled out to a lead of nearly two seconds on Ross Chastain.

Christ Buescher brings out the caution flag on lap 53 for a crash.

Leader Ryan Preece brings a group of drivers down pit road for service.

Christopher Bell brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 61 and edges out Dale Earnhardt Jr in second place; Kevin Harvick, Austin Dillon, and Landon Cassill round out the top five.

Bobby Labonte and Jeff Gordon are the only drivers in the race who have actually driven on the real North Wilksboro track.

Parker Kligerman brings out the caution flag on lap 69 when he hit the wall after a wreck involving Garrett Smithley.

Christopher Bell brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 73 and edges out Dale Earnhardt Jr to hold on to the lead; Kevin Harvick, Austin Dillon, and Landon Cassill round out the top five.

The caution flag comes out on lap 76 for a wreck involving Dale Earnhardt Jr, Clint Bowyer, Austin Dillon, Brennan Poole, and Landon Cassill.

Christopher Bell brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 81 with Dale Earnhardt Jr in second.

Jeff Gordon missed a shift on the restart and dropped out of the top 10 to 13th driving his number 24 “Rainbow Warriors” car.

With 74 laps to go in the race, Christopher Bell leads the race with Ross Chastain in second; Denny Hamlin, Dale Earnhardt Jr, and Kevin Harvick round out the top five.

With 65 laps remaining in the race, Christopher Bell continues to lead the race with Ross Chastain a tenth of a second behind in second; Denny Hamlin, Dale Earnhardt Jr, and Kevin Harck round out the top five.

Sixty to go, Christopher Bell has a narrow lead on Denny Hamlin with 24 cars on the lead lap.

Enny Hamlin finally gets around Christopher Bell for the lead after putting pressure on Bell.  With 42 laps to go, Ross Chastain, Dale Earnhardt JR, and Garrett Smithley round out the top five.  There are 22 cars on the lead lap.

With 38 laps to go, Clint Bowyer has come from starting last place to make it into the top 10 at seventh place.

Thirty-five to go, Denny Hill has pulled out to a one second lead on Christopher Bell.

The caution flag has come out with 33 laps remaining in the race after Bobby Labonte and Parker Kligerman make contact and send the cars spinning.

After all of the drivers come down pit road for service,

The brake pedal on Corey LaJoie’s car and becomes the first driver out of the race.

Ross Chastain brings the field down for the green flag restart with 27 laps remaining in the race.  Chastain holds on to the lead with Timmy Hill, Landon Cassill, Denny Hamlin and Christopher Bell rounding out the top five.

The caution flag comes out with 25 laps to go after a big crash including Jeff Gordon, Clint Bowyer, Joh Hunter Nemechek.

Ross Chastain and Timmy Hill bring the field down for the green flag restart with just 16 laps remaining in the race.

Martin Truex Jr spins out and gets against the wall but the track stays green with 13 laps to go.

Ten to go, Ross Chastain leads the race with Denny Hamlin in second: Timmy Hill, Landon Cassill, and Dale Earnhardt Jr round out the top five.

Nine to go, Ross Chastain gets loose and Denny Hamlin takes the lead with Tyler Reddick, Ross Chastain, and Garrett Smithley rounding out the top five after some beating and banging.

Five to go, Denny Hamlin leads the race with Timmy Hill just over a half second behind.

Denny Hamlin takes the white flag.

After winning the PIS opener at Homestead-Miami, Denny Hamlin takes his second win in the final PIS race at Wilksboro to be the second driver to win more than one race.

Next week the drivers return to reality when they take to the track at Darlington Speedway.

Iron Maiden

Metal rockers Iron Maiden have announced that they are postponing their entire Legacy of the Beast Tour for this year due to the Covid-19 virus.

After Iron Maiden manager Rod Smallwood broke the news, he thanked fans and asked for their patience.

To date the band has rescheduled most of the European dates with the exception of Moscow, St. Petersburg, Weert, and Zurich; however, they did add shows in Arnhem and Antwerp.  The band was not able to reschedule their Festival dates due to other scheduling conflicts.

Iron Maiden is also working to reschedule the Australia, New Zealand, Philippines, Japan, Dubai and Israeli dates as well.

The band is also working on getting the guest artists that were originally scheduled to join the tour.

Iron Maiden rescheduled 2021 tour dates:
June 11 at the PGE Narodowy in Warsaw, Poland
June 13 at the Burgerweide in Bremen, Germany
June 15 at the Sinobo Stadium in Prague, Czech Republic
June 16 at the Neustadt Stadium Open Air inWiener, Austria
June 19 at the Olympic Stadium in Barcelona, Spain
June 21 at the Estadio Nacional in Lisbon, Portugal
June 24 at the Sonic Park in Bologna, Italy
June 26 at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Stuttgart, Germany
June 27 at the Sportpaleis in Antwerps, Belgium
June 30 at the Waldbuhne in Berlin, Germany
July 3 at the Illevi Stadium in Gothenburg, Sweden
July 8 at the Rhein-Energie Stadium in Cologne, Germany
July 10 at the GelreDome in Arnhem, Netherlands
July 11 at La Defense Arena in Paris, France

Thunder iRacing Concludes in Martinsville

Saturday Night Thunder comes to Friday night for the final iRacing event of the season as the drivers prepare to take to the track again beginning May 17 with the first NASCAR race in two months.

But first it’s 125 laps around the virtual half mile paperclip shaped track at Martinsville.

Unlike the Pro Invititational Series, Saturday Night Thunder has had a different leader in each race.

The night begins with four heat races as the teams vie for one of 30 spots on the starting grid for the main event.

This week marks the first time that the drivers will race under the lights at virtual Martinsville.

After single car qualifying Ty Majeski wins the pole.

The top six drivers from the 10 lap heat races move on to the main event.  This week there is only one Last Chance Qualifier for a 15 lap race to place the final six drivers.  With 41 drivers coming to the track, eleven will go home.

Each heat is only 10 laps in length and there are no caution flags in the heat races.

Ty Majeski brings the first group of drivers down for the green flag start of the race with Ty Majeski taking the lead and pulling away from the field.

After getting out in front on lap one, Ty Majeski leads every lap to win the first heat.

Anthony Alfredo – last week’s winner – will bring the second group down for the green flag start of heat number two with Anthony Alfredo jumping out in front.

Also leading every lap, Anthony Alfredo leads every lap and wins heat number two.

For heat number three, Donny Lia will lead the field to the green flag with Donny Lia jumping out in front for the lead.

Again after leading every lap, Donny Lia wins heat number three.

In the final heat race, Alex Labbe brings the field down for the green flag start of the race with Labbe getting out in front as drivers beat and bang for position and swapping paint in the process as they vie for position.

With only three laps to go in the heat, leader Alex Labbe and Stephen Parsons have pulled out to a lead of two seconds on the remainder of the field.

Making it unanimous, Alex Labbe leads every lap to win the final heat.

In the 15 lap Last Chance Qualifier, Grant Enfinger will bring the field down for the green flag start of the race with Enfinger getting out in front for the lead as drivers get stacked up back in the field.

Lap seven, the first six drivers have pulled out to a big lead of over three seconds on the remainder of the field.  Grant Enfinger continues to lead the race.

Approaching lapped traffic, Grant Enfinger leads every lap to win the race and work his way into the main race.

For the 125 lap main event, the drivers get one reset for a quick repair and this time around the caution flag is in play and the laps do count.

Ty Majeski and Anthony Alfredo sit on the front row with Majeski bringing the field down for the green flag.

Ty Majeski brings the field down for the green flag start of the race and gets out in front of Anthony Alfredo to take the lead.

The first caution flag comes out on lap two for a multi driver crash involving Noah Gragson, Ty Gibbs, Logan Seavey, Bayley Currey, and Landon Huffman.

With the lights fully in effect, Ty Majeski brings the field down for the green flag restart  on lap eight and edges out Dinny Lia for the lead as drivers make contact back in the field.

Lap 12, Ty Majeski is in the lead with a few cars already a lap down.

