More Auditions on ‘American Idol’

On this third week of auditions, “American Idol” begins with the judges doing a little meditation in Ojai, California.

Texas native Cecil Ray got the music started off with a performance that had Luke calling him absolute perfection and what they are about at Idol. Katy called Cecil a fireball; adding that she reminds her ofa country Justin Bieber. Lionel said that Cecil has no idea what he has. Cecil got three yeses and a ticket to Hollywood.

An Idol first, an entire family – The Sharpe Family Singers – performed before Samantha Sharpe performed “Titanium”. She got her ticket to Hollywood.

Graham Defranco is a pilot by profession but is looking to expand his music beyond a few open mic nights. Lionel said that Graham has a gift that he hasn’t gone for. Luke added that his voice is one of the most listenable voices they have ever heard. Graham got three yeses nd a ticket to Hollywood.

McGovern sang an original song about auditioning and the judges. Tom didn’t get his ticket to Hollywood but got some encouragement for writing jingles from Katy.

Mary Jo Young’s mother has never heard her sing live. While she has been singing since she was small, she has never performed in public. Katy said that it was pretty cool. The judges had Mary Jo get her mom so they could see and hear her sing in person. Katy said that Mary Jo has an amazing voice; adding that Mary Jo reminded her of Julia Michaels. Lionel said that he loved the idea of watching Mary Jo grow on the show. Luke called Mary Jo a top 10 singer. She got three yeses and a ticket to Hollywood.

In a series of clips Xavier Washington, Celeste Butler, and Dzaki all originally auditioned online and when they performed before the judges, they all got their tickets to Hollywood.

Christian McGuckian chose the Little Big Town song “Girl Crush” for her audition. This being her very first audition, she was very nervous. Luke said that she had magic country stuff in her voice but let things going on around her get in the way. The judges noted that she had a timing issue. Katy said that Christian has the talent. Christian got her ticket to Hollywood.

Alanis Sophia took Katy’s breath away before she even uttered the first word with her audition. Katy called Alanis confident and pure. Lionel said that there was a purity in her voice; adding that she had so much potential. Luke said that it felt awesome to watch. Alans brought her “American Idol” toy microphone for the audition. Katy told Alanis’ mother that she was the best they had heard today. She got three yeses and her ticket to Hollywood.

Mias is a firefighter in Apopka, Florida and comes form a large family. He chose the Lynrd Skynrd song “Simple Man” for his audition. Katy called his voice pure and magical but is missing something. Lionel loved the timbre of Mias voice; adding that there was a lot in there. Luke said that there is a lot in there. Katy said that it was a no…for now. Lionel wants Mias to come back.

Timmy Skelly got a little help with his auditon of “My Funny Valentine” when his mom joined in. Timmy got his ticket to Hollywood.

Calling herself extraterrestrial, ET – Erika Perry – had Katy calling her out of this world. Luke wondered what language Erika was singing in. Lionel wondered if it was a singing style or a gimick. Katy wanted to hear more with no gimicks. Katy called Erika likable. Katy gave Erika a yes, Lionel didn’t get it, and Luke said that he thought there was too much to do. Lionel gave her a very reluctant yes. She got her ticket to Hollywood.

Franklin, Tennessee native Hunter Metts is hoping that the third time is the charm for his Idol audition. In previous attempts it was seen as a conflict of interest since his sister worked for Disney. Luke said that Hunter one note that was the real deal and almost brought him to tears. Lionel said that they have plans for him. Saying that he was excited about his vote, Lionel gave a yes. Katy and Luke called Hunter top 10 material. Hunter got his ticket to Hollywood.

In the final audition of the night, Ronda Felton, got emotional in the interview and Lionel gave her his handkerchief. Performing a song from “Dreamgirls”, Ronda brought tears to Lionel’s eyes. Lionel called the performance the moment that would change Ronda’s life. Luke called it a great performance; adding that he had a feeling that it wasn’t her best performance. Ronda got three yeses and a ticket to Hollywood. Ronda’s mom’s favourite song is “Zoom” by The Commodores. Lionel sang the song with them. Lionel noted that when he wrote the song, he was deeply troubled; adding that he was happy it brought joy to her life.

Next week the music…and tears…continue as the auditions go on.

Three in a Row for Cup Series in FL

The NASCAR Cup Series closes out three weeks of Florida racing with the Dixie Vodka 400 from Homestead Miami Speedway.

With only a few races this season setting the field by qualifying runs, the field for today’s race was set the by complicated format used by NASCAR that uses the previous race finish and points standings to set the field. 

Denny Hamlin won the pole but will have to move to the back of the field after his crew made unapproved adjustments to the car after the inspection process.  Alex Bowman and Corey LaJoie also must start the race from the back of the field for unapproved adjustments.  James Davison moves to the rear of the field after his car failed to pass inspection multiple times.

The tire carrier who was hit during a pit stop in Saturday’s race is sore but back at the track and ready to help crew the car.

The starting lineup for the Dixie Vodka 400:
Denny Hamlin – moved to the back of the field
Joey Logano
Christopher Bell
Kevin Harvick
Kurt Busch
Michael McDowell
Brad Keselowski
Ryan Preece
Martin Truex Jr
Cole Custer
Chase Elliott
Chris Buescher
Alex Bowman – moved to the back of the field
Ryan Blaney
Ricky Stenhouse Jr
Aric Almirola
Kyle Larson
Erik Jones
Bubba Wallace
Justin Haley
Daniel Suarez
Austin Dillon
Ryan Newman
Kyle Busch
Corey LaJoie – moved to the back of the field
Cody Ware
Anthony Alfredo
Garrett Smithley
James Davison – moved to the back of the field
Chase Briscoe
William Byron
Ross Chastain
Timmy Hill
BJ McLeod
Tyler Reddick
Josh Bilicki
Matt DiBenedetto
Quin Houff

Only six of the 38 racers in today’s race have won a race at Homestead Miami before; it sets the table for the third first time winner in a row to start the 2021 season.

Stages one and two of the race are 80 laps each with stage three lasting 107 laps for a total of 267 laps around the mile and a half track.

NASCAR has called for a competition caution on lap 25.

Joey Logano and Christopher Bell bring the field down for the green flag start of the race with Joey Logano getting out in front for the lead as the drivers get three and four wide across the track.

Lap two, the top five are Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski, Kurt Busch, and Michael McDowell.

BJ McLeod makes an unscheduled trip down pit road.

Lap three, Denny Hamlin has already moved up to 21st place and Alex Bowman is in 27th after starting the race from the back of the field.

Lap five, BJ McLeod is two laps down after coming down it road right after race start.

Lap six, Jeoy Logano leads the race, Brad Keselowski, Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch, and Christopher Bell round out the top five.

Lap nine, Timmy Hill makes an unscheduled trip down pit road.

Lap 10, Joey Logano has led every lap so far; Brad Kesellowski, Kurt Busch, Kevin Harvick, and Christopher Bell round out the top five.

Lap 13, Brad Keselowski is the new leader; Joey Logano, Kurt Busch, Kyle Larson, and Kevin Harvick round out the top five.

Lap 16, Brad Keselowski ahs a lead of over a second on team mate Joey Logano; Kurt Busch, Kyle Larson, and Ricky Stenhouse Jr round out the top five. 

Lap 19, there are 33 cars on the lead lap.

Lap 21, at 23rd and 24th, Alex Bowman and Denny Hamlin have not been able to move up in the field after starting the race from the back of the field.

Lap 22, Brad Keselowski has increased his lead to nearly three seconds on Joey Logano; Kurt Busch, Kyle Larson, and Ricky Stenhouse Jr round out the top five with 32 cars on the lead lap.

At the end of lap 25, NASCAR puts out the yellow flag for the competition caution.

Garrett Smithley is the “lucky dog”.

Drivers come down pit road for service with Brad Keselowski winning the race off of pit road.

Brad Keselowski brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 31 from the outside lane and battle with Kurt Busch for the lead as the two swap it back and forth with Keselowski taking the lead on lap 32.

The top five are Brad Keselowski, Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano, Chris Buescher, and Kurt Busch.

Timmy Hill is off the track.

Lap 35, Brad Keselowski leads the race; Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick, Ricky Stenhouse Jr, and Chris Buescher round out the top five with 32 cars on the lead.

Kevin Harvick is reporting that he car has no grip.  His crew chief reports that the track will come to them as the race moves from day into night under cloudy skies.

Lap 42, Brad Keselowski continues to lead the race; Chris Buescher, William Byron, Joey Logano, and Ricky Stenhouse Jr round out the top five.

While the race has started in the afternoon, it will finish under the lights.

Denny Hamlin is reporting some issues with his car including a cooling system failure.

Lap 47, Chris Buescher becomes the first non Penske driver to lead the race but, brad Keselowski retakes the lead.

Lap 50, Alex Bowman has entered the top 10 in eighth place after having to start the race from the back of the field for unapproved adjustments.

Brad Keselowski leads the race but Chris Buescher continues to challenge for the lead.

Lap 52, Chris Buescher passes Brad Keselowski for the lead; William Byron, Joey Logano, and Kurt Busch round out the top five.

Lap 58, the top five are Chris Buescher, William Byron, Brad Keselowski, Kurt Busch, and Joey Logano with 31 cars on the lead lap. Timmy Hill is out of the race.

Lap 63, Chris Buescher has a lead of over three seconds on William Byron; Brad Keselowski, Kurt Busch, and Alex Bowman round out the top five.

The caution flag comes out on lap 64 for James Davison’s smoking car.  Davison makes it to the garage.  IN the words of FOX Sports broadcaster Mike Joy, something expensive broke on Davison’s car.

Garrett Smithley is the “lucky dog” once again.

Denny Hamlin reports that he has made some in car repairs and the cooling system has been fixed.

Drivers bring their cars down pit road for service with Chris Buescher winning the race off of pit road.

Chris Buescher brings the field down for the green flag restart with just eight laps remaining in stage one.  Drivers get three and four wide across the track as Chris Buescher and Brad Keselowski battle for the lead with Keselowski taking the top spot.

Alex Bowman’s car is smoking with a possible tire rub.

Six to go in stage one; Brad Keselowski leads the race; Chris Buescher, Alex Bowman, Martin Truex Jr, and William Byron round out the top five.

Lap 76, Chris Buescher and Brad Keselowski continue to battle for the lead; so far, Keselowski holds on to the lead by a tenth of a second.

Lap 78, Chris Buescher gets around Brad Keselowski for the lead; Alex Bowman, Martin Truex Jr, and William Byron round out the top five.

Chris Buescher wins his first stage as a Cup Series driver.

The top 10 at the end of stage one:
Chris Buescher
Brad Keselowski
Martin Truex Jr
William Byron
Alex Bowman
Kyle Larson
Joey Logano
Chase Elliott
Kurt Busch
Austin Dillon

Drivers come down pit road for service with Chris Buescher winning the race off of pit road.

Chris Buescher brings the field down for the green flag start of stage two on lap 88 from the inside lane.  Once again Chris Buescher and Brad Keselowski battle for the lead while drivers get three wide through the field.  Chris Buescher takes the lead.

Lap 90, Chase Elliott is the new leader; Kyle Larson, Chris Buescher, Brad Keselowski, and William Byron round out the top five.

Denny Hamlin has finally made it into the top 10 after having to start the race from the back of the field.

Lap 93, Chris Buescher passes Chase Elliott to retake the lead; Kyle Larson, William Byron, and Brad Keselowski round out the top five.

James Davison and Timmy Hill are the only drivers out of the race with 32 cars on the lead lap.

Lap 96, Chris Buescher leads the race; Chase Elliott, Kyle Larson, Willian, and Martin Truex Jr round out the top five.

Lap 100, Chris Buescher continues to lead the race by over a second and a half; Kyle Larson, William Byron, Chase Elliott, and Martin Truex Jr round out the top five with 32 cars on the lead lap.

Lap 105, Chris Buescher has a lead of over a second and a half on Kyle Larson; William Byron, Martin Truex Jr, and Chase Elliott round out the top five. 

Lap 107, Kyle Larson has cut into Chris Buescher’s lead and the gap is now a second and a half; Martin Truex Jr, William Byron, and Kurt Busch round out the top five.

Lap 116, Chris Buescher’s lead is down to under a second and a half in front of Martin Truex Jr; William Byron, Kyle Larson, and Kurt Busch round out the top five.  There are 30 cars on the lead lap.

Lap 118, Ryan Newman begins the cycle of green flag pit stops.

Lap 121, Martin Truex gets around Chris Buescher to take the lead as green flag pit stops continue.

Right after taking the lead, Martin Truex Jr brings his car down pit road for service.  Bubba Wallace is the new leader.

Bubba Wallace makes his green flag pit stop and gives the lead over to Martin Truex Jr.

Lap 130, the top five are Martin Truex Jr, Chris Buescher, William Byron, Kurt Busch, and Austin Dillon.  There are 28 cars on the lead lap with two drivers out of the race.

Lap 132, Martin Truex Jr ahs a lead of over two seconds on Chris Buescher.

Lap 135, Chris Buescher has closed the gap on leader Martin Truex Jr to under two seconds; William Byron, Kurt Busch, and Austin Dillon round out the top five.

Former Cup Series driver and current FOX Sports broadcaster Clint Bowyer noted that Ryan Newman is the hardest driver to pass on the track.

Twenty laps remain in stage two, Martin Truex Jr leads his first laps of the 2021 season; Chris Buescher, William Byron, Kurt Busch, and Austin Dillon round out the top five.

Fifteen laps to go in stage two, Martin Truex Jr holds his lead of over a second and a half on Chris Buescher; William Byron, Kurt Busch, and Austin Dillon round out the top five.

It’s around 5:30pm eastern time and the sun begins its downward journey toward sunset.

Lap 149, Chris Buescher has closed the gap on leader Martin Truex Jr to under a second and a half.

Seven laps remain in stage two and the caution flag comes out for Corey LaJoie’s badly smoking car.  LaJoie gets his car to the garage to become the third driver out of the race; joining Timmy Hill and James Davison.

Crews prepare for pit stops even though the end of the stage is only a few laps away.

Ryan Preece is the “lucky dog”.

Drivers come down pit road for service en masse.  Martin Truex Jr wins the race off of pit road, followed by Denny Hamlin.

Martin Truex Jr brings the field down for the one lap green flag shootout to end stage two from the outside lane with Denny Hamlin alongside.  Martin Truex Jr gets out in front for the lead but is quickly challenged by Denny Hamlin.  William Byron comes from the inside to make it a three wide battle and takes the lead.

William Byron wins stage two.

The top 10 at the end of stage two:
William Byron
Denny Hamlin
Kurt Busch
Martin Truex Jr
Kyle Larson
Chris Buescher
Kevin Harvick
Ryan Blaney
Alex Bowman
Brad Keselowski

Some drivers come down pit road for fresh tires, but the leaders stay out.

William Byron brings the field down for the green flag start of stage three with 99 laps remaining in the race.  With a push form team mate Kyle Larson, William Byron takes the lead as the drivers get three and four wide across the track.

Lap 169, the top five are William Byron, Denny Hamlin, Kyle Larson, Kurt Busch, and Martin Truex Jr.  Truex restarted the race in 17th place.

There are 30 cars on the lead lap with no drivers just one lap down.

Lap 172, William Byron ahs a lead of over half a second on Denny Hamlin with Kyle Larson, Martin Truex Jr, and Kurt Busch rounding out the top five.

With 91 laps to go, William Byron has a one second lead on Denny Hamlin; Kyle Larson, Martin Truex Jr, and Kurt Busch round out the top five.

Kyle Larson gets around Denny Hamlin to take second place.

Lap 185, William Byron has increased his lead on Kyle Larson to nearly two seconds; Martin Truex Jr, Denny Hamlin, and Kurt Busch round out the top five.

Eighty to go, William Byron’s lead is now a second and a half on Kyle Larson; Martin Truex Jr, Denny Hamlin, and Kurt Busch round out the top five with 30 cars on the lead lap.

There are 78 laps remaining in the race, William Byron has increased his lead to two seconds on Martin Truex Jr; Kyle Larson, Denny Hamlin, and Kurt Busch round out the top five.

Seventy-five to go, Martin Truex Jr has cut into William Byron’s lead; Byron is less than two seconds out in front.

All through the race several drivers have been complaining of handling issues.

The caution flag comes out on lap 199 after Ryan Blaney and Aric Almirola make contact; causing damage to both cars and leaving debris on the track.

Drivers come down pit road for service with Kyle Larson winning the race off of pit road with Martin Truex Jr coming out second.

Martin Truex Jr brings the field down for the green flag restart from the inside lane with 60 laps remaining in the race.  Kyle Larson edges out Martin Truex Jr for the lead but Truex continues to battle for the lead and retakes the top spot.

The top five are Martin Truex Jr, Kyle Larson, William Byron, Brad Keselowski, and Cole Custer.

With 58 laps to go, William Byron made it a three wide battle and takes the lead of the race with Martin Truex Jr in second and Kyle Larson in third.

Drivers are getting three wide across the track as the laps wind down.

Fifty-five laps to go, William Byron has a lead of over half a second on Martin Truex Jr; Kyle Larson, Cole Custer and Kurt Busch round out the top five.

After spending most of the race in the middle of the pack, Kyle Busch has entered the top 10 with 55 laps remaining in the race.

With 52 laps to go, William Byron has a lead of a second and a half on Kyle Larson; Martin Truex Jr, Cole Custer, and Kurt Busch round out the top five.

Fifty to go, William Byron has a lead of over a second and a half on Kyle Lars with 28 cars on the lead lap.

Kurt Busch is reporting a possible loose wheel.

With 46 laps to go, the lights are on and in full effect. William Byron continues to increase his lead and is now two seconds out in front of Kyle Larson; Martin Truex Jr, Kurt Busch, and Cole Custer round out the top five.  Battling for position all day; Kevin Harvick, Michael McDowell, Brad Keselowski, Kyle Busch, and Alex Bowman round out the top 10.

Forty to go, William Byron has a two second lead on team mate Kyle Larson; Martin Truex Jr, Kurt Busch, and Cole Custer round out the top five.

Having reported a vibration, Kurt Busch gives up a top five spot to come down pit road with an increasing vibration issue.

With 38 laps to go, the top five are William Byron, Kyle Larson, Martin Truex Jr, Cole Custer, and Kevin Harvick.

Kurt Busch returns to the track in 28th place, the first car one lap down.

Thirty-five to go, William Byron holds on to a two second lead on Kyle Larson; Martin Truex Jr is over three seconds back in third with Cole Custer and Kevin Harvick rounding out the top five.

Reports from pit road, the left front tire on Kurt Busch’s car was indeed loose.

Thirty to go, William Byron has increased his lead to over two and a half seconds. 

Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski make green flag pit stops.

Lap 238, William Byron is over three seconds out in front of Kyle Larson; Martin Truex Jr, Kevin Harvick, and Cole Custer round out the top five.

Michael McDowell’s team reports that he has a whole gallon of fuel to spare.

With 25 laps to go, Kurt Busch has unlapped himself and is the last car on the lead lap in 25th place.

William Byron is now four seconds out in front of Kyle Larson; Martin Truex Jr has caught up to Kyle Larson and is challenging for second; Kevin Harvick and Cole Custer round out the top five.

Twenty to go, William Byron continues to lead the race by over four seconds on Kyle Larson; Martin Truex Jr, Kevin Harvick, and Cole Custer round out the top five.

Eighteen to go, William Byron continues to increase his lead and is now over five seconds out in front; Kurt Busch has moved up to 20th place after having to make a pit stop for a loose wheel.

Fifteen to go, driving the wheels off of it, William Byron has a five second lead on Kyle Larson; Martin Truex Jr, Kevin Harvick, and Tyler Reddick round out the top five.

Twelve to go, already a lap down, Erik Jones makes an unscheduled pit stop for a flat tire.

Ten to go, William Byron is over five seconds ahead of Kyle Larson; Martin Truex Jr, Tyler Reddick, and Kevin Harvick round out the top five.

Seven to go, Martin Truex Jr battles Kyle Larson for second.

Six to go, Tyler Reddick makes it a three way battle for second place; William Byron leads the race by nearly five seconds.

Five to go, the top five are William Byron, Kyle Larson, Martin Truex Jr, Tyler Reddick, and Kevin Harvick.

Three to go, Tyler Reddick gets around Martin Truex Jr for third.

Tyler Reddick takes second from Kyle Larson.

With a four second lead, William Byron takes the white flag.

William Byron wins the race to become the third different winner of the season.

The unofficial results of the Dixie Vodka 400:
William Byorn
Tyler Reddick
Martin Truex Jr
Kyle Larson
Kevin Harvick
Michael McDowell
Ryan Newman
Kurt Busch
Alex Bowman
Kyle Busch
Denny Hamlin
Austin Dillon
Ricky Stenhouse Jr
Chase Elliott
Daniel Suarez
Brad Keselowski
Ross Chastain
Chase Briscoe
Chris Buescher
Christopher Bell
Ryan Preece
Bubba Wallace
Cole Custer
Anthony Alfredo
Joey Logano
Justin Haley
Erik Jones
Matt DiBenedetto
Ryan Blaney
Aric Almirola
Garrett Smithley
Cody Ware
Josh Bilicki
BJ McLeod
Quin Houff
Corey LaJoie
James Davison
Timmy Hill


First Win in Double Overtime in Xfinity Series

Kicking off a double header weekend and the third and final weekend in Florida, the Xfinity Series travels to Homestead-Miami Speedway for the Contender Boats 250.

With no practice or qualifying, NASCAR set the field using their complicated format to set the field with Xfinity Series champ Austin Cindric on the pole.

Making his Xfinity Series debut is Santino Ferrucci driving the number 26 car for Sam Hunt Racing.  While the Connecticut native is a racing veteran; this will mark his first time running in a stock car.

Making his first oval start in NASCAR, Jade Buford drives the number 48 car for new racing team Big Machine Racing.

The starting lineup for the Contender Boats 250:
Austin Cindric
Daniel Hemric
Harrison Burton
Brandon Jones
Jeb Burton
Brett Moffitt
Brandon Brown
Justin Haley
Jeremy Clements
Myatt Snider
Landon Cassill
Kyle Weatherman
Ty Dillon
Jesse Little
Josh Williams
Joe Graf Jr.
Matt Mills
Michael Annett
Justin Allgaier
Josh Berry
Santino Ferrucci
Ryan Sieg
Noah Gragson
AJ Allmendinger
Alex Labbe
Gray Gaulding
Tommy Joe Martns
Colby Howard
Riley Herbst
Stefan Parsons
Jade Buford
Dexter Bean
Timmy Hill
Bayley Currey
Ryan Vargas
Jeffrey Earnhardt
Chad Finchum
Tyler Reddick
JJ Yeley
David Starr

Kurt Busch and Aric Almirola join FOX Sports broadcaster Adam Alexander in the booth for the race.

The race will begin in the late afternoon but finish under the lights.

Stages one and two are 40 laps each with stage three lasting 87 laps for a total of 167 laps around the mile and a half track.

Austin Cindric brings the field down for the green flag start of the race with Cindric and Daniel Hemric going nose to nose before Austin Cindric gets out in front for the lead.

Lap two, the top five are Austin Cindric, Daniel Hemric, Brett Moffitt, Justin Haley, and Harrison Burton.

The drivers are getting three wide early in the race.

Lap three, Austin Cindric has pulled out to a lead of nearly half a second on Daniel Hemric.

Lap five, Josh Williams has made an unscheduled trip down pit road.

Lap six, Austin Cindric has increased his lead to over half a second on Daniel Hemirc; Justin Haley, Brett Moffitt, and Harrison Burton round out the top five.

Lap seven, Austin Cindric has a lead of over a second on Daniel Hemric.  After starting back in the field, birthday boy Ty Dillon is now in the top 10.

Lap 10, Austin Cindric has pulled out to a lead of nearly two seconds on Daniel Hemric; Justin Haley, Brett Moffitt, and Harrison Burton round out the top five.

Lap 15, Austin Cindric continues to increase his lead.  He is now three and a half seconds in front of Brett Moffitt, Daniel Hemric, Justin Haley, and Noah Gragson round out the top five.

Lap 17, Austin Cindric continues to increase his lead and is now four seconds out in front of Brett Moffitt.

Lap 20, halfway through stage one, Austin Cindric has pulled out to a lead of over five seconds on Brett Moffitt; Daniel Hemric, Noah Gragson, and Justin Haley round out the top five.

Lap 25, the first caution flag of the race comes out after Stefan Parsons gets loose and spins out.  The caution erased a five second lead for Austin Cindric.

Some of the drivers come down pit road for service.  While making his pit stop, Daniel Hemric overshot the pit stall and hit one of his tire changers.  Tires when rolling all over pit road.  Hemric will have to restart the race from the back of the field.  Everyone is fine.

The choose rule returns; drivers can chose whether they want to start the race from the inside or outside land.

With 10 laps remaining in stage one, Austin Cindric brings the field down for the green flag restart with drivers getting three wide across the track.  Noah Gragsn takes the lead with Ty Dillon in second; Austin Cindric, Brett Moffitt, and Myatt Snider round out the top five.

The top 20 drivers stayed out on the track; while the second 20 came in and got fresh tires.  The drivers with fresh tires are barreling through the field.

Eight laps to go in stage one, Justin Haley is in the lead with AJ Allmendinger in second; Noah Gragson, Ty Dillon, and Harrison Burton round out the top five.

Six to go; after restarting the race from the back of the field, Daniel Hemric in in sixth place.

Four laps remain in stage one, Justin Haley has a tenth of a second lead on AJ Allmendinger; Jeb Burton, Harrison Burton, and Justin Allgaier round out the top five.

Lap 37, AJ Allmendinger takes the lead; with fellow Kaulig Racing drivers Justin Haley and Jeb Burton battling for second.

AJ Allmendinger wins stage one for his first stage win on a mile and a half track.

The top 10 at the end of stage one:
AJ Allmendinger
Justinb Haley/
Daniel Hemric
Harrison Burton
Jeb Burton
Justin Allgaier
Brandon Jones
Josh Berry
Michael Annett
Noah Gragson

Drivers come down pit road for service with race leader AJ Allmendinger coming out first.

Brandon Brown had a plug wire come loose and is now two laps down.  There are 35 drivers on the lead lap.

AJ Allmendinger brings the field down for the green flag start of stage two with team mate Justin Haley alongside on the front row on lap 48 with Allmendinger taking the lead from the inside lane.

Lap 48, the top five are AJ Allmendinger, Justin Haley, Brandon Jones, Jeb Burton, and Harrison Burton.

Santino Ferrucci gets into the wall but the track stays green.

Lap 51, the drivers are getting spread out three wide across the track and through the field.

Lap 52, AJ Allmendinger has the lead with Justin Haley in second; Brandon Jones, Harrison Burton, and Noah Gragson round out the top five.

Austin Cindric is working his way through the field after getting mired back in the field.  On lap 54, he has moved up to sixth place.

Lap 56, AJ Allmendinger has a lead of over half a second on Justin Haley; Brandon Jones, Harrison Burton, and Noah Gragson round out the top five.

Lap 61, AJ Allmendinger has pulled out to a lead of over a second on Justin Haley; Harrison Burton, Brandon Jones, and Austin Cindric round out the top five.

Driver are beginning to move up the track and will soon be rim riding along the outside wall.

