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Danica Patrick on social media negativity and that President-elect Trump tweet

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Danica Patrick’s Twitter feed usually showcases a cheerful cornucopia of the most uncontroversial elements in the NASCAR driver’s off-track life.

There are her devotion to healthy food, fitness and yoga, the cute photos of her dogs, Dallas and Ella, and the loyal support of sponsors and pro sporting interests (her beloved Chicago Cubs lately).

Which made the appearance of this tweet on the morning of Nov. 9 quite striking:

During this week’s NASCAR on NBC podcast, Patrick playfully tried to parry a question about her brief and sudden turn into politics.

“I’m a race car driver,” she said.

Yes, but you tweeted this.

“You’re right,” Patrick said. “It’s public then.”

So what was the impetus?

“Well, really what I was intending was there’s so much negativity, and it just doesn’t need to happen,” she said. “The point of me tweeting about ‘Let’s Make America Great Again’ … Doesn’t everyone want America to be great? If he says that’s what’s going to happen, then I’m excited! Let’s have some faith! Stay positive.”

The tweet seemed to draw a mostly negative response, which didn’t surprise Patrick.

“Usually, those who are the most negative are the most loud,” she said. “I don’t feel I’m out of line in saying that. Usually the people that are the most negative, opinionated, most extreme a lot of times, also are the loudest. You have to take social media with a grain of salt. The easiest way for me to handle it is to post something and not look at anything.”

But she doesn’t stay completely out of her replies.

“I might (look) a little bit,” she said. “It is the heartbeat and pulse of what stories can develop. But at the same time, I didn’t get where I am today because I try to appease everyone and try to make sure everyone liked everything I said and did.

“All I ever hoped is that people would respect my honesty. They didn’t have to like what I said and did, but at least they can respect my honesty, and that I don’t back down from something or anything I’ve said and done. It’s all been done because I’ve decided that was OK for me, and that’s all that should matter.”

During the podcast, Patrick also discussed:

–Her new Warrior clothing line, which will make its debut in January, and a book (Pretty Intense) that is slated for 2018;

–How new sponsor Nature’s Bakery has made it easier to align her personal and professional branding (and her hopes of one day creating her own fig bar for the sponsor);

–Her disappointing 2016 Sprint Cup season and her expectations for 2017;

–What it’s like hanging out around friends with kids;

–How Tony Stewart’s transition from driver to owner might return him to being a mentor.

You can listen to the podcast by clicking on the AudioBoom embed below or download and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes by clicking here. The free subscription will provide automatic downloads of new episodes to your smartphone. It also is available on Stitcher by clicking here and also can be found on Google Play, Spotify and a host of other smartphone apps.

Cole Pearn to honor late friend with fundraiser for family next month in Toronto

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A testimonial to Cole Pearn’s best friend, who unexpectedly passed away in early August, as well as a fundraiser for his family will be held Friday, Jan. 5, at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.

Pearn’s lifelong friend, Jacob Damen, died unexpectedly after contracting a fast-moving bacterial infection on August 3.

Pearn, crew chief for the 2017 NASCAR Cup championship for Furniture Row Racing, will oversee the gala event, which will be held from 7 to 10 p.m. ET.

The evening will also include an appearance by 2017 NASCAR Cup champion Martin Truex Jr., silent and live auctions, the opportunity to meet both Pearn and Truex and other events.

All net proceeds from the evening will be given to the Damen Family Fund.

“We miss our buddy Jacob dearly,” Pearn said in a media release. “We all have family and friends that fill a space in our hearts that is irreplaceable.

“Jacob filled the hearts of his wife Carolyn, his sons Lucas and Nolan, his parents Jerry and Kim Damen, twin brother Tyler, sister Julia and countless friends.

“We are going to celebrate his life at the perfect spot, the Hockey Hall of Fame, to support his beautiful wife Carolyn and the two boys, Lucas and Nolan. I can’t wait to get home to celebrate with everyone.”

Click here for more details and to purchase tickets to the ‘Jacob Damen Friend and Fan Remembered’ event.

NASCAR Fan Appreciation Day scheduled for Jan. 20

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The annual NASCAR Fan Appreciation Day will return to the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, North Carolina, next month.

The event is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 20, the day after the 2018 Hall of Fame class is inducted.

Fans will be able to take part in an autograph session with current national series drivers, Hall of Famers and members of the NASCAR Next class, as well photo opportunities and question-and-answer sessions with a number of NASCAR legends.

Admission to Hall of Fame will be free of charge on a first-come, first-served basis

Admission to driver autograph sessions is free but will require a ticket for participation. Fans can register for the driver autograph sessions at nascarhall.com beginning Saturday, Jan. 13 at 10 a.m. ET. A full driver autograph session schedule will be announced at a later date.

 and on Facebook

Ryan Blaney to guest star on NBC’s ‘Taken’ next year

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Ryan Blaney has a particular set of skills; skills that he’s developed through years of professional auto racing.

The Team Penske driver will get to display those skills next year on NBC’s “Taken” TV Series.

The show serves as a prequel to the 2008 Liam Neeson film of the same name.

Blaney, 23, will guest start on the second season of the series, which premieres Jan. 12. He will appear in an episode titled “Imperium” as a special agent who knows his way around a car.

Here’s the plot synopsis for the episode.

“When a dangerous weapons dealer smuggles his wares into New York City, Bryan Mills (Clive Standen) teams up with the FBI in a race to stop him before he reaches the safety of international waters.”

This won’t be Blaney’s first time in front of a camera playing someone else. He had two movie cameos this year in Logan Lucky and Cars 3.

Blaney was filming his role in “Taken” on Tuesday in Ontario. See his tweets from the set below.

NASCAR Hall of Famer Jack Ingram update: Leaves ICU, moves to acute care facility

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NASCAR Hall of Famer Jack Ingram’s condition continues to improve following a serious car crash in his native Asheville, North Carolina on Dec. 3.

According to an online post by his daughter, Ingram was taken out of Intensive Care on Tuesday and moved into an Acute Care facility, which is not as serious as ICU is.

Ingram did suffer a small setback in his recovery, developing a slight infection that is being treated with antibiotics.

Added the note from Ingrid Jones, Jack’s daughter, “The acute care facility will work to start decreasing his pain meds, over time, and put him on less narcotics and more simple analgesics (like really strong Tylenol, but without narcotics).

“Also they will continue his therapies, physical and occupational, as he’s able. It is still hard to know what his long-term health future will be, but we think his color looks really good, and we have no doubts that he has the will and determination to see this through.

“So if it is humanly possible for him to overcome, he will.”

We’ll continue to have periodic updates on Ingram’s condition as they become available.