Lap 19, Ty Majeski has a lead of nearly half a second on Donny Lia with 24 cars on the lead lap.

Lap 26, Ty Majeski has pulled out to a lead of over a second on second place driver Josh Berry.

The caution flag comes out on lap 27 for a wreck involving Kyle Weatherman.

Drivers come down pit road for service.

Ty Majeski wins the race off of pit road.

Ty Majeski brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 33 with Majeski getting out in front.  All 30 drivers are still on the track.

The third caution flag comes out on lap 34 after Justin Allgaier gets into the wall and blocking the track.  Stephen Leicht was also involved.

Ty Majeski brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 39 and gets out in front to continue leading the race.

The caution flag comes out on lap 45 after Justin Allgaier gets turned around for a second time.  Ryan Truex and Drew Dollar were also involved.

Jeb Burton was black flagged after using more than his allotted quick repairs.  He was docked a lap.

Ty Majeski brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 50 and jumps out in front for the lead while Josh Berry and Donny Lia battle for second.

Several drivers get tangled up back in the field on lap 52 but the track stays green.

Lap 56, there are 22 cars on the lead lap.

The caution flag comes out on lap 57 when Noah Gragson gets into the wall after making contact with Jesse Iwuji.  Grant Enfinger, Jeb Burton, and Stephen Leicht were also involved in a separate wreck.

Ty Majeski brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 62 and edges out in front of Joshy Berry for the lead.  Donny Lia and Josh Berry battle for the lead with Alex Labbe and Chase Cabre rounding out the top five.

With 55 laps to go, Ty Majeski has pulled out to a lead of a second Donny Lia and Josh Berry.

Fifty to go, Ty Majeski continues to lead the race with 21 cars on the lead lap.  All 30 drivers are still in the race.

Forty to go, Ty Majeski has dominated the race so far and continues to lead the race by over a second on Josh Berry.

The caution flag comes out with 32 laps remaining in the race when Landon Huffman gets turned around after making contact with Noah Gragson.

The leaders come down pit road for service.

Taking four tires, Ty Majeski wins the race off of pit road.

Ty Majeski brings the field down for the green flag restart  with 27 laps remaining in the race and jumps out in front for the lead as drivers battle for second.

The caution flag comes out on lap 100 after Josh Berry gets into the wall after a battle between Anthony Alfredo, Donny Lia, and Josh Berry as they fought for second place.

Ty Majeski brings the field down for the green flag restart with just 20 laps remaining in the race.  Once again, Majeski jumps out in front for the lead with Donny Lia on his bumper in second.

Jeb Burton and Brett Moffitt make contact on the track but the track stays green.

Christian Eckes and Anthony Alfredo battle for position.

The caution flag comes out on lap 111 for a spin involving Todd Gilliland and Ryan Truex.  Stephen Leicht turns into leader Ty Majeski.  Race control has parked Stephan Leicht.

Ty Majeski has some damage to his car but he continues to lead the race.

Ty Majeski brings the field down for the green flag restart with just nine laps remaining in the race.  Majeski gets out in front for the lead as drivers get three wide across the track battling for position.

The caution flag comes out with eight laps to go after Christian Eckes gets hit hard, causing some chaos on the track.  Kaz Grala, Ty Gibbs, and Justin Allgaier were among those involved.

Todd Gilliland and Kaz Grala have been black flagged and parked.

Ty Majeski brings the field down for the green flag restart with just two laps remaining in the race.  Ty Majeski eges out Donny Lia for the lead.  Alex Labbe and Donny Lia battle for second.

Ty Majeski wins the race for the fifth different winner of the short Saturday Night Thunder season.  The drivers were three wide for second place with Alex Labbe taking the spot.

NASCAR Makes Schedule Changes

While NASCAR has had every intention of running the complete 36 race schedule as originally planned this season, NASCAR officials have made some changes to three of the races.

The races at Chicagoland Speedway, the spring race at Richmond Raceway, and the road race at Sonoma Raceway have all been relocated to the Darlington and Charlotte Speedways.

Officials have also stated that future adjustments will be released in the near future.

Next weekend – May 17 – NASCAR makes a return to the track with a series of seven races in eleven days at Darlington and Charlotte.  The tracks were chosen due to their relative location to the race teams shops which will require no air travel and will help to facilitate a single day event.

NASCAR spoke on the changes via a statement saying, “due to the current pandemic, NASCAR has faced several difficult decisions, including realigning race dates from several race tracks.  These decisions were made following thorough collaboration with local and state government officials from across the country, including the areas of the affected race tracks. We thank all our fans for their support, and we look forward to our return to racing.”

The May 17 race at Darlington Speedway that will restart the 2020 NASCAR season will replace the June 21 NASCAR Cup race at Chicagoland.

The May 19 Xfinity Series race at Darlington Speedway will replace the Chicagoland race originally scheduled for June 20.

The ARCA Menards Series and the Gander RV and Outdoors Truck Series also had races scheduled at Chicagoland in June; those races will also be rescheduled at a later date.

The May 20 NASCAR Cup race at Darlington will replace the race that was originally scheduled at the Richmond Raceway on April 19.

The Truck Series race scheduled for April 18 in Richmond will be rescheduled at a later date.

The Richmond races scheduled for September 11 and 12 currently remain as scheduled.

The NASCAR Cup Series race scheduled for May 27 at Charlotte Motor Speedway will replace the June 14 race originally scheduled for the road course race at Sanoma Raceway.  Sanoma Raceway officials noted that they had worked with NASCAR officials to reschedule the race, but a suitable date could not be found.

Officials at Chicagoland, Richmond, and Sanoma stated that fans who hold tickets for the races that were cancelled can eighter receive a full refund or a 120 percent credit toward a future race ticket.

Rock Singer Brian Howe Dies

Rock singer Brian Howe died May 5, 2020 in Lake Placid, Florida as a result of cardiac arrest at his home.  He was 66.  Howe had suffered a previous heart attack in 2017 and a scooter accident last month that resulted in a punctured lung and broken ribs.

Prior to his death, Howe was on tour until the global pandemic shut live events.

Howe was the lead singer for the British band Bad Company and sang with Ted Nugent.

Howe took over the lead vocal duties for Bad Company after the departure of Paul Rodgers in 1986 and remained until 1994.  He appeared on the albums “Fame & Fortune”, “Dangerous Age”, and “Here Comes Trouble”.

Prior to joining Bad Company, Howe sang with White Spirit when he took a job with Ted Nugent beginning in 1983.

As a solo artist, Howe recorded the album “Tangled in Blue”.

He was born in Portsmouth, England in 1953 where he was later “discovered” by Nugent.

His survivors include children Victoria, Ella, and Michael; sister Sandie; and grandchildren Kira, Alexandria, and Aurora,

 

feature photo credit: Brian Howe’s Facebook page

 

Former Car Owner Ray Lee Wood Dies

One of the original Wood Brothers Racing members Ray Lee Wood died May 5, 2020 at the age of 92.  No official cause of death or location was given.

Along with brothers Glenn, Clay, Delano, and Leonard; Wood started Wood Brothers Racing in the 1950’s.  In those early days, Wood and his brothers did not have a big fancy shop with the latest equipment; they worked under a beech tree, a tree that Ray spent much of his later years preserving.

While he never got behind the wheel of one of his cars as a driver, Wood set a speed record of 142 miles per hour on the sands of Daytona Beach.

During the 1960’s Wood Brothers Racing was responsible for winning some of the most iconic races in NASCAR including the Daytona 500, the Indianapolis 500, and the inaugural America 500 in 1965.  As the owner of record, Ray Lee Wood’s name adorns the Owner’s Championship trophy for the 1963 NASCAR season.

Not just a team owner, Wood helped to take care of the cars and changed tires on pit road on race days.

More than a racing team owner, Wood enjoyed gardening, making honey, his pets, and the Bible.

In later years, Ray Lee lived in his boyhood home.

Wood left racing in 1965, saying that he, “felt the calling of the Lord”.