Lap 65, AJ Allmendinger has increased his lead to over a second and a half on Justin Haley; Noah Gragson, Brandon Jones and Ty Dillon round out the top five.

The caution flag comes out on lap 67 for fluid coming from Stefan Parsons’ car.

Smoke is coming out from the rear of Harrison Burton’s car.  He slowly works his way toward pit road but gets stopped on the track.  Bruton reports that the oil pressure in the car was good.

Some of the drivers come down pit road for service.

AJ Allmendinger brings the field down for the green flag restart from the outside lane with just six laps remaining in stage two with Noah Gragson alongside on the front row.  With the drivers three wide, Noah Gragson jumps out in front for the lead with Brandon Jones in second.  After restarting the race in 25th place, Austin Cindric is in 10th place before the end of the lap.

Lap 75, Noah Gragson is in the lead but Austin Cindric is coming on fast in second place.

Lap 76, Austin Cindric takes the lead; Noah Gragson, Brandon Jones, AJ Allmendinger, and Brett Moffitt round out the top five.

Three to go, Myatt Snider has moved into second place with Austin Cindric out in front by over a second.

There are 32 cars on the lead lap with Harrison Burton the only driver off the track.

With a lead of over a second, Austin Cindric wins stage two for his second stage win of the season.

The top 10 at the end of stage two:
Austin Cindric
Myatt Snider
Noah Gragson
Riley Herbst
Brandon Jones
Jeremy Clements
Ryan Sieg
AJ Allmendinger
Jeb Burton
Landon Cassill

Drivers come down pit road for service with Austin Cindric winning the race off of pit road.  While this is only the third race of the season, Austin Cindric has earned stage points in each of them.

Kyle Weatherman and JJ Yeley made contact on pit road causing Yeley to spin around.

After staying out on the track, Colby Howard brings the field down for the green flag start of stage three from the outside lane with Austin Cindric alongside on lap 88.  Austin Cindric jumps out in front for the lead but drivers get three wide battling for the lead.

Myatt Snider takes the lead briefly before Austin Cindric and Noah Gragson battle for the lead.

Lap 89, Austin Cindric has the lead as drivers get three and four wide across the track and nearly wreck.

Lap 90, the top five are Austin Cindric, AJ Allmendinger, Justin Haley, Noah Gragson, and Jeb Burton.

Lap 92, Austin Cindric has the lead but AJ Allmendinger isn’t letting Cindric run away with the lead, Cindric is only two tenths of a second in front of Allmendinger.

Lap 93, Ryan Sieg has entered the top 10 after being mired near the back of the field after a penalty earlier in the race.

Lap 95, the top five are Austin Cindric, AJ Allmendinger, Justin Haley, Brandon Jones, and Noah Gragson.

The caution flag comes out on lap 98 for an on track incident involving Justin Allgaier and Riley Herbst.

Drivers come down pit road for service with Austin Cindric winning the race off of pit road.  The drivers are at the outside edge of the fuel window to make it to the end of the race.

After staying out on the track, Jeremy Clements brings the field down for the green flag restart with Jeffrey Earnhardt alongside.  Austin Cindric comes through the field to take the lead.

Justin Allgaier’s team could not get the car repaired in time and he is out of the race.

Ty Dillon takes his car to the garage with a radiator issue and is out of the race.

With 63 laps to go, Austin Cindric has the lead with Justin Haley in second; AJ Allmendinger, Daniel Hemric, and Brandon Jones round out the top five.

Noah Gragson slaps the wall but the track stays green with no significant damage.

Sixty to go, Austin Cindric has a lead of nearly half a second on Justin Haley; AJ Allmendinger, Brandon Jones, and Daniel Hemric round out the top five. 

There are 32 cars on the lead lap.

The caution flag comes out with 58 laps remaining in the race for Colby Howard who has flames under his car.

A few drivers come down pit road for service. 

Austin Cindric brings the field down for the green flag restart with 52 laps remaining in the race from the inside lane with AJ Allmendinger alongside.  AJ Allmendinger gets out in front for the lead but Brandon Jones battles for the lead and takes the top spot.

Fifty to go, Brandon Jones leads the race with AJ Allmendinger in second; Austin Cindric, Daniel Hemric,, and Josh Berry round out the top five.

With 49 laps to go, Brett Moffit takes fourth place on a fresh set of tires.

Lap 118, AJ Allmendinger and Brandon Jones battle for the lead with Allmendinger getting out in front.

Forty five laps remain in the race, AJ Allmendinger has the lead with Brandon Jones in second; Brett Moffitt, Daniel Hemric and Austin Cindric round out the top five.

With 42 laps to go, AJ Allmendinger has a near half second lead on Brandon Jones; Brett Moffitt, Daniel Hemric, and Austin Cindric round out the top five.

Brett Moffitt takes second from Brandon Jones and sets his sight on race leader AJ Allmendinger.  Moffitt is one of the drivers who came down pit road for fresh tires during the last caution flag.
theWith 38 laps to go, Brett Moffitt is just a tenth of a second behind race leader AJ Allmendinger; Brandon Jones, Noah Gragson, and Daniel Hemric round out the top five.

With 36 laps to go, Brett Moffitt passes AJ Allmendinger for the lead.

With 34 laps to go, Brett Moffitt has a near half second lead on AJ Allmendinger; Noah Gragson, Brandon Jones, and Austin Cindric round out the top five.

Thirty-two to go, Noah Gragson takes second from AJ Allmendinger.

In a pre-race interview, Noah Gragson said that today’s race was a wreckers or checkers event for him.

Thirty to go, Noah Gragson has the lead with Brett Moffitt a half second back; AJ Allmendinger, Brandon Jones, and Tyler Reddick round out the top five.

There are 29 cars on the lead lap.

With 27 laps to go, Noah Gragson has pulled out to a lead of over half a second on Brett Moffitt.

Myatt Snider gets into the wall but the track stays green.

Austin Cindric’s team reports a possible slow leak in a tire issue.

Twenty to go, Noah Gragson has a lead of over a second on Brett Moffitt; AJ Allmendinger, Tyler Reddick, and Brandon Jones round out the top five with 25 cars on the lead lap.

Some teams are telling their drivers to be very careful and conserve fuel in an effort to make it to the end of the race.

Fifteen to go, Noah Gragson holds on to the lead with Brett Moffitt in second; Tyler Reddick, AJ Allmendinger, and Brandon Jones round out the top five.

Ten to go, Noah Gragson has a two tenths of a second lead on Brett Moffitt; Tyler Reddick, Brandon Jones, and AJ Allmendinger round out the top five.

Brett Moffitt makes his way to pit road with a flat tire and the track stays green.

Eight to go, Noah Gragson holds on to the lead with Tyler Reddick over five seconds back; Brandon Jones, Myatt Snider, and AJ Allmendinger round out the top five.

Five to go, Noah Gragson has an eight second lead on Tyler Reddick.  Reddick’s team is telling him to save fuel.  There are 14 cars on the lead lap.

Michael Annett makes a pit stop for fuel with just three laps to go.

Leader Noah Gragson brings out the caution flag after he hits David Starr and causes significant damage to his car.  David Starr had a tire going down.  Tyler Reddick is the new leader.  A very frustrated Noah Gragson is out of his car and fine.

The race goes into overtime.

With several teams nearly out of fuel, the drivers come down pit road for fuel and fresh tires.  Myatt Snider wins the race off of pit road with Tyler Reddick coming out second.

This is the third race in a row that has had to go into overtime for its finish.

After unlapping himself, Josh Berry will restart the race in eighth place.

Myatt Snider brings the field down for the green/white/checker finish from the inside lane with drivers getting three wide across the track.

The caution flag comes out after AJ Allmendinger gets loose in a four wide battle.

Tyler Reddick is currently listed as the leader of the race.

Tyler Reddick brings the field down for the second green/white/checker finish from the outside lane with Myatt Snider on the inside.  Driver immediately spread out three and four across the track with Myatt Snider getting out in front for the lead.

Myatt Snider takes the white flag.

With his first Xfinity Series career win, Myatt Snider takes the checkered flag!  This is the second week in a row that there has been a first time winner of a race.

Tyler Reddick runs across the track to congratulate Myatt Snider.

The unofficial results of the Contender Boats 250:
Myatt Snider
Tyler Reddick
Brandon Jones
Daniel Hemric
Jeb Burton
Austin Cindric
Justin Haley
Brett Moffitt
Ryan Sieg
Jeremy Clements
Josh Berry
Riley Herbst
JJ Yeley
Michael Annett
AJ Allmendinger
Alex Labbe
Timmy Hill
Dexter Bean
Tommy Joe Martins
Landon Cassill
Jade Buford
David Starr
Jeffrey Earnhardt
Chad Finchum
Ryan Vargas
Kyle Weatherman
Josh Williams
Joe Graf Jr
Gray Gaulding
Matt Mills
Santino Ferrucci
Stefan Parsons
Jesse Little
Noah Gragson
Brandon Brown
Bayley Currey
Ty Dillon
Justin Allgaier
Harrison Burton

QB Watson and Texans in Stand Off

Professional sports figures make a great deal of money but all too often when it comes to ownership and even coaches; they are little more than commodities to be used and traded like stocks.

Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson has told Texans head coach David Culley emphatically that he does not want to remain with the team.

Watson has asked to be traded, but so far Texans owner Cal McNair insists that Watson will remain a part of the Texans.

A high profile player, Watson could not only clear up some significant cap space, a trade could garner the Texans plenty of new talent in the form of new players and draft picks.  Currently, the Texans has Watson listed as a franchise quarterback.

Prior to the official start of the 2020 NFL season, Watson had signed a four year contract worth $156 million.  By the end of the season, Watson was one very unhappy player who no longer wishes to play in Houston.

The 2021 NFL version of “silly season” is sure to see several quarterbacks; along with other players, donning new uniforms when the season opens in the fall.  Whether or not Deshaun Watson would be one of them is still up in the air.

feature photo credit: By Jeffrey Beall – Own work, CC BY 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=74339601

Rival Sons Releasing Early Works

Live concerts are still on hiatus but artists are finding other ways to connect with fans and share their music.

Rockers Rival Sons, now have their own record label – Sacred Tongue Recordings – and will be releasing new versions of their older music.

Going back to the beginning, the rockers have remastered their debut album “Before the Fire” which was originally released in 2009.  They are also releasing their self-titled EP from 2010.

Set for a March 26 release, the albums will be available via digital download, CD, and limited edition vinyl with only 1,000 copies being made available.

A limited edition vinyl deserves a special design…”Before the Fire” will be in an orange splatter pattern and the EP will be in a clear and gold splatter design.

Independent retailers will get a special album design of their own of translucent orange and crystal clear.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VGRFWM1MAfM

Rival Sons spoke on their new releases saying, “we’ve talked about creating our own record label from the very beginning. It’s about creating a good home for our back catalogue as the Rival Sons community continues to grow together worldwide.

feature photo credit: Rival Sons Facebook page

Tennis Hall Inducts ‘Original Nine’

Billie Jean King is by far one of the best known female tennis players.  She along with eight others – Peaches Bartkowicz, Rosie Casals, Judy Dalton, Julie Heldman, Kerry Melville Reid, Kristy Pigeon, Nancy Richey and Valerie Ziegenfuss – were pioneers in the world of tennis when in 1970, they formed what would become known as the Virginia Slims circuit – later the Women’s Tennis Association.  Virginia Slims was a brand of cigarettes.

While that original contract was for just one dollar for each player, it helped to pave the way for women players to be paid the same as their male counterparts.

Known as the original nine, the group of pioneering women were named en masse to the Tennis Hall of Fame in the contributor category.  King was inducted as a player in 1987.

Lleyton Hewitt was the only person named to The Hall as a player and Dennis Van der Meer was given a posthumous induction in the contributor category.

The 2021 class of the Hall of Fame will be joined by the 2020 inductees – Goran Ivanisevic and Conchita Martinez – for an official induction ceremony on July 17 at the home of the Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island. 

The 2020 festivities were cancelled due to the Covid-10 pandemic and a mandate against crowd gatherings.

Lleyton Hewitt spoke on being named to the Hall of Fame saying, “when you are competing, you’re so focused on training and your results that week or that year, you don’t really look ahead to something like this.  But when that is all compiled up and deemed deserving of becoming a Hall of Famer, well, it’s just the ultimate recognition for a player, and I’m so honored.”

Billie Jean King noted that when the original nine was formed they had three objectives,  “number one, that any girl born in this world would have a place to play and compete.  Number two, that women would be appreciated for our accomplishments, not just our looks. And number three, that women would finally be able to make a living playing professional tennis. Today, every time a woman gets a check for competing in a Grand Slam or the WTA Tour or gets to play in a pro tournament, you can trace it back to that day.”

feature photo credit: International Hall of Fame Facebook page

NASCAR Issues Daytona Penalties

Since its return last May after the Covid-19 pandemic, NASCAR has taken some extraordinary steps to ensure drivers, crew, and officials are as safe as they possibly could be.  As a result, few people in the sport have been diagnosed with the virus and there have been no outbreaks of the virus.

Race teams have separated track crews from shop crews to limit any possible contact and NASCAR has forbidden any non-essential personnel are not allowed in the garages, pits, and victory circle.

On February 22, NASCAR officials suspended car owner Chip Ganassi for one race and fined $30,000, citing a violation of the NASCAR rule book and its Covid-19 protocols.

NASCAR stated that Ganassi violated the rule by allowing a non-essential person into the competition area at Daytona International Speedway during last week’s road course races.

Unless he files an appeal, Ganassi will not be allowed to attend the Cup Series race at Homestead-Miami this weekend; however, Ganassi will be allowed to field his two cars – the number one car driven by Kurt Busch and the number 42 car driven by Ross Chastain.

Spire Motorsports crew chief Ryan Sparks has been placed under Covid-19 protocols and will not be sitting atop the pit box for the Dixie Vodka 400 this weekend; nor will he be travelling to Homestead-Miami for the Dixie Vodka 400 this weekend.  Spire Motorsports has two other crew members who have been listed as inactive for this weekend due to those same protocols.  Sparks is the crew chief for the number seven car driven by Corey LaJoie.

In Sparks place, former crew chief and current NBC Sports reporter Steve Letarte will be returning to pit road to serve as crew chief this weekend.  Letarte was the crew chief for Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr where he won a total of 15 races.


In other penalty news…
Adam Stevens, crew chief for the Joe Gibbs Racing number 20 car driven by Christopher Bell and Jeremy Bullins, crew chief for the Team Penske number two car driven by Brad Keselowski were each fined $10,000 for having an improperly secured lug nut during the post-race inspection process following the O’Reilly Auto Parts 255 road course race.

Award Winner Douglas Turner Ward Dies

Tony Award winning director, writer, and actor Douglas Turner Ward died February 20, 2021 in New York City at the age of the 90. An official cause of death was not given.

Ward; along with Robert Hooks and Gerald Krone, founded the Negro Ensemble Company in 1967.  The St. Mark’s Playhouse went on to become home base for the Company.  The trio were awarded a Special Tony Award for creation of the Theatre Company.

Ward has been a part of “The Iceman Cometh”, “The River Niger”, “The First Breeze of Summer”, “A Soldier’s Play”, “A Raisin in the Sun”, and “Home”.

Along with his Tony Award, Tony Award, and three time Drama Desk Award winner;  Ward is a member of the “Theater Hall of Fame”.

On the screen Ward is credited with acting roles in “East Side/West Side”, “Man and Boy”, “Ceremonies in Dark Old Men”, “Go Tell it on the Mountain”, “The Crosby Show”, “The Women of Brewster Place”, “Law & Order”, “New York News”, “Cosby”, “For Love of Olivia” and “Black Eros”.

He was born Roosevelt Ward Jr on May 5, 1030 in Burnside, Louisiana but grew up in New Orleans.  His name change to Douglas Turner Ward is a tribute to abolitionist Frederick Douglas and slave revolter Nat Turner.

Ward is survived by his wife of over 50 years Diana, children Elizabeth and Douglas, and three grand children.

feature photo credit: By Running Wild Films – The Lion at Rest: Conversations with Douglas Turner Ward at 00:48, cropped, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=66007321

Newport Music Fest Goes On

After all festivals and concerts were cancelled and postponed last year, the Newport Music Festival will go on this summer with Covid-19 protocols in place.

Beginning July 4, The Festival will feature 17 concerts in a variety of venues including The Breakers, Bellevue House, Castle Hill Inn, The Chanler at Cliff Walk, King Park, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center, Norman Bird Sanctuary, and Rough Point.  All programs will be held outside and will run for 60 to 75 minutes each with no intermission.

All concert goers will be required to wear face coverings and must practice social distancing.

Included in the repertoire is music from the three B’s – Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms -; Jessie Montgomery, Joseph Bologne, Teresa Carreno, opera, and new music from a composer of colour, Native Cultures, or female.

New festival executive director Gillian Friedman Fox spoke on the new program saying, “we look forward to bringing to Newport a mix of Festival favorites and debuts this summer, both well-known names and rising stars. Our programming for 2021 represents a varied array of experiences and artistic interpretations as we set out to exceed expectations by being additive to the legacy of the festival: maintaining our commitment to exceptional acoustic music with historic Newport as the backdrop, while adding relevant touches from the 21st century.”

Tickets go on sale in April.

After all festivals and concerts were cancelled and postponed last year, the Newport Music Festival will go on this summer with Covid-19 protocols in place.

Beginning July 4, The Festival will feature 17 concerts in a variety of venues including The Breakers, Bellevue House, Castle Hill Inn, The Chanler at Cliff Walk, King Park, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center, Norman Bird Sanctuary, and Rough Point.  All programs will be held outside and will run for 60 to 75 minutes each with no intermission.

All concert goers will be required to wear face coverings and must practice social distancing.

Included in the repertoire is music from the three B’s – Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms -; Jessie Montgomery, Joseph Bologne, Teresa Carreno, opera, and new music from a composer of colour, Native Cultures, or female.

New festival executive director Gillian Friedman Fox spoke on the new program saying, “we look forward to bringing to Newport a mix of Festival favorites and debuts this summer, both well-known names and rising stars. Our programming for 2021 represents a varied array of experiences and artistic interpretations as we set out to exceed expectations by being additive to the legacy of the festival: maintaining our commitment to exceptional acoustic music with historic Newport as the backdrop, while adding relevant touches from the 21st century.”

Tickets go on sale in April.

Feb 22 – Updated NASCAR Cup Series Standings

After the Daytona 500, Austin Dillon topped the NASCAR Cup Series point standings. This week he falls to ninth place, 40 points behind the leader.

After winning stage two in the road course race at Daytona and finishing the race in third place, Denny Hamlin takes over the lead with 104 points.

Kevin Harvick holds on to his top five standings but Bubba Wallace and Kyle Larson have dropped out of the top 10.

Still early in the season, drivers will move up and down in the standings with each race.

Joey Logano, Christopher Bell, and Brad Keselowski moved into the top 10 in the standings.

The drivers who finish the regular season in the top 16 spots move on to the playoff rounds to compete for the championship. Drivers who win race stages earn a playoff point with the drivers finishing in the first 10 spots also earn points.

The top 16 drivers in the standings after the O’Reilly Auto Parts 255 on the road course in Daytona are:
Denny Hamlin
Joey Logano
Kevin Harvick
Christopher Bell
Chase Elliott
Michael McDowell
Ryan Preece
Kurt Busch
Austin Dillon
Brad Keselowski
Cole Custer
Kyle Larson
Bubba Wallace
Martin Truex Jr
Corey LaJoie
Ricky Stenhouse Jr

The top 16 drivers are separated by 66 points.

Auditions Continue on ‘American Idol’

“American Idol” returns for a second week of auditions.

The night begins with a beautiful rendition of “Golden Slumbers” that had the judges saying all together that she was going to Hollywood. The show didn’t show the girl’s name.

Siblings Llahona and Ammon Olayan performed an original song. The two hail from Hawaii and are the oldest of eight children. Lionel liked what they did. Luke said that they complimented each other. Katy called them incredible songwriters and talented beyond belief. They both got three yeses from the judges.

Dressed as Thor, Anthony Guzman sang “Cry Me a River” and threw the judges curve. Lionel said that Anthony can seriously sing, so now it is time for Anthony to take himself serious. With a no vote from Luke, Anthony got his ticket to Hollywood.

Country girl Hannah Everhart sang “Wayfaring Stranger” for her audition. Luke stopped her and told her not to keep checking out the judges’ reactions. After saying that she had originally planned to sing “At Last”, Katy asked to hear her sing it. Luke said that Hannah is very close to being an amazing singer; adding that he is going to push her to be her best. Katy said that Hannah is no longer allowed to play it safe. Lionel said that Hannah is sitting on a gold mine, but needs to bring it. Hannah got her ticket to Hollywood.

Mississippi Delta native Calvin Upshaw is looking to turn his life around and provide for his family…and it begins with his audition. Lionel noted that the crack in Calvin’s voice was an emotional one. He broke down during the audition. Katy told him it was a new day. Calvin got three yeses and his ticket to Hollywood.

Luke and Lionel go golf cart racing in Ohai, California. Luke won the race.

Florida native Casey Bishop chose to sing a Motley Crue song a cappella for her audition. The judges noted that it was a first on the show. Katy wanted to hear some Ella Fitzgerald but Casey sang a Sarah Vaughan song instead. Lionel said that he would love for Casey to appreciate rock but sing like she just did. Luke has Casey in the top 10 already; adding that he thinks she is the winner. Katy said that Casey is really really good. Casey has never performed live before. Casey got three yeses and a ticket to Hollywood.

Cuban native Yurisbel calls Miami home and is looking to be the next big Latin music star like Pitbull, whose song he chose for his audition. Katy called him the Latin Luke. Lionel called it the best workout – they were dancing along. Katy called it fun and Luke said that it was awesome. Lionel called it so much fun. Katy siad that he would stir up the competition. Saying she wanted to say yes but said no, Luke and Lionel gave Yurisbel his ticket to Hollywood. Katy said that he sounded like a Cuban Cookie Monster.

Chayce Beckham had Luke clapping even before the song was over. Chayce performs with a reggae band. Lionel said that he loved what Chayce did and knew it was real. Luke said that Chayce is what the show is all about; adding Chayce had him with the first note. Katy called Chayce a top five. Chayce got three yeses and a ticket to Hollywood.

Ace Stiles gave performed an original song for her audition. Now 16, Ace decided at 14 that he was a boy. Katy said that Ace was doing great and would get better and better. Luke was concerned about the quietness of Ace’s voice; adding that he isn’t quite ready for Idol. Katy said that Ace has an interesting voice and worth investigating. Lionel gave Ace a yes but Katy and Luke said no.

Cassandra Coleman performs online and has never performed live before an audience. Luke and Katy loved the performance. Lionel said that the performance was about as angelic as it was going to get. Luke said that he got caught up in the moment. Asked if she was a musician, Lionel wanted to hear Cassandra on the piano. Luke said that Cassandra is her own voice with no one like her. She got three yeses and a ticket to Hollywood.

In the final audition of the night, Georgia native Willie Spence is hoping to turn his passion for singing into something more. He sang the Rhianna song “Diamonds” for his audition and brought Lionel to his feet yelling yes yes yes. Luke called him a special individual; adding that he didn’t want it to end. Lionel kept saying unbelievable. Lionel said that Willie is what they have been looking for; adding that he had chills on the first note. Willie got his ticket to Hollywood.

Next week the auditions continue…


First Time Cup Series Winner on Daytona Road Course

The NASCAR Cup Series tops off a triple header weekend with the O’Reilly Auto Parts 255 on the road course at the Daytona International Speedway.

With no qualifying runs, NASCAR has set the field using the complicated format created last season in an effort to limit the exposure to the Covid-19 virus that includes track position from the previous race, owner points, and team points.

Cup Series champion Chase Elliott sits on the pole with Daytona 500 winner Michael McDowell alongside on the front row.

Chase Elliott has won the last four Cup Series road course races and is looking to make it five in a row.

The starting lineup for the O’Reilly Auto Parts 255:
Chase Elliott
Michael McDowell
Austin Dillon
Denny Hamlin
Kevin Harvick
Ryan Preece
Corey LaJoie
Kyle Larson
Ross Chastain
Bubba Wallace
Joey Logano
Christopher Bell
Cole Custer
Kyle Busch
Brad Keselowski
Ricky Stenhouse Jr
Kurt Busch
Chase Briscoe
Martin Truex Jr
Justin Haley
Cody Ware
William Byron
Josh Bilicki
Tyler Reddick
Garrett Smithley
Aric Almirola
Ryan Blaney
Scott Heckert
Quin Houff
Chris Buescher
Anthony Alfredo
Matt DiBenedetto
Ryan Newman
AJ Allmendinger
Daniel Suarez
Alex Bowman
Erik Jones
Ty Dillon
James Davison
Timmy Hill


Stage one of the race is 16 laps in length, stage two is 18 laps in length, and stage three will last 36 laps for a total of 70 laps around the 3.61 mile 14 turn road course.

Chase Elliott brings the field down for the green flag start of the race and jumps out in front for the lead. Michael McDowell overshoots turn one and falls back in the field.

Drivers are getting three wide across the track and are already beating and banging on each other. Kyle Busch and Chase Briscoe have some damage to their cars.

Lap two, Chase Elliott leads the race with Austin Dillon in second; Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, and Ryan Preece round out the top five.

The caution flag comes out on lap two for debris on the track – Michael McDowell’s tire carcass.

The tire on Michael McDowell’s car was down on the pace laps.

Chase Elliott brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap four and edges out Austin Dillon for the lead going into turn one.

Lap five, the top five are Chase Elliott, Denny Hamlin, Austin Dillon, Joey Logano, and Kevin Harvick. Still on the lead lap, Kyle Busch is back in 38th place with Michael McDowell also on the lead lap.

Lap six, Chase Briscoe spins out after hitting one of the turtles but the track stays green.

Lap six, Chase Elliott has pulled out to a lead of over two seconds on Denny Hamlin.

Lap eight. Chase Elliott continues to lead the race with a lead of nearly five seconds on Denny Hamlin; Joey Logano, Austin Dillon, and Kyle Larson round out the top five.

Lap nine, after the first lap incident, Kyle Busch is in 25th place with Michael McDowell in 28th.

Lap 10, Chase Elliott holds on to his near five second lead on Denny Hamlin; Joey Logano, Austin Dillon, and Kyle Larson round out the top five.

Lap eleven, Brad Keselowski comes down pit road with a flat tire.

Matt DiBenedetto has ripped the bumper off of his car bringing out the caution flag. He also had a flat tire.

Drivers come down pit road for service with Chase Elliott winning the race off of pit road. Cody Ware took fuel only; putting him in the top 10. One team had a tire get loose and run across pit road into the grass.

After staying out on the track, Christopher Bell leads the race.

William Byron’s team was the team with the runaway tire. Tyler Reddick also received a penalty for an uncontrolled tire.

With three laps remaining in stage one, Christopher Bell brings the field down for the green flag restart and hold on to the lead with Chase Elliott in second.

Chase Elliott gets around Christopher Bell to retake the lead.

The top five are Chase Elliott, Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, Christopher Bell, and Denny Hamlin.

Quin Houff is off the track.

