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President Trump seeks to make sports central part of economic revival

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President Donald Trump spoke with sports leaders Wednesday, expressing his desire to make sports a central part America’s economic revival, according to a press pool report.

The report sates that Lesa France Kennedy, executive vice chair, represented NASCAR on the call. Others on the call included NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and Major League Baseball Commissioner Robert Manfred.

According to the press pool report: “The President expressed optimism to the major sports organizations that are eager to get their athletes back on courts, courses, and fields of play, and for the millions of sports fans who are missing their favorite teams and players. Leaders of the sports organizations expressed appreciation for the President’s attention to their industry and offered innovative input on social distancing guidelines.

“President Trump acknowledged the important role that sports play in American life and expressed his desire to make sports a central part of the great American economic revival.”

MORE: Dr. Anthony Fauci on how sports can return: Regular testing, no fans

MORE: N.C. Gov: “Our new normal” may have no in-person crowds for awhile

President Trump held a call with sports league executives April 4. That call included NASCAR President Steve Phelps. President Trump later said in a press briefing that day:

I want fans back in the arenas. Whenever we’re ready and as soon as we can, obviously. The fans want to be back, too. They want to see basketball and baseball and football and hockey. They want to see their sports. They want to go out on the golf courses and breath nice clean beautiful air.

“I can’t tell you a date, but I think it’s going to be sooner rather than later. We’re not going to have to have separation for the rest of our times on the planet. We need it for this period of time. Eventually, people are going to be able to occupy those seats in arenas next to each other like we have for all of my life and all of your life.”

NASCAR has postponed seven races through May 3 at Dover International Speedway. NASCAR’s next scheduled race is May 9 at Martinsville Speedway, but Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam issued a stay-at-home order from March 30 to June 10. The next scheduled events after that would be All-Star weekend (May 14-16) and Coca-Cola 600 weekend (May 22-24) at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina.

According to the press pool report, these were the individuals on Wednesday’s call with President Trump:

* Todd Ricketts—Chicago Cubs
* Jerry Jones—Dallas Cowboys
* Mark Cuban—Dallas Mavericks
* Ari Emanuel— Endeavor
* Robert Kraft—The Kraft Group
* Mike Whan—LPGA
* Robert Manfred— MLB
* Don Garber—MLS
* Adam Silver—NBA
* Lesa Kennedy—NASCAR
* Mark Emmert—NCAA
* Roger Goodell—NFL
* Gary Bettman—NHL
* Lisa Baird—NWSL
* Jay Monahan—PGA TOUR
* Dana White—UFC
* Sarah Hirshland—U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee
* Patrick Galbraith—USTA
* Cathy Engelbert—WNBA
* Vince McMahon—WWE

Ryan Blaney throws out first pitch for Chicago Cubs game

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Ryan Blaney got his weekend in the Chicago area off to a memorable start with a trip to the ballpark Thursday afternoon.

The Team Penske driver got the opportunity to throw out the first pitch at Wrigley Field before the Chicago Cubs’ game against the Atlanta Braves.

While the pitch was a little high, Blaney got the ball across home plate.

This isn’t the first time NASCAR drivers have taken part in ceremonies at Wrigley Field.

Last July, Austin Dillon sang “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” during the the seventh-inning stretch of a game. Cubs fans Kurt Busch did the honors in 2011 and Jeff Gordon did so in 2005, though he’d like a do over.

Illinois native and Cubs fan Danica Patrick has also thrown the opening pitch twice over the years.

Kurt Busch takes Daytona 500 trophy to Chicago Cubs spring training camp

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The “Where’s Earl” tour continues.

Kurt Busch and his Daytona 500 trophy popped up again today and it was at a different sports arena: the baseball diamond. Busch, a life-long Chicago Cubs fan, took the Harley J. Earl trophy to the Cubs’ spring training camp in Mesa, Arizona.

It was an easy trip for Busch, who will be racing at Phoenix Raceway this weekend, about 35 miles west of the camp. The trophy has already visited Busch’s high school in Las Vegas and will eventually wind up at the headquarters of Haas Automation in California.

Busch took part in batting practice and other on-field activities and posed with the team along with the trophy.

NASCAR America: Is this the year for both Kurt Busch and his beloved Cubs?

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Kurt Busch, a lifetime Chicago Cubs fan, explains his relationship with the team and his experience singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” during the seventh-inning stretch at a game at Wrigley Field a few years ago.

Busch is pulling for the Cubs all the way in 2016. Could he also win a Sprint Cup championship in 2016, as well?

“I would be beside myself,” Busch said during an in-studio visit for Thursday’s NASCAR America.

Kurt Busch to attend Chicago Cubs playoff game tonight

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Longtime Chicago Cubs fan Kurt Busch will attend tonight’s National League wild-card game at Pittsburgh, hoping to see the Cubs win their first playoff game since 2003.

Busch said Tuesday he would attend teammate Kevin Harvick‘s golf tournament this morning before heading to Pittsburgh to watch the Cubs in the one-game playoff.

Busch told USA Today three years ago that “my dream is to be in Chicago when the Cubs win the World Series for the celebration that will not end.”

In that same story, Busch, noting that the movie “Back to the Future” had the Cubs winning the title in 2015, said: “I’ve always had this vision about the Cubs winning the 2015 World Series.”

This could be the start and Busch, who has thrown out the first pitch multiple times at Wrigley Field and sung “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” during the seventh-inning stretch at that ballpark, will be in Pittsburgh to witness it.

Busch said Tuesday that this Cubs team has made this a fun season to watch.

“We’ve been rebuilding for the last four years, and we have a very young team,” he said. “What makes this exciting is that it’s not just a one and done. There’s so much potential into the future that we can play loose and find results that we didn’t even expect this year, so it’s neat to watch them as a fan and to see the team develop because I’m in sports and I’ve seen how my team has developed over the years, and it’s a good comparison.”