Wood never married, but survivors include members of the Wood family.

feature photo credit: By Marco Becerra – https://www.flickr.com/photos/mbecerra/8652939427/, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=29003276

 

NFL Makes Changes to Season

When the 2020 NFL season finally begins, it will be the first time since 2007 that all of the games will be held within the United States.  The NFL had five games scheduled in London and Mexico City; but due to the Covid-19 global pandemic, NFL Commissioner has ruled that the teams will remain in the U.S. playing all of the games in the stadiums of the host cities.

The Jacksonville Jaguars, the Atlanta Falcons, and the Miami Dolphins were all scheduled to play games in London; while the Arizona Cardinals were to play a game against an as yet un-named team in MIxico City.

The schedule for the 2020 football season is scheduled to be released on May 7 with the season currently set to begin on September 10.

While the NFL fully intends to run the full schedule of games for the 2020 season, they have made plans for contingencies in case of emergencies.

The NFL has made arrangements for a refund policy in case games need to be cancelled or held without fans in the stands.  Fans will be allowed to obtain a full refund for a ticket purchased or apply the ticket price toward the purchase of a future ticket if those tickets were purchased from the organizations.

However, in the case of the secondary markets Ticketmaster and SeatGeek a refund will be available for cancellations of no more than 30 days.  StubHub has said that they will refund ticket prices only where state law requires it.

Kraftwerk’s Floridan Schneider Dies

Florian Schneider, a co-founder of the electronic and synth German band Kraftwerk died May 6 as a result of cancer less than a month after his 73rd birthday.

Schneider and fellow Remscheid Academy of Arts classmate Ralf Huetter began working together in 1968 with Organisation and formed the iconic band Kraftwerk in 1970.  Shying away from the spotlight individulally, Kraftwerk focused on their musical sound…a sound that would influence music artists for generations to come; including David Bowie, the Pet Shop Boys, Duran Duran, Depeche Mode, New Order and Daft Punk.

Kraftwerk broke through on the international scene in 1974 when they reached the top five on the U.S. and UK album charts with “Autobahn”.

Their influential music earned the band a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Recording Academy in 2014.  Other accomplishments include a Grammy Award for the Best Dance or Electronic Album in 2017.  Though nominated for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame six times, Kraftwerk has yet to make the cut.

Schneider was awarded a professorship at the Stuttgart Art Academy in 1998, but never arrived to fill the position.

Schneider left Kraftwerk in 2008.

In 2015, he joined forces with other electronic artists to create a musical campaign against plastic pollution of the oceans.

He was born Florian Schneider-Esleben the son of an architect in Duesseldorf on April 7, 1947.

No list of survivors were given.

The latest incarnation of Kraftwerk was set to tour America this year but like many other artists around the world were forced to cancel their plans due to the global pandemic.

feature photo credit: Floridan Schneider’s Facebook page

Drivers Debut Virtual North Wilksboro

The eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series winds up on Saturday afternoon with a trip to North Wilksboro.  NASCAR hasn’t run a race at North Wilksboro since 1996 with now NASCAR Hall of Fame driver Jeff Gordon took home the final trophy.

Last December, Dale Earnhardt Jr took a group of volunteers up to the North Carolina foothills to clean up the track and prepare it for iRacing to scan the track to prepare it for its debut.

To date, all of the tracks that the drivers have raced on are also available to amateur racers who run the iRacing series.  But this Saturday, the drivers will debut the track at North Wilksboro.  The track isn’t even available to the public yet.

Upon hearing the news that the Pro Invitational Series was going to North Wilksboro, Jeff Gordon told fans that he might have to rethink his Talladega one and done.  Gordon will be among the drivers taking to the virtual North Wilksboro track on Saturday afternoon.

Martin Truex Jr and Jon Wood are making their PIS debut on Saturday; and Clint Bowyer makes a return after taking the week off.

But one driver fans will not be seeing this weekend is the leading race winner William Byron who has won three of the six races so far including last week at virtual Dover.

With the Pro Invitational Series racing on Saturday Night, Saturday Night Thunder will take to the track on Friday night for some short track racing at virtual Martinsville.

Keyboardist Dave Greenfield Dies

British punk keyboard player Dave Greenfield died May 3, 2020 as a result of complications from the Covid-19 virus at the age of 71. After being admitted to the hospital for heart issues, Greenfield was diagnosed with the virus on April 26.

Greenfield was the keyboard player for the band The Stranglers and wrote the music for the band’s biggest hit song, the Ivor Novello award winning “Golden Brown”. His playing style included the harpsichord and the Hammond electric organ.

The band originally called themselves The Guildford Stranglers when they formed in 1974 but a year later shortened the name to simply The Stranglers.

A longtime member of the band, Greenfield joined in 1975. Often singing backup vocals, Greenfield sang lead on the songs “Dead Ringer”, “Do You Wanna?”, “Genetix”, and “Four Horsemen”.

After over 40 years of making music, The Stranglers had planned a farewell tour this year which was put on hold due to the global pandemic.

He was born on March 29, 1949 in Brighton, England.

Greenfield is survived by his wife, Pam.

Feature photo credit: By Self taken – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=89880179

NASCAR Shops Reopen…Safely

In less than two weeks racing fans will hear the roar of the engines once more when NASCAR returns to the track at Darlington Speedway.

With seven races in an eleven day span, the teams have returned to the garages to prepare the cars, and for the pit crews to brush off a little of the tire dust after being off for the past two months.

But they are not doing so without taking plenty of precautions; regular health screenings, limiting the number of people allowed in the garage at one time including staggering work schedules, social distancing, and face masks are all on the list of the precautions being taken.  Teams are also conducting some serious cleaning efforts inside the shops.

Some of these same precautions will be taken once the teams get to the tracks at Darlington and Charlotte including running the races with no fans in the stands.

North Carolina, where most of the teams are based, is one of the states under the lock down with stay at home orders; however, Governor Roy Cooper has deemed that the NASCAR shops are now among the essential businesses and can begin operating.

Kyle Larson Returns to Racing

Race car driver Kyle Larson is one of those drivers who will get into anything with four wheels as long as he can race.

On April 14, Larson lost his ride in the NASCAR Cup Series after uttering a racial slur during an iRacing event over the radio on Easter evening.  Larson was first suspended by NASCAR and then fired by car owner Chip Ganassi after the team’s sponsors began dropping their sponsorships.

Larson will return to racing on May 8 when he gets behind the steering wheel of his own Sprint car at the World of Outlaws Invitational at the Knoxville Raceway in Iowa. Racing with no fans in the stands, the World of Outlaws race will be the first such races since February.

In order to return to the NASCAR Cup Series, Larson must undergo sensitivity training.  The World of Outlaws also required Larson to undergo the training before they would allow him to race.

The racial slur uttered by Larson is intended to be derogatory toward people of colour.

Top Nine Revealed on ‘The Voice’

On Monday’s performance night, the remaining 17 singers performed from their homes for fan votes.

On the Tuesday results show, nearly ha those singers will be eliminated when only nine will survive the cut.  And the instant save returns.

The top vote getting singer from each group will move on, then the coaches will chose to save one singer, and one singer from each team will sing for their lives before the instant save live fan vote.

First up is Team Blake with Todd Tilghman getting the news that he is the first one to move on.  Todd was surrounded by his large family – he has eight children.

Blake chose to save Toneisha Harris.

Next up is Team Legend with CammWess getting the fan vote.

John chose to save Zan Fiskum to join the top nine.

Team Kelly’s only guy Micah Iverson earned the team’s top vote and will join the top nine.

Kelly chose to save Megan Danielle, who will be joining the top nine.

And finally Team Nick, with Thunderstorm Artis earning the top vote and moving on to the top nine.

The final singer moving on before the instant save, Nick chose Allegra Miles to move on.

Team Blake’s Joanna Serenko, Team Legend’s Mandi Castillo, Team Kelly’s Cedrice, and Team Nick’s Michael Williams will all be performing for the Instant Save vote.

Up first, Joanna Serenko sang “Don’t Let Me Be Lonely”.

Team Legend’s Mandi Casillo sang the Cyndi Lauper song “True Colors”.