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

The top 10 at the end of stage one:
Chase Elliott
Joey Logano
Denny Hamlin
Brad Keselowski
Kurt Busch
Kyle Larson
Martin Truex Jr
Austin Dillon
Kevin Harvick
Chris Buescher

Some of the drivers come down pit road for service but the leaders stayed out. Ty Dilllon’s team was penalized for his crew coming over the pit wall too soon.

Chase Elliott brings the field down for the green flag start of stage two on lap 20 with Elliott going nose to nose with Joey Logano for the lead before getting out in front to hold on to the lead.

Quin Houff is out of the race; the remaining 39 cars are all on the lead lap.

Before the lap is even completed, Chase Elliott has pulled out to a lead of nearly two seconds on Denny Hamlin.

Lap 22, Chase Elliott continues to dominate the race with a lead of over a second and a half on Denny Hamlin; Joey Logano, Martin Truex Jr, and Kurt Busch round out the top five.

Lap 23, FOX Sports reports that the drivers are having issues with the rear tires; especially after about 10 laps on the tires.

Lap 24, Chase Elliott continues to lead the race; Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr, Joey Logano, and AJ Allmendinger round out the top five.

Brad Keselowski missed the bus stop chicane again. Drivers who miss the chicane must come to a complete stop before continuing on in the race.

Lap 26, Martin Truex Jr gets around Denny Hamlin for second; Chase Elliott leads the race with a lead of over three seconds.

AJ Allmendinger challenges Joey Logano for fourth and takes the spot.

Lap 26, the top five are Chase Elliott, Martin Truex Jr, Denny Hamlin, AJ Allmendinger, and Joey Logano.

The caution flag comes out on lap 27 when Ross Chastain gets stopped on the track after hitting the wall. Chastain is working his way to pit road with a flat tire.

Tyler Reddick was stopped on the track, but got the car moving again and did not need the tow truck.

Most of the drivers come down pit road for service and fresh tires with Denny Hamlin willing the race off of pit road. Chase Elliott came out fifth; but five drivers also stayed out on the track. AJ Allmendinger is the new leader.

AJ Allmendinger brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 29 and gets out in front for the lead.

The top five are AJ Allmendinger, Kevin Harvick, Kyle Larson, Denny Hamlin, and Brad Keselowski. Chase Elliott is back in 13th place after having a slow pit stop due to a right front tire issue.

Allmendinger is the first driver other than Chase Elliott to lead a lap.

Lap 30 AJ Allmendinger leads the way with Denny Hamlin in second; Kurt Busch, Kevin Harvick, and Martin Truex Jr round out the top five. Chase Elliott is in eleventh place.

Chase Elliott has entered the top 10.

Denny Hamlin has taken the lead with AJ Allmendinger in second.

Bubba Wallace comes down pit road with a flat tire and damage to his car.

Three laps to go in stage two, Denny Hamlin has a two second lead on Kurt Busch. Chase Elliott is in seventh place.

Ross Chastain is out of the race and joins Quin Houff in the garage. The remainder of the field is on the lead lap.

Denny Hamlin wins stage two.

The top 10 at the end of stage two:
Denny Hamlin
Kurt Busch
Joey Logano
Christopher Bell
Martin Truex Jr
Chase Elliott
William Byron
Cole Custer
AJ Allmendinger
Kyle Busch

Drivers come down pit road for service with Kurt Busch winning the race off of pit road; followed by Denny Hamlin. Chade Elliott comes out fourth.

AJ Allmendinger was caught speeding on pit road.

After staying out on the track, Daniel Suarez brings the field down for the green flag start of stage three on lap 38 with Matt DiBenedetto alongdside on the front row. Chase Elliott restarts the race in sixth place.

Kurt Busch takes the lead of the race as the skies get cloudy.

The top five are Kurt Busch, Daniel Suarez, Matt DiBenedetto, Christopher Bell, and Denny Hamlin.

Chase Ellitt takes fifth from Denny Hamlin.

Christopher Bell takes second place with Kurt Busch in the lead.

Chase Elliott takes fourth place.

Lead Kurt Busch makes a run through the grass; Christopher Bell is the new leader with Chase Elliott in second.

With 31 laps remaining in the race, Chase Elliott challenges Christopher Bell for the lead. Kurt Busch falls to 27th place after his offroad excursion.

Thirty to go, Chase Elliott passes Christopher Bell to take the lead.

Brad Keselowski gets off the track after making contact with Kurt Busch.

Lap 40, the top five are Chase Elliott, Christopher Bell, Martin Truex Jr, Joey Logano, and Denny Hamlin.

Lap 42, Chase Elliott has increased his lead of nearly a second and a half on Christopher Bell; Martin Truex Jr, Joey Logano, and Denny Hamlin round out the top five.

Denny Hamlin has some debris on his front grille.

Bubba Wallace was caught speeding on pit road and had to serve a pass through penalty. Anthony Alfredo and Matt DiBenedetto also made pit stops.

Lap 44, Aric Almirola gets turned around but gets going again and the track stays green.

With 25 laps remaining in the race, Chase Elliott is in the lead with Christopher Bell in second; Martin Truex Jr, Kyle Busch, and Chris Buescher round out the top five.

Lap 47, Chase Elliott continues to lead the race with Christopher Bell is second; Martin Truex Jr, Kyle Busch, and Joey Logano round out the top five. Anthony Alfredo is the only driver on the track one lap down with two cars out of the race.

Twenty to go, Chase Elliott has a lead of over a second and a half on Christopher Bell as drivers begin making green flag pit stops.

Lap 51, Chase Elliott makes his green flag pit stop; along with Christopher Bell and Kyle Busch.

With a long road course, the drivers can make a pit stop and not lose a lap.

The winds pick up at Daytona as a quick very local rainshower and a rainbow appears over the track.

Lap 53, Chase Elliott holds on to his lead with Christopher Bell in second place; Martin Truex Jr, Kyle Busch, and Kyle Larson round out the top five.

Fifteen to go, Chase Elliott has a lead of over two seconds on Christopher Bell. The rains are coming down only in certain spots around the track. The teams do have wet weather tires if needed.

Matt DiBenedetto is out of the race with 15 laps to go. He is only the third car out of the race; joining Quin Houff and Ross Chastain.

Lap 56, NASCAR puts out the caution flag for rain. NASCAR mandates that teams have a blinking running light in the rear window, a windshield wiper, and a defogger in the cars; teams also have rain/wet weather tires in their pits.

The rain has nearly gone as pit road opens. Teams have the option of whether they want to change to wet weather tires or put on a new set of slicks. Christopher Bell wins the race off of pit road with Chase Elliott coming out in fourth place.

With some cars staying out on the track, Chase Elliott will restart the race in 15th place.

Joey Logano brings the field down for the green flag restart with just 12 laps remaining in the race.

Joey Logano edges out Chase Briscoe for the lead.

Tyler Reddick gets in the grass and brings out the caution flag with a flaming car. Drivers were three and four wide when he got off the track.

Chase Elliott also gets off the track but gets going again. Elliott has some grass on his grille. After running up on Denny Hamlin’s rear bumper, the grass is gone.

Joey Logano brings the field down for the green flag restart with 10 laps remaining in the race; Logano jumps out in front of Chase Briscoe for the lead but there is a big melee going into turn one. The track stays green.

The top five are Joey Logano, Kurt Busch, Chase Briscoe, Brad Keselowski, and Kyle Larson.

The caution flag comes out with 10 laps to go after Martin Truex Jr spins out and gets off the track. Corey LaJoie also had an issue with his car. Truex and LaJoie bring their cars down pit road.

Chase Elliott has moves up to 10th place after restarting in 14th.
Joey Logano brings the field down for the green flag restart with just eight laps to go and goes nose to nose with Kurt Busch for the lead before getting out in front for the lead.

The top five are Joey Logano, Kurt Busch, Brad Keselowski, Kyle Larson, and Christopher Bell. Chase Elliott is in ninth place.

Kyle Larson wheel hops and runs his number five car into the tire wall. The track stays green.

Kyle Busch gets into the wall after some on track contact with seven laps to go but gets going again and the track stays green.

Seven to go, Joey Logano leads the race with Kurth Busch in second; Christopher Bell, Brad Keselowski, and Chase Elliott round out the top five.

Six to go, Joey Logano has a three second lead on Kurt Busch; Christopher Bell, Brad Keselowski, and Chase Elliott round out the top five.

Chase Elliott makes contact with Brad Keselowski out gets turned around.

Five to go, Joey Logano has a three and a half second lead on Kurt busch; Christopher Bell, Brad Keselowski, and Denny Hamlin round out the top five. Chase Elliott falls to 25th.

Four to go, Joey Logano holds on to his lead with Christopher Bell in second; Kurt Busch, Denny Hamlin, and Brad Keselowski round out the top five.

Chase Briscoe has some damage to his car with the hood popped up.

Three to go, Joey Logano continues to lead the race wth Christopher Bell in second; Kurt Busch Denny Hamlin, and Brad Keselowski round out the top five.

Chase Briscoe makes it to pit road.

Kyle Busch is one lap down in 36th place after cutting down another tire.

Two to go, Joey Logano continues to lead the race but is only one second ahead of Christopher Bell; Denny Hamlin, Kurt Busch, and Brad Keselowski round out the top five.

Christopher Bell has caught up to leader Joey Logano and is challenging for the lead.

Christopher Bell takes the lead going into the chicane.

Christopher Bell takes the white flag. Joey Logano’s brakes are very red and smoking.

With a lead of nearly two seconds, Christopher Bell wins the road course at Daytona for his first Cup Series win!

It was sweep at Daytona this weekend for Toyota; winning all three races.

The unofficial results of the O’Reilly Auto Parts 255;
Christopher Bell
Joey Logano
Denny Hamlin
Kurt Busch
Brad Keselowski
Kevin Harvick
AJ Allmendinger
Michael McDowell
Ryan Blaney
Alex Bowman
Chris Buescher
Martin Truex Jr
Cole Custer
Erik Jones
Ryan Blaney
Daniel Suarez
Aric Almirola
Ricky Stenhouse Jr
Ty Dillon
Ryan Newman
Chase Elliott
Anthony Alfredo
James Davison
Justin Haley
Cody Ware
Bubba Wallace
Garrett Smithley
Scott Heckert
Timmy Hill
Kyle Larson
Corey LaJoie
Chase Briscoe
William Byron
Josh Bilicki
Austin Dillon
Kyle Busch
Matt DiBenedetto
Tyler Reddick
Ross Chastain
Quin Houff


Teen Wins Xfinity Series in Double Overtime at Daytona

Race two of the triple header weekend on the road course at Daytona International Speedway is Xfinity Series with the Super Start Batteries 188.

Brett Moffitt sits on the pole and will bring the field down for the green flag with Austin Cindric alongside on the front row.

Unlike the truck series on Friday night, the weather today is bright and sunny.

Cup Series driver Joey Logano and crew chief Drew Blickensderfer join Adam Alexander in the FOX Sports booth to broadcast the race.

The starting lineup for the Super Start Batteries 188 are:
Brett Moffitt
Austin Cindric
Jeb Burton
Harrison Burton
Daniel Hemric
AJ Allmendinger
Brandon Brown
Myatt Snider
Joe Graf Jr
Matt Mills
Kyle WEatherman
Ryan Vargas
Jesse Little
Landon Cassill
Ty Gibbs
Riley Herbst
Timmy Hill
Jeremy Clements
Kris Wright
Tommy Joe Martins
Natalie Decker
Josh Williams
Preston Pardus
Andy Lally
Justin Allgaier
Noah Gragson
Ryan Sieg
Jade Buford
Justin Haley
Gray Gaulding
Bayley Currey
Colby Howard
Michael Annett
Stephen Leicht
Miguel Paludo
Alex Labbe
Jeffrey Earnhardt
Cody Ware
Brandon Jones
David Starr
Noah Gragson is still sitting on pit road with no power.

Stages one and two of the race are 15 laps each with stage three lasting 22 laps for atotal of 52 laps around the 3.61 mile track.

Brett Moffitt brings the field down for the green flag start of the race but it is Austin Cindric who jumps out in front for the lead.

Making his Xfinity Series debut Kris Wright gets off the track early but gets the car going again and the track stays green.

Lap two, the top five are Austin Cindric, Brett Moffitt, AJ Allmendinger, Harrison Burton, and Myatt Snider.

Lapt three, some drivers spin out and get off the track but the track stays green.

Noah Gragson is moving again and back in the race two laps down.

The caution flag comes out on lap three for an issue involving Natalie Decker. She has taken her car to the garage and is out of the race.

Austin Cindric brings the field down for the green flag restart with AJ Allmendinger alongside on the front row on lap seven with Cindric holding on to the lead going into turn one.

Lap seven, the top five are Austin Cindric, AJ Allmendinger, Brett Moffitt, Harrison Burton, and Myatt Snider. There are 37 cars on the lead lap.

Lap 10, Austin Cindric continues to lead the race with AJ Allmendinger on his bumper; Brett Moffitt, Harrison Burton, and Myatt Snider round out the top five.

Lap eleven, AJ Allmendinger gets around Austin Cindric to take the lead.

Riley Herbst gets around Harrison Burton for fifth.

The caution flag comes out on lap 12 when Ryan Vargas who is sitting on the track.

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

AJ Allmendinger brings the field down for the green flag restart for a two lap shootout to end stage one. Allmendinger jumps out in front to held on to the lead but Austin Cindric and Myatt Snider are right on his bumper.

In a last lap stage one battle, Austin Cindric makes contact with AJ Allmendinger and spins him around. Riley Herbst was also involved in the wreck.

Austin Cindric wins stage one.

The top 10 at the end of stage one:
Austin Cindric
Myatt Snider
Riley Herbst
Jeremy Clements
Andy Lally
Brandon Brown
Harrison Burton
Kyle Weatherman
Bayley Currey
Justin Allgaier

AJ Allmendinger’s team reports that he has no oil pressure.

Riley Herbst’s car is on the wrecker and out of the race.

Drivers come down pit road for service. Austin Cindric’s car also has some significant damage that needs to be addressed.

AJ Allmendinger made several trips down pit road for repairs. He was on the “crash clock” and must now make minimum speed in order to stay in the race.

Harrison Burton brings the field down for the green flag start of stage two on lap 19. Burton hets out in front for the lead of the race with Justin Haley in second.

Ty Gibbs and Justin Haley battle it out for second; swapping back and forth.

Lap 20, the top five are Harrison Burton, Ty Gibbs, Justin Haley, Justin Allgaier, and Miguel Paludo.

This is the first time that Harrison Burton has led laps on a road course in the Xfinity Series.

AJ Allmendinger is back in the race but is listed in 34th place after the lap 15 crash. Austin Cindric is in 14th.

Making his first Xfinity Series and Daytona start, Ty Gibbs – the grandson of Joe Gibbs Racing owner Coach Joe Gibbs – he passes Harrison Burton to take the lead on lap 23; Justin Haley, Justin Allgaier, and Brett Moffitt round out the top five.

Lap 24, Tommy Joe Martins missed the chicane and had to serve a stop and go penalty.

Brazilian driver Miguel Paludo is making his first NASCAR start in eight years. He drives the Porsche series in his homeland. Paludo is driving the number eight car for JR Motorsports.

Lap 25, Ty Gibbs continues to lead the race with team mate Harrison Burton in second; Justin Haley, Daniel Hemric, and Justin Allgaier round out the top five.

Miguel Paludo has a flat tire and is slowly working his way to pit road.

Kris Wright makes an off road excursion through the grass.

Brett Moffitt slide through a chicane and worked his way to pit road for fresh tires.

Lap 27, Ty Gibbs continues to lead the race with Harrison Burton over a half second behind.

On the final lap of stage two, Austin Cindric has worked his way into the top 10.

As the sun begins to set, Ty Gibbs wins stage two.

The top 10 at the end of stage two:
Ty Gibbs
Harrison Burton
Daniel Hemric
Justin Haley
Justin Allgaier
Brandon Jones
Austin Cindric
Myatt Snider
Preston Pardus
Jeremy Clements

In communication with his team, Ty Gibbs asked for some peanut butter crackers.

Drivers come down pit road for service Daniel Hemric winning the race off of pit road. In a pit road incident, Brandon Jones has some damage to his car. He reports that the steering wheel is off.

After staying out on the track, Gray Gaulding brings the field down for the green flag start of stage three on lap 35 with Daniel Hemric alongside on the front row. Drivers quickly get three wide across the track with Daniel Hemric taking the lead.

The top five are Daniel Hemric, Gray Gaulding, Harrison Burton, Austin Cindric and Ty Gibbs.

The teams are at the edge of their fuel window to make it to the end of the race.

With 17 laps remaining in the race, Daniel Hemric leads the race with Austin Cindric on his bumper; Ty Gibbs, Harrison Burton, and Justin Haley round out the top five.

AJ Allmendinger is the last car on the lead lap.

Lap 36, Austin Cindric has taken his damaged car to the lead after getting around Daniel Hemric.

With 15 laps remaining in the race, Ty Gibbs battle Austin Cindric for the lead; so far Cindric has held him off.

The caution flag comes out on lap 37 for Jade Buford.

Austin Cindric brings the field down for the green flag restart with Ty Gibbs alongside on the front row on lap 40 with Cindric jumping out in front with a push from Daniel Hemric.

The top five are Austin Cindric, Daniel Hemric, Justin Haley, Ty Gibbs ,and Harrison Burton.

Daniel Hemric and Austin Cindric battle for the lead. Tye Gibbs comes up to make it a three way battle with Cindric holding on to the lead; followed by Daniel Hemric and Ty Gibbs.

Eleven to go, Ty Gibbs takes second place and is aiming for Austin Cindric and the lead.

Austin Cindric and Ty Gibbs battle for the lead with Daneil Hemric in third; Justin Haley and Myatt Snider round out the top five.

Ten to go, Austin Cindric holds on to the lead with Ty Gibbs on his bumper.

Nine to go, 2020 Xfinity Series champion Austin Cindric holds on to the lead with Ty Gibbs continuing to challenge for the lead; Justin Haley, Harrison Burton, and Myatt Snider round out the top five.

Seven laps to go, Austin Cindric continues to lead the race with Ty Gibbs looking to take the lead; Justin Haley, Harrison Burton, and Myatt Snider round out the top five.

Six to go, Austin Cindric has pulled out to a lead of nearly a second on Ty Gibbs; Harrison Burton, Justin Haley, and Myatt Snider round out the top five.

Five to go, Austin Cindric has increased his lead to nearly a second and a half on Ty Gibbs.

Four to go, Austin Cindric has a one second lead on Ty Gibbs with 31 cars on the lead lap.

Bayley Currey has a flat tire on the infield portion of the track and has to work his way to pit road. The track stays green.

Three to go, Austin Cindric has increased his lead on Ty Gibbs to over a second; Harrison Burton, Justin Haley, and Myatt Snider round out the top five.

Bayley Currey did not make it back to pit road before the tire came apart; bringing out the caution flag.

The race will go into overtime.

Many of the drivers, including the leaders, come down pit road for fresh tires. Taking fuel only, Justin Haley wins the race off of pit road; followed by Austin Cindric and Ty Gibbs.

After staying out on the track, Ryan Sieg brings the field down for the overtime green/white/checker finish. Myatt Snider, Jeb Burton, Brandon Jones, Andy Lally, Brett Moffitt, Stephen Leicht, Gray Gaulding, and Kyle Weatherman also stayed out on the track.

Ryan Sieg brings the field to the green flag as drivers get three wide across the track. Ryan Sieg got too wide in the corner and gives the lead over to Jeb Burton. Several cars spin out and bring out the caution flag…and a second overtime restart.

After starting the race on pit road and getting three laps down, Noah Gragson is back on the lead lap and in the top 15..

Jeb Burton brings the field down for the second overtime start with Brandon Jones alongside on the front row. Jeb Burton jumps out in front for the lead with Ty Gibbs in second.

Ty Gibbs passes Jeb Burton for the lead as several cars wreck behind them and get off in the grass. The track stays green.

Ty Gibbs leas the race with Jeb Burton in second; Austin Cindric, Brandon Jones, and Daniel Hemric round out the top five.

Austin Cindric gets around Jeb Burton for second with Ty Gibbs over a half second in the lead.

Ty Gibbs takes the white flag.

Austin Cindric is gaining on leader Ty Gibbs.

Ty Gibbs has pulled out to a lead of over a second on Austin Cindric.

With a lead of over a second and a half, 18 year old Ty Gibbs wins the road course race at Daytona for his first career Xfinity Series win! Gibbs is one of only six drivers to win in their debut Xfinity Series race including Dale Earnhardt Jr Terry Labonte, Kurt Busch, and Joe Rutman.

A very emotional Ty Gibbs kept saying thank you in his interview.

The unoffical results of the Super Start Batteries 188:
Ty Gibbs
Austin Cindric
Daniel Hemric
Brandon Jones
Jeb Burton
Harrison Burton
Miguel Paludo
Brandon Brown
Justin Haley
Jeremy Clements
Brett Moffitt
Landon Cassill
Myatt Snider
Jesse Little
Michael Annett
Kyle Weatherman
Josh Williams
Kris Wright
Matt Mills
Joe Graf Jr
Gray Gaulding
Alex Labbe
Colby Howard
Tommy Joe Martins
Cody Ware
Justin Allgaier
Ryan Sieg
Noah Gragson
Stephen Leicht
Jeffrey Earnhardt
Andy Lally
Bayley Currey
Preston Pardus
Timmy Hill
AJ Allmendinger
Jade Buford
Ryan Vargas
David Starr
Riley Herbst
Natalie Decker



Triple Overtime for Truck Series on Daytona Road Course

NASCAR returns to Daytona International Speedway for the second race of the season, but this time the drivers will be running on the 3.61 mile road course.

The Camping World Truck Series kicks off a triple header weekend with the BrakeBest Pads 159.

After winning the race at Daytona last week, Ben Rhodes puts his number 99 turck on the pole with Ryan Truex starting alongside on the front row.

Last week the rain caused a near six hour rain delay for the Cup Series and the Daytona 500. This week the rains have again come to the track, but this time around the teams will run even in the rain.

NASCAR allows for races to run in bad weather. In wet weather conditions, the cars/trucks must run rain tires, have a windshield wiper, and a red light in the rear of the car. Use of a defroster inside the car is optional.

After drivers running the road course during The Clash last week spewed a great deal of dirt and mud across the track, NASCAR has made a few changes to the two chicane’s in the course by adding some concrete and “turtles” – large rumble strips – to keep the drivers off of the grass.

The starting lineup for the BrakeBest Pads 159:
Ben Rhodes
Ryan Truex
Carson Hocevar
John Hunter Nemechek
Sheldon Creed
Cory Roper
Codie Rohrbaugh
Chandler Smith
Matt Crafton
Spencer Boyd
Zane Smith
Raphael Lessard
Bobby Reuse
Austin Wayne Self
Danny Bohn
Christian Eckes
Jennifer Jo Cobb
Jason White
Johnny Sauter
Austin Hill
Brett Moffitt
Parker Chase
Hailie Deegan
Kaz Grala
Riley Herbst
Tyler Ankrum
Timothy Peters
Tate Fogleman
Chase Purdy
Stewart Friesen
Derek Kraus
Todd Gilliland
Tanner Gray
Timmy Hill
Jett Noland
SamMayer
Camden Murphy
Dawson Cram
Norm Benning
Lawless Alan

Stages one of the race is only 12 laps with stage two lasting just 13 laps, and three lasting 19 laps for a total of 44 laps around the 14 turn road course.

Nearly half of the field – 18 drivers – have never run a race in the rain; with three drivers making their truck series debut.

While the rains have stopped, the track is very wet with plenty of water spraying about.

On wet weather tires, Ben Rhodes brings the field down for the green flag start of the race with Rhodes jumping out in front for the lead.

Some of the drivers had issues going into turn one, but the track stayed green and everybody got sorted out.

John Hunter Nemechek gets around Ben Rhodes to take the lead on lap one.

Lap two, the top five are John Hunter Nemechek, Ben Rhodes, Sheldon Creed, Ryan Truex, and Chandler Smith.

The radial rain tires are a softer compound that the normal slicks. Once the track begins to dry out, the drivers will have to change to the slicks; before they begin having tire issues. The teams have three sets of rain tires and five sets of slicks.

Lap two, the drivers are getting three wide across the oval portion of the track.

Cory Roper got off the course, but the track stayed green and he got back on the course.

Lap four, John Hunter Nemechek contiues to lead the race; Sheldon Creed, Ben Rhodes, Ryan Trues, and Chandler Smith round out the top five.

Lap five, Parker Chase is making his Truck Series debut and has already moved up 12 spots. Chase is an experienced IMSA and Rolex 24 veteran.

Todd Gilliland started the race in 32nd place, he has moved up 20 spots since the race start.

Lap six, John Hunter Nemechek took over the lead in lap one and continues to lead the race. He has opened up a lead of over two seconds on Sheldon Creed.

Lap seven, the top five continues to be John Hunter Nemechek, Sheldon Creed, Ben Rhodes, Ryan Truex, and Chandler Smith.

Jason White was stopped on the track; once he got moving again, he took his truck down pit road. The track stays green. White was penalized for having too many crew members over the wall for his pit stop.

Riley Herbst gets off the track, but gets moving again.

Cory Roper gets turned around and is stopped on the track. He brings out the first caution flag of the race.

Lap 10, race leader John Hunter Nemechek now holds the record for leading the most road course laps in the truck series.

Some drivers came down pit road for service; including changing to slick tires, even though the track is not completely dry yet.

John Hunter Nemechek brings the field down for a one lap shootout to end stage one with Sheldon Creed alongside on the front row. Nemechek jumps out in front for the lead but Ben Rhodes get around Nemechek for the lead in turn one.

Nemechek retakes the lead in turn four with Ben Rhodes on his bumper.

Bobby Reuse gets into the grass but the track stays green.

John Hunter Nemechek wins stage one for his secnd stage win of the season.

The top 10 at the end of stage one:

John Hunter Nemechek
Ben Rhodes
Chandler Smith
Ryan Truex
Brett Moffitt

Johnny Sauter
Matt Crafton
Austin Hill
Stewart Friesen
Riley Herbst

Reports are coming in from the teams that the rain has started back up.

Drivers come down pit road for service. John Hunter Nemechek stayed out on the track. Ryan Truex, Riley Herbst, and Camden Murphy also stayed out on the track.

Teams are reporting that the glare is becoming an issue for the drivers.

John Hunter Nemechek brings with field down for the green flag start of stage two on lap 16 and holds on to the lead with Sheldon Creed on his bumper.

The top five are John Hunter Nemechek, Sheldon Creed, Raphael Lessard, Austin Wayne Self, and Ryan Truex.

Lap 16, Sheldon Creed gets around John Hunter Nemechek to take the lead.

Johnny Sauter and Tanner Gray make contact in the chicane, spinning Gray around; but the track stays green.

Lap 17, Sheldon Creed leas the race by just under a second over John Hunter Nemechek; Raphael Lessard, Zane Smith, and Austin Wayne Self round out the top five.

Bobby Reuse and leader Sheldon Creed make contact, but the track stays green.

Lap 19, there are 35 trucks on the lead lap with Sheldon Creed leading the way.

Lap 20, Sheldon Creed leads the race with Raphael Lessard and Zane Smith battling for second; John Hunter Nemechek, and Kaz Grala round out the top five.

