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Morgan Shepherd Set to Become Oldest NASCAR Starter

NASCAR remains one of the most popular spectator sports in the country, and it appeals to fans of all ages. The speed of the cars, the roar of the engines, and the thrill of the competition keep people riveted, and there is nothing quite like seeing one of these races in person. Television simply does not do it justice! The races as fun, and some of them even have some history making moments. For example, in July, Morgan Shepherd, at 71 years old, will become the oldest NASCAR driver to start in the Sprint Cup. The current record holder as the oldest to started a race is Jim Fitzgerald, who raced at the Riverside International Speedway when he was 65 years old.

Shepherd has been racing in NASCAR for decades and has four Sprint Cup victories throughout his career. His first start was all the way back in 1970 at Hickory Motor Speedway in North Carolina. It promises to be a fun race, as most NASCAR events are. Of course, even if you can’t make it to this race, you can be sure that more are coming up! They have these races at tracks all around the country, and each of the tracks seems to have their own personality.

Some of the popular tracks include the Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Illinois, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Atlanta Motor Speedway, and Daytona International Speedway. No matter where you might be in the country, or where you might be taking your next vacation, there’s a very good chance that a NASCAR track is nearby! Start looking to see where the nearest raceway is to you so you can plan your trip.

NASCAR is quickly overtaking other sports in terms of popularity. The sport has its own personalities, its own style and people just can’t get enough. If you and your friends or family love watching NASCAR at home on the television, you should get off the couch and out into the stands. Buy some tickets to an event near you and spend an entire day reveling in the glory that is NASCAR!

Doping Allegations Once Again Plague MLB

Boston, Detroit and Texas all lead their divisions in the American League; and Atlanta, St. Louis, and Arizona are the top seeds in the National League. But once again, it’s not points or rankings that are the top stories in Major League Baseball, as these have all once again been overshadowed by doping allegations. This time those allegations revolve around a dozen or so MLB players, and a clinic in Miami.

It was the Miami Times that first broke the news in January that it had collected records showing that a number of MLB players made drug purchases from an anti-aging clinic in Miami. Anthony Bosch is the founder of the clinic in question — the Biogenesis of America clinic — and is now cooperating with the MLB in their investigation.

Reportedly, approximately a dozen MLB players purchased performance-enhancing drugs from the clinic. Among them are Alex Rodriguez, Ryan Braun, Nelson Cruz, Melky Cabrera, and Bartolo Colon.

The penalties for these players will undoubtedly vary, should they be found guilty of purchasing drugs from the clinic. Many of them including Rodriguez, Colon, and Cabrera have already served a suspension for drug use last year, meaning that they would most likely receive suspensions effective immediately. Any players for which this would be a first offense would be able to put suspensions on hold during a grievance process, which would have to be initiated by the union.

The players involved are holding to the position that the allegations are untrue, especially Ryan Braun. When recently asked about the situation he said,

“I’ve already addressed everything related to the Miami situation. I addressed it in spring training. I will not make any further statements about it. The truth has not changed.”

Epic Battle Between Blackhawks and Red Wings Reaches Game 7

For the second time in a row, the Chicago Blackhawks faced elimination and got the job done against the Detroit Red Wings. Chicago’s 4-3 win in Game 6 of the Western Conference Semifinals extended the series to a deciding Game 7 in Chicago on Wednesday night.

The Blackhawks needed three third period goals to get the win, but Michal Handzus, Bryan Bickell and Michael Frolik delivered. The Blackhawks managed to overcome a 36-23 faceoff disadvantage and a 38-28 shot disadvantage to pick up the win, in part due to Corey Crawford’s 35 save performance in goal.

The Blackhawks have gotten strong play from Crawford throughout their playoff run, as he has a 1.78 goals against average and a .936 save percentage. Offensively, Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp have combined for 20 points. Hossa has five goals and five assists, while Sharp has six goals and four assists. Duncan Keith, as usual, has provided an offensive boost from the blueline with one goal and eight assists. Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, two of the Blackhawks biggest stars, have been a bit quieter in the post season. Kane has two goals and seven assists, while Toews has one goal and five assists. They’ll hope to break out a bit more in Game 7.