Team Kelly’s Cedice sang “Breathin’”.

And Team Nick’s Michael Williams closed out the performances with “To Love Somebody” by The Bee Gees.

And with that the wild card live instant save voting is open…
After the instant save fan vote…and the final singer in the top nine is Team Blake’s Joanna Serenko!

Opera Singer Rosalind Elias Dies

Opera singer Rosalind Elias died May 3 in New York City at the age of 90.  No official cause of death has been released.

The mezzo soprano made her Broadway debut in a revival of “Follies” as Heidi at the age of 81.

She is best known for her four decade career as a member of the Metropolitan Opera.  Elias made her Met debut only weeks before her 24th birthday in 1954 as Grimgerde in “Die Walkure”.  Her other Met roles include “Der Rosenkavalier”, “Falstaff”, “Hansel and Gretel”, “Cosi fan tutte”, “Fenena”, “The Bartered Bride”, “Sweeney Todd”, and “A Little Night Music” in Hawaii.  Before making her Met debut, Elias appeared with the New England Opera Company.

Her accomplishments include over 50 roles and 687 performances over a 40 year career, an Opera News Award.  Elias became a member of the Metropolitan Opera Guild and the following year she became one of the first members of the Guild’s Artist Council.

Along with performances all across the country, Elias appeared on stages in Vienna, Scotland, and at the Glyndebourne Festival.

Over the course of her career, Elias worked with Leonard Bernstein, Karl Böhm, Erich Leinsdorf, James Levine, Lorin Maazel, Dimitri Mitropoulos, Pierre Monteux, Thomas Schippers, Georg Solti and Bruno Walter.

The youngest of 13 children, she was born March 13, 1930 in Lowell, Massachusetts to Lebanese parents.  It wasn’t until she was 14 years old that she began taking voice lessons.  Elias once said in an interview that it was her dream to become an opera singer.  She studied at the New England Conservatory, the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome and at the Berkshire Music Center.

Predeceased by her husband of nearly 50 years – Zuhayr Moghrabi.  No list of survivors was given.

Playoff Round on ‘The Voice’

Thousands of singing hopefuls auditioned and 40 survived the blind auditions.  Of those 24 made it to the battle rounds.  Now 17 remain as “The Voice” prepares to go live for fan votes.

Super mentor James Taylor gets the night of music started off with a performance “Shower the People” with the remaining 17 singers joining in remotely as clips of people helping others and sharing hugs are aired.

Host Carson Daly is on “The Voice” stage with the crew; while the singers and coaches join in from their homes.

After Tod Michael Hall, Nelson Cade IIII, Samantha Howell, and Michael Williams all battled in a four way knockout, fans voted Michael Williams as the winner.

In one of the biggest fan voted eliminations, the number will be cut almost in half when 17 become nine.

Team Nick starts things off…
Team Nick’s steal, Thunderstorm sings the “Porgy and Bess” classic “Summertime”.  Carson said that it sounded great.  John called the performance magical; adding that it was a beautiful performance.  Nick said that it was the perfect way to get the night started off; adding that he was envious of the whistling.

Up next is Allegra Miles in Florida singing the Billy Joel song “New York State of Mind”.  Blake noted that everybody sounds better at home, he said that Allegra did a great job.  Nick noted that Allegra has been a force in the competition from the beginning; adding that she owned it and it was her best performance so far.

Also in Florida, Arei Moon performed “Finesse”.  Kelly loved the performance.  Nick called the performance fantastic; adding that she made the song her own.

Roderick Chambers performs “Lost Without You”.  John loved the song choice and the performance; adding that Roderick’s ability to go from regular voice to falsetto was impressive.  Nick was impressed by the performance; adding that he thought Twitter would blow up.

Rounding out team Nick’s singers, after winning the knockout fan vote Michael Williams sang “Sign of the Times”.  Kelly called the performance so cool; adding he made the song his own.  Carson noted that Nick’s team is setting the bar high.  Nick said that Michael also set the bar high.

Next up is Team Legend…
Up first is Zan Fiskum with the Bob Dylan classic “Blowin’ in the Wind”.  John called the performance beautiful; adding she took them on a journey.  Kelly called it the best version of the song she has ever heard.

Up next is Mike Jerel with “All My Life”,  While most of the singers are performing from their homes, Mike has taken over a theatre and is singing from the stage.  John loves Mike’s creativity; adding that it was really cool and electric.

Mandi Costillo chose to sing in Spanish with a black and white picture.  Kelly yelled, “way to sing girl.”  Saying that he didn’t understand a word, Blake said that Mandi had him in the palm of his hand.  John said that Mandi performed flawlessly.

Closing out Team Legend; original Team Legend member, Kelly steal, and John steal CammWess sang the Bill Withers classic “Ain’t No Sunshine”.  Former coach Kelly called CammWess so talented; adding that he made the song his own.  After shouting out to Bill Withers, who died recently, John said that Camm knocked it out of the park.

Up next is Team Kelly…
Megan Danielle gets Team Kelly started off with “Anyone”.  Megan also chose to use black and white for her performance.  Sitting in a red chair with his name on it, Nick called Megan so talented; adding that she made the world listen.  Sporting a Team Kelly jacket, Kelly called Megan so special; adding that she is very talented.

Next up is opera trained singer Mandi Thomas from a studio in Memphis with the Lee Ann Womack hit  “I Hope You Dance”.  Kelly said that the setup was cool; adding that she loved the song choice.  Kelly noted that Mandi can sing anything.

Micah Iverson chose the Sir Elton John smash “Your Song” for his performance.  Nick was directing while Kelly and John were waving their hands in the air.  Blake said that Micah explodes with his voice and seems to never run out of breath.  Kelly called Micah one of the best vocalists in the competition; adding that he was incredible.

Closing out Team Kelly is Team Kelly steal Cedrice with “Everything I Ever Wanted”.  Kelly called Cedrice crazy cool; adding that she is a stand alone artist.  Kelly said that she couldn’t wait to go to a Cedrice concert and buy her album.

Closing out the night is Team Blake…
Toneisha Harris performs one of Kelly’s songs with “Stronger”.  Kelly called the performance so good.  John noted that it was a bold move to sing one of Kelly’s songs; adding that she is a phenomenal singer. Blake kept saying yes; adding it was the best vocal performance of the night.  Kelly yelled if you need a backup singer call me.

Next up was country rocker Joei Fulco with the Dion hit “Runaway”.  Nick said that Joei’s voice is fun to listen to.  Blake called Joei’s voice infectious; adding that she killed it.

Blake steal Joanna Serenko chose the Hall and Oates hit song “Rick Girl” for her performance.  Kelly called Joanna fabulous; adding that it was a fun song choice.  A beaming Blake noted that Joanna’s voice is unique; adding that she made the song her own.

Closing out the night of music is Todd Tilghman went to church to perform his version of Peter Cetera song “Glory of Love” from the film “The Karate Kid II”.  Blake called Todd “The Karate Kid”; adding Todd is one of his favourite artists to have ever worked with.

The results will be revealed on Tuesday night with the return of the instant save.

Top 10 Revealed on Idol’s Home Week

Still working from their homes, the top 20 singers on “American Idol” will learn tonight who will move on to the top 10 after the fan vote eliminates half of them.

The show opens with season 10 winner Phillip Phillips singing his hit “Home” while clips of the top 20 are aired in their homes.  The theme for tonight is “Home” or places that make them feel at home.

This week Katy Perry comes dressed as a roll of toilet paper…but didn’t stay in costume.

Some 36 million votes were cast last week.  Unlike the earlier season that sported similar vote numbers, fans are limited to just 10 votes per week.

Host Ryan Seacrest announced that tonight only the judges have a chance to save one of the singers.

This week the singers get some one on one time with mentor Bobby Bones.

In the first results of the night, Louis Knight is the first singer in the top 10.  An excited Louis said that his heart is beating through the roof.  This past week Louis was delivering pizzas to health care workers  Louis chose the Coldplay song “In My Place”.  Sans her toilet paper costume, Katy said that it was a good song choice.  Luke wasn’t blown away; but said that Louis has star quality.  Lionel called the performance really good.