The rains have stopped and the conversation once again turns to whether or not to put on the slick tires.

Lap 20, Sheldon Creed continues to lead the race; Raphael Lessard, Jon Hunter Nemechek, Zane Smith, and Kaz Grala round out the top five.

With five laps remaining in stage two, some drivers are “short pitting” and coming down pit road for service prior to the end of the stage.

Sheldon Creed has a lead of nearly three seconds on John Hunter Nemechek.

With four laps remaining in stage two, John Hunter Nemechek makes his first pit stop of the race. He returns to the track in 22nd place.

Lap 23, leader Sheldon Creed comes down pit road for service; giving the lead over to Raphael Lessard.

John Hunter Nemechek has lost oil pressure and is limping his way around the track. He is stopped at the bus stop on the back stretch; bringing out the caution flag.

John Hunter Nemechek has made it to pit road. The crew got the truck working again and Nemechek is back on the track, one lap down.

Ending the stage under caution, Raphael Lessard wins stage two for his second stage win of the season.

The top 10 at the end of stage two:

Raphael Lessard
Kaz Grala
Zane Smith
Austin Wayne Self
Todd Gilliland
Matt Crafton
Hailie Deegan
Sheldon Creed
Chase Purdy
Brett Moffitt

Drivers come down pit road for service. The teams are changing from rain tires to slicks. Taking fuel only Ben Rhodes wins the race off of pit road.

Matt Crafton stayed out on the track.

Sheldon Creed brings the field down for the green flag start of stage three with 17 laps remaining in the race. Sheldon Creed beats out Matt Crafton for the lead.

The top five are Sheldon Creed, Matt Crafton, Riley Herbst, Stewart Friesen, and Chandler Smith.

Lap 37, Sheldon Creed has a lead of nearly three seconds on Riley Herbst; Stewart Friesen, Chandler Smith, and Matt Crafton round out the top five.

Fifteen to go, Sheldon Creed continues to lead the race; Riley Herbst, Stewart Friesen, Chandler Smith ,and Ben Rhodes round out the top five. Continuing to run on rain tires, Matt Crafton is falling through the field.

The caution flag comes out with 14 laps remaining in the race when Carson Hocevar gets into the wall after contact from another driver. Timothy Peters and Ryan Truex also have some damage to their trucks.

Leader Sheldon Creed was running short of fuel to make it to the end of the race when the caution flag came out.

In shutting off his engine in order to save fuel, Sheldon Creed’s truck didn’t refire properly; as a result, he has lost some spots and will restart the race in fifth place. Riley Herbst is the new leader. Some drivers come down pit road including Matt Crafton who finally change to slick tires.

With nine laps remaining in the race, Riley Herbst brings the field down for the green flag restart but it is Stewart Friesen who gets out in front before Ben Rhodes takes the top spot. Riely Herbst and Ben Rhodes battle it out for the lead, swapping back and forth before Ben Rhodes holds on to the lead.

The caution flag comes out with eight laps remaining in the race for a crash involving Brett Moffitt and Zane Smith; sending Smith into the wall. Parker Chase also has some damage to his truck.

At the time of the caution Ben Rhodes was the leader with Sheldon Creed in second; Riley Herbst, Stewart Friesen, and Chandler Smith round out the top five.

Ben Rhodes brings the field down for the green flag restart with Sheldon Creed alongside on the front row with just six laps remaining in the race. Ben Rhodes jumps out in front for the lead.

Riley Herbst and Sheldon Creed battle it out for second; Stewart Friesen and Chandler Smith round out the top five.

Austin Hill gets turned around and is sitting on the track. Spencer Boyd is also stuck out on the track. The caution flag comes out with five laps remaining in the race.

Looking for back to back wins at Daytona, Ben Rhodes brings the field down for the green flag restart with just three laps remaining in the race. Ben Rhodes jumps out in front for the lead while drivers back in the field get three and four wide in the corners.

Sheldon Creed takes the lead from Ben Rhodes after going deep into the corner.

Ben Rhodes comes up to battle Sheldon Credd for the lead. Creed holds on to the lead.

Sam Mayer gets turned around spraying oil on the track after making contact with Tanner Gray who runs through the grass and brings out the caution flag with just three laps to go.

With some extended cleanup time needed, the race goes into overtime for a green/white/checker finish.

Reports are that Sheldon Creed is low on fuel and the team is unsure whether he can make it to the end.

Sheldon Creed brings the field down for the two lap shootout for the finish with Creed getting out in front for the lead. After getting into the corner a little to hard, Ben Rhodes takes the lead. Drivers are getting off the track back in the field.

Ben Rhodes is in the lead with Sheldon Creed a tenth of a second back; Matt Crafton, Riley Herbst, and John Hunter Nemechek round out the top five.

Ben Rhodes has pulled out to a large lead as he takes the white flag. Just before the white flag comes out, NASCAR waves the caution flag for trucks wrecking . Austin Wayne Self gets into the wall. Raphael Lessard gets turned around. Seventeen year old Jett Noland gets turned around and is stuck in the grass.

There have been eight caution flags in tonight’s race to set a new record.

Ben Rhodes brings the field down for the second attempt at a green/white/checker finish with Sheldon Creed alongside on the front row. Ben Rhodes edges out for the lead after a big push from John Hunter Nemcechek.

Trucks are wrecking back in the field. The caution comes out. Jennifer Jo Cobb got stuck on the track and needed a push to get going again.

Some of the drivers may have to come down pit road for a splash of fuel or risk running out.

Ben Rhodes brings the field down for the third overtime green/white/checker finish with John Hunter Nemechek alongside on the front row; Sheldon Creed and Kaz Grala are in row two. Ben Rhodes gets out in front for the lead once again as drivers get three wide behind him.

Hailie Deegan goes on an off road excursion through the grass and gets stuck.

Ben Rhodes takes the white flag with Sheldon Creed on his bumper for one final lap.

Giving Toyota their 200th truck series win, Ben Rhodes becomes just the thrid driver to win the first two races of the season and the Daytona opening weekend sweep.

The caution flag came out just before Rhodes crossed the finish line.

The unofficial results of the BrakeBest Pads 159:
Ben Rhodes
Sheldon Creed
John Hunter Nemechek
Todd Gilliland
Riley Herbst
Matt Crafton
Derek Kraus
Kaz Grala
Timmy Hill
Christian Eckes
Stewart Friesen
Chandler Smith
Camden Murphy
Carson Hocevar
Austin Wayne Self
Codie Rohrbaugh
Dawson Cram
Johnny Suater
Tate Fogleman
Tyler Ankrum
Tanner Gray
Parker Chase
Chase Purdy
Timothy Peters
Brett Moffitt
Bobby Reuse
Raphael Lessard
Hailie Deegan
Jett Noland
Danny Bohn
Ryan Truex
Norm Benning
Austin Hill
Cory Roper
Jennifer Jo Cobb
Lawless Alan
Sam Mayer
Jason White
Spencer Boyd
Zane Smith

NFL Revises Salary Cap Estimate

While the National Football League played every game in the 2020 season and finished the season on time, the pandemic severely curtailed the league’s income due to very few fans attending the game.

With the big decrease in fans, there was also a major drop in revenues that had the league believing the salary cap for the 2021 season would decrease by a significant amount. The NFL and Players Association believed the salary cap would be set at $175 million; down from the $198 million in 2020.

However, the NFL has tweaked the estimate with an increase to $180 million per team.

During the 2019 NFL season 17 million fans watched their favourite teams live. Due to the pandemic, that number dropped to just 1.2 million in the 2020 season.

Just 13 of the 30 NFL teams allowed a limited number of fans in the stands during the season as they worked to comply with health and government officials to quell the spread of the Covid-19 virus.

SRX Gets New Driver

The Marines have a saying…”once in, never out”. The same could often be said about NASCAR and auto racing. Even after they have announced their retirement, many drivers will run a few races, own teams, and even take on various broadcasting duties in order to stay close to the action.

NASCAR Hall of Famers Tony Stewart and Ray Evernham have created SRX – Superstar Racing Experience – a short-track racing series comprised of drivers from a variety of racing formats.

Two time Daytona 500 winners and FOX broadcasting member Michael Waltrip has joined Stewart – who has continued racing even after his retirement from NASCAR and a current Cup Series owner – and former crew chief Ray Evernham in the new series.

Waltrip spoke on joining SRX saying, “this is an awesome opportunity and I’m genuinely excited to get back in a race car. I still love racing and I still want to compete. SRX is a great platform and all of us want to win. We might have gray hair and maybe even no hair, but when we put that helmet on and go race, the desire and talent is still there. You want to see a show? We’re gonna put on a show.”

He added, “we all come from a short-track background. I mean, that’s where it all starts. Aero doesn’t matter. You’ve got more horsepower than you can put to the ground. It’s all about what you do behind the wheel. As a driver, that’s all you want.”

Other drivers expected to participate in SRX are Helio Castroneves, Bobby Labonte, Paul Tracy, Tony Kanaan, Willy T. Ribbs, Mark Webber, Bill Elliott, Ernie Francis Jr, and Marco Andretti.

Stewart and Evernham have fashioned the new series on the IROC – International Race of Champions – that had drivers from a number of racing formats competing in the same car with the same set ups.

Currently SRX has six races scheduled and is set to begin on June 12 at Stafford Motor Speedway in Stafford Springs, Connecticut. Nashville Fairgrounds, Knoxville Raceway, Slinger Speedway, Lucas Oil Raceway,and Eldora Speedway are also on the schedule.

feature photo credit: SRX Facebook page

Lee Greenwood Gets Digital

Over the course of his career, County music star Lee greenwood has released over two dozen albums with his most famous song being “God Bless the U.S.A.”. 

With the numerous changes in musical formats, some of those albums have never been released in a digital format…until now.

Eight of the Grammy Award winning artist’s albums have just been released for streaming.  “If Only for One Night”, “If There’s Any Justice”, “Inside Out”, “Love Will Find it’s Way to You”, Love’s on the Way”, “Streamline, “This is My Country”, and “When You’re in Love” are now available on all streaming platforms.

Greenwood spoke on the new announcement saying, “we have gone from LPs to cassettes to CDs and now I can say my music has gone streaming! This is great for my fans who have supported my career from the beginning as well as the new legion of fans that are discovering my music for the first time through these new forms of distribution.”

While the pandemic has prevented music artists including Greenwood from touring, he has kept busy working on other projects including creating his own brand of 90 proof bourbon whiskey with Soldier Valley Spirits.  The whiskey comes in a canteen shaped bottle.  The silver foil label features Greenwood’s signature, and replica dog tags with the initials LG.  The  whiskey will be released just in time for Memorial Day weekend.

Later this year, Greenwood will celebrate 40 years of music with a special all-star celebration that will include with some of his friends.  The event is currently scheduled for October 12 at the Von Braun Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

Born in the City of Angles (Los Angeles), Greenwood started leaning his first instrument – the piano – when he was only seven years old.  By the time he finished high school, he could play nearly all of the instruments in the band…and was even the Drum Major for the band. 

He began his professional music career as soon as he finished high school – even missing his own graduation.

Along with his Grammy Award; Greenwood has been named the ACM Male Vocalist of the Year once and the CMA Male Vocalist of the Year twice.

A song that he felt he had to write, Greenwood wrote his biggest hit sitting in the back of a tour bus in 1983.  “God Bless the U.S.A.” has not only topped the charts three times, it is now performed at military events and is a part of the film shown to new citizens.

feature photo credit: By Gage Skidmore from Surprise, AZ, United States of America – Lee Greenwood, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=94245113

Salsa Pioneer Johnny Pacheco Dies

Salsa pioneer and icon Johnny Pacheco died February 15, 2021 in Teaneck, New Jersey at the age of 85. His wife had reported via Facebook that Pacheco had been hospitalized with pneumonia.

Co-founder of Fania Records, he backed fellow Latin music artists Ruben Blades, Willie Coln, and Celia Cruz. He was also a bandmate with Eddie Palmieri.

He received the Music Excellence Award in f2005 from the Latin Recording Academy and was presented with the Silver Pen Award by ASCAP in 2004.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AXN-_asIaYs

His music has been herd on the documentary “Salsa”, “A Woman’s Revenge”, “Fires Within”, “The Mambo Kings”, “Carlito’s Way”, “Born Romantic”, “El cantante”, the video game “Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories”, the documentary “Soul Power”, an episode of “Dancing with the Stars”, two episodes of “So You Think You Can Dance”, and “Like a Boss. Pacheco also appeared in an uncredited role as the Conductor of the Carorrojeno Orchestra in “Badge 373”.

Juan Azarías Pacheco Knipping was born March 25, 1935 in the Dominican Republic to a musical family. While Juan was still a child, his family immigrated to New York City. It is there that he taught himself to play the accordion, violin, saxophone, and clarinet. He picked up percussion while at the Julliard School of Music.

Still in his teens, Pacheco formed The Chuchulecos Boys.

He joined forces with attorney Jerry Masucci in 1963 to create Fania Records where he was the music director, composer, arranger, and producer. The label often known as the “Latin Motown” last for some 20 years.

He is survived by his wife Maria Elena “Cuqui” and four children – Norma, Joanne, Elis, and Phillip.


Johnny Pacheco discography:
“Caramelos”
“Pacheco y Su Charanga”
“Que Suene la Flauta”
“Pacheco y Su Charanga”, Vol. 3: Que Suene la Flauta”
“Pacheco y Su Charanga”, Vol. 4: Suav’ito”
“Chen Chere, El Suavesito, Recuerdo de Arcano”

“Las Charangas”
“Pacheco y Su Charanga, Vol. 5: Spotlight on Pacheco”
“Guachinango”
Mi Nuevo Tumbao….Canonazo”
“Pacheco at the N.Y. World’s Fair”
“Que Suene La Flauta, Vol. 3”
“Hit Flute and Latin Jam”
“Te Invita a Bailar”
“By Popular Demand: Por Demanda Popular”
“Viva Africa”
“Para Gozar Belen”
“Esencia del Guaguanco”
“Pacheco Presenta a Monguito”
“La Perfecta Combinacion”
“Los Compadres”
“Canonazo”
“Mango, Pina y Maranon”
“Volando Bajito”
“Tres de Cafe y Dos de Azucar”
“Viralo Al Reves”
“Celia & Johnny”
“El Maestro”
“Tremendo Cache”
“Recordando el Ayer”
“Esa Prieta”
“Llego Melon”
“The Artist”
“Los Dos Mosqueteros”
“Eternos”
“Los Distinguidos”
“Los Amigos”
“Los Dinamicos”
“Champ”
“Le Crema”
“Las Tres Flautas: Javier y Su Charanga”
“Sabrosura”
“La Crema”
“El Zorro de Plata y el Flaco de Oro”
“De Pelicula” (Musica Latina)
“Fajardo y Pacheco”
“De Nuevo Los Compadres”
“Jicamo”
“Salsobita”
“Celebracion”
“Sima!”
“Pacheco y Su Charanga, Vol. 2”
“Suav’ito”
“Latin Piper”
“Once Upon a Time”
“Sabor Tipico”
“Flying High”
“Johnny Pacheco”
“Early Rhythms”
“Entre Amigos”
“Los Dos Mosqueteros”
“Descargando con los Tres Grandes”
“Fania Classics: Celia Cruz & Johnny Pacheco”
“Los Amigos”

feature photo credit: By Hykso623 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=65813269

MLB Tweaks Safety Measures for Spring Training

Last year Major League Baseball played a shortened season despite a number of Covid related issues.

As the MLB prepares for a new season, they have made a number of changes  to the schedule including limiting travel and game schedules.

Spring training takes place in Arizona and Florida; frequently some of the teams play exhibition games with college teams; many of the those games have been cancelled for the 2021 season. Have also

Split squad games – often used in evaluating players – have also been cancelled for this season.

Florida teams are considering following the practice of the Arizona teams and have the players dress for the games and take batting practice at home before traveling to the exhibition games already ready to play.

While pitchers and catchers are already working out, spring training officially opens on February 28 with opening day starting April 1.

To help cut down on travel, the Grapefruit League – Florida teams – have been divided into three groups:
The East Coast group are the Houston Astros, Miami Marlins, New York Mets, St Louis Cardinals, and the Washington Nationals.

The West Coast group are the Baltimore Orioles, Detroit Tigers, New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, and Toronto Blue Jays.

The Southwest Florida group are the Atlanta Braves, Boston Red Sox, Minnesota Twins, and Tampa Bay Rays.  The Orioles and Pirates are also a part of this group.

Last season the Toronto Blue Jays played their games in Buffalo at the home of their AAA team the Bisons because of the borders being closed and to help with travel issues.  So far, there is no word as to where the Blue Jays will play this season.

After having their season cancelled last season, the MLB has realigned their minor leagues.  The AAA teams have been split into two divisions; while the AA, High A, and Low A teams have been divided into three divisions.

The divisions have not yet been named and are currently using locations to identify the groups- AAA East and West; AA Central, Northeast, and South; High-A Central, East, and West; and Low-A East Southeast, and West.

Currently the AAA teams are set to play 144 games with an April start; however, pandemic issues may change the opening dates.

The AA teams are set to play 138 games; while the A teams will play 132 games with a start in early May.

Idol Premieres a New Season

The global pandemic rages on and live music performances are still on hold; but the competition reality series “American Idol” returns for another season with Katy Perry, Luke Bryan, and Lionel Richie.

Backflipping Benson Boone gets the auditions started off singing and playing the piano. He impressed the judges with his performance; bringing Lionel and Luke to their feet. Katy said that she sees Benson winning Idol. He got his golden ticket to Hollywood.

Country boy Alex Miller brought his guitar to perform an original song for his audition. The 17 year old thrilled Luke and Lionel. Luke came out and sang with Alex. Lionel called the performance something special. Alex got his ticket to Hollywood.

Jason Warrior took on the legendary Marvin Gaye for his audition and brought the judges to their feet dancing. Lionel said that very few people could turn a Marvin Gaye song into their own; adding that it was phenomenal and one of the strongest performances he had heard. Katy called the performance magnificent. Jason got his ticket to Hollywood.

After some no clips, Ryan Romano took on Sir Elton John’s “Rocket Man” for his audition playing his portable keyboard impressed the judges with his showmanship but felt he lacked the vocals. Katy loved Ryan’s coat and offered him $400 for the coat.

Anilee List has been performing most of her life. Luke Kept saying amazing after her performance. The judges called the audition flawless. Anilee got her ticket to Hollywood. Lionel said that he can’t wait to see where it goes.

Danaica Steakley brought her Dad to accompany her on her audition. Katy called Danica talented but noted she could hear that she was 17 and a bit timid. Lionel was impressed with the high end, saying that Danica doesn’t know her voice yet. Luke said that she has all the makings to be a great singer, but needs to get out there and gig. Danica didn’t get her ticket to Hollywood after getting no’s from the guys. Her Dad was angry at the judge’s remarks.

Several singers brought their Dad’s to help out with the auditions.

DJ Johnson comes from a large musical family; she played the piano and sang an original song for her audition. She got very emotional during the song and Lionel offered her his handkerchief and told her to take her time. Luke asked if she wanted her Dad and they brought him in for some support. The judges noted that they wanted to give her a hug bug couldn’t. Katy and Lionel also got emotional during the performance. Lionel said that the message in the song was a hit record and the delivery was honest. Luke noted wondered how she got through the song; adding that she is very talented. Katy noted that some of the greatest artists have gotten that way because of the pain in their life. JD got her ticket to Hollywood with three yeses.

Dressed in black and white, Katy pretened to be a cow and Luke was cow tipping her.

Nia Renee had the judges attention from her first note with her performance of “Chain of Fools”. Luke said that Nia was born to do it. Katy said that Nia has a power in her voice. Nia got her ticket to Hollywood. Lionel said that they have never had anything like that.

After more clips of no performances, Claudia Conway – the daughter of Kelly Ann and George Conway – performed the Rhianna song “Love on the Brain” for her audition but got stopped by Katy, noting that she lost it. Katy gave her another chance to sing a different song. Luke noted that Claudia is singing like she is 16; adding that it was great. Lionel noted that Claudia showed that she can take coaching. Claudia got her ticket to Hollywood despite a no from Luke.

Bobby Bones returns as the Idol mentor this season.

Hoping to impress the judges for his talent and not for his appearance – he came into his audition wearing socks, shoes, and bikini shorts. It was a no for Mario.

Closing out the debut of a new season, Grace Kinstler wowed the judges with her performance of “Midnight Train to Georgia”. Luke asked what her other song would be and Grace sang “Natural Woman”. Katy told her to sing it like the legend she wanted to be. Lionel noted that Grace has great control of her voice. Luke said that it was the first time on the show that someone’s singing made his cry. Katy said Grace gave her chills. Luke compared Grace’s audition to that of Kelly Clarkson and Jennifer Hudson. Grace got her ticket to Hollywood.

NASCAR Cup Series Standings

The 2021 NASCAR Cup Series is off to an explosive start with unexpected race results and big crashes that put some of the biggest names in the sport out of the race.

After four races – three points races – during Speedweek at Daytona International Speedway Austin Dillon sits at the top of the leaderboard in the 2021 points standings with 58 points.

Dillon finished the Daytona 500 in third place missing the big last lap crash that left cars and tempers in flames.  Dillon also won his Duel race.

Despite sweeping both stages in his bid for the 500 three-peat win, Denny Hamlin finds himself in second place with 52 points.

Daytona 500 winner Michael McDowell not only won his first Cup Series race; he finds himself in the top five of the point standings in fifth place.

Bubba Wallace with his new team in the 23 car lands a spot in the top 10 in eighth place after making history as the first African-American driver to lead in the 500.

The top 16 drivers – number of drivers that will make the playoffs at the end of the regular season – in the Cup Series point standings:
Austin Dillon
Denny Hamlin
Kevin Harvick
Chase Elliott
Michael McDowell
Ryan Preece
Kyle Larson
Bubba Wallace
Joey Logano
Christopher Bell
Ross Chastain
Corey LaJoie
Kyle Busch
Jamie McMurray
Cole Custer
Brad Keselowski

Drivers earn points for the top 10 positions at the end of a stage and finishing positions in the race with the winner earning 40 points; each successive position earns points in descending order.  Drivers also earn extra playoff points for stage wins.

Big Ones Bookend 2021 Daytona 500

Speedweeks at Daytona come to an end with the “Great American Race” – the Daytona 500!

Forty cars will battle it out for the title of Daytona 500 winner. Reigning 500 champion Denny Hamlin has won the race for the past two years. He is going for the three-peat – something no driver has ever accomplished. Hamlin is one of just three drivers to win the 500 back-to-back – Hamlin, Sterling Marlin, and Richard Petty.

Making his fourth visit to the front row, Alex Bowman put his numnber 48 car on the pole after driving the number 88 in the past few races. Team mate William Byron was set to make it an all Hendrick Motorsports front row but a multi-car crash in Duel number two on Thursday night sent the number 24 team to a back up car and a start from the rear of the field.

Byron is just one of several drivers who will start the race from the back of the field due to crashes and penalties. Brad Keselowski, Kaz Grala, Anthony Alfredo, Cole Custer, and Ross Chastain also had to move to back up cars after Duel race.

Martin Truex Jr and Erik Jones were moved to the back of the field after making unapproved adjustments in the form of changes to the radiator and engine.

The 23XI Racing team will also start their first race from the back of the field after failing pre-race inspection twice. The 23 team will also lose a crew member for today’s race as Bubba Wallace makes his 500 debut in the new 23 car.

The starting lineup for the 2021 Daytona 500:
Alex Bowman
William Byron – moved to the back of the field
Aric Almirola
Austin Dillon
Christopher Bell
Bubba Wallace – moved to the back of the field
Ryan Newman
Kevin Harvick
Joey Logano
Kyle Busch
Ryan Preece
Chase Elliott
Kyle Larson
Ryan Blaney
Daniel Suarez
Corey LaJoie
Michael McDowell
David Ragan
Jamie McMurray
Kurt Busch
Ricky Stenhouse Jr
Chris Buescher
Matt DiBenedetto
Brad Keselowski – moved to the back of the field
Denny Hamlin
Martin Truex Jr – moved to the back of the field
Cole Custer – moved to the back of the field
Joey Gase
Tyler Reddick
Chase Briscoe
Erik Jones – moved to the back of the field
Derrike Cope
Quin Houff
Ross Chastain – moved to the back of the field
Cody Ware
Anthony Alfredo – moved to the back of the field
Josh Bilicki
BJ McLeod
Austin Cindric
Kaz Grala – moved to the back of the field

There is a threat of bad weather in the area, so there is a question as to whether there will be race delays or shortened.

Grand Marshall and part owner of the number 99 car driven by Daniel Suarez, Pitbull gave a rousing command to start the engines.

Stages one and two of the race are 65 laps each with stage three lasting 70 laps. With a fuel load of 34 to 38 laps, the drivers cannot complete any of the stages without making at least one pit stop for fuel.

Alex Bowman brings the field down for the green flag start of the race and puts his number 48 car in the lead with Kevin Harvick on his bumper in second.

Lap two, AlexBowman led the first lap with Kyle Busch on his bumper, Kevin Harvick moves to the inside lane to challenge for the lead.

On the 20th anniversary of Dale Earnhardt Sr’s death on the last lap of the Daytona 500, fans nad crew hold up three fingers in salute to Earnhardt and his number three car.

Derrike Cope brings out the first caution flag of the race when he gets into the wall with a possible blown tire. It has been 16 years since Cope was last in a Cup Series race. At 62 this is his final race as a driver.

Kevin Harvick leads the race with Aric Almirola in secnd; Christopher Bell, Ryan Newman, and Alex Bowman round out the top five. Cope made contact with Bubba Wallace who also had to make a pit stop for repairs.

Pit road is open but the leaders stay out on the track.

Kevin Harvick brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap seven and jumps out in front for the lead with Ryan Newman on the outside.

Lap eight, Ryan Newman and Kevin Harvick battle for the lead with Newman taking the spot briefly before Harvick takes back the lead.

Drivers are getting three wide across the track.

Lap nine, the top five are Kevin Harvick, Aric Almirola, Christopher Bell, Ryan Newman, and Alex Bowman.

Lap eleven, Kevin Harvick leads the race with Aric Almirola in second; Christopher Bell, Kyle Busch, and Alex Bowman round out the top five.

Drivers are three wide through the field.

Kurt Busch in the number one car is the only driver who was in the race in 2001.

Lap 14, Kevin Harvick leads the race as the caution flag comes out for a huge wreck involving much of the field and sent mud flying. Several drivers are sitting on the grass in the infield.

Aric Almirola and Christopher Bell make contact near the front of the field, causing a big pileup. William Byron got airborne during the record. Ryan Preece squeaked by and missed the wreck by about half an inch.

NASCAR has red flagged the race. Lightening has been spotted less than five miles from the track. Once a lightening strike is seen, the skies must be clear of lightening for at least 30 minutes before activities can resume.

Under a red flag condition, the teams cannot work on their cars; they can only look at them to assess the damage.

Kurt Busch, Ryan Newman, Tyler Reddick, Aric Almirola, Ryan Blanehy, Chris Buescher, Martin Truex Jr, Christopher Bell, Matt DiBenedetto, William Byron, David Ragan, Anthony Alfredo, Erik Jones, Alex Bowman, Jamie McMuray, and Daniel Suarez were all involved in the wreck.