Jimmy Howard has posted a 2.49 goals against average and .923 save percentage in goal for the Red Wings, while Henrik Zetterberg, Damien Brunner, Pavel Datsyuk, Daniel Cleary and Johan Franzen all have three goals ore more. Zetterberg has three goals and eight assists, while Brunner has five goals and four assists. Datsyuk has three goals and six assists, while Cleary has four goals and five assists.

The winner between the Blackhawks and Red Wings advances to take on the Game 7 winner between the Sharks and Kings in the Western Conference Finals. There is little in sports more exciting than a Game 7 in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, so don’t miss out on your chance to see one live. Tickets are still available, but likely to go fast for this major event.

Matteo Manassero Becomes Youngest to Win PGA BMW Championship

It was the end of the day on Sunday at the Wentworth Club in Surrey, England. Simon Kahn, Marc Warren, and Matteo Manassero were all tied after England’s own Lee Westwood turned a two-hole lead into ninth place. The stakes were high, as the winner automatically wins qualification into the U.S. Open next month. And not only was Manassero trying to avenge the past, after suffering his own collapse during the same tournament two years ago; he was also trying to make history. In the end, he did.

Going into the playoff round all were tied at 10-under-278. But when Marc Warren of Scotland was out after the first playoff hole, it left just Kahn and Manassero still on the course. Neither was going to give in easily, and it took until the fourth playoff hole for Manassero to finally beat out Kahn, and win his fourth European Tour title. He also avoids playing the U.S. Open qualifying round at Walton Heath course on Monday.

Along with the win, Manassero also becomes the youngest player in history to win the PGA BMW Championship, but just by a matter of days. Manassero goes down in the record books as being 20 years and 37 days old; while Bernard Gallacher of Scotland, 20 years and 97 days old, once held the title of the youngest winner in the BMW Championship.

Heat and Pacers Play for Eastern Conference Crown

The Miami Heat host the Indiana Pacers Wednesday night at 8:30 EST to kick off the Eastern Conference Finals, with a good bit of trash talk going back and forth between the two sides prior to the start of the series.

Most of the conversation has centered around comments by Pacers head coach Frank Vogel and Heat star LeBron James. After beating the Knicks to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals, Vogel called the Heat, “the next team that’s in our way and that’s how we’re approaching it.”

James took umbrage to those comments, perhaps bending them a little bit (or having a reporter bend them in a question) in order to create some bulletin board material.

James said, “We’re not just another team. I don’t understand what he’s saying, but we’re not just another team. It’s not true.”

James continued, saying, “He said we’re just another team in their way. We’re not just another team. We’re a great team. We’re very confident.”

James suggested that the Pacers better be prepared for more than just another team, but Vogel was quick to point out on Monday that he never referred to the reigning champs as such.

“Sorry sports world, the words ‘just another team’ never came out of my mouth,” Vogel said. “Great respect for [LeBron James] and the champs. Looking forward to [a] great series.”

These two teams met last season, with the Pacers pushing the Heat to six games before Miami prevailed en eventual route to the NBA Finals and a championship.

During the regular season, the Pacers took two out of three from the Heat. They did so largely by slowing down the pace of the games and hitting the boards hard, taking more than 33 percent of the offensive boards and nearly 58 percent overall.

The catch is that the Heat don’t want to run up and down the floor and won’t push the tempo too much in that fashion, but they would like to see more possessions then they had in the regular season.  Find out which tempo and team will prevail and get your tickets today for the Eastern Conference Finals!

Rangers and Bruins Continue Playoff Runs in Conference Semifinals

Both the New York Rangers and the Boston Bruins are battle tested this playoff season after going to the brink in the first round. The Bruins beat the Maple Leafs in seven games, needing two late goals in the third period of Game 7 to force overtime.

Milan Lucic scored with 1:22 left and Patrice Bergeron scored 31 seconds later to send the game to overtime, then Bergeron delivered again just over six minutes into the extra session.

The Rangers didn’t need quite as exciting of a game to seal their series against the Capitals, with a road Game 7 win in convincing fashion, 5-0.

The Bruins will have home ice, with the series opening Thursday, May 16 and Game 2 slated for Sunday, May 19. The Rangers host Games 3 and 4 at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday, May 21 and Thursday, May 23. If necessary, Game 5 will be in Boston on Saturday, May 25. Game Six would be in New York on Monday, May 27 and Game 7 would be back in Boston on Wednesday, May 29.