This week’s votes will place the top seven.

The next singer moving on to the top 10 is Julia Gargano.  Living in New York City, Julia chose “New York State of Mind” by Billy Joel for her “Home” themed song.  Luke called it his favourite performance of the year so far.  Lionel said that Julia took the song and made it her own.  Katy agreed with Luke; adding that Julia showed off how talented of a singer she was.

The third singer moving on to the top 10 was Jovin Webb “Voodoo” by Allen Stone.  Lionel loved the performance; adding that it was fabulous coming out of Jovin’s mouth.  Katy said that she was at a NOLA bar drinking; adding that she escaped with Jovin.  Luke said that Jovin did not hit one bad note; adding it was his best performance.

The next Idol hopeful moving into the top 10 is Country singer Grace Leer.  She chose “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” – a song she grew up singing.  Noting it was an unusual performance, Katy said that she showed off a big voice.  Agreeing with Katy, Luke loved the performance.  Lionel reminded Grace to remember who her audience is.

The next singer moving into the top 10 is Jonny West.  Jonny sang the Journey hit “Faithfully”.   Luke noted that Jonny’s ability to look comfortable is amazing; adding that he can do anything.  Lionel said that Jonny made the song his own.  Katy said the performance was beautiful and magical; adding that she wants to see one of his shows.

Halfway through building the top 10.  The next singer to join the coveted group is Sophia James.  Singing from her room in California, Sophia chose “In My Room” by The Beach Boys for her song.  Lionel noted that Sophia has done the work; adding that he loves her delivery.  Katy noted that Sophia has a career in music…with or without Idol.  Luke called Sophia a wonderful vocalist; adding that it was magic to watch.

The next singer moving on to the top 10 is Arthur Gunn.  All of the singers were surprised to learn their results, but Arthur was truly shocked to get the news.  The Nepal native chose the John Denver smash hit “Take Me Home, Country Roads” but with a reggae beat; saying that it reminds him of his home.  Katy said that she more connected with that performance.  Luke noted that Arthur put his own vibe on the song and showcased himself.  Lionel noted that Arthur made the song believable; adding that he loved what Arthur did.

Only three more spots remain to fill the top 10 and 13 singers hoping theirs is the next name to be called.

The next person moving into the top 10 is Just Sam.  Alone in California, Sam chose not to go home to New York when the news to quarantine came out.  She chose the Bill Withers song “Grandma’s Hands” for her Grandma in New York.  Luke noted that it is Sam’s range that makes her worth listening too.  Katy said that the song reminded her of being is church.

Filling one of the last two open spots in the top 10 is Dillon James.  Dillon said that he was not expecting that to happen. Dillon sang The Beatles hit and most covered song in history “Yesterday”.  Lionel noted that Dillon has a very identifiable voice.  Luke and Katy were looking for a little more shape and form in the song.

And the final singer in the top 10 is Francisco Martin!  Francisco’s mom is a nurse working on the front lines.  He chose the James Arthurs song “Falling Like the Stars”.  An emotional Katy, said the song was believable and she felt it.  Luke called Francisco a diamond in the rough.  Lionel gave a shout out to Francisco’s mom; adding that Francisco showed who he was and did a great job.

During a commercial break the judges discussed whether or not they wanted to take advantage of their one and only save for the season.  They chose to use the save.  Katy revealed that they were saving Makayla Phillips.  Katy said that Makayla can give the other singers a run for their money if she chooses the right songs.

Makayla’s dad is a fireman.  She chose to sing the Miranda Lambert song “The House that Built Me”.  Luke said that he is glad she came back to show how great she is.  Lionel called Makayla a star.  Katy said that she felt like Makayla was singing directly to her.

Next week the top eleven become the top seven with only two weeks remaining in the season.

Faux Real Releases Debut EP

Pop duo Faux Real has released their debut EP on May 1.

Faux Real member Virgile Arndt spoke on the duo’s self titled EP saying, “the EP tells the story of the inception of faux realism.  We draw from our own lives and obsessions and fears.”

The duo shot the video for their song “Kindred Spirit” in Mexico City.

Other songs on the EP include “Boss Sweet” and “Second Sweat”.

Created in 2018 by Franco-American brothers Elliott and Virgile Arndt, the brothers classify their music as, “elements of post-punk, glam rock, and contemporary R&B with a unique sense of humor, boy band tropes, and a forward-thinking approach to modern pop culture.”

 

 

Algerian Singer Idir Dies

Algerian musician Idir died May 2, 2020 in Pairs as a result of a pulmonary disease at the age of 70.  Idir had been diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis.

He was known for performing music of the Berber and Kabyle cultures.  The Kabylie People are from the northern area of Algeria in the Atlas Mountains.

Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune called Idir, “a monument” and “an icon of Algerian art.”

Idir perform solo with just his voice and the guitar.

He was born Hamid Cheriet on October 25, 1949 in Ait Lahcene in what was at the time French Algeria.  A trained geologist, a phone call in 1973 changed his life after he sang the traditional Berber lullaby “A Vava Inouva”.

Before moving to France in 1975, Idir served his mandatory military service.  Once in France, he recorded his debut album of North African songs also titled “A Vava Inouva”.

Taking a break from music for a time, Idir became an advocate for the Kabylie People; especially immigration and multiculturalism.

No list of survivors was listed.

Idir’s discography:
“A Vava Inouva”
“Identities”
“Live”
“Entre Scenes et Terres”
“La France des Couleurs”
“Idir”
“ici et ailleurs”
“Les Chasseurs de Lumieres”

 

 

 

Feature photo credit: By Georges Biard, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15809511

 

Lyons Says We’re ‘Brave Enough’

In this time of the Covid-19 pandemic, millions of people are out of work with tens of thousands dead, and thousands more are on the front lines caring for those who have become ill.

Lyons, Georgia Thomas Edgeworth, and Heidi Raye have penned an anthem for all of the front line workers – doctors, nurses, first responders, and police officers; and even truck drivers, postal workers, grocery, gas and pharmacy store clerks, janitors, security, farmers, warehouse workers, government, and CDC workers – titled “Brave Enough”.   Lyons says that the song honours all of those who are brave day in and day out serving on the front lines.

“Brave Enough” is available on Spotify and is set to be released to radio stations across the nation on May 5.

Believing that music is a healing power, Lyons said, “it (the song) speaks to everyone from parents home with their children, teachers helping to continue to educate online. To all the workers who have been laid off and feeling the economic impact. And most of all, to the ones who have lost a love one. We all have to be brave enough to keep going and we’re in this together.”  He adds, “I hope ‘Brave Enough’ reminds people to hang in there, have faith, hope – like my favorite line in the songs says ‘you got my back and you know I’ve got yours.’ We are all in this together and I encourage everyone to be strong, take it day by day and be brave enough!”

iRacing with Miles the Monster

After a wild ride in Talladega last week, Miles the Monster comes to iRacing and the Pro Invitational Series for 150 laps around the concrete mile.

In race analyst Clint Bowyer is taking the weekend off so Regan Smith is jumping into the simulator for the race at Dover.

After his wild ride and a wreck that put him in the catch fence at virtual Talladega, Hall of Fame driver Jeff Gordon returns to the studio to join Mike Joy for the race.

Jason Romano gets the pre-race festivities started with the traditional prayer from his Connecticut home.

Triple platinum recording artist and actor David Hasselhoff sings the National Anthem.

Award winning Country music star and winning “The Voice” coach Blake Shelton gives a rousing command to start engines from his Oklahoma home.

The drivers will get one reset for crash repairs.

Denny Hamlin made the fastest lap to win the pole position, but the first ten drivers in the field have been inverted putting Ross Chastain on the pole.

Last week’s top three drivers – race winner Alex Bowman, Corey LaJoie, and Ryan Preece have been put at the back of the field.

Ross Chastain brings the field down for the green flag start of the race with “watermelon man” Ross Chastain getting out in front for the lead.  The drivers quickly get single file.

Lap four, Parker Kligerman gets around Ross Chastain for the lead.