The rain has begun; further delaying the race. The track drying equipment is out on the track to begin the process.

Just when it looked like the rains had stopped and the track drying process was making some headway, the skies opened up once again; causing further delays.

After a five hour delay for rain and lightening, NASCAR has the track drying equipment out and is still working to get the track in racing condition.

At 8:14pm, FOX made the announcement that the race would resume at 9pm.

Once NASCAR displays the caution flag, the 16 teams involved in the big crash just before the red flag will be on the “crash clock” and will have six minutes to make whatever repairs necessary to meet minimum speed or they will be out of the race. NASCAR has said that minimum speed is at least 170mph.

At 8:52pm NASCAR has called the drivers to their cars!

Some six hours after the drop of the green flag to start the race, the engines have fired and NASCAR displays the yellow flag.

Crews that have damaged cars may now begin to work on their cars.

Chris Buescher and Ryan Blaney’s team have reached the limit on their “Crash Clock”. Matt DiBenedetto and Anthony Alfredo’s “Crash Clock” times have expired.

Keven Harvick is the race leader.

Pit road is open and most of the field comes down pit road for service. Taking fuel only, Christopher Bell wins the race off of pit road. Kyle Busch comes out second with a fuel only stop.

There are 24 cars on the lead lap.

Several of the drivers’ rear windows are fogging up. The windows will clear up once they get moving again.

Lap 20, still under caution, Kaz Grala is listed as the leader of the race.

Second place driver BJ McLeod pitted before pit road was open and will have to move to the back of the field when the race restarts.

At 9:33pm NASCAR brings out the green flag to get the race restarted. Chase Elliott and Austin Dillon are on the front row and bring the cars to the green flag. Chase Elliott edges out in front but Austin Dillon goes nose to nose with Elliott in a battle for the lead.

Lap 30, Austin Dillon gets out in front for the lead with a little help from Ryan Preece.

Lap 31, the top five are Austin Dillon, Ryan Preece, Chase Elliott, Cole Custer, and Kyle Larson.

All 29 of the cars on the track have made minimum speed and can continue in the race. Eleven cars are out of the race p att DiBenedetto, Ryan Blaney, Chris Buescher, Anthony Alfredo, Aric Almirola, Alex Bowman, Daniel Suarez, David Ragan, Ryan Newman, Erik Jones, and Derrike Cope.

Lap 33, Denny Hamlin is the new leader with Austin Dillon in second.

After restarting the race in 16th place, Kyle Busch is in the top five on lap 34.

Lap 34, Denny Hamlin leads the race with Brad Keselowski in second; Bubba Wallace Kyle Busch, and Joey Logano round out the top five.

William Byron’s back bumper is flapping in the wind and will have to come down pit road to make repairs after being black flagged by NASCAR.

Lap 38, Denny Hamlin leads the race with Brad Keselowski in second.

Quin Houff and Chase Briscoe make contact and bring out the thrid caution flag of the race.

Lap 25, there are 22 cars on the lead lap with Denny Hamlin leading the way. Quin Houff is out of the race.

Denny Hamlin brings the field down for the green flag restart from the outside lane with 22 laps remaining in stage one. Denny Hamlin, Bubba Wallace, and Kyle Busch battle it out for the lead with Hamlin holding on to the stop spot.

Lap 45, the top five are Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Ryan Preece, Austin Cindric, and Austin Dillon.

William Byron returns to the track after making repairs; he is seven laps down.

Lap 49, Denny Hamlin continues to lead the race with team mate Kyle Busch in second place; Ryan Preece Austin Cindric, and Austin Dillon round out the top five.

Lap 52, there are only 28 cars still running on the track; there are now 12 cars out of the race.

Ten laps to in stage one, Denny Hamlin leads the race with Kyle Busch in second.

Five to go in stage one, Denny Hamlin holds on to the lead with Kyle Busch in second just one tenth of a second back. Drivers back in the field are beginning to make moves, hoping to move up the position in the hopes of getting one of the top 10 points earning spots.

Denny Hamlin wins stage one.

The top 10 at the end of stage one:
Denny Hamlin
Ryan Preece
Austin Dillon
Kyle Larson
Austin Cindric
Christopher Bell
Bubba Wallace
Joey Logano
Ross Chastain
Cole Custer

Drivers come down pit road for service with Denny Hamlin winning the race off of pit road; followed by Christopher Bell.

Denny Hamlin brings the field down for the green flag start of stage two on lap 72 from the outside lane with Christopher Bell on the inside. Hamlin gets out in front for the lead and gets in a battle for the top spot from Austin Cindric. Austin Cindric takes the lead.

Lap 73, the top five are Austin Cindric, Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski, and Chase Elliott.

Fog is moving into the area, making it difficult for the spotters to see their drivers.

Lap 74, Denny Hamlin retakes the lead with Christopher Bell in second; Austin Dillon, Kyle Busch and Kyle Larson round out the top five.

Lap 76, Christopher Bell takes the lead of the race with Kyle Busch in second.

Joe Gibbs Racing is one, two, three with Christopher Bell in the lead; followed by Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin; Austin Dillon and Austin Cindric round out the top five.

Leader Christopher Bell has some debris on his grille.

Lap 79, leaders have gotten single file with Christopher Bell leading the way. There are 23 cars on the lead lap with 28 cars still in the race.

Lap 85, the top five are Christopher Bell, Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Austin Dillon, and Austin Cindric.

Lap 88, Christopher Bell continues to lead the race with Kyle Busch in second; Denny Hamlin Austin Dillon, and Austin Cindric round out the top five with the drivers running single file around the track.

Lap 98, Christopher Bell holds on to his lead followed by team mates Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin; Austin Dillon and Austin Cindric round out the top five.

With the crossing of the flags to signify the halfway point in the race, it is now official and will conclude tonight no matter what the weather brings.

With 25 laps remaining in stage two, drivers begin making green flag pit stops.

Leader Christopher Bell brings his car down pit road for service; along with Kyle Busch, giving the lead over to Austin Dillon.

Austin Dillon makes his green flag pit stop and gives the lead over to Kyle Larson.

Pit stops have cycled through; Kyle Larson leads the race with Chase Elliott in second; Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano, and Austin Cindric round out the top five.

The caution flag comes out on lap 112 when Christopher Bell gets into the wall with a flat tire. Jamie McMurray and Kyle Larson were also caught up in the wreck.

Several drivers come down pit road for fresh tires after taking only fuel during green flag pit stops.

Kaz Grala brings his car down pit road with a flaming brake rotor. Crew members are having trouble getting the fire to stay out.

The fire is out and Grala is back on the track.

Kaz Grala’s car is on fire again and he brings it down pit road with no brakes and a big fire under the car.

Denny Hamlin brings the field down for the green flag restar with 13 laps remaining in stage two.

The top five are Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, and Ryan Preece.

Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin battle for the lead; but Kevin Harvick comes up and takes the lead.

Lap 119, Denny Hamlin takes the lead with Bubba Wallace on his bumper.

Ten to go in stage two, Denny Hamlin leads the race with Brad Keselowski in second.

Lap 121, Denny Hamlin has the lead with Bubba Wallace in second; Kevin Harvick, Chase Elliott, and Austin Dillon round out the top five.

Kaz Grala is out of the race.

Five laps remain in stage two; Denny Hamlin leads the race with Bubba Wallace in second.

With two laps remaining in the stage, several drivers dropped down to the inside lane including Bubba Wallace who takes the lead.

Denny Hamlin gets past Wallace to take the lead and win stage two for the stage sweep.

The top 10 at the end of stage two:
Denny Hamlin
Kevin Harvick
Bubba Wallace
Chase Elliott
Austin Dillonj
Joey Logano
Michael McDowell
Kyle Busch
Kyle Larson
Brad Keselowski

Drivers come down pit road for service with Austin Dillon winning the race off of pit road after taking only two tires.

Kyle Larson was charged with a safety violation for having a hot torch over the pit wall. He will have to restart the race from the back of the field.

Austin Dillon brings the field down for the green flag start of stage three with 64 laps remaining in the race. There are 18 cars on the lead lap.

Austin Dillon jumps out in front for the lead with Denny Hamlin on his bumper.

Hamlin moves out to the outside lane and takes the lead of the race with Kevin Harvick in second.

The top five are Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Austin Dillon, Joey Logano, and Michael McDowell.

Only 27 cars remain in the race.

Lap 139, Denny Hamlin leads the race with Kevin Harvick in second; Joey Logano, Kyle Busch, and Austin Cindric round out the top five.

Denny Hamlin has led 64 of the 140 laps run so far.

Lap 147, Denny Hamlin continues to lead the race with Kevin Harvick in second; Joey Logano, Kyle Busch, and Austin Cindric round out the top five.

Fifty to go, Denny Hamlin keeps his number eleven Joe Gibbs Racing car out in front with Kevin Harvick just one tenth of a second back. Hamlin has led 74 of the 150 laps in the race.

With 43 laps to go, Denny Hamlin continues to lead the race with Kevin Harvick in second; Joey Logano, Kyle Busch, and Austin Cindric round out the top five.

Prior to NASCAR installing restrictor plates in the Daytona and Talladega cars, Bill Elliott clocked the fastest speed around the track at Daytona with over 210 mph. Elliott’s son Chase clocked the fastest lap in the 500 with a speed of 199.4mph.

Thirty-five laps to go, Denny Hamlin cintinues to lead the race and add to his total of Daytona laps led; Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano, Kyle Busch, and Christopher Bell round out the top five.

Kevin Harvick takes the lead briefly before coming down pit road as drivers begin making green flag pit stops with 31 laps to go.

Leader Denny Hamlin makes his green flag pit stop, giving the lead over to Joey Logano.

Once the green flag pit stops have cycled through, Denny Hamlin retakes the lead of the race with Kyle Busch in second.

Lap 174, the top five are Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick, Cole Custer, and Brad Keselowski.

Lap 175, Joey Logano takes the lead with Kevin Harvick in second; Cole Custer, Brad Keselowski, and Michael McDowell round out the top five. Hamlin falls to 13th place.

Bubba Wallace had to make an unscheduled trip down pit road with a loose tire.

Christopher Bell has to come down pit road with a fuel issue.

Twenty to go, Joey Logano leads the race with Kevin Harvick in second; Cole Custer, Brad Keselowski, and Michael McDowell round out the top five.

Fifteen laps to go and there are 15 cars on the lead lap with Joey Logano leading the way.

With 12 laps to go, the drivers are beginning to spread out in hopes of moving up in the field.

Ten to go, Joey Logano holds on to the lead of the race with Kevin Harvick in second.

Five to go, Joey Logano is in the lead with Kevin Harvick in second.

Joey Logano takes the white flag.

Big crash with cars in flames. Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, Ryan Preece, Chase Elliott, Ross Chastain, Bubba Wallace, and Kyle Busch were all involved in the crash. Even the wall was damaged

Michael McDowll’s team is celebrating, because they think that they have won the race. NASCAR is reviewing all of the footage to determine who has won the race.

It’s official…Michael McDowell wins the Daytona 500! This is McDowell’s first Cup Series win.

All of the drivers involved in the crash climbed from their cars and are okay.

The unofficial results of the Daytona 500:
Michael McDowell
Chase Elliott
Austin Dillon
Denny Hamlin
Kevin Harvick
Ross Chastain
Ryan Preece
Jamie McMurray
Corey LaJoie
Kyle Larson
Cole Custer
Joey Logano
Brad Keselowski
Kyle Busch
Austin Cindric
Christopher Bell
Bubba Wallace
Ricky Stenhouse Jr
Chase Briscoe
Joey Gase
Cody Ware
Kurt Busch
BJ McLeod
Josh Bilicki
Martin Truex Jr
William Byron
Tyler Reddick
Kaz Grala
Quin Houff
Ryan Blaney
Chris Buescher
Anthony Alfredo
Matt DiBenedetto
Aric Almirola
Alex Bowman
Daniel Suarez
David Ragan
Ryan Newman
Erik Jones
Derrike Cope

Music Artist Ari Gold Dies

Pioneering out artist Ari Gold died in New York City just days after his 47th birthday.

Gold was “discovered” when he was only five years old singing at his brother’s Bar Mitzvah. Since that time he has appeared in hundreds of television commercials as a child and later launched a singing career.

In 2019 Gold was diagnosed cancer-free after months of treatment and hospital visits.

When the LGBTQ+ based network LOGO featured a music video show, Gold’s music was among the rotation of videos. His video for “Wave of You” was reportedly the first video to air on the network.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ksXyvhIJQmQ

Gold’s television appearances include documentaries, “NewNowNext Music”, “Sheftik Presents Invocation: The Journey Continues”, the George Michael tribute viedo of “Too Funky”, “Vega411”, the child voice in “The Life & Adventures of Santa Claus”, Ba Nee in “Jem”, the Trash Popstar in “Latin Boys Go to Hell”, “The Olive Tree”, Tyrone Cohen in “Starrbooty”, and “Mila Jam: bruised”.

His music has appeared on “Latin Boys Go to Hell”, “Circuit”, “Shortbus”, “Courgar Town”, “Bear City”, and “Eating Out: The Open Weekend”.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H7PDM1YY5gw

Over the course of his career Gold was knighted by a drag queen of the Imperial Court of NY, was crowned a Living Legend by the Glam Awards, named a Visionary Award winner by the LGBT Academy of Recording Artists, is an Independent Music Award winner, and is a USA Songwriting Competition Grand Prize winner.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LytmO1fbxPs

He has collaborated with the original Queen of Drag RuPaul, Boy George of Culture Club, “The Voice” alum Sasha Allen, Desmond Child, Sarah Dash of Labelle, Cyndi Lauper, Diana Ross, and sax man Dave Koz.

He has opened shows for Martha Wash and Chaka Khan.

Tommy Page and Kevin Aviance have recorded songs written by Gold.

He has had hits with the songs “Wave of You”, “Love Will Take Over”, and “Where the Music Takes You”.

Along with numerous appearances in his native New York City, Gold has graced stages all over the world.

Ever the entertainer, Gold launched the podcast “A Kiki from the Cancer Ward” which included conversations with Laverne Cox and RuPaul.

He is survived by family members.

Ari Gold discography:
“Ari Gold”
“Space Under the Sun”
The Remixes”
“Transport Systems”
“Play My F**kin Music”
“Between the Spirit & the Flesh”

feature photo credit: By David Shankbone – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2998525

More Cars to the Rear for Daytona 500

Two multi car crashes during the Bluegreen Vacations Duel race number two on Thursday night forced several teams to go to a backup car for the 500 on Sunday.

NASCAR announced on Saturday that two more teams would be moving to the back of the field due to penalties for rule book violations.

The Joe Gibbs Racing number 19 car driven by Martin Truex Jr made a changes to the radiator and oil cooler and must move to the rear of the field to start the race.

The Richard Petty Motorsports number 43 car driven by Erik Jones received a more severed penalty than just starting at the back of the field. Their engine change will put them at the rear of the field for the Daytona 500 and the road course race next weekend.

The NASCAR rule book states that a team must use the same engine for a single weekend or face a penalty that puts them at the back of the field for the current race and the next race.

Brad Keselowski, Kaz Grala, William Byron, Anthony Alfredo, Cole Custer, and Ross Chastain will all start the 500 at the back of the field in backup cars.

Red Flag, Big Crashes Mark Xfinity Race in Daytona

After a rain delayed Duel race number two on Thursday, Mother Nature again steps in and causes some havoc with a cancellation of Cup Series practice and Xfinity Series qualifying.  As a result; the field was set by car owner points from the end of the 2020 racing season.

Xfinity Series champion Austin Cindric sits on the pole with Justin Allgaier starting alongside on the front row.

The starting lineup for the Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner 300:
Austin Cindric
Justin Allgaier
Justin Haley
Riley Herbst
Noah Gragson
Brandon Jones
Jeb Burton
Harrison Burton
Josh Berry
Michael Annett
Myatt Snider
Daniel Hemric
Ryan Sieg
Brandon Brown
Brett Moffitt
Jeremy Clements
Josh Williams
Joe Graf Jr
Alex Labbe
Colby Howard
Ryan Vargas
Tommy Joe Martins
Robby Lyons II
Jesse Little
Jeffrey Earnhardt
Chad Finchum
Matt Mills
Danny Bohn
Cody Ware
Bayley Currey
AJ Allmendinger
Ty Dillon
Landon Cassill
Kyle Weatherman
Gray Gaulding
Stefan Parsons
Timmy Hill
Caesar Bacarella
Brandon Gdovic
Jason White

NASCAR Hall of Famer and Cup Series team owner Tony Stewart joins Clint Bowyer and Adam Alexander in the broadcast booth for the race.

Stages one and two of the race are 30 laps each with stage three lasting 60 laps for a total of 120 laps and 300 miles of racing around the high banks of Daytona.

Austin Cindric brings the field down for the green flag start of the race from the outside lane and edges out Justin Allgaier for the lead.

Austin Cindric leads lap one.

Lap two, the top five are Austin Cindric, Justin Allgaier, Riley Herbst, Justin Haley, and Brandon Jones.

Drivers are getting three wide across the track.

Lap three, Justin Allgaier takes the lead on the inside lane with Justin Haley in second.

Lap four, Alex Labbe gets loose and brings out the first caution flag of the race.  He saves the car and keeps it off the wall in a single car event.

Noah Gragson brings his car down pit road for service.

Justin Allgaier brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap eight but it is Austin Cindric who gets out in front for the lead.

Lap nine, Justin Allgaier and Austin Cindric battle for the lead; swapping it back and forth before Allgaier takes the lead.

Lap 10, the top five are Justin Alliaier, Justin Haley, Austin Cindric, Riley Herbst, and Jeb Burton.

Lap eleven, Josh Williams brings out the second caution flag of the race.  He is stopped on the track.

Some drivers come down pit road for service.

Justin Allgaier brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 15 from the outside lane but Austin Cindric edges out in front from the inside lane.

The top five are Austin Cindric, Riley Herbst, Justin Allgaier, Brandon Jones, and Justin Haley.

Austin Cindric has led eight of the 16 lpas so far.

Lap 17, Riley Herbst gets around Austin Cindric for the lead.

The third caution flag of the race comes out on lap 19 for another on track issue for Josh Williams.

More drivers make pit stops.

Riley Herbst brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 23 from the outside lane and edges out in front of Austin Cindric to hold on to the lead.

The top five are Riley Herbst, Austin Cindric, Justin Allgaier, Brandon Jones, and Brett Moffitt.

The field has divided into two groups with about half the field in the first pack.

Five to go, Riley Herbst leads the race with Austin Cindric just one tenth of a second behind.

Lap 27, Josh Williams is the only car not on the lead lap.

With two laps remaining in stage one, some of the drivers are beginning to make moves to earn points.

Final lap of stage one, Brandon Jones takes the lead.

Riley Herbst and Brandon Jones go nose to nose for the finish with Jones edging out for the win by a bumper.

The top 10 at the end of stage one :
Brandon Jones
Riley Herbst
Ty Dillon
Austin Cindric
Noah Gragson
Daniel Hemric
Justin Allgaier
Harrison Burton
Ryan Sieg
Brandon Brown
Drivers come down pit road for service with Noah Gragson winning the race off of pit road after taking fuel only.  Harrison Burton also took fuel only on his pit stop.

Ryan Sieg brings the field down for the green flag start of stage two with Brandon Brown alongside on the front row after staying out on the track on lap 37.  Ryan Sieg edges out for the lead; Jason White, Brandon Brown, AJ Allmendinger, and Myatt Snider round out the top five.

Lap 39, after having some trouble finding his pit stall, Riley Herbst has moved up to fourth place.

Lap 40, Ryan Sieg continues to lead the race with Justin Haley in second; Brandon Brown, AJ Allmendinger, and Myatt Snider round out the top five.,

Lap 45, Ryan Sieg is still in the lead with Justin Haley in second; Brandon Brown, Myatt Snider, and Brett Moffitt round out the top five.

Lap 50, Ryan Sieg leads the race and a long line of single file cars. 

Lap 51, the top five are Ryan Sieg, Justin Haley, Brandon Brown, Myatt Snider, and Brett Moffitt.

Five laps remain in stage two and Ryan Sieg has dominated the stage, leading every lap of the stage so far.

Lap 56, Brett Moffitt has moved up and is challenging leader Ryan Sieg.

Lap 57, Brett Moffitt takes the lead.  Drivers are getting three wide across the track as the end of the stage nears.

Brandon Jones spins out and makes a big run through the grass and hits the wall on the final lap of stage two.  Cody Ware and Alex Labbe were also involved in the wreck.  All three drivers have dropped their window nets signifying that they are okay.

Brett Moffitt wins stage two.

The top 10 at the end of stage two:
Brett Moffitt
Ty Dillon
Austin Cindric
Justin Haley
Brandon Brown
Ryan Sieg
Jeremy Clements
Noah Gragson
Myatt Snider
Josh Berry

NASCAR has red flagged the race in order to get the wreck cleaned up.  After the rain earlier in the day, the infield is filled with water.

 Brandon Jones has been released from the infield care center and is fine.

After a red flag delay of over 10 minutes, NASCAR displays the caution flag and the cars get moving again.  Drivers make their pit stops but will have to stop at least once more for fuel to make it to the it until the end of the race.

Ryan Sieg is sitting on pit road with an oil leak.

Timmy Hill is listed as the leader of the race with Joe Graf Jr in second.

After pit stops, Ty Dillon is the leader and will bring the field down for the green flag start of stage three on lap 66.  Dillon and Austin Cindric go nose to nose for the lead.

Lap 68, Austin Cindric leads the race with Justin Allgaier just one tenth of a second back; Brett Moffitt, Ty Dillon, and Justin Haley round out the top five.

Fifty to go, Austin Cindric leads the race with Ty Dillon in second.

Lap 71, Ty Dillon takes the lead as he and Cindric battle back and forth.

Austin Cindric retakes the lead with Justin Allgaier in second.

Lap 75, Austin Dillon leads the race with Justin Allgaier in second.

The caution flag comes out after a wreck involving drivers working to come down pit road.

Michael Annett, Noah Gragson, Bayley Currey, Gray Gaulding, Jeffrey Earnhardt, Ryan Vargas, Chad Finchum, Colby Howard, and Ryan Sieg were all involved in the wreck.

Drivers come down pit road for service; many drivers are taking fuel only.  Justin Haley wins the race off of pit road, taking fuel only.

With 41 laps to go, Timmy Hill is listed as the leader of the race.

Lap 83, Justin Haley brings the field down for the green flag restart and gets out in front for the lead.  Harrison Burton comes up on the outside lane to battle with Haley for the lead.

Lap 84, the top five are Harrison Burton, Justin Haley, Daniel Hemric, Riley Herbst, and Brandon Brown.

There are 29 cars on the lead lap and 10 drivers out of the race.  Josh Williams is the only driver laps down.

Lap 90, Harrison Burton leads the race with Daniel Hemric in second; Ty Dillon, Austin Cindric, and Josh Berry round out the top five.

Driving the number eight car for JR Motorsports, Josh Berry is making his first Xfinity Series start since 2017 and his very first start at Daytona.  Berry is currently running in fifth place.

Lap 96, Harrison Burton continues to lead the race with team mates Daniel Hemric and Ty Dillon right behind him; Austin Cindric and Josh Berry round out the top five.

The caution flag comes out on lap 99 after Caesar Baccarella gets loose and wrecks his car.

Harrison Burton brings the field down for the green flag restart with just 17 laps remaining in the race from the outside lane; team mate Daniel Hemric is alongside on the inside lane.

Harrison Burton gets out in front for the lead with Daniel Hemric in second; Ty Dillon, Austin Cindric, and Josh Berry round out the top five.

Fifteen to go, the outside lane is moving up and looking to take the lead.  Big crash on lap 104 when Ty Dillon tried to make it three wide.  Daniel Hemric, Justin Allgaier, Josh Berry, Jeb Burton, Brandon Brown, Jeremy Clements, Robby Lyons, Timmy Hill, Jason White, Danny Bohn, Justin Haley, Chad Finchum, Colby Howard, and Riley Herbst were all involved in the melee.

Forty cars started the race, with just 10 laps remaining, only eleven of them have no damage after eight cautions and two big crashes.

Harrison Burton brings the field down for the green flag restart with just eight laps remaining in the race.  Austin Cindric and Harrison Burton go side by side for a battle of the lead.

Seven to go, Austin Cindric and Harrison Burton continue to battle for the lead; AJ Allmendinger, Brett Moffitt, and Myatt Snider round out the top five.

Six to go and the caution comes out for another crash.  Tommy Joe Martins is stuck in the grass after crashing out.  He gets bumped from behind by Jeb Burton and hits the wall before making a run through the grass.  Landon Cassill was also involved in the wreck.

Ty Dillon was the “lucky dog” and is back on the lead lap.

For the second night in a row, the race will go into overtime.

Austin Cindric brings the field down for the overtime green/white/checker finish and gets out in front for the lead with a little push form AJ Allmendinger.

Austin Cindric takes the white flag with Harrison Burton in second and Brett Moffitt in third.

Austin Cindric holds on to the lead while blocking Harrison Burton.

Austin Cindric wins the race and give Roger Penske his first Xfinity Series win at Daytona!

Clint Bowyer was the last pole sitter to win the race at Daytona in 2009.

The unofficial results of the Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner 300:
Austin Cindric
Brett Moffitt
Harrison Burton
Jeb Burton
AJ Allmendinger
Brandon Brown
Myatt Snider
Brandon Gdovic
Daniel Hemric
Jason White
Joe Graf Jr
Caesar Bacarella
Stefan Parsons
Ty Dillon
Kyle Weatherman
Matt Mille
Jesse Little
Ryan Vargas
Danny Bohn
Timmhy Hill
Josh Williams
Jeremy Clements
Landon Cassill
Tommy Joe Martins
Robby Lyons II
Riley Herbst
Josh Berry
Justin Allgaier
Justin Haley
Chad Finchum
Ryan Sieg
Noah Gragson
Bayley Currey
Gray Gaulding
Colby Howard
Michael Annett
Jeffrey Earnhardt
Brandon Jones
Cody Ware
Alex Labbe

Wild RIde, Overtime Finish for Truck Series to Open Season

It has been nearly a year since the Camping World Truck Series truck drivers have had any practice or made a qualifying run, but on Thursday 46 drivers took to the track for their one and only practice session before making a qualifying run and race on Friday (February 12).

NASCAR allows for 36 trucks in each race, meaning 10 teams will go home.

This year among the rookies coming into the series is 19 year old Hailie Deegan who is not only making her first start in a truck, it is her first attempt at running the high banks of Daytona International Speedway.

Navy Commander Jesse Iwuji gets the Truck Series qualifying started off with a time of 52.27 seconds.

Despite reports that he would be selling his truck team after last season, Ray Ciccarelli returns to NASCAR and the Camping World Truck Series.

Clay Greenfield’s team brought a new truck to the track but has been unable to get the truck going. Greenfield reports that the truck has lost power again.

With a time of 50.214 seconds, Hailie Deegan puts her truck on the provisional pole with seven trucks having made qualifying laps.


James Buescher has had his qualifying run disallowed after going below the double yellow line…which is not allowed. He will have to hope that the past champions provisional spot is open in order to make the race. Buescher was attempting to draft a truck that was slowed and exiting the track.

