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Roger Penske honored with Horatio Alger Award

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Roger Penske, the owner of teams in NASCAR and the Verizon IndyCar Series, has been selected as one of the 11 recipients of the Horatio Alger Award.

The award, presented by the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, recognizes “exceptional corporate and philanthropic leaders from across the country who have succeeded despite facing challenges.”

The association, founded in 1947, is named after Alger, a 19th century author who is most known for the “Ragged Dick” book series.

“It is a privilege to receive the Horatio Alger Award alongside 10 remarkable men and women,” said the owner of Team Penske in a press release. “I was fortunate enough to have a strong support network growing up and I learned the importance of believing in yourself and having the courage to take the first step toward your dream. We are all stronger and more capable than we think, and I hope to convey that message to as many young people as possible through my work with the Association.”

Penske is currently celebrating the 50th anniversary of his race team, which included winning the IndyCar championship with Simon Pagenaud. The association is celebrating its 70th anniversary of working to “dispel the mounting belief among citizens that the American Dream was no longer attainable.”

Penske’s legendary career in racing took shape after he was involved in a motorcycle accident at a young age that left him with several serious injuries and months of rehabilitation.

“Roger’s strong work ethic and determination to reach his goals is admirable and inspiring,” said Byron Trott, president, Horatio Alger Association in a press release. “My fellow Members and I congratulate Roger on his induction into the Association, recognizing his self-made success, entrepreneurial vision and commitment to giving back. We look forward to working with him to further encourage our Scholars to follow their dreams, no matter the adversities they face.”

Other receiving the award:

  • Alain Bouchard, founder and executive chairman of the board, Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc.
  • John Elway, executive vice president of football operations/general manager, Denver Broncos
  • Mellody Hobson, president, Ariel Investments, LLC
  • Harold B. Matzner, chairman, CBA Industries Inc.
  • Valerie Montgomery Rice, president and dean, Morehouse School of Medicine
  • Byron Pitts, chief national correspondent, ABC News and co-anchor, ‘Nightline’
  • John H. Scully, co-founder and managing partner, SPO Partners & Co.
  • Richard J Stephenson, founder & chairman, Cancer Treatment Centers of America
  • Marcia G. Taylor, president and chief executive officer, Bennett International Group, LLC
  • Lenard B. Tessler, vice chairman and senior managing director, Cerberus Capital Management, L.P.

 

My Home Tracks: New Mexico’s the Land of Enchantment and home of Cardinal Speedway

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The state of New Mexico is known more for IndyCar racing, with the Unser family being the state’s favorite sons.

Al Unser won four Indianapolis 500s, brother Bobby three and Al’s son Al Jr. a two-time winner (this weekend’s 500 marks the 25th anniversary of Little Al’s second 500 triumph).

But there’s a strong grassroots racing scene in the Land of Enchantment, particularly in the far southeast corner of the state at Cardinal Speedway, a half-mile dirt track in the little town of Eunice.

NASCAR America continues its My Home Track series of 50 states in 50 shows.

Wednesday, we visit New York state.

2018 NASCAR schedule changes: EVP Steve O’Donnell breaks it down (video)

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On Tuesday’s edition of NASCAR America, NASCAR executive vice president Steve O’Donnell joined us to discuss the NASCAR Cup schedule changes in 2018, including running a road race at Charlotte and having Indianapolis be the final race before the playoffs.

“I’m real excited about these changes,” said O’Donnell, who cited unprecedented cooperation between NASCAR, its teams, drivers and sponsors to reach agreement on the schedule changes.

Among the key changes: Las Vegas will kick off the 10-race playoffs in 2018 (Chicagoland Speedway, which will have hosted the last seven playoff openers, will return to its more traditional race date in early July/late June and serve as a run-up to the Coke Zero 400 in Daytona.

Several other changes include:

  • The fall playoff race at Charlotte will move up a couple weeks in the schedule and also incorporate competition on both the infield road course and part of the speedway itself.
  • After 14 years as the deciding race to qualify for the NASCAR Cup playoffs, Richmond International Raceway will now become the second race of the playoffs.
  • Indianapolis Motor Speedway will see it’s Brickyard 400 go from late July to become the final qualifying race for the playoffs in early September.

Catch up on all the changes in the above video.

Tony Stewart pulled over by state trooper, but it’s not for speeding

Photo courtesy Damein Cunningham Twitter account
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Retired NASCAR Cup driver and team co-owner Tony Stewart was stopped by an Illinois State Trooper over the weekend near DeKalb, Ill., about 90 minutes west of Chicago.

But before you think Stewart was stopped for speeding by Trooper Damein Cunningham, he wasn’t.

Rather, Cunningham pulled Stewart over for improper lane usage, although exactly what the infraction was is unclear.

After getting a verbal warning, Stewart gladly posed with Cunningham for a selfie, which the trooper promptly tweeted out.

“Just pulled over NASCAR LEGEND Tony Stewart on I-88 in DeKalb, IL, what you think I got him for? #NASCAR #ISP”

But according to the Chicago Tribune, Cunningham’s bosses apparently didn’t have a sense of humor about the incident or realize the good PR it meant for the Illinois State Police.

That, or they’re not Stewart or NASCAR fans. They ordered Cunningham to delete the tweet, which he did.

It’s unclear what Stewart, who was stopped on his 46th birthday, was doing in the Land of Lincoln.

But his luck went from bad to worse a few hours later. According to USA Today, Stewart and others were stuck in an elevator in a Madison, Wisconsin hotel for about 20 minutes before being rescued by firefighters.

We can just imagine what the elevator riders talked about while trapped.

How much do you want to bet Stewart said, “Man, do I have a story about a cop that I have to tell you.”

Cunningham then posted another tweet on Sunday after attending church services.

 

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All-Star Race will remain at Charlotte in 2018

Photo by Sarah Crabill/Getty Images
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NASCAR confirmed that the All-Star Race will be held again at Charlotte Motor Speedway despite more of a push from competitors and others to move the event.

Criticism was raised after last weekend’s 70-lap event featured only three lead changes. Kyle Busch took the lead on the restart to begin the final 10-lap stage and went on to win. It marked the fourth time in the last five years the All-Star winner led every lap in the final stage. In 12 All-Star Races at Charlotte since the track was repaved, there have been two lead changes in the final five laps.

Jim Cassidy, NASCAR senior vice president of racing operations, was clear in a call with reporters Tuesday that the All-Star Race is set for Charlotte.

“We’ve finished our discussions for ’18,” he said. ” We’ll begin looking at ’19 and beyond in the near future.”

The All-Star Race debuted at Charlotte in 1985, moved to Atlanta in 1986 and returned to Charlotte the following year. It has been held at Charlotte ever since.

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