Lap five, the top five drivers are Parker Kligerman, Timmy Hill, Ross Chastain, Garrett Smithley, and Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Lap 10, Parker Kilgerman continues to lead the race.

After falling back in the field, in-race reporter Regan Smith is asking for a hot dog break.

The caution flag comes out on lap 13 for a wreck, Corey LaJoie, Daniel Suarez, Chad Finchum, Brennan Poole, and Kevin Harvick were among those involved.

The drivers come down pit road for fresh tires.  Dover is a concrete track that is very abrasive on tires and the drivers will come and get fresh tires as often as possible.

After taking only two tires, Denny Hamlin is in the lead.

Denny Hamlin brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 19 with Denny Hamlin getting out in front of Parker Kligerman for the lead.

Timmy Hill and Parker Kligerman make contact and brings out the caution flag on lap 23.

After only four green flag laps, some of the drivers come down pit road for fresh tires.

William Byron brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 28 with Landon Cassill alongside on the front row.

William Byron jumps out in front for the lead.

Lap 30, the top five are William Byron, Landon Cassill, Kurt Busch, Joey Logano, and Alex Bowman.

Matt DiBenedetto and Ross Chastain mix it up a bit but the track stays green.

Lap 40, William Byron continues to lead the race with Timmy Hill in second.  Also a race winner, Alex Bowman is in third place.  William Byron is the only driver to win more than one race with two wins.

The caution flag comes out on lap 41 after Erik Jones and Kyle Busch crash.

Leader Garrett Smithley took only two tires while the remainder of the field took four.

Garrett Smithley brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 45 but William Byron gets out in front quickly to retake the lead.

Lap 50, the top five are William Byron, Timmy Hill, Garrett Smithley, Denny Hamlin, and Alex Bowman.

The caution flag comes out on lap 53 after Kurt Busch, Joey Logano, Regan Smith, Parker Kilgerman, and Matt DiBenedetto were amont those to get into a crash.  Busch and Logano make contact with the rest getting caught up in the melee.

Garrett Smithley brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 58 and gets out in front for the lead with Alex Bowman in second; Jimmie Johnson, William Byron, and Timmy Hill round out the top five.

There are 30 cars on the lead lap.

Joey Logano gets loose and taps the wall but saves the car and the track stays green.

Lap 63, Alex Bowman takes the lead with William Byron in second place.

Lap 67, William Byron passes team mate Alex Bowman to retake the lead of the race.

The caution flag comes out on lap 73 after JJ Yeley gets into a crash that results in damage to the front and back of his car.

Most of the drivers come down pit road for service.

Halfway through the race, all of the drivers come down pit road for four fresh tires.

Timmy Hill brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 76 and holds on to the lead as the drivers get spread out across the track battling for position.

The sixth caution flag of the race comes out on lap 77 after Jimmie Johnson get hit from behind and gets into the wall.  Parker Kligerman and Chris Buescher were also involved.

Timmy Hill brings the field down for the green flag restart with 68 laps remaining in the race.  Timmy Hill gets out in front of William Byron for the lead.  Alex Bowman gets into the wall but the track stays green.

With 66 laps remaining in the race, the top five are Timmy Hill, William Byron, John Hunter Nemechek, Alex Bowman, and Ross Chastain.

Sixty to go, Timmy Hill has a narrow lead on William Byron; John Hunter Nemechek, Alex Bowman and Denny Hamlin round out the top five.

Lap 100, 50 to go, William Byron takes the lead from Timmy Hill; John Hunter Nemechek, Denny Hamlin, and Alex Bowman round out the top five.  There are 28 cars on the lead lap.

The caution flag comes out on lap 106 when Daniel Suarez and Alex Bowman make contact.

William Byron wins the race off of pit road.

William Byron brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 113 and jumps out infront of Timmy Hill for the lead; John Hunter Nemechek Denny Hamlin, and Garrett Smithley round out the top five.

The caution flag comes out on lap 114 after a wreck involving Regan Smith and Kyle Busch.

With eight caution flags, Miles the Monster has been very hungry and has been eating up the cars.

William Byron brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 119 with William Byron out in front with Timmy Hill in second.

Twenty five to go, William Byron is in the lead with 22 cars on the lead lap.

Twenty to go, William Byron leads the race, Timmy Hill, Denny Hamlin, Christopher Bell, and Garrett Smithley round out the top five.  The top three drivers have won four of the five Pro Invitational Series races with William Byron winning two of them.

Fifteen to go, William Byron leads the race.

The caution flag comes out with 15 laps remaining in the race after Denny Hamlin and John Hunter Nemechek get into a wreck;  Dale Earnhardt is also involved in the crash.

Drivers come down pit road for fresh tires.

Timmy Hill is listed as the race leader.

The top four drivers took only two tires.

Timmy Hill brings the field down for the green flag restart with only 10 laps remaining in the race.  Timmy Hill takes the lead with William Byron, Christopher Bell, Erik Jones, and Michael McDowell rounding out the top five.

Eight laps remain in the race, William Byron is on leader Timmy Hill’s buper and challenging for the lead.

William Byron gets around Timmy Hill to take the lead with seven laps to go.

With five laps to go Christopher Bell gets around Timmy Hill to take second place and sets his sights on leader William Byron.

With 17 cars on the lead lap, William Byron takes the white flag.

William Byron takes the threepete as he wins his third race of the series with Hendrick Motorsports drivers winning the past four races.

Next week is Mother’s Day and no NASCAR racing, but on Saturday – May 9 – the Pro Invitational Series presents a special event with a race from one of the most iconic tracks in NASCAR history.

Saturday Night Thunder Comes to Dover

Saturday Night Thunder and iRacing travel this week to Dover, Delaware and the Monster Mile for a battle on the virtual concrete.

Nearly 50 drivers have signed up looking for a battle on the Monster Mile.  After two laps of single car qualifying, there will four 10 lap heat races and a 15 lap Last Chance Qualifier race before the 125 lap main event.  Some half of the field will be sent home with only 26 drivers in the main event.

This week the drivers will not have the advantage of the reset or quick repair function to repair any crash damage during the race.  Nor will there be any caution flags during the heat races.

In heat race number one, Josh Berry will sit one the pole and bring the field down for the green flag.

Josh Berry brings the field down for the green flag start of the race with Josh Berry getting out in front for the lead.  Josh Bilicki gets into the wall on lap one.

Josh Berry leads the way with Chase Cabre in second.  The top six finishers – half of the field – will move on to the main event.

Halfway, Josh Berry continues to lead the race by nearly half a second over Chase Cabre.  Josh Bilicki has hit the wall several times in the race.

Josh Berry wins the race after leading every lap.  Chase Cabre, Stephen Leicht, Drew Herring, Ruben Garcia Jr, and Jeb Burton will all move on to the main event.

Donny Lia will bring the field down for the green flag start of heat number two with Anthony Alfredo starting alongside on the front row.

Donny Lia brings the field down for the green flag start of the heat with Anthony Alfredo jumping out in front for the lead.  Back in the field the drivers are getting aggressive with some wild driving.Big wreck on lap seven with Elliott Sadler spinning out after he and Justin Allgaier make contact and get into the wall.

Halfway, Anthony Alfredo leads the way with pole sitter Donny Lia in third.

Anthony Alfredo leads every lap to win the second heat and a spot in the main event.  Raphael Lessard, Donny Lia, Chase Briscoe, Tommy Joe Martins, and Will Rodgers are also moving on to the main event.

In heat three, Ty Majeski sits on the pole with Alex Labbe starting alongside on the front row.

Ty Majeski brings the field down for the green flag start of the heat with Ty Majeski getting out in front for the lead.

Blake Koch and Myatt Snider crash on lap one and are out of the race.

Halfway, Ty Majeskit leads the way with Alex Labbe in second and Christian Eckes in third.

Again after leading every lap, Ty Majeski wins the heat and moves on to the main event.  Alex Labbe, Christian Eckes, Noah Gragson, Ryan Vargas, and Ryan Truex are also moving on to the main event.