Coming off of pit road, the drive shaft fell off of Tim Viens’ truck.

Reigning Camping World Truck Series driver Sheldon Creed makes a run of 49. 920 seconds to take the top spot.

Johnny Sauter tops the list of drivers with a time of 49.733 seconds and wins his first pole in the Camping World Truck Series. Sheldon Creed will start alongside Sauter on the front row.

The starting lineup for the NextEra Energy 250:
Johnny Sauter
Sheldon Creed
Grant Enfinger
Chase Purdy
Raphael Lessard
Chandler Smith
John Hunter Nemechek
Zane Smith
Hailie Deegan
Timothy Peters
Tyler Ankrum
Carson Hocevar
David Gilliland
Matt Crafton
Brett Moffitt
Jennifer Jo Cobb
Drew Dollar
Austin Hill
Austin Wayne Self
Jordan Anderson
Todd Gilliland
Tanner Gray
Ben Rhodes
Spencer Boyd
Ryan Truex
Codie Rohrbaugh
Kris Wright
Bryan Dauzat
Stewart Friesen
Tate Fogleman
Cory Roper
Danny Bohn
Derek Kraus
Gus Dean
Jason White
James Buescher

Stages one and two of the race are 20 laps each with stage three lasting 60 laps. The drivers can run 30 to 35 laps on a single fuel load.

In his first ever Daytona pole, Johnny Sauter brings the field down for the green flag start of the race with Sauter jumping out in front from the inside lane. The caution flag comes out even before the drivers get to turn one for a wreck involving James Buescher after Tanner Gray had trouble getting started. Derek Kraus and Gus Dean were also involved.

Johnny Sauter brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap six and once again gets out in front of the field for the lead with Grant Enfinger on his bumper.

Lap seven, the top five are Johny Sauter, Grant Enfinger, Raphael Lessard, Sheldon Creed, and John Hunter Nemechek.

With Johnny Sauter in the lead, Sheldon Creed and Grant Enfinger battle for second.

James Buescher is out of the race even before he could get started.

Lap nine, Sheldon Creed and Johnny Sauter battle for the lead as they go side by side.

Lap 14 Raphael Lessard has taken the lead with Sheldon Creed in second; Chase Purdy, Johnny Sauter, and Chandler Smith round out the top five.

Lap 17, Raphael Lessard holds on to the lead with Sheldon Creed in second; Chase Purdy, Johnny Sauter, and Grant Enfinger round out the top five.

Raphael Lessard wins stage one…and the first points of the Truck Series season.

The top 10 at the end of stage one:
Raphael Lessard
Sheldon Creed
Grant Enfinger
John Hunter Nemechek
Johnny Sauter
Ben Rhodes
Chandler Smith
David Gilliland
Stewart Friesen
Timothy Peters

Drivers come down pit road for service with Sheldon Creed winning the race off of pit road after taking fuel only. Involved in the lap one incident, Derek Kraus was involved in a near crash coming out of his pit stall.

Sheldon Creed was caught speeding on pit road and had to make a pass through penalty.

Matt Crafton and Timothy Peters made contact on pit road; cauting some damage to Crafton’s truck. Crafton was also charged with pitting outside of his pit stall and will have to serve a penalty.

Grant Enfinger brings the field down for the green flag start of stage two on lap 27 with Enfinger and John Hunter Nemechek battling for the lead.

John Hunter Nemechek takes the lead with Grant Enfinger in second; Raphael Lessard, Johnny Sauter, and Ben Rhodes round out the top five.

Drivers are getting three wide across the track.

After serving a pass through penalty for speeding, Sheldon Creed has moved into the top 10 in seventh place.

Lap 30, John Hunter Nemechek leads the race with Ben Rhodes in second; Johnny Sauter, Chandler Smith, and Sheldon Creed round out the top five.

The caution flag comes out on lap 35 after Derek Kraus makes an off road excursion through the grass with a flat tire.

Some drivers come down pit road for service.

A lap down after serving a penalty, Matt Crafton is the “lucky dog” and gets his lap back.

Grant Enfinger had a slow pit stop after the jack would not work properly.

In a quick two lap shootout to end stage two, John Hunter Nemechek brings the field down for the green flag restart with Ben Rhodes getting out in front for the lead.

John Hunter Nemechek takes the lead to win stage two.

The top 10 at the end of stage two:
John Hunter Nemechek
Raphael Lessard
Johnny Sauter
Sheldon Creed
Ben Rhodes
Chandler Smith
Austin Hill
Timothy Peters
Grant Enfinger
Tyler Ankrum

Drivers come down pit road for service with Todd Gilliland winning the race off of pit road after taking fuel only.

John Hunter Nemechek’s team had an issue during his pit stop and was slow coming off pit road.

After staying out on the track, Grant Enfinger brings the field down for the green flag start of stage three on lap 46 with Enfinger and Tyler Ankrum going nose to nose for the lead.

Lap 47, Tyler Ankrum edges out for the lead but Grant Enfinger gets a push to challenge for the top spot.

The top five are Tyler Ankrum, David Gilliland, Grant Enfinger, Matt Crafton, and Drew Dollar.

Gus Dean and Tanner Gray are out of the race.

Lap 49, David Gilliland takes the lead.

Tyler Ankrum is the new leader.

Lap 50, Tyler Ankrum and David Gilliland continue to battle for the lead; swapping it back and forth.

Lap 51, David Gilliland is in the lead with Grant Enfinger in second; Tyler Ankrum, Drew Dollar, and Matt Crafton round out the top five.

Drivers continue to battle for position all through the field with 48 laps remaining in the race.

Lap 52, Derek Kraus and Ryan Truex bring out the caution flag after what appears to be another flat tire.

Some teams come down pit road for service.

Matt Crafton was charged with having a crew member come over the wall too soon.

David Gilliland brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 58 but it is Grant Enfinger who edges out in front first. But a push from son Todd Gilliland, puts dad David Gilliland out in front for the lead.

Lap 59, Grant Enfinger and David Gilliland continue to swap the lead.

Jordan Anderson and Austin Wayne Self make contact and bring out the caution flag on lap 60.

With 40 laps remaining in the race, the drivers are still outside of their fuel window.

Drivers come down pit road for service. Zane Smith wins the race off of pit road.

Bryan Dauzat brings the field down for the green flag restart with 36 laps remaining in the race. The caution flag comes Tyler Ankrum gets off the track. Sheldon Creed, Jason White, and Stewart Friesen were also caught up in the wreck.

With 35 laps remaining in the race, the drivers are now on the edge of their fuel window to make to the end of the race.

Austin Wayne Self is stopped on pit road and needs a little help from the tow truck.

Chandler Smith brings the field down for the green flag restart with 31 laps remaining in the race. Todd Gilliland edges out for the lead but Chandler Smith is going nose to nose in a battle for the lead.

The drivers are getting three wide across the track.

Thirty to go, Todd Gilliland and Chandler Smith continue to battle for the lead; Ben Rhodes, Grant Enfinger and Timothy Peters round out the top five.

Todd Gilliland brings out the caution flag when he gets turned around and collects Tate Fogleman, Brett Moffitt, Matt Crafton, and Stewart Friesen in the process.

Chandler Smith brings the field down for the green flag restart with Grant Enfinger alongside on the front row with 22 laps remaining in the race. Grant Enfinger edges out in front but Chandler Smith comes up to battle Enfinger for the lead; Austin Hill, Timothy Peters, and Chase Purdy round out the top five.

Drivers are getting three wide across the track.

Twenty to go, Grant Enfinger and Chandler Smith continue to battle for the lead while the drivers get three wide through the field.

Hailie Deegan makes a run through the grass and brings out the ninth caution flag. She gets the truck moving again, but there is some damage to the front end of the truck after making contact with the wall.

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

Todd Gilliland and Stewart Friesen are out of the race.

Chandler Smith brings the field down for the green flag restart with just 15 laps remaining in the race. Smith and Timothy Peters battle for the lead with Timoty Peters getting out in from with a push from Ben Rhodes.

The top five are Timothy Peters, Ben Rhodes, Chandler Smith, Drew Dollar, and Grant Enfinger.

Ben Rhodes takes the lead of the race.

Brett Moffitt goes for a spin in the grass but the track stays green.

Timothy Peters leads the race with 13 laps to go.

Ben Rhodes and Timothy Peters swap the lead back and forth with just 12 laps remaining in the race.

Ten to go, the top five are Timothy Peters, Chandler Smith, Drew Dollar, Ben Rhodes, and Grant Enfinger.

Chandler Smith takes the lead.

Nine to go; Chandler Smith is in the lead with Grant Enfinger in second.

Grant Enfinger goes side by side with Chandler Smith for the lead with just eight laps to go. Enfinger is looking to make it back to back wins at Daytona.

Seven to go, Chandler Smith takes the lead; Grant Enfinger, Ben Rhodes, Matt Crafton, and Raphael Lessard round out the top five.

Grant Enfinger takes the lead as Matt Crafton appears to have some issues with his truck.

Chandler Smith makes a run through the grass but the track stays green.

The caution flag comes out with six laps to go for “the big one” involving several drivers including Johnny Sauter, Tyler Ankrum, Timothy Peters, Raphael Lessard, Chandler Smith, and Drew Dollar.

The race has gone into overtime for a gree-white-checker finish. Once the flag goes green, the drivers must make it all the way around to take the white flag on the way to the checkered flag; but if the caution flag comes out before the white flag…then they do it all over again.

Ben Rhodes brings the field down for the overtime start with David Gilliland alongside on the front row. With a push from Matt Crafton, Ben Rhodes takes the lead.

Sheldon Creed takes the lead.

Cory Roper is the new leader as the white flag comes out.

Austin Wayne Self makes a run through the grass but the track stays green. Big crash as Ben Rhodes crosses the finish line to win the race. Matt Crafton, Grant Enfinger, and Spenser Boyd were involved in the crash.

Rhodes called the win the best night of his life.

The unofficial results of the NextEra Energy 250:
Ben Rhodes
Jordan Anderson
Cory Roper
Ryan Truex
Carson Hocevar
Sheldon Creed
John Hunter Nemechek
Codie Rohrbaugh
Chandler Smith
Drew Dollar
Kris Wright
Spencer Boyd
Grant Enfinger
David Gilliland
Matt Crafton
Zane Smith
Jennifer Jo Cobb
Bryan Dauzat
Jason White
Austin Wayne Self
Danny Bohn
Austin Hill
Raphael Lessard
Hailie Deegan
Brett Moffitt
Timothy Peters
Johnny Sauter
Tyler Ankrum
Chase Purdy
Tate Fogleman
Todd Gilliland
Stewart Friesen
Derek Kraus
Gus Dean
Tanner Gray
James Buescher

Bluegreen Vacations Duel Races: Calm, Wet, and Wild

Last night NASCAR set the front row the for Daytona 500. Tonight they will set the remainder of the field with the Bluegreen Vacations Duels at the 2.5 mile high banks of Daytona International Speedway.

On Wednesday night Alex Bowman put his number 48 car on the pole with Hendricks team mate William Byron alongside on the front row.

Bowman will lead the field for Duel number one; while Byron will lead the field for Duel number two.

With 44 cars in the field, four drivers will not make the race.

In the first points race of the season, the drivers will run 60 laps for 150 miles around the tri-oval to set the field for Sunday’s Daytona 500. While racing aggressive, the drivers must also be careful with their cars since they must run the same car for both the Duels and the 500.

The starting lineup for the Bluegreen Vacations Duel number 1:
Alex Bowman
Aric Almirola
Ricky Stenhouse Jr
Christopher Bell
Ryan Preece
Daniel Suarez
Denny Hamlin
Kyle Larson
Matt DiBenedetto
Austin Cindric
Joey Logano
Ryan Newman
Cole Custer
Michael McDowell
Erik Jones
Tyler Reddick
Ty Dillon
Jamie McMurray
Quin Houff
Timmy Hill
Cody Ware
Josh Bilicki

Daytona 500 pole sitter Alex Bowman brings the field down for the green flag start of Duel number 1 and edges out in front of Aric Almirola to take the lead; but Almirola in the outside lane quickly pulls even with Bowman as drivers get three wide back in the field.

Lap two, the top five are Alex Bowman, Aric Almirola, Ricky Stenhouse Jr, Christopher Bell, and Daniel Suarez.

Lap three, in a three wide battle for the lead, Daniel Suarez is the new leader with Alex Bowman in second.

Lap five, Christopher Bell takes the lead with the drivers three wide through the field.

Lap six, Aric Almirola takes the lead.

Lap seven, the top five are Christopher Bell, Austin Cindric, Tyler Reddick, Aric Almirola, and Joey Logano.

Lap nine, Christopher Bell leads the race with Aric Almirola in second. The duo battle back and forth as they swap the lead. Christopher Bell has some debris on his front grille.

Lap 15, the top five are Aric Almirola, Christopher Bell, Joey Logano, Ryan Newman, and Michael McDowell.

The drivers cannot complete the race on a single fuel load and will have to make a pit stop to complete the race.

Lap 20, Aric Almirola holds on to the lead with Joey Logano just a tenth of a second back in second; Ryan Newman, Michael McDowell, and Ty Dillon round out the top five. Pole sitter Alex Bowman has dropped to the back of the field in hopes of protecting his car.

Lap 23, from the outside lane, Aric Almirola leads the race with Joey Logano right behind him; Michael McDowell, Matt DiBenedetto, and Denny Hamlin round out the top five.

As the pit window approaches, the cars get single file in preparation for coming to pit road.

Lap 28, nearly half the field are Chevrolets but Ford occupies the top four spots on the track beginning with Aric Almirola; Joey Logano, Michael McDowell, Matt DiBenedetto, and Denny Hamlin round out the top five.

Lap 30, halfway, Aric Almirola has dominated the race so far.

Pole sitter Alex Bowman has brought his car down pit road with the hood up. Should the team have to replace the engine, Bowman will have to start the race from the back of the field; however, if the team can fix the issue, Bowman will maintain his pole position.

The Fords are coming down pit road for service including leader Aric Almirola.

With 26 laps to go, the Toyotas come down pit road for service.

Austin Cindric was caught speeding on pit road and has to make a pass through penalty.

The Chevrolets brings their cars down pit road.

Lap 36, Kyle Larson is the leader of the race.

Once pit stops have cycled through, Aric Almirola retakes the lead with Joey Logano in second; Matt DiBenedetto, Ryan Newman, and Ty Dillon round out the top five.

Twenty to go, Aric Almirola continues to lead the race with Joey Logano in second with 18 cars on the lead lap.

FOX Sports commentator Larry McReynolds said that Kyle Larson’s team may not have gotten enough fuel in the car.

Pole sitter Alex Bowman has returned to the track two laps down; saying that while the car feels ok, he has a vibration.

Fifteen to go, Aric Almirola leads the race with Joey Logano in second; Matt DiBenedetto, Ryan Newman, and Ty Dillon round out the top five.

Aric Almirola has led 36 of the 48 laps run so far.

Ten laps remain in Duel number one and Aric Almirola continues to dominate the race with 16 cars on the lead lap.

The drivers have begun to create an inside lane as they work to move through the field.

Drivers are getting three wide across the track. The top five are Aric Almirola, Joey Logano, Matt DiBenedetto, Christopher Bell, and Denny Hamlin.

Five to go, Aric Almirola continues to lead the race with Joey Logano in second but the inside lane is beginning to move up in the field.

With Joey Logano on his bumper, Aric Almirola takes the white flag for one final lap.

Joey Logano drops to the inside lane to battle Aric Almirola for the lead.

In a three wide battle, Tampa native Aric Almirola wins Duel number one in a caution free race.

Cole Custer hits the wall on the final lap.

Denny Hamlin’s car ran out of fuel crossing the finish line.

Results for Duel number one:
Aric Almirola
Christopher Bell
Ryan Newman
Joey Logano
Ryan Preece
Ty Dillon
Kyle Larson
Daniel Suarez
Michael McDowell
Ricky Stenhouse Jr
Matt DiBenedetto
Denny Hamlin
Cole Custer
Tyler Reddick
Austin Cindric
Erik Jones
Quin Houff
Timmy Hill
Alex Bowman
Cody Ware
Josh Bilicki


After a caution free first race, the odds are that race number two will be a crash fest.

The starting lineup for Duel number 2:
William Byron
Bubba Wallace
Kevin Harvick
Austin Dillon
Chase Elliott
David Ragan
Kurt Busch
Kyle Busch
Ryan Blaney
Kaz Grala
Chase Briscoe
Ross Chastain
Brad Keselowski
Martin Truex Jr
Chris Buescher
Anthony Alfredo
Corey LaJoie
Garrett Smithley
BJ McLeod
Joey Gase
Derrike Cope
Noah Gragson

And rain comes to the race track. The teams have covered the cars and the track dryers are at work trying to get the track back in racing condition.

After a rain and drying delay of over two hours, the drivers have finally been called to their cars in preparation for running the second Duel race.

Twenty-two cars, a green racetrack, and nearly three hours of delays with William Byron on the pole get the second Duel race started.

William Byron brings the field down for the green flag start of the race with Byron jumping out in front of Bubba Wallace to take the lead of the race.

Bubba Wallace gets around William Byron on turn three to take the lead.

Lap two, William Byron and Bubba Wallace battle for the lead.

La three, William Byron leads the race with Austin Dillon in second; Kevin Harvick, Chase Elliott, and Kurt Busch round out the top five.

Drivers are getting thee wide across the track as they battle for position.

Lap five, William Byron continues to lead the race with Austin Dillon in second; Kevin Harvick, Chase Elliott, and Kurt Busch round out the top five.

Lap eight, the top five remains the same with William Byron leading the way.

Lap eleven, once he took the lead, William Byron is not letting go; Austin Dillon, Kevin Harvick, Chase Elliott, and Kurt Busch round out the top five. In the first race for his new team, Bubba Wallace is in seventh place

Lap 13, Kevin Harvick takes the lead from the outside lane with Bubba Wallace in second.

Lap 15, Kevin Harvick and Bubba Wallace swap the lead back and forth as the inside and outside lanes close up.

Lap 16, the top five are Bubba Wallace, Kevin Harvick, William Byron, Ryan Blaney, and Austin Dillon.

Lap 18, in a three wide battle, William Byron takes the lead only to be replaced by Kevin Harvick.

Lap 19, William Byron leads the race with Austin Dillon in second.

Las 20, Kevin Harvick and William Byron battle for the lead.

Lap 21, the top five are William Byron, Austin Dillon, Chase Elliott, Kevin Harvick, and Kurt Busch.

Lap 25, William Byron continues to lead the race with Austin Dillon in second; Kevin Harvick, Ryan Blaney, and Brad Keselowski round out the top five.

Halfway, William Byron holds on to the lead of the race with Austin Dillon and Ryan Blaney battling it out for second.

With 27 laps to go, the drivers still need to make a pit stops; they continue to race two wide.

Lap 33, Kevin Harvick takes the lead of the race.

The caution flag comes out on lap 35 for a multi car wreck involving Anthony Alfredo, Garrett Smithley, Kaz Grala, and Chase Briscoe; sending them for a run through the grass. All four of the drivers are trying to make their first Daytona 500. BJ McLeod was also involved in the crash.

Drivers come down pit road for service with Ryan Blaney winning the race off of pit road after taking fuel only.

Ryan Blaney brings the field down for the green flag restart with 20 laps remaining in the race with Kevin Harvick alongside on the front row.

There are 18 cars on the lead lap. BJ McLeod and Anthony Alfredo are off the track.

Ryan Blaney jumps out in front from the outside lane to take the lead with Kevin Harvick in second.

Austin Dillon takes the lead but Ryan Blaney quickly reclaims the lead.

Lap 41, the top five are Ryan Blaney, Kevin Harvick, William Byron, Martin Truex Jr, and Austin Dillon.



William Byron takes the lead with Austin Dillon in second.

Lap 42, Austin Dillon and William Byron battle for the lead with Byron winning out.

Lap 43, William Byron and Austin Dillon continue to battle for the lead with Bubba Wallace in third.

Drivers are getting three wide across the track.

Fifteen to go, William Byron leads the race with Austin Dillon in second; Bubba Wallace, Ryan Blaney, and Kevin Harvick round out the top five.

As the laps wind down, the drivers are getting aggressive – beating and banging on each other.

Ten to go, William Byron leads the field but gets challenged by Martin Truex Jr.

The top five are William Byron, Austin Dillon, Martin Truex Jr, Kurt Busch, and Kevin Harvick.

Lap 51, Martin Truex Jr takes the lead on the outside lane.

Lap 53,Kevin Harvick passes Martin Truex Jr the lead and moves up to the outside lane.

Five to go, Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr battle for the lead with Truex getting out in front.

Garrett Smithley gets loose and brings out the second caution flag. William Byron, Noah Grason, Ross Chastain, Brad Keselowski, and Bubba Wallace were all involved. William Bryon earned a front row starting spot for the 500 on Sunday but has significant damage to his car and will likely have to go to a backup car and start the race from the back of the field.

After a three hour rain delay, the second Duel race goes into overtime. The wreck also caused significant damage to Noah Gragson’s car and he will not make the race on Sunday.

Martin Truex Jr brings the field down for the green flag overtime start with Bubba Wallace alongside on the front row. Truex edges out for the lead with Bubba Wallace in second and Kyle Busch in third. Kurt Busch is out of fuel and goes down pit road.

Martin Truex Jr takes the white flag.

With some help from Kyle Busch, Bubba Wallace takes the lead, Coming from the inside, Austin Dillon edges out Bubba Wallace for the win.

Duel 2 Results:
Austin Dillon
Bubba Wallace
Kevin Harvick
Kyle Busch
Chase Elliott
Ryan Blaney
Corey LaJoie
David Ragan
Kurt Busch
Chris Buescher
Brad Keselowski
Martin Truex Jr
Joey Gase
Kaz Grala
Chase Briscoe
Garrett Smithley
Derrike Cope
Noah Gragson
William Byron
Ross Chastain
Anthony Alfredo
BJ McLeod

The starting lineup for the Daytona 500:
Alex Bowman
William Byron
Aric Almirola
Bubba Wallace
Ricky Stenhouse Jr
Kevin Harvick
Christopher Bell
Ryan Preece
Austin Dillon
Daniel Suarez
Chase Elliott
Denny Hamlin
David Ragan
Kurt Busch
Kyle Larson
Kyle Busch
Matt DiBenedetto
Ryan Blaney
Austin Cindric
Kaz Grala
Joey Logano
Chase Briscoe
Ryan Newman
Ross Chastain
Cole Custer
Brad Keselowski
Michael McDowell
Martin Truex Jr
Erik Jones
Chris Buescher
Tyler Reddick
Anthony Alfredo
Ty Dillon
Jamie McMurray
Corey LaJoie
Quin Houff
Garrett Smithley
BJ McLeod
Timmy Hill
Cody Ware

Chick Corea Dies

Grammy Award winning Jazz pianist and composer Chick Corea died February 9, 2021 as a result of cancer at the age of 79.

Working until the end, Corea had commissions for a trombone concerto for the New York Philharmonic and a percussion concerto for the Philadelphia Orchestra.

Over the course of his 50 plus year career, Corea worked with Miles Davis, Gary Burton, Bela Fleck, Sarah Vaughan, Miroslav Vitous, Roy Haynes, Cab Calloway, Blue Mitchell, Herbie Mann, Stan Getz, Cal Tjader, Donald Byrd, Dizzy Gillespie, and Herbie Hancock. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PnSC0tRmya4

His accomplishments include 23 Grammys as a solo artist  and has wins with the Chick Corea Akoustic Band, Return to Forever, the Chick Corea Trio, and Chick Corea and the Spanish Heart Band.  He was also named a National Endowment of the Arts Jazz Master, had four Latin Grammy Awards, is a member of the International Society of Jazz Arrangers and Composers Hall of Fame and a frequent winner of Downbeat Magazine’s Jazz Artist of the Year award.

Prior to his death Corea posted a message on his Facebook page saying, “I want to thank all of those along my journey who have helped keep the music fires burning bright. It is my hope that those who have an inkling to play, write, perform or otherwise, do so. If not for yourself then for the rest of us. It’s not only that the world needs more artists, it’s also just a lot of fun.”

Along with his solo work, Corea formed the groups Circle, and Return to Forever; as well as, an acoustic band.  More than just a Jazz artist, he performed Classical, Latin, and standards.

His music has appeared in the film and television productions “Too Hot to Handle”, “Spede Show”, “The Road to Freedom: L. Ron Hubbard and Friends”, “Cat Chaser”, “You Don’t Look 40, Charlie Brown”,  “Empire”, “The Mortician”, “The Grammy Awards”, “The Mark of Beauty”, “Late Night with Seth Meyers”, and “The Two Popes”.

He was born Armando Anthony Corea on June 12, 1941 in Chelsea, Massachusetts where he began piano lessons at the very young age of four.  At one time he attended Columbia University and the Julliard School of Music.

Corea is survived by his wife Gayle and song Thaddeus.

Chick Corea discography:
“Bliss!”
“La Fiesta”
“Now He Sings, Now He Sobs”
“Tones for Joan’s Bones”
“Is”
“Jazz for a Sunday Afternoon”
“Sundance”
“Circulus”
“A.R.C.”
“Paris-Concert”
“Song of Singing”
“Piano Improvisations, Vol. 1”
“Early Circle”
“Crystal Silence”
“Light as a Feather”
“Piano Improvisations, Vol. 2”
“Return to Forever”
“Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy”
“Live in New York City” 1974
“Where Have I Known You Before”
“No Mystery”
“The Leprechaun”
“My Spanish Heart”
“The Sun”
“Secret Agent”
“An Evening with Chick Corea & Herbie Hancock”
“Delphi I: Solo Piano Improvisations”
“An Evening with Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea: In Concert”
“Friends”
“Live: Complete Concert”
“The Mad Hatter”
“Duet: Chick Corea & Gary Burton”
“In Concert: Zurich, October 28, 1979”
“Tap Step”
“Trio Music”
“Three Quartets”
“Live in Montreux”
“Again and Again”
“The Meeting”
“The Griffith Park Colleciton”
“Lyric Suite for Sextet”
“The Griffith Park Colleciton 2: In Concert”
“Touchstone”
“Chick Corea: Children’s Songs”
“On Two Pianos”
“Voices”
“Voyage”
“Trio Music: Live in Europe”
“Septet”
“The Elekrtic Band”
“Light Years”
“Eye of the Beholder”
“Chick Corea Akoustic Band”
“Play”
“Inside Out”
“Acoustic Band Live”
“Beneath the Mask”
“Alive”
“Masters of Piano”
“Expressions”
“Paint the World”
“Time Warp”
“Live from the Country Club”
“Live from Elario’s”
“The Mozart Sessions”
“Remembering Bud Powell”
“Circle 1: Live in Germany”
“Native Sense: The New Duets”
“Like Minds”
“A Week at the Blue Note”
“Change”
“Corea Concerto: Spain for Sextet & Orchestra / Piano Concerto No. 1”
“Live from Blue Note Tokyo”
“Solo Piano: Standards”
“Solo Piano: Originals”
“Past, Present, & Futures”
“Rendezvous in New York”
“To the Stars”
“The Ultimate Adventure”
“The Enchantment”
“Chillin’ in Chelan”
“From Miles”
“Duet: Chick & Hiromi”
“The New Crystal Silence”
“Five Peace Band: Live”
“Forever”
“Orvieto”
“Further Explorations”
“The Continents: Concerto for Jazz Quintet & Chamber Orchestra”
“Hot House”
“The Vigi”
“Trilogy”
“Solo Piano: Portraits”
“Two”
“Chick & Makoto: Duets”
“The Musician”
“Groove Dreams”
“Chinese Butterfly”
“Trilogy 2”
“Live”
“Antidote”
“Plays”

Feature photo credit: By Tsaorin – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=71196737

Jason Isbell to Donate Funds to NAACP

Recently Country music singer Morgan Wallen was heard using a racial slur.  In the wake of that video, Wallen’s record company has suspended him and radio stations have stopped playing his music.  However, streaming, downloading, and the buying of Wallen’s music has quadrupled since the release of the video.

