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NASCAR Notebook for January 26th

by Dave Grayson
Tuesday, January 26, 2010

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During the course of the past several days we witnessed another act of NASCAR compassion from those who chose to help earthquake victims in Haiti, and a popular Sprint Cup driver once again showed us why he needs to quit playing basketball. With those thoughts in mind lets begin with:

THUMBS-UP to NASCAR team owner Rick Hendrick for his very generous support of Missionary Flights International. "Mr. H" covered the expenses for the use of two of his, 45 seat, personal airplanes that has been making daily flights to Haiti delivering badly needed supplies as well as emergency personnel. On Tuesday of last week one of those planes made a return trip and delivered 26 orphans to Fort Pierce, Florida so those lucky children could meet the American families who had adopted them prior to the earthquake.

THUMBS-UP to NASCAR team owners Michael Waltrip and Joe Gibbs who joined Hendrick Air with the donation of their privately owned planes.

THUMBS-UP to the FAA, Federal Aviation Administration, who granted the plane owners a "special exemption" that allowed the daily flights to arrive at Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

THUMBS-UP to the benevolence of the NASCAR Foundation who donated $250,000 to the Florida based Missionary Flight International to help cover the costs of flight transportation.

THUMBS-UP to NASCAR personalities and the National Basketball Association's Charlotte Bobcats who joined forces last Friday night, in the Charlotte based Time Warner Arena, for a special basketball skills competition with proceeds going to Haiti relief.

THUMBS-UP to drivers Michael Waltrip, Brad Keselowski, Ricky Stenhouse Jr and Kelly Bires who spent time on the court to support this cause while often demonstrating their lack of B ball skills. THUMBS-UP to the estimated 18 thousand plus fans who turned out to support this worthy event.

THUMBS-UP to Pattie and Kyle Petty who generously diverted the proceeds from this event to the relief efforts. This event was originally scheduled as a fund raiser for their Victory Junction Gang Camp, an organization created by the Petty family for the purpose of providing recreation and smiles for terminally and chronically ill children.

The need for relief in Haiti is not going to diminish any time soon. We can all help by calling 1 800 REDCROSS to make a donation. You can also text the word Haiti to 90999 on your cell phone to make a $10 donation.

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On the subject of basketball, WHAT'S-UP with driver Denny Hamlin who, for the second racing season in a row, finds himself having to drive a race car with a serious knee injury. Last Friday, during the course of participating in a pick up basketball game, Hamlin sustained a tear in his anterior cruciate ligament, ACL, in his left knee.

With the start of the 2010 racing so close, surgery on the knee is not considered to be an option and will have to wait until at least November. However Hamlin's doctors support this decision and agree that it will not impact his ability to drive his Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota. But the driver can expect a season's worth of discomfort while climbing in and out of the car.

For Hamlin this is all a case of déjà vu. Last December he underwent surgery on his right knee to repair the meniscus. That procedure was also the result of an injury sustained while playing basketball.

It's safe to assume that team owner Joe Gibbs has already suggested that his young driver find a new recreational hobby.

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THUMBS-UP to NASCAR for the recent revelation that said they have issued a list of banned substances that they consider to be in violation of their staunch drug policy. The list, along with the entire policy, was included in the new 2010 rule book that was provided to the teams.

Throughout the 2009 season, and at the height of the situation involving embattled driver Jeremy Mayfield, NASCAR was on the receiving end of some unfair criticism that said the lack of disclosure of the banned substances created a credibility problem with their overall policy. This new revelation will forever silence those critics.

Executives from the other major sports in America needs to be carefully scrutinizing NASCAR's drug policy and implementing it into their own programs.

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In our weekly round up we need to acknowledge the following:

THUMBS-UP to Michael Waltrip for again providing our favorite NASCAR themed "Twitter" of the week. Perhaps in a Zen like moment, Waltrip recently wrote: "I just heard "Mr. Bojangles." I forgot how much I love that song. I think the chicken and biscuit place temporarily demented me."

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THUMBS-UP to Sarah Palin for recently being named as a VIP guest at this year's Daytona 500. A speedway press release said she would not be playing an official role in the race and that leads to a THUMBS-UP to comedian Jay Leno who said "in other words her role at Daytona is very similar to her Vice Presidential campaign."

Robin Braig, Daytona International Speedway President, noted that he conferred with NASCAR's political advisers prior to completing the arrangements for Palin's VIP appearance and was told to "showcase her just as we would our mayor, our Governor or our Senators."

Wait a minute! Mrs. Palin is not a Mayor, she resigned as the Governor of Alaska and she's certainly not a Senator. In fact, she's no longer personally involved with politics and recently accepted a new television job with Fox News. It appears that the Daytona International Raceway has issued official VIP credentials to a member of "DA MEE-DEE-AH."

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THUMBS-UP to Indy Racing League, soon to be NASCAR, driving star Danica Patrick who is expanding her "brand" to include acting. Patrick will be doing a February 17th guest star stint on the CBS Television series "CSI:New York". Patrick will portray a race driver who finds herself in the middle of an explosive car crash in the midst of an expedition race in New York.

WHAT'S-UP with my racing buddy who sent me an email that said he didn't care about Danica's acting debut and "would rather spend the evening watching reruns on the Game Show Network?"

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WHAT'S-UP with the Las Vegas based World Sports Exchange-WSE for issuing early bird gambling odds on the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup championship? It's way too early to be having that conversation.

In case you're curious the WSE has placed 5 to 1 odds on Jimmie Johnson claiming his fifth, consecutive, Cup title. He's followed by Mark Martin at 7 to 1, Jeff Gordon and Kyle Busch at 8 to 1 while the trio of Carl Edwards, Denny Hamlin and Tony Stewart are rated at 9 to 1.

The WSE also says that Kyle Busch is a 7 to 1 odds favorite to win the Daytona 500 followed by Stewart at 8 to 1. Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr are third in the rankings at 9 to 1 odds.

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Finally this week we have a couple of GOD BLESS items. The first goes to Lynda Petty, wife of King Richard Petty, who underwent an undisclosed medical procedure this past Friday hoping to find a cause relative to an ongoing medical condition. Richard Petty said that "family comes first" and he will likely not be going on the road for the start of the new racing season. Please send Lynda Petty some good thoughts and prayers. This gracious lady is an icon who practically created the criteria of being a NASCAR wife.

Also send some prayers to the family of young, up and coming, NASCAR driver Marc Davis who sadly lost his father, Harry. Condolence notes may be sent to the Davis family in care of 136 Bridle Path, Mooresville-North Carolina, 28117.

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