In the final heat race, Bayley Currey sits on the pole with Landon Hoffman starting alongside on the front row.

Bayley Currey brings the field down for the green flag start of the race with Bayley Currey jumping out in front for the lead.  Contact on the track between Brett Moffitt and Jeffrey Earnhardt make contact and send Earnhardt into the wall.

Gus Dean and Spencer Boyd also make contact on lap two.

Bayley Currey continues to lead the race; he is the third pole sitter to get out in front for the lead.

Halfway, Bayley Currey is in the lead but the top four drivers are separated by only half a second.

For the first time tonight, there is a new leader in the race with Kaz Grala taking the lead after Bayley gets into the wall and falls to fifth place.

Kaz Grala wins the race with Landon Hoffman in second; Todd Gilliland, Derek Kraus, Tyler Ankrum, and Bayley Currey will also move on to the main event.

Sam Mayer with Thad Moffitt make up the front row for the first of two Last Chance Qualifer races.  Only the race winners will move on to the main event.

Sam Mayer brings the field down for the green flag start of the race with Sheldon Creed and Blake Koch getting into a wreck.  Sam Mayer takes the lead of the race.

Mayer leads the first of 15 laps as drivers get very aggressive with plenty of beating and banging for position.

Lap five, Sam Mayer has a lead of over a second on Harrison Burton.

Lap seven, Sam Mayer has increased his lead to a second and a half on Harrison Burton.

Matt Mills gets into the wall.

Five to go, Sam Mayer continues to lead the race with only five cars on the lead lap.

Three to go, Sam Mayer has pulled out to a lead of two seconds on Harrison Burton.

After taking the white flag and leading every lap, Sam Mayer wins the first of two LCQ races and will move on to the main event.

For LCQ number two, Scott Stenzel sits on the pole and will bring the field to the green flag.

Scott Stenzel brings the field down for the green flag start of the race with Stenzel jumping out in front for the lead.  Brett Moffitt and Ryan Ellis battle it out for the second spot.

The cars are all single file on lap two with Scott Stenzel leading the way.

Lap three Scott Stenzel and Brett Moffitt battle for the lead with Brett Moffitt taking the lead.

Scott Stenzel gets into the wall and catches up Jess Iwuji…twice.  Kyle Weatherman and Austin Cindric are also involved in the crash.

Halfway, Brett Moffitt has a half second lead on Ryan Ellis.

With four laps to go, Brett Moffit has a second lead on Ryan Ellis with seven cars on the lead lap.

Brett Moffitt wins the race and will be the final driver into the main event.

In the feature race, the top 10 drivers will be inverted with Donny Lia and Stephen Leicht sitting on the front row.

Donny Lia brings the field down for the green flag start of the 125 feature race with Donny Lia getting out in front for the lead as drivers battle for position behind him.

There will be caution flag during the main race.

Over the past several days, iRacing has been updating the tracks and including the safer barriers that were added to the tracks in recent years.

Lap eight, Donny Lia holds on to a narrow lead on Landon Hoffman.

Like the real Monster Mile, tire wear is an issue for the iRacing drivers.  Saving tires will be a big issue during the race.

The drivers will have to make a pit stop during the race.

Lap 16, Donny Lia continues to lead the rce with Landon Huffman in second.

Twenty laps into the race the caution flag comes out after a crash involving Tyler Ankrum; Tommy Joe Martins and Ryan Vargas were also among those who were involved in the wreck.

Donny Lia wins the race off of pit road.

Donny Lia brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 23 with Donny Lia getting out in front for the lead.

The caution flag comes out on lap 25 for a crash involving Drew Herring, Anthony Alfredo, and Noah Gragson.

Donny Lia brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 30 with Raphael Lessard alongside on the front row.  Donny Lia edges out Raphael Lessard for the lead while Anthony Alfredo and Chase Cabre battle it out for third.

The caution flag comes out for a wreck involving Christian Eckes getting into the wall; Ruben Garcis Jr, Ty Majeski, Josh Berry, and Noah Gragson were also involved.

Most of the leaders stay out on the track but a few drivers come down pit road for service.  There are 16 drivers on the lead lap.

Donny Lia brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 36 and holds on to his lead.

Lap 39, Donny Lia continues to lead the race with Anthony Alfredo moving into the second spot.

Lap 48, with Donny Lia in the lead; Anthony Alfredo and Raphael Lessard battle for second with Alfredo holding on to the spot.

Lap 57, Donny Lia leads the race with only 14 cars on the lead lap.

Halfway, Donny Lia leads the way with Anthony Alfredo in second; Raphael Lessard, Alex Labbe, and Landon Huffman round out the top five.

Anthony Alfredo and Raphael Lessard battle it out for second place with Lessard taking the spot with 58 laps remaining in the race.

With 54 laps remaining in the race, Donny Lia has a lead of over a second on Raphael Lessard with 13 cars on the lead lap.

Anthony Alfredo passes Raphael Lessard for second with Donny Lia two seconds out in front for he lead.

Alex Labbe is the first driver down pit road for fresh tires and fuel on lap 77.  The drivers can make it to the end of the race from this point.

When leader Donny Lia comes down pit road for service, he gives the lead over to Anthony Alfredo for the first lead change of the race.

Race leader Anthony Alfredo comes down pit road, giving the lead over the Raphael Lessard.  Will Rodgers gets into the tires and needs help getting out.

With 41 laps to go, Chase Cabre takes the lead when Raphael Lessard comes down pit road.

Chase Cabre misses pit road and has to go around.

Kaz Grala is the new leader.  Still needing to make his pit stop, Grala is the only driver on the lead lap.

Donnie Lia was caught speeding on pit road and had to serve a penalty.

Driving on worn out tires, Kaz Grala’s speeds are slowing down; allowing other drivers to unlap themselves.  There are now seven cars on the lead lap.

Leader Kaz Grala finally brings his car down pit road with 25 laps remaining in the race.

Alex Labbe is the new leader with Anthony Alfredo in second over a second back.  There are eight cars on the lead lap.

Kaz Grala comes back out on the track in tenth place, one lap down.

Twenty to go, Anthony Alfredo has closed the gap to leader Alex Labbe to less than a second.

With 17 laps to go, Anthony Alfredo has closed the gap on leader Alex Labbe to under half a second.  Labbe’s tires are six laps older than Alfredo’s tires.

Thirteen to go, Anthony Alfredo has caught up to leader Alex Labbe; the two battle for the lead.

With 12 laps remaining in the race, Anthony Alfred takes the lead but Alex Labbe comes up to challenge for the lead.

Ten to go with Anthony Alfredo in the lead; Alex Labbe, Landon Huffman, Raphael Lessard, and Chase Cabre rounding out the top five.  After leading most of the race, Donny Liahas falled to eleventh place, one lap down.

Alex Labbe retakes the lead with seven laps to go.
Anthony Alfredo regains the lead as the two drivers continue to battle back and forth.

Five to go, Anthony Alfredo has pulled out to a half second lead on Alex Labbe.

With only eight cars on the lead lap, Anthony Alfredo takes the white flag.

Anthony Alfredo wins the race with a lead of over a second.

Get ‘Your Red Light’ with Valley Queen

The Los Angeles band Valley Queen has just released their new single “Your Red Light” with the seven inch vinyl single due out May 15.  The song “Bad Astrology” will also be on the seven inch single.  Emily Gold of Cosmo Girl also joins the band on the songs.

The video for “Your Red Light” is out now.  Fans can pre-order the single on the band’s website at ValleyQueenMusic.com.

Valley Queen released their debut full length album “Supergiant” in 2018.

 

Rage Against the Machine – New Dates

Like many artists, Rage Against the Machine have had to rework tour dates.  The rockers announced that their reunion tour dates have been rescheduled and they are ready to rock the stage next year when hopefully all is safe once again.

Tickets purchased prior to postponement of the tour will be good for the new dates.  Fans who need or want a refund, may obtain one.