Award winning singer and songwriter Jason Isbell wrote the song “Cover Me Up” which Wallen recorded for his album “Dangerous, The Double Album”.  Wallen’s version of the song has been certified platinum by the RIAA – Recording Industry Association of America.

Isbell has said that any music he earns from the sale, streaming, or download of the song will be donated to the NAACP.

Speaking on his decision Isbell said, “I’ve decided to donate everything I’ve made so far from this album to the Nashville chapter of the @NAACP. Thanks for helping out a good cause, folks”.

Wallen has apologized for using the racial slur.

feature photo credit: By Bryan Ledgard from Yorkshire, UK – Jason Isbell, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=37569146

It’s an HMS Front Row for Daytona 500

On Tuesday night, 21 drivers got the 2021 NASCAR season started with the Busch Clash.  On Wednesday, 44 crews took to the track to set the front row for the Daytona 500 on Sunday, February 14.

The Cup Series events are all under the lights but the 500 itself will run in the heat of the afternoon.

As a part of the unique setup to determine the starting lineup for the Daytona 500, the drivers will make single car runs around the two and a half mile high banked track for one timed lap to decide which driver will sit on the pole and who will start alongside on the front row.

With 44 cars at the track and only 36 charters to guarantee a starting spot; eight cars will not make the race.  As a part of the qualifying process, the two fastest “open” cars will also earn themselves a spot in the race.

For the first time in months, the drivers took to the track for a 50 minute practice session.  In a bit of a surprise, brand new racing team 23XI Racing’s Bubba Wallace led the list of drivers in the number 23 car.

A power  in Daytona has put the broadcast booth and part of the front stretch in the dark. 

In the first ever night time qualifying run, Kaz Grala is the first driver on the Daytona 500.  Grala clocks a time of 47.925 seconds around the track.

In a new team, Daniel Suarez is the second car on the track and clocks a time of 47.636.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr in the number 47 car has a qualifying time of 47.477 seconds to take the provisional pole.

After being on the ”crash clock”, 62 year old Derrike Cope could not get the car going and will miss qualifying, but will have a chance to make the race via the duel races.

The number 62 car driven by Noah Gragson failed the inspection process three times and will not be allowed to make a qualifying run.  He will get the opportunity to make the race with the duel races on Thursday night.

After leading the drivers in practice, Bubba Wallace makes his first qualifying run with the new racing team 23XI Racing and makes a lap of 47.474 seconds to take the provisional pole.

David Ragan has locked in a spot in the 500 as the fastest of the open cars with a time of 47.73 seconds.

Ryan Preece is the second of the two open car drivers to secure a spot in the 500 with a time of 47.585.

William Byron has put his number 24 Hendricks Motorsports car on the provisional pole with a time of 47. 314 seconds. 

Reigning NASCAR Cup Series champion Chase Elliott ran a lap of 47.695 seconds to put him in sixth place.  Currently five of the top six drivers run Chevrolets.  A Chevrolet has sat on the pole for the past 13 years.

With his fourth front row Daytona start, Alex Bowman put the number 48 car on the pole with a time of 47.056 seconds.  With eight cars left to qualify, the front row has two of the four Hendrick Motorsports cars on the front row.  Alex Bowman replaced retired driver Jimmie Johnson in the number 48 car.

After winning the Busch Clash last night, Kyle Busch makes a qualifying run of 47.78 seconds.

The final car to qualify is Christopher Bell in the number 20 Joe Gibbs Racing car with a time of 47.57 seconds.

Alex Bowman wins the pole for the 2021 Daytona 500 for his fourth front row start in a row.  Hendrick Motorsports team mate William Byron will start alongside on the front row.

The drivers who have qualified in the odd number positions will race in the first duel; while the drivers who qualified in the even number positions will race in the second duel on Thursday night.

Rock Hall Names 2021 Nominees

Delayed by the global pandemic, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation released the nominees for the 2021 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on February 10.

Along with the professional committee – musicians, industry members, and historians – who select the inductees each year, the fans can also cast their votes for who they would like to see inducted into the Hall of Fame at rockhall.com.  Voting is open until April 30.  The top five fan voted nominees will have their names included in consideration for the final decision.

Sixteen rock and rollers have been selected to the final round before the induction announcement in May.  While an artist becomes eligible for The Hall 25 years after their first release; some of the nominees on this year’s list have been entertaining fans for over 40 years.

The nominees for the 2021 Class of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame are:
Mary J Blige
Kate Bush
Devo
Foo Fighters – first time nominee
The Go-Go’s – first time nominee
Iron Maiden – first time nominee
Jay-Z -first time nominee
Chaka Khan
Carole King – first time nominee as a performer
Fela Kuti – first time nominee
LL Cool J
New York Dolls
Rage Against the Machine
Todd Rundgren
Tina Turner
and Dionne Warwick – first time nominee

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation Chairman John Sykes spoke on the nominees saying, “this remarkable ballot reflects the diversity and depth of the artists and music the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame celebrates. These Nominees have left an indelible impact on the sonic landscape of the world and influenced countless artists that have followed them.”

Tina Turner is already a member of The Hall as a part of Ike and Tina Turner; while Carole King is a member under the songwriter category.  To date, Stevie Nicks is the only female in the Hall of Fame twice – once as a part of Fleetwood Mac and again as a solo artist.

An artist’s musical influence, career, and their body of work are all considered when selecting the next class of Hall of Famers.

The new class of Hall of Famers will be announced in May with the induction ceremony slated for this fall at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.

Supreme Mary Wilson Dies

One of the original members of The Supremes – Mary Wilson – died February 8 in her Nevada home as a result of hypertensive atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease – high blood pressure due to artery blockage – at the age of 76.

Just a few days before her death, Wilson had released a video speaking on her future plans which included new music and a 60th Supremes anniversary.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XfXGTkx7xaU

One of the founding members of the 60’s girl groups, The Supremes helped to define “the Motown sound”.  By the end of the 60’s the Supremes was Motown’s most successful artist with 12 number one hit songs. 

The group broke up in 1977 with Wilson as the only original member remaining.

Motown founder Berry Gordy called Wilson and the Supremes, were the “sweethearts of Motown”.  They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988.

After the breakup of the Supremes, Wilson went on to launch a solo singing career, become a best selling author, and compete on the competition reality show “Dancing with the Stars”.

In 2001 Wilson was a cast member of the touring troupe for the Broadway musical “Leader of the Pack”.  Her other acting credits include an uncredited appearance in an episode of the “Tarzan” television series, the singer of the “National Anthemn” in “Tiger Town”, “Jackie’s Back!”, and “Golden Shoes”.

As herself, Wilson made over 100 appearances both as a part of the Supremes and solo including documentaries, music shows, game shows, talk shows, and award shows.  She was even a guest judge on an episode of “RuPaul’s Drag Race”.

She was born on March 6, 1944 in Greenville, Mississippi and lived in St. Louis and Chicago before the family settled in Detroit where she met future fellow Supreme member Florence Ballard while in middle school.  Other school friends include members of The Temptations and Smokey Robinson.

Predeceased by her son Rafael, Wilson is survived by children Turkessa and Pedro.

feature photo credit: By Jay Godwin – https://www.flickr.com/photos/lbjlibrarynow/49173908547/, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=84639814

Wild Finish for Busch Clash Win

Daytona International Speedway resounds with the sound of hundreds of horsepower as the 2021 NASCAR season gets under way with the annual Busch Clash.

A non-points race, the drivers have earned their way into the prestigious race via accomplishments from the past season including race wins, pole positions, and spots in the playoffs.

After a random drawing Ryan Blaney sits on the pole and will bring the field to green.

After drawing the seventh place starting position, Chase Elliott will have to start the race from the back of the field after the inspection process discovered some unapproved adjustments on his car.

A total of 21 drivers will run 35 laps around the road course in the inaugural run of the 3.61 mile course for the Busch Clash. A competition caution has been planned for lap 15.

The starting lineup for the 43rd annual Busch Clash:
Ryan Blaney
Alex Bowman
Denny Hamlin
Brad Keselowski
William Byron
Tyler Reddick
Chase Elliott – moved to the back of the field
Cole Custer
Erik Jones
Joey Logano
Ryan Newman
Matt DiBenedetto
Chris Buescher
Ty Dillon
Kurt Busch
Kyle Busch
Kevin Harvick
Martin Truex Jr
Austin Dillon
Ricky Stenhouse Jr
Aric Almirola

With no practice, the 21 drivers take to the track and get ready to run the first race of the season with the 14 turn road course.

Ryan Blaney brings the field down for the green flag start of the race and edges out for the lead as the drivers get three wide going into turn one.

Denny Hamlin challenges Ryan Blaney and takes the lead going into the turn.

Lap tow, the top five are Denny Hamlin, Ryan Blaney, Alex Bowman, Tyler Reddick, and William Byron. Chase Elliott has moved up to 17th after starting the race last. Elliott won four road course races last season.

Still just on lap two, Kyle Busch has moved up inside the top 10 after starting the race in 16th place.

Lap three, Denny Hamlin holds on to the lead with Kyle Busch in ninth and Chase Elliott in 15th.

Lap three, Kevin Harvick gets into the grass after running through some dirt on the track, but gets the car back on the track and going again.

Lap four, the top five are Denny Hamlin, Ryan Blaney, Alex Bowman, William Byron, and Tyler Reddick.

Lap six, Denny Hamlin has a one and a half second lead on Ryan Blaney with Alex Bowman over two seconds back. Kyle Busch has moved up to seventh place with Chase Elliott back in 16th over 14 seconds back.

Lap seven, Matt DiBenedetto missed the chicane and must come to a complete stop before continuing on.

A few drivers are making pit stops for new tires. Teams cannot take on fuel until the competition caution on lap 15.

Many of the drivers are reporting that the track feels like a dirt track.

Lap eight, the top five are Denny Hamlin, Ryan Blaney, Alex Bowman, Tyler Reddick, and William Byron. Chase Elliott is now in 14th place.

The caution flag comes out on lap eight for track sweeping to get the dirt off of the track.

Pit road is open and most of the field come down for service…minus a fuel load. Denny Hamlin wins the race off of pit road. The teams do have rain tires should they be needed.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr is charged with crew members coming over the wall too soon,

After staying out on the track, Ryan Blaney brings the field down for the green flag restart of the race on lap 10 and holds on to the lead. Alex Bowman, Tyler Reddick, Chris Buescher, and William Byron also stayed out on the track.

After Ryan Blaney missed a turn, Tyler Reddick takes the lead with Brad Keselowski in second; Denny Hamlin, Alex Bowman and Chris Buescher round out the top five.

Chase Elliott and Kyle Busch are in the top 10.

Lap eleven, Brad Keselowski challenges Tyler Reddick for the lead. Keselowski takes the lead on lap 12.

After having more on track difficulties, Kevin Harvick has to make a trip down pit road.

After some on track contact, Martin Truex Jr has some damage to his car.

Lap 12, the top five are Brad Keselowski, Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr, Tyler Reddick, and Alex Bowman. Chase Elliott is up to seventh place.

Lap 13, Denny Hamlin challenges Brad Keselowski for the lead and retakes the top spot. Martin Truex Jr takes second with Brad Keselowski in third; Tyler Reddick and Erik Jones round out the top five with Chase Elliott in sixth place.

Lap 14, Chase Elliott challenges Erik Jones for fifth place.

Lap 14, Denny Hamlin leads the race but has Martin Truex Jr on his bumper. Truex takes the lead.

Chase Elliott takes fourth place.

Some drivers come down pit road for service before the competition caution.

Alex Bowman was caught speeding on pit road.

Chase Elliott, Austin Dillon, and Kurt Busch make pit stops prior to the caution flag on lap 16. Ryan Blaney also makes a pit stop; as does Kevin Harvick. Drivers still cannot fuel the cars.

At the end of lap 16, NASCAR throws the yellow flag for the competition caution. Martin Truex Jr is the race leader.

As the caution flag came out, Martin Truex Jr missed the chicane and did not make the mandatory stop. He will have to restart the race at the back of the field.

The entire field comes down pit road for fuel and service. Kurt Busch wins the race off of pit road after taking only two tires. Tyler Reddick began coming out of his pit stall very slowly before backing up into the stall for four fresh tires. Reddick reports that he accidently hit the ignition switch by mistake.

Kurt Busch brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 19 but misses the first turn and made a run through the grass; giving the lead over to Denny Hamlin with Ryan Blaney in second.

Lap 19, toe top five are Denny Hamlin, Ryan Blaney, Joey Logano, Austin Dillon, and Kyle Busch. Chase Elliott is back in 13th place.

Lap 20, Denny Hamlin has pulled out to a lead of over a second on Ryan Blaney; Joey Logano, Austin Dillon, and Kyle Busch round out the top five.

The third caution flag of the race comes out on lap 22 after Cole Custer gets stalled on the track and has flames coming out from under his car.

William Byron lost a tire after making a pit stop and had to make another trip down pit road.

Joey Logano has to restart the race from the back of the field after being charged with not coming down pit road in single file.

Denny Hamlin brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 25 with Kyle Busch alongside on the front row. Hamlin edges out for the lead with Austin Dillon taking second and Kyle Busch in third.

Ten to go, Denny Hamlin leads the race with Martin Truex Jr in second…but is reporting some issues with the car…Ryan Blaney;Kyle Busch, and Austin Dillon round out the top five. Chase Elliott is in sixth place.

With eight laps remaining in the race, Martin Truex Jr challenges Denny Hamlin for the lead; Ryan Blaney, Kyle Busch, and Chase Elliott round out the top five.. Martin Truex Jr takes the lead and begins to pull away with Ryan Blaney in second.

Race leader Martin Truex Jr brings out the fourth caution flag of the race with eight laps remaining in the race after he hits some dirt and gets off the course and bumps the wall.

Several of the drivers come down pit road for fresh tires; six drivers stayed out on the track.

With just five laps remaining in the race, Chase Elliott brings the field down for the green flag restart and brings the field into turn one as the leader.

Lap 30, Chase Elliott leads the race; Joey Logano, Chris Buescher, Ryan Blaney, and Tyler Reddick round out the top five.

Martin Truex Jr is out of the race. Cole Custer is three laps down.

Four to go, Chase Elliott has a one second lead on Joey Logano with Ryan Blaney in third.

Ryan Blaney takes second from Joey Logano.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr gets turned around after some on track contact but the track stays green with just three laps to go.

Lap 32, Chase Elliott leads the race; Ryan Blaney, Joey Logano, Tyler Reddick, and Kyle Busch round out the top five.

Two to go, Chase Elliott leads the race but Ryan Blaney is on his bumper and challenging for the lead. Ryan Blaney takes the lead on turn five.

Ryan Blaney takes the white flag.

After a Clash between Ryan Blaney and Chase Elliott; Kyle Busch slides by to take the lead…and the win!

Results of the 2021 Busch Clash:
Kyle Busch
Chase Elliott
Joey Logano
Tyler Reddick
William Byron
Denny Hamlin
Alex Bowman
Erik Jones
Ricky Stenhouse Jr
Matt DiBenedetto
Austin Dillon
Aric Almirola
Ryan Blaney
Ryan Newman
Kevin Harvick
Chris Buescher
Brad Keselowski
Ty Dillon
Kurt Busch
Cole Custer
Martin Truex Jr

ESPN’s Pedro Gomez Dies

Baseball journalist and correspondent Pedro Gomez died suddenly February 7 in his Phoenix, Arizona home at the age of 58.  An official cause of death has not been released.

Gomez had been a part of 25 World Series and 22 All Star Games during his career.  The son of Cuban parents, Gomez had the ability to speak to the Latin players in their native Spanish and translate their answers into English.

While working for ESPN, he was a part of the programs “Sports Center”, “Baseball Tonight”, and their Wednesday night Major League Baseball coverage.

Prior to coming to ESPN, Gomez worked for the Arizona Republic, the Sacramento Bee, San Jose Mercury News, The Miami Herald, San Diego Union and The Miami News.  A member of the Baseball Writers Association of America, Gomez had voting rights to induct nominees into the MLB Hall of Fame.

Gomez was born in Miami the son of Cuban refugees – his parents fled the island nation in 1962.  He majored in journalism at the University of Miami.  He made his first visit to Cuba in 1999 while covering an exhibition game the Baltimore Orioles and the Cuban National team.

Predeceased by his father and brother, Pedro Gomez is survived by his wife Sandra and children – Rio, Dante, and Sierra.

feature photo credit: By eric molina – https://www.flickr.com/photos/iamagenious/3069158487/, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=99674157

Qualifying Set for Daytona 500

Daytona Speedweeks begins on February 9 with the Busch Clash under the lights for an inaugural run on the 3.61 mile road course at Daytona International Speedway and will culminate with the Daytona 500 on February 14.

Qualifying for the Daytona 500 is unlike any other with duel races and single car qualifying.

It all begins on February 10 single car qualifying to set the front row and concludes with the Bluegreen Vacations Duel races under the lights on February 11.

It is estimated that 44 teams will take to the track to make a run for the two front row spots to lead the field in the Daytona 500.  Each driver will get a chance to make a run on the 2.5 mile high banked tri-oval.

The remainder of the field will be split into two groups divided into odd and even rows depending on their order after making the single car qualifying run.

The finishing order of those two races will set the 40 car starting lineup for the 500.  The drivers that compete in the first duel will make up the inside row; while the drivers that run in duel number two will line up in the outside lane,.

The Duel races are 60 laps each or 150 miles long.

The 36 teams that have NASCAR charters are guaranteed a starting spot in the race; the remaining four spots will be filled by the open teams with the best finishes.

While there are no points awarded for the Busch Clash; the top 10 finishers in the Duel races will receive points beginning with 10 points for the winners and successive drivers earning points in descending order.

With the exception of the 500 itself, which will run in the afternoon,, all of the events will be run under the lights.  The Xfinity Series race will begin at 5pm and run into the night.

In the case the races are cancelled due to weather, the field will be set by the NASCAR Rule Book.

The Camping World Truck Series will race on Friday night with the Xfinity Series racing on Saturday evening.

SAG-AFTRA Bans Trump

Washington D.C. may still love former President Donald Trump; but Hollywood has had enough!

On February 4, the former president resigned from the acting union SAG-AFTRA after learning the organization was considering “kicking him out”.

In a Zoom conference call on February 6, SAG-AFTRA passed a resolution banning Trump from the organization permanently.

SAG-AFTRA spoke on the resolution via a statement saying the decision was based on Trump’s, “antagonism of the union’s journalist members and disregard for the values and integrity of the union”.

SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris added, “preventing Donald Trump from ever rejoining SAG-AFTRA is more than a symbolic step, it is a resounding statement that threatening or inciting harm against fellow members will not be tolerated. An attack against one is an attack against all”.

The union began looking into disciplinary action in mid-January after the January 6 insurrection on the United States Capitol.

In his letter of resignation, Trump said that the union “had done nothing for him”.

SAG-AFTRA had just two words in response to the letter, “thank you”.

Along with his 20 production credits for pageants and “The Apprentice”, the Internet Movie Data Base credits Trump with 26 acting credits.

While membership in the union does not prevent a person from obtaining an acting job, the larger film companies generally refuse to hire an non-members for productions.

NFL Honours the Best

Despite a global pandemic that has killed hundreds of thousands of people, the NFL persevered and not only played a full season of football; but also completed that season on time!.

On February 6, one night before the annual Super Bowl game, the NFL honours the best in the sport with the 10th annual NFL Honours.

With a musical opening from Green Day, Steve Harvey hosted the gala event in an empty SoFi Stadium and a wall full of players and legends via the internet.

Rebel Wilson presented the first award of the night for the Offensive Rookie of the Year to Los Angeles Charger quarterback Justin Herbert.

The 2021 class of the NFL Hall of Fame:
Charles Woodson
Calvin Johnson
Drew Pearson
Alan Faneca
Bill Nunn – journalist and scout
John Lynch
Coach Tom Flores
Peyton Manning

The NFL Salute to Service Award went to Atlanta Falcons CEO Steve Cannon.

The Defensive Rookie of the Year Award went to The award for Defensive Rookie of the Year went ot Washington defensive end Chase Young.

Eli Manning presented the award for Defensive Player of the Year to Los Angeles Rams defensive end Aaron Donald.

The award for Offensive Player of the Year went to Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry.

Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater was presented with the Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award winner.

The award for Coach of the Year went to Cleveland Browns coach Kevin Stefanski.

Pittsburgh Steelers defensive player T. J. Watt won the Deacon Jones Award for the most sacks in the NFL.

The Comeback Player of the Year Award went to Washington quarterback Alex Smith who returned after a leg injury that resulted in 17 surgeries and missing the entire 2019 season.

The Pittsburgh Steelers offensive team earned the Celly of the Year Award for their Birthday touchdown celebration.

The award for Clutch Performance of the Year award went to Arizona Cardinals “Hail Murray” with one second remaining in the game for the win. This is a fan voted award.

Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen is the Draft Kings Daily Fantasy Player of the Year.

In a new award, Tennessee Titans fan Brandon Galloway is the inaugural winner of the Fan of the Year Award.

Award winning performer Leslie Odem Jr performed the Carole King hit “You Gotta a Friend” for the In Memorium segment.

Comedian Kevin Hart presented the Most Valuable Player to Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. This is Rodgers third time winning the MVP award.

Aaron Rodgers and Derrick Henry were the winners of the FedEx Air and Ground Players of the Year Award.

The 2021 Walter Peyton Man of the Year Award to Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson! Still an unknown in 2012, Wilson visited the children’s hospital every Tuesday. He and entertainer wife Ciara have been heavily involved in the Black Lives Matter movement, and have been helping to feed families over the past year during the pandemic.

feature photo credit: the NFL Facebook page

3 Doors Down to Release Anniversary Box

Southern rockers 3 Doors Down are celebrating the 20th anniversary of their album “The Better Life” with an expanded re-issue of the album.

Set for a March 26 release, the album has been remastered and is a part of a three album boxed set.

Recorded back in 1996 in the band’s Mississippi home town, the “Escatawpa Sessions” is a nine song collection of demos from the album plus three previously unreleased songs.

Also included is a lithograph and a booklet filled with photos, interviews, and liner notes.

While the boxed set features three vinyl albums; a two CD and a digital album that will include bonus tracks will also be available.

https://youtu.be/xVGujKZoZC0

Lead singer Brad Arnold spoke on the anniversary release saying, “it’s hard to believe it’s been 20 years since we released the album that changed our lives forever. It’s been a wild ride, and I can truly say we’re extremely excited to celebrate ‘The Better Life’ by playing it front to back this year.

NCAA Sets Women’s Tournament Location

Last month it was announced that the NCAA tournament would be held in the Indianapolis area in order to keep down the chances of a spread of the pandemic.

The NCAA has announced on February 6 that the women’s tournament will follow suit and also be held in a bubble environment in San Antonio.

The tournament will still include 64 teams and will run between March 21 and April 4.  Among the five sites being used is the University of Texas 38 miles from the San Antonio area.  The Alamodome will be used for games in every round of the tournament including the championship game.

NCAA vice president of women’s basketball Lynn Holzman spoke on the announcement saying, “we appreciate the historical significance of moving the entire championship to one region and want to acknowledge the work by the Women’s Basketball Committee and staff, our hosts, local organizers and ESPN that has allowed us to make plans for a successful 2021 championship”.

She added, “we’re fortunate to be working with San Antonio, which features one of the most experienced local organizing committees in the country, and our number one priority is to focus on creating and implementing safety controls in an environment for student-athletes, coaches, administrators, officials and everyone else associated with the championship.”

The NCAA noted that they are still working on the seeding process and any contingencies in the wake of any team unable to participate due to Covid issues.  The issue of whether or not fans will be allowed into the venues is also still being considered.  The NCAA Is hoping to at least allow some family members of the team involved to attend the games.

Senior deputy athletic director and chief of staff at Duke and chair of the Division I Women’s Basketball Committee Nina King spoke on the tournament saying, “like the 2020-21 season, we know the championship will have its challenges, but we feel we have the necessary structure and safeguards in place to ensure a quality student-athlete championship experience.  We appreciate all the work by those in San Antonio and by the NCAA staff to get to this point. We feel certain that one geographic region allows us to focus on the potential benefits of conducting certain safety measures in a controlled environment with competition and practice venues, medical resources and lodging for teams and officials all within close proximity.”

The NCAA has limited the teams to a maximum of 34 people who will arrive in San Antonio on March 16 and 17.  The NCAA will be working with local health officials to set up all medical protocols.  Like the men, the participants in the tournament must test negative for seven consecutive days before they arrive in San Antonio. 

Once in San Antonio, all members of the travel parties must undergo daily testing; as well as, upon arrival for the tournament.  They will also be required to wear contact tracing devices at all times.

The Weeknd Promises ‘PG’ Show

Last year during the American Music Awards, The Weeknd baffled fans by appearing in a live performance and acceptance of his numerous awards with a face swathed in bandages.

Prior to that, he appeared at the Video Music Awards with a bloodied and bruised face.

No explanations for the bandages were ever given…until now.

The pop star’s most recent album “After Hours” comes complete with a character…one that The Weeknd has spent the past several months personifying with every live appearance.

Speaking on this character, The Weeknd said, “this character is having a really bad night, and you can come with own interpretation of what it is.  It’s all a progression and we watch The Character’s storyline hit heightened levels of danger and absurdity as his tale goes on.”  

He added, “the significance of the entire head bandages is reflecting on the absurd culture of Hollywood celebrity and people manipulating themselves for superficial reasons to please and be validated.”

When asked about his appearance while bringing this “After Hours” character to life, The Weeknd said, “I suppose you could take that being attractive isn’t important to me but a compelling narrative is.”

The Weeknd is set to give the halftime performance at Super Bowl LV at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida on February 7. 

While he is known for his violent and graphic videos, the Grammy Award winner promises to present a family friendly show and be “respectful to the viewers”.

He noted, “I will still incorporate some of the storyline. It’s a very cohesive story I’ve been telling throughout this era and throughout this year.  The story will continue, but definitely will keep it PG for the families.”

With the number of fans greatly reduced because of the covid pandemic, The Weeknd will use far more than just the playing field; he plans on making use of the stadium itself and even a piece of the famous Pirate Ship housed at one end of the stadium.

As for any further details about the show, the artist noted that fans would just have to watch the show.

The Canadian born singer broke onto the music scene in 2015 with the Grammy Award winning song “I Can’t Feel My Face” from the album “Beauty Behind the Madness”.

Award Winning Actor Christopher Plummer Dies

Award winning veteran actor Christopher Plummer died February 5, 2021 in his Connecticut home at the age of 91.  His wife Elaine was at his side at the time of his death.

Plummer’s 50 plus year career includes appearances in over 200 productions and numerous awards including earning an Academy Award at the age of 82; making him the oldest actor to ever receive the award.

Despite his hundreds of appearances on and off the screen. He will forever be best known for his role as Captain von Trapp in the 1965 film production of “The Sound of Music”.  He starred opposite Julie Andrews in the film.

Feeling the character of von Trapp was one dimensional, Plummer said, “It was almost impossible. It was just agony to try to make that guy not a cardboard figure.”

In his mid 80’s, with just six weeks before “All the Money in the World” was set to open in theatres, Plummer was chosen to replace Kevin Spacey in the role of L. Paul Getty.  Plummer noted that he had to learn his lines very quickly.

“Star Trek” fans know Plummer as the Klingon Chang in “Star Trek: The Undiscovered Country”.

Plummer once noted that he enjoyed playing evil characters because, “the devil is more interesting than God”.

An acting workaholic Plummer noted, “too many people in the world are unhappy with their lot. And then they retire and they become vegetables. I think retirement in any profession is death, so I’m determined to keep crackin’”.  In fact, he was in the process of filming “Heroes of the Golden Masks” as the voice of Rizzo.

He made his acting debut on the screen as Othello in 1953 on the television series “Encounter”.  His other notable roles include “The Sound of Music”, “Return of the Pink Panther”, Herod Antipas in “Jesus of Nazareth”, “Somewhere in Time”, Archbiship Vittorio Contini-Verchese in “The Thorn Birds”, “Star Trek: The Undiscovered Country”, Alexander Addington in the television series “Counterstrike”, numerous appearances in the “Madeline” franchise, “On Golden Pond”, “Nicholas Nickleby”, as John Adams Gates in “National Treasure”, “Beginners”, “Barrymore”, and “Knives Out”.

As himself, Plummer first appeared on television in an episode of “The Ed Sullivan Show”.  His other apearances include awards shows, documentaries, talk shows, and television specials.

Along with his over 200 film and television roles, Plummer appeared both on the Broadway and Shakespearian stage.  At one time or another in his career he has played Hamlet, Iago, Othello, Prospero, Henry V, and King Lear.

Plummer made his Broadway debut in 1954 as George Phillips in “The Starcross Story”.  From there, he went on to appear in “Home is the Hero”, “The Dark is Light Enough”, “The Lark”, “Night of the Auk”, “J.B.”, “Arturo Ui”, “The Royal Hunt of the Sun”, “Cyrano”, The Good Doctor”, “Othello”, “Macbeth”, “No Man’s Land”, “Barrymore”, “King Lear”, and “Inherit the Wind”.

Missing the distinction as an EGOT winner with a Grammy nomination; Plummer has won Academy, Emmy, and Tony Awards.  He has also been awarded the BAFTA, Critics’ Choice, Golden Globe, SAG Awards, Companion of the Order of Canada and is a member of the American Theatre’s Hall of Fame.

Born Arthur Christopher Orme Plummer December 13, 1929 in Toronto, Ontario; Plummer is the great-grandson of former Canadian Prime Minister Sir John Abbott.  His parents divorced shortly after young Arthur was born and he grew up in Quebec.  He began his acting career on the stage in the 1940’s while still in his teens.  Trained as a classical pianist, he chose acting instead.

Plummer is survived by his third wife Elaine and daughter Amanda.

feature photo credit: By gdcgraphics, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5199198

2021 NASCAR Charters

In 2016 NASCAR initiated the charter where car owners could guarantee a starting spot in every race of the season.  While NASCAR allows for 40 cars in the field; but there are only 36 charters available.  Any remaining team must earn their starting spot in order to qualify for the race.

The number of charters available was selected based on the teams that made or attempted to make a race every week over a three year period.

If a team is sold or goes out of business, the owner may sell his charter to another team owner.  The charter currently held by the new team 23XIRacing was obtained in this fashion.

However, if an owner’s team finished the season in the bottom three of the owner standings for three consecutive seasons, he may lose his charter.

Currently the charter system is set to continue through the 2024 racing season.

NASCAR President Steve Phelps spoke on the charter system saying, “the Charter agreement is delivering stability and long-term value to existing team owners while providing a clear path for ownership in the NASCAR Cup Series… A healthy ownership structure ensures strong, competitive racing for our fans, which is a goal the industry collectively shares.”

Owners are allowed to have up to four cars.

The 36 teams who hold a charter for the 2021 racing season are:
Richard Petty Motorsports for the number 43 car
Petty Ware Racing for the number 51 car
Richard Childress Racing for the number three and eight cars
StarCom Racing for the double zero car
Team Penske for the number two, 12, and 22 cars
Hendrick Motorsports for the number five, nine, 24, and 48 cars
Roush Fenway Racing for the number six and 17 cars
Chip Ganassi Racing for the number one and 42 cars
Joe Gibbs Racing for the number eleven, 18, 19, and 20 cars
Stewart Haas Racing for the number four, 10, 14, and 41 cars
Spire Sports for the number seven, 77, and 99 car
Front Row Motorsports for the number 34 and 38 cars
Rick Ware Racing for the number 52, 53,
JTG Daugherty Racing for the number 47 car
23XI Racing for the number 23 car
Wood Brothers Racing for the number 21 car
Live Fast Motorsports for the number 78 car
Rick War Racing also has a charter for the part time cars 15, 27, and 54

2021 SAG Award Nominees

One day after the Hollywood Foreign Press Association released the list of nominees for the Golden Globe Awards, SAG-AFTRA released their list of nominees for the 27th annual SAG – Screen Actor’s Guild – Awards.

The SAG Awards are the only awards for film and television selected by the actors themselves.  While the various awards often run along similar lines, there were some marked differences in the Guild’s selections including productions overlooked by the HFPA and a more diverse selection of nominees.  By the same token, the SAG Awards overlooked productions that led in the Golden Globe nominations.

The SAG Awards are often seen as the precursor for the Academy Award nominees.

Among the list of possible winners are four posthumous nominations for Chadwick Boseman.

Like in the Golden Globes, Netflix leads the list of nominees by a large margin with a total of 30.

Normally held in January, the 2021 edition of the SAG Awards will be held on April 4.  The April date was selected after the planned March 14 date was taken by the Recording Academy for the Grammy Awards.

Nominees for the 2021 SAG Awards:
Outstanding Performance by a Motion Picture Cast:
“Da 5 Bloods”
“Minari”
“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”
“One Night in Miami…”
“The Trial of the Chicago 7”

Outstanding Performance by a Leading Actress in a Motion Picture:
Amy Adams in “Hillbilly Elegy”
Viola Davis in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”
Vanessa Kirby in “Pieces of a Woman”
Frances McDormund in “Nomadland”
Carey Mulligan in “Promising Young Woman”

Outstanding Performance by a Leading Actor in a Motion Picture:
Riz Ahmed in “Sound of Metal”
Chadwick Boseman in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”
Anthony Hopkins in “The Father”
Gary Oldman in “Mank”
Steven Yeun in “Minari”

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture:
Maria Bakalova in “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm”
Glenn Close in “Hillbilly Elegy”
Olivia Colman in “The Father”
Yuh-Jung Youn in “Mirni”
Helena Zengel in “News of the World

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture:
Sacha Baron Cohen in “The Trial of the Chicago 7”
Chadwick Boseman in “Da 5 Bloods”
Daniel Kaluuya in “Judas and the Black Messiah
Jared Leto in “The Little Things”
Leslie Odom Jr in “One Night in Miami…”

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Television Drama:
“Better Call Saul”
“Bridgerton”
“The Crown”
“Lovecraft Country”
“Ozark”

Outstanding Performance by anActress in a Television Drama Series:
Gillian Anderson in “The Crown”
Olivia Colman in “The Crown”
Julia Garner in “Ozark”
Laura Linney in “Ozark”

Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Television Drama Series:
Sterling K. Brown in “This is Us”
Jason Bateman in “Ozark”
Josh O’Connor in “The Crown”
Bob Odenkirk in “Better Call Saul”
Rege-Jean Page in “Bridgerton”

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Television Comedy Series:
“Dead to Me”
“The Flight Attendant”
“The Great”
“Schitt’s Creek”
“Ted Lasso”

Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Comedy Series:
Christina Applegate in “Dead to Me”
Linda Cardellini in “Dead to Me”
Kaley Cuoco in “The Flight Attendant”
Annie Murphy in “Schitt’s Creek”

Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Television Comedy Series:
Nicholas Hoult in “The Great”
Dan Levy in “Schitt’s Creek”
Eugene Levy in “Schitt’s Creek”
Jason Sudeikis in “Ted Lasso”
Ramy Youssef in “Ramy”

Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Limited Series or Television Movie:
Cate Blanchett in “Mrs. America”
Michaela Coel in “I May Destroy You”
Nicole Kidman in “The Undoing”
Anya Taylor-Joy in “The Queen’s Gambit”
Kerry Washington in “Little Fires Everywhere”

Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Limited Series or Television Movie:
Bill Camp in “The Queen’s Gambit”
Daveed Diggs in “Hamiton”
Hugh Grant in “The Undoing”
Ethan Hawke in “The Good Lord Bird”
Mark Ruffalo in “I Know This Much is True”

Outstanding Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture:
“Da 5 Bloods”
“Mulan”
“News of the World”
“The Trial of the Chicago 7”
“Wonder Woman 1984”

Outstanding Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Comedy or Drama Television Series:
“The Boys”
“Cobra Kai”
“Lovecraft Country”
“The Mandalorian”
“Westworld”

feature photo credit: Screen Actor’s Guild Awards Facebook page

Trump Resigns from SAG

While being a part of the Hollywood crowd and not being a part of a union is possible; not joining a union makes it extremely difficult to find work.

After making an uncredited appearance in “Bobby Brown: on Our Own” and his first credited appearance in “Ghosts Can’t Do It” in 1989, Donald Trump joined what was then the Screen Actor’s Guild.

Facing disciplinary action in the form of expulsion from the Guild in response to the events of January 6, 2021 when a group of insurrectionists stormed the U.S. Capitol; Trump presented his resignation from SAG-AFTRA on February 4, 2021.

In a letter to Guild president Gabrielle Carteris he said, “I no longer wish to be associated with your union.   As such, this letter is to inform you of my immediate resignation from SAG-AFTRA. You have done nothing for me.”

He added, “while I’m not familiar with your work, I’m very proud of my work on movies such as ‘Home Alone 2,’ ‘Zoolander’ and ‘Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps’; and television shows including ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,’ ‘Saturday Night Live,’ and of course, one of the most successful shows in television history, ‘The Apprentice’ — to name just a few!”

Taking further credit, he added, “I’ve also greatly helped the cable news television business (said to be a dying platform with not much time left until I got involved in politics), and created thousands of jobs at networks such as MSDNC and Fake News CNN, among many others”.

In response, the Guild simply said, “thank you”.

After the events of January 6, the Guild board voted that there was cause for disciplinary action saying Trump ran, “a reckless campaign of misinformation aimed at discrediting and ultimately threatening the safety of journalists, many of whom are SAG-AFTRA members.”

Knowing that his case was coming before the committee; Trump stated in the letter, “who cares”.

Since making his television debut in 1989, Trump has 20 producer credits and 26 acting credits to his name.

A number of those productions have been facing calls to have Trump’s scenes removed from them.

feature photo credit: By Jaguirre2192 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=48154582

2021 Golden Globe Nominations

With the Golden Globe Awards postponed until February 28, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association released the nominees for the 78th annual awards on February 3.

For the first time in the awards’ history, hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler will perform their duties on both coasts with Fey in New York City and Poehler in Beverly Hills.  This year marks a return for the fourth time to serve as hosts the Golden Globes for the duo. 

Each year, the HFPA selects the children of Hollywood elite to serve as Golden Globe Ambassadors to aid in the awards presentations.  This year Satchel and Jackson Lee – the children of Spike Lee – will serve as the Golden Globe Ambassadors.

With a mostly virtual event, winners are expected to make their speeches from around the globe.

As expected the streaming service Netflix dominated the list of nominees with a total of 42 nominations – 22 for film and 20 for television.

In film, “Mank” led the way with six nominations.  “The Trial of the Chicago 7”, “The Father”, “Nomadland”, “Promising Young Woman”, “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, and “One Night in Miami” also garnered multiple nominations.

On the television side, “The Crown” led the way with six nominations; with “Schitt’s Creek”, “Ozark”, “The Undoing”, “The Great”, and “Ratched” all garnering multiple nominations.

Already announced, the HFPA will present the Cecil B. DeMille Award to Jane Fonda and the Carol Burnett Award to Norman Lear for their lifetime contributions to the world of entertainment.

Nominees for the 2021 Golden Globe Awards are:
Best Motion Picture Drama:
“The Father”
“Mank”
“Nomadland”
“Promising Young Woman”
“The Trial of the Chicago 7”

Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Motion Picture Drama:
Viola Davis for her role in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”
Andra Day for her role in “”The United States vs. Billie Holiday”
Vanessa Kirby for her role in “Pieces of a Woman”
Frances McDormand for her role in “Nomadland”
Carey Mulligan for her role in “Promising Young Woman”

Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Motion Picture Drama:
Riz Ahmed for his role in “Sound of Metal”
Chadwick Boseman for his role in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”
Anthony Hopkins for his role in “The Father”
Gary Oldman for his role in “Mank”
Tahar Rahim for his role in “The Mauritanian”

Best Musical or Comedy Motion Picture:
“Borat Subsequent Moviefilm”
“Hamilton”
“Music”
“Palm Springs”
“The Prom”

Best Performance by an Actress in a Musical or Comedy Motion Picture:
Maria Bakalova for her role in “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm”
Kate Hudson for her role in “Music”
Michelle Pfeiffer for her role in “French Exit”
Rosamund Pike for her role in “I Care a Lot”
Anya Taylor-Joy for her role in “Emma”

Best Performance by an Actor in a Musical or Comedy Motion Picture:
Sacha Baron Cohen for his role in “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm”
James Corden for his role in “The Prom”
Lin-Manuel Miranda for his role in “Hamilton”
Dev Patel for his role in “The Personal History of David Copperfield”
Andy Samberg for his role in “Palm Springs”

Best Animated Motion Picture:
“The Croods: A New Age”
“Onward”
“Over the Moon”
“Soul”
“Wolfwalkers”

Best Foreign Language Motion Picture:
“Another Round” from Denmark
“La Llorona” from Guatemala and France
“The Life Ahead” from Italy
“Minari” from the USA (spoken mostly in Korean)
“Two of Us” from France and the USA

Best Supporting Role by an Actress in a Motion Picture:
Glenn Close for her role in “Hillbilly Elegy”
Olivia Colman for her role in “The Father”
Jodie Foster for her role in “The Mauritanian”
Amanda Seyfried for her role in “Mank”
Helena Zengel for her role in “New of the World”

Best Supporting Role by an Actor in a Motion Picture:
Sacha Baron Cohen for his role in “The Trial of the Chicago 7”
Daniel Kaluuya for his role in “Judas and the Black Messiah”
Jared Leto for his role in “The Little Things”
Bill Murray for his role in “On the Rocks”
Leslie Odom Jr for his role in “One Night in Miami…”

Best Director of a Motion Picture:
Emerald Fennell for “Promising Young Woman”
David Fincher for “Mank”
Regina King for “One Night in Miami…”
Aaron Sorkin for “The Trial of the Chicago 7”
Chloe Zhao for “Nomadland”

Best Motion Picture Screenplay:
Emerald Fennell for “Promising Young Woman”
Jack Fincher for “Mank”
Aaron Sorkin for “The Trial of the Chicago 7”
Florian Zeller and Christopher Hampton for “The Father”
Chloe Zhao for “Nomadland”

Best Original Score for a Motion Picture:
Alexandre Desplat for “The Midnight Sky”
Ludwig Goransson for “Tenet”
James Newton Howard for “New of the World”
Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross for “Mank”
Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross, and Jon Batiste for “Soul”

Best Original Song for a Motion Picture:
H.E.R. for “Fight for You” from “Judas and the Black Messiah”
Daniel Pemberton for “Hear My Voice” from “The Trial of the Chicago 7”
Diane Warren, Laura Pausini, and Niccolo Agliardi for “Io Si” (Seen) from “The Life Ahead”
Leslie Odom Jr and Sam Ashworth for “Speak Now” from “One Night in Miami…”
Andra Day and Raphael Saadiq for “Tigress & Tweed” from “The United States vs. Billie Holiday”

Best Television Drama Series:
“The Crown”
“Lovecraft Country”
“The Mandalorian”
“Ozark”
“Ratched”

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Drama:
Olivia Colman for her role in “The Crown”
Jodie Comer for her role in “Killing Eve”
Emma Corrin for her role in “The Crown”
Laura Linney for her role in “Ozark”
Sarah Paulson for her role in “Ratched”

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Drama:
Jason Bateman for his role in “Ozark”
Josh O’Connor for his role in “The Crown”
Bob Odenkirk for his role in “Better Call Saul”
Al Pacino for his role in “Hunters”
Matthew Rhys for his role in “Perry Mason”

Best Television Musical or Comedy:
“Emily in Paris”
“The Flight Attendant”
“The Great”
“Schitt’s Creek”
“Ted Lasso”

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Musical or Comedy:
Lily Collins for her role in “Emily in Paris”
Kaley Cuoco for her role in “The Flight Attendant”
Elle Fanning for her role in “The Great”
Jane Levy for her role in “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist”
Catherine O’Hara for her role in “Schitt’s Creek”

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Musical or Comedy:
Don Cheadle for his role in “Black Monday”
Nicholas Hoult for his role in “The Great”
Eugene Levy for his role in “Schitt’s Creek”
Jason Sudeikis for his role in “Ted Lasso
Ramy Youssef for his role in “Ramy”

Best Limited Series, Anthology Series, or Motion Picture Made for Television:
“Normal People”
“The Queen’s Gambit”
“Small Axe”
“The Undoing”
“Unorthodox”

Best Performance by an Actress in a Limited Series, Anthology Series, or Motion Picture Made for Television:
Cate Blanchett for her role in “Mrs. America”
Daisy Edgar-Jones for her role in “Normal People”
Shira Haas for her role in “Unorthodox”
Nicole Kidman for her role in “The Undoing”
Anya Taylor-Joy for her role in “The Queen’s Gambit”

Best Performance by an Actor in a Limited Series, Anthology Series, or Motion Picture Made for Television:
Bryan Cranston for his role in “Your Honor”
Jeff Daniels for his role in “The comey Rule”
Hugh Grant for his role in “The Undoing
Ethan Hawke for his role in “The Good Lord Bird”
Mark Ruffalo for his role in “I Know this Much is True”

Best Supporting Role by an Actress in a Television Series:
Gillian Anderson for her role in “The Crown”
Helena Bonham Carter for her role in “The Crown”
Julia Garner for her role in “Ozark”
Annie Murphy for her role in “Schitt’s Creek”
Cynthia Nixon for her role in “Ratched”

Best Supporting Role by an Actor in a Television Series:
John Boyega for his role in “Small Axe”
Brendan Gleeson for his role in “The Comey Rule”
Daniel Levy for his role in “Schitt’s Creek”
Jim Parsons for his role in “Hollywood”
Donald Sutherland for his role in “The Undoing”

NASCAR’s Xfinity Series Gets New Team

Over the course of its history, NASCAR has frequently seen its owners come from former drivers and former crew members.  But in recent years the racing sport has seen an influx of celebrities taking on the car owner duties.

The 2021 racing season will bring two new teams to the line up with basketball legend Michael Jordan and “Mr Worldwide” himself Pitbull joining as part owners in those teams in the Cup Series.

The Xfinity Series will also see a new team this season when Big Machine Records executive Scott Borchetta turns a life long passion for racing into a profession. 

Big Machine Racing has tapped Jude Jade Buford to drive the number 48 car.

Borchetta noted, “we’re only starting at zero because it’s a new team, but we’re bringing decades worth of experience to starting this team. … I’m very blessed to be able to help other race drivers in a sport that I love so much.”

Big Machine fans will have to wait until the second race of the season to see Buford since the Brentwood, Tennessee native is not approved to run on the high banks of the tri-oval at Daytona.

Speaking on his choice of the 32 year old Buford over a young driver, Borchetta said, “(Buford) lives to race, races to live.  He’s so technical about his approach and has this extraordinary humbling confidence. And it’s like, you know what, this guy deserves a shot. He’s not the youngest guy on the grid, but I think he’s going to show everybody … I mean it’s going to take a minute and I don’t have any false expectations. We have a lot to learn and build the team out.”

Borchetta first caught the racing bug in 1970 when he saw the IndyCar Series run the inaugural California 500 at Ontario Motor Speedway.

Later he split his time between rock and roll and racing motocross and quarter-midget cars. 

Now in Nashville, Borchetta returned to racing in 1995.  In 1999 he moved to SuperTrucks and took home three championships in a row between 2003 and 2005.

Speaking on his decision Borchetta said, “it’s always been part of my DNA.  It’s always been part of my culture. To me, the music business and racing business are very similar. It’s like, give me that open lane and I’ll find a way to beat you. There’s a lot of similarities because it’s about talent and providing that talent with the best possible opportunity to do their best work. There are a lot of parallels for me.”

With a little help from champion crew chief Ray Evernham, Borchetta ran in the Sportscar Vintage Racing Association.

NASCAR Set 2021 Virus Protocols

As each sport begins a new season, they must also address a number of issues including Covid-19 protocols, whether or not to allow fans at the events, and if so how many.

While the NASCAR racing teams gear up for a new season, officials have released the guidelines under which teams and potential spectators must follow during racing events.

Last season after a two month hiatus NASCAR returned with no fans and some very strict protocols for team members to follow while at the track…and at their racing shops.

Many of those protocols remain in effect for the 2021 season; but with a few changes.

NASCAR reports that whether fans will be allowed at racing events and how many will be allowed will depend on local health and safety regulations in the cities where the races are being held.

With the virus raging in California and strict protocols involving crowds, the race at the Auto Club Speedway has already been cancelled and has been replaced by a road course race at Daytona.  In a NASCAR first, the season will begin in Daytona for the first two weeks and will see a third race later in the season to close out the regular racing season.

NASCAR vice president of racing operations John Bobo noted that, “we continue to try to put as many tools as possible in the protocol tool box.” 

Bobo added, “toward the end of last year, we started doing a lot of rapid antigen testing as part of a secondary screenings for people coming into the track and that will continue.  We continue to emphasise with the drivers that we need rapid reporting of COVID-19 results so we can contract trace as well. We will continue to do the things we know will work.”

Mandated masks and screenings prior to entering the track, social distancing, a limiting the number of crew members at the track and at the shops, and repercussions for rule violations will continue.  Positive testing protocols for drivers and team personnel will also continue where they may not return to the track/team facilities until after two negative tests 24 hours apart and have been cleared by their personal physician.

“Not only do you need to wear a mask, you need to wear a good mask and double the mask if you can,” said Bobo.

However, NASCAR has amended the rule relating to track personnel quotas.  This season one owner and one public relations person will be allowed at the track.  Teams with multiple cars will be allowed one PR rep per car.

Allowing for outbreaks, restrictions, and any number of changes; NASCAR has numerous “backup plans” that will allow them to continue the season.  NASCAR vice president and chief racing development officer Steve O’Donnell noted, “if anything, we learned to be really nimble.”

Parton Say No to Medal of Freedom

Hall of Fame entertainer Dolly Parton is a musical icon with a room full of trophies and awards with gold and platinum albums; however, when presented with the opportunity to add to that collection…she refused.

Not just once…but twice…the Country music icon refused acceptance of the nation’s highest civilian honour – the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

The first time former President Donald Trump attempted to present the award to Parton, she refused because her husband Carl Dean was ill.

The second time the Medal was offered, Parton again refused; citing a refusal to travel during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Parton adds that if she were asked again by President Joe Biden, she would be hesitant saying,
“so now, I feel like if I take it, I’ll be doing politics, so I’m not sure.  I don’t work for those awards. It’d be nice, but I’m not sure that I even deserve it. But it’s a nice compliment for people to think that I might deserve it.”

Parton has contributed money to vaccine efforts, and millions to charitable endeavours.  She has also noted that while eligible for the Covid-19 vaccine, she has so far not gotten the vaccine because she didn’t want to appear to be “jumping the line”.

Former President Barack Obama noted that he did not award the Medal to Parton due to a, “screw up” from his administration.

Animals Guitarist Hilton Valentine Dies

Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and founding member of The Animals – Hilton Valentine – died January 29 in Wallingford, Connecticut at the age of 77.  No official cause of death was listed.

A guitarist in the band, he is credited with creating one of the most famous riffs in the British Invasion with the opening to “House of the Rising Sun”.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Fy7opKu46c

Valentine was 13 before he started playing the guitar.  Before forming The Animals, he was a part of the band The Heppers which later became The Wildcats.  In 1963, he founded The Animals with Eric Burdon, Chas Chandler, Alan Price, and John Steel.

The band topped the charts on both sides of the Atlantic in 1964 with “House of the Rising Sun”.  He remained a part of The Animals for four years before embarking on a solo career before making a return to the band.  Most recently, Valentine has been a part of the band Skiffledog.

He was born Hilton Stewart Paterson Valentine on May 21, 1943 in North Shields, England.

Along with his various musical appearances on television, he appeared as an actor on “Bikini World”, “Ready, Steady, Go”, “The Dangerous Christmas of Red Riding Hood”, and the video for “House of the Rising Sun”.

Valentine is survived by his wife Germaine.

feature photo credit: By Richard William Laws – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=69265068

NASCAR Sets Busch Clash Lineup

As the global pandemic continues, NASCAR has reduced the normal Speedweeks extravaganza to just one week. 

It all begins on February 9 with the annual Busch Clash under the lights.

New for the 43rd annual event is that the race will take place on the infield road course instead of the high banked 2.5 mile oval. 


Drivers qualify for the race around the 3.61 mile road course in a number of ways that include pole winners, full time drivers, and past champions.

The criteria for entry into the Busch Clash:
2020 Pole winners
Drivers who competed full time last season and are past winners of the Busch Clash.
Past Daytona 500 winners who were full drivers last season
Drivers who made the playoffs last season
Drivers who won a race during the 2020 season
Drivers who won a stage during the races last season

A total of 24 drivers qualified for the Busch Clash this year:
Aric Almirola
Ryan Blaney
Alex Bowman
Clint Bowyer – retired at the end of the season
Chris Buescher
Kurt Busch
Kyle Busch
William Byron
Cole Custer
Matt DiBenedetto
Austin Dillon
Ty Dillon
Chase Elliott
Denny Hamlin
Kevin Harvick
Jimmie Johnson – retired at the end of the season
Erik Jones
Matt Kenseth
Brad Keselowski
Joey Logano
Ryan Newman
Tyler Reddick
Ricky Stenhouse Jr
Martin Truex Jr

The Speedweeks schedule for 2021 is:
Feb. 9 – Busch Clash
Feb 10 – Daytona pole qualifying
Feb 11 – Daytona Duels
Feb 12 – Camping World Truck Series NextEra Energy 250
Feb 13 – the Xfinity Series Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner 300
Feb 14 – Daytona 500