The Bruins have received strong goaltending from Tuukka Rask in the playoffs, with a 2.49 goals against average and a .923 save percentage. David Krejci has led the offensive attack with five goals and eight assists, while Nathan Horton has four goals and three assists. Milan Lucic has been a setup man with two goals and seven assists, while Zdeno Chara has a goal and seven assists from the blue line.

Henrik Lundqvist has been brilliant in goal for the Rangers with a 4-3 record, a 1.65 goals against average and a .947 save percentage. If King Henrik continues playing at this level, the Rangers could beat any team in the league. Scoring has been their bigger challenge, with no playing having scored more than two playoff goals. Derick Brassard, Carl Hagelin, Brian Boyle, Arron Asham and Derek Stepan each have two goals. The Rangers scored one goal or less in four of the seven games in the series against the Capitals.

Don’t miss out as two of the league’s best fan bases meet up in front of raucous crowds; get your tickets soon.

Stanley Cup Playoffs Update

The first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs is just wrapping up for most and is already for some. And just like every good playoff series, each of them has had their intense moments of both victory, and defeat.

The Detroit Red Wings were looking to pull ahead of the heavily favored Anaheim Ducks in their game last night, and all the way into overtime it looked as though they just might do it. In the end, it was the Ducks that won and they now take that series 3-2.

Also ahead 3-2 in their series is the defending Stanley Cup champions, the Los Angeles Kings as they look to knock the St. Louis Blues out of the competition on Friday night. And not surprisingly given the dynamic regular season they had, the Chicago Blackhawks are also up 3-1 in their series facing off against the Minnesota Wild.

But while the Red Wings, the Blues, and the Wild all look to extend their season just a bit longer, the same cannot be said for the Vancouver Canucks, who were swept out of the West by the San Jose Sharks.

In the East things seem to be a bit more even-keeled. The series between the Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Islanders is surprisingly tied at 2-2; as is the series between the Washington Capitals and the New York Rangers.

Sadly, after much celebration that the Toronto Maple Leafs finally made the playoffs after a long nine year wait, they quickly fell behind the Boston Bruins and are now struggling to hang onto a 3-1 series. They too will see if they can hang on Friday evening.

Two of the Leafs’ biggest rivals are also playing each other in the East, the Ottawa Senators and the Montreal Canadiens. That series is currently 3-1, and Montreal will look to stay in the game on Thursday night.

Who do you think is moving onto round two in the Stanley Cup Playoffs? And who will move onto the Finals?

Rangers Season Finale With Devils Could Be Huge

The New York Rangers are set to host the New Jersey Devils Saturday, April 27 in a game that could have enormous playoff implications. As it currently stands, the Rangers are seventh in the Eastern Conference, tied with the Ottawa Senators, who are in the eighth and final playoff spot due to a tiebreaker.

The Winnipeg Jets loom just one point back, while the Devils are just hoping to play spoiler as they’ve already been eliminated, sitting eight points back with three games remaining.

The atmosphere at Madison Square Garden could be enormous though with division rivals meeting in a game the Rangers need to win to make the playoffs, should it come to that. The Rangers currently ride a three-game winning streak and they’ve won seven of their last 10, with two losses and an overtime loss in that run as well.

In between now and Saturday, they’ll travel to Florida and Carolina. New York will likely look to lean heavily on the goaltending of Henrik Lundqvist, who is 22-15-3 with a 2.08 goals against average and a .927 save percentage.

On the scoring front, the Rangers are led by sniper Rick Nash, who has 19 goals and 21 assists for 40 points in 41 games played. Derek Stepan has 16 goals and 24 assists through 40 games, and the Rangers have some scoring depth as well.

Brad Richards has popped in 10 goals while dishing out 20 assists for 30 points in 43 games, a solid pace to go along with his leadership and two-way effort. Likewise, Ryan Callahan has 14 goals and 12 assists for 26 points in 42 games.

Don’t underestimate the Rangers playoff chances should they make it in, either. They currently have the fifth-best goal differential in the Eastern Conference and have been hampered in part by a lack of overtime losses and some bad luck.

In addition, only the Penguins are out ahead of the pack in the Eastern Conference with 70 points. The Rangers are 1-0-1 against he Penguins this month and probably would go into that potential second-round matchup with some confidence.

So don’t miss out on the chance to see the Rangers battle their way into the playoffs this Saturday, get your tickets now!

Bulls Return to United Center With Hope Against the Nets