Rage Against the Machine 2021 rescheduled tour dates:
June 3 at the Don Haskins Center in El Paso, TX
June 5 at the Pan American Center in Las Cruces, NM
June 7 & 8 at the Gila River Arena in Glendale, AZ
June 11 & 12 at the Oakland Arena in Oakland, CA
June 15 at the Moda Center in Portland, OR
June 17 at the Tacoma Dome in Tacoma, WA
June 19 at the Pacific Coliseum at the PNE in Vancouver, BC
June 21 at Rogers Place in Edmonton, AB
June 23 at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, AB
June 25 at the Bell MTS Place in Winnipeg, MB
July 2 & 3 at the Target Center in Minneapolis, MN
July 5 at the Denny Sanford Premier Center in Sioux Falls, SD
July 7 at the Spring Center in Kansas City, MO
July 9 at the Enterprise Center in St. Louis, MO
July 10 at the Alpine Valley Music Theatre in East Troy, WI
July 12 & 13 at the United Center in Chicago, IL
July 20 at the FirstOntario Centre in Hamilton, ON
July 22 & 23 at the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, ON
July 26 & 27 at the Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, MI
July 29 at the KeyBank Center in Buffalo, NY
Aug 6, 7, 9, 10, & 12 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, NY
Aug 14 & 15 at the Capital One Arena in Washington, DC
Aug 17 at the PNC Arena in Raleigh, NC
Aug 19 at the PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, PA
Aug 20 at the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland, OH
Bottom of Form

 

The Eagles – New Dates

With the outbreak of the Covid-19 virus bands have had to postpone many tour dates and are now scrambling to reschedule those dates.

Rock icons The Eagles, have rescheduled the dates for their Hotel California Tour in the United States; but fans will have to wait until next fall to see the Hall of Fame rockers.

One of their most iconic albums, The Eagles will play two sets in each show – one where they will play “Hotel California” in its entirety and a second set that will include some of their biggest hits.

Fans who have already purchased tickets for the shows, can use those tickets for the new dates.  Fans who cannot make the new dates, refunds are available from the point of purchase.

The Eagles “Hotel California” 2021 tour dates:
Sept 16 & 18 at the Pepsi Center in Denver, CO
Sept 21 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, TX
Sept 24 & 25 at the Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix, AZ
Oct 1 & 2 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, MN
Oct 15, 16, & 19 at The Forum in Los Angeles, CA
Oct 22 & 23 at the Chase Center in San Francisco, CA

Indy, F1 Look to Restart Racing

NASCAR has released the news that they will begin live racing again on May 17, Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Formula One racing hope to follow suit in the coming weeks.

Like many state governors, Indiana state governor Eric Holcomb is making plans to reopen the state, including a return to racing with fans in the stands; but with some social distancing guidelines.

The Governor is hoping that the July 4 weekend – the date that was originally scheduled to host an IndyCar and NASCAR Xfinity Series doubleheader – will be the day that fans can return to the track for some racing action.  The Brickyard 400 is scheduled to run the next day on July 5.

Penske Entertainment Corporation president Mark Miles noted that there may be other precautions required depending on the health situation at the time; adding that plans could change depending on whether or not there is a resurgence of the Covid-19 virus.

The annual Indianapolis 500 that usually takes place on Memorial Day weekend has been rescheduled for August 23.

Miles noted that they are hoping the IndyCar racing season can get underway on June 6 at Texas Motor Speedway.

Formula One racing has missed 10 races due to lock down orders and a ban on large crowds has spread across Europe due to the Covid-19 virus.

F1 is looking to resume the season on July 5 with the Austrian Grand Prix in the Styrian mountains.  Formula One is looking to revive their season with 15 to 18 of the 22 racing season.

Normally F1 runs every two weeks but in hopes of salvaging as much of the season as possible, they may run some races on consecutive weekends.

F1 officials have noted that one major concern is the safety of everyone involved in the circuit and ensuring that they have all been tested and cleared to be a part of the racing events.

The isolated nature of the Red Bull Ring in Austria makes it easier to control the environment to ensure safety; but the British Grand Prix on July 19 is not and has officials contemplating running the race without the fans.

The tracks in Hungary and Belgium are also rather isolated.  Formula One is looking to hold races in Eurasia, Asia, the Americas, Bahrain, and Abu Dhabi; however, future racing plans are all contingent on the control of the virus.

 

feature photo credit: By Nic Redhead – Flickr: Justin Wilson, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=83419891

Queen Releases ‘Champions’ Charity Single

From “Band Aid” and “We Are the World” to MusiCares, musicians have long come to the aid of those in need by releasing charity videos and singles.

Among the songs being released to aid health workers and those affected by the Covid-19 virus is a reworked version of the Queen smash hit “We Are the Champions”.

With Adam Lambert providing the vocals from his Los Angeles home; while Brian May and Roger Taylor perform from their homes in the United Kingdom, the song has been redone to include “You Are the Champions” in a tribute to front line health workers taking care of Covid-19 patients.

After the initial video went viral, the band has added Neil Fairclough on bass and released the song as a single.

Proceeds will go to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund which is dedicated to providing badly needed equipment and supplies to workers around the world.

Drummer Roger Taylor has a daughter who is one of those front line workers said that he is “ultra-aware” of the vital work being done by the health workers on the front lines; adding, “they are precious to us all and they are truly our champions.”

When original lead singer Freddie Mercury originally created the song, he said that he wanted a song that everyone could sing along to.  The song has since become a stadium anthem sung loudly from sports stadiums around the globe.

Stones Launch New Series

The Rolling Stones have been touring the world and making music for over 50 years, but the rockers have had to put tour plans on hold due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, The Stones have found a way to entertain their fans by launching a new streaming service they are calling “Extra Licks”.

The weekly broadcast will feature live concert footage including rarely seen performances ranging from the Voodoo Lounge to the Ole! Tours.

The musical festivities will kick off on May 3 at 8pm British time – 3pm on the east coast and noon Pacific time.  “Extra Licks” can be seen on the Rolling Stones official YouTube channel.  The series will last for six weeks and include footage that has never been broadcast in a digital format before now.

The first episode will feature music from the Ole! Tour,

Gateway Drugs: ‘PSA’

It has been five years since psyche rockers Gateway Drugs has released an album.  On May 8 they will be releasing their new album “PSA”.  The new album is the follow up to “Magick Spells”.

The band has just released their newest single “I’m Always Around”; the follow up to “Slumber”.

Recorded live, the band had the recording completed in less than two weeks.  Speaking on the album, the band said, “”PSA’ is an album that reflects everything that is wrong in the here and now: the weaknesses of the world laid bare, and the almost total state of apathy we all find ourselves in due to feeling powerless to effect any change with respect to all this.”

Based in Los Angeles, Gateway Drugs is comprised of siblings Liv, Noa, and Gabe Niles; along with friend James Sanderson.

“PSA” track list:
“Invitation”
“Wait (Medication)”
“Bored”
“Slumber”
“Lillie”
“I’m Always Around”
“Backroom Lover”
“Interlude”
“The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”
“Psychotic Reaction”

NASCAR Makes Changes in Cars

Auto racing is a dangerous sport, but NASCAR strives to make a dangerous sport as safe as possible.  Advocates like retired driver Jeff Burton are constantly pushing for safety measures to protect the drivers in times of an accident.

In the wake of the last lap crash of the 2020 Daytona 500 that sent Ryan Newman to the hospital and out of his race car for two months, NASCAR has made some changes to the design of the cars for the super speedway tracks of Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Speedway.

In the past, NASCAR has added role bars to the inside of cars after crashes involving Dale Earnhardt and Richard Petty.  Those role bars are now known as the Earnhardt and Petty bars.  When NASCAR takes to the track again at Daytona and Talladega, there will be two new roll bar support pieces added to the car in the area where Newman’s was was hit.

In addition, NASCAR is requiring a second oil flow valve to the Dayton and Talladega cars.  Newman’s car caught fire as a result of leaking oil.

After some time away from the track due to lock down orders, NASCAR is making a few changes to the engines used in the cars.

In an effort to reduce crashes and multiple “big ones”, NASCAR is reducing the air flow in the engine which will also reduce the closing rate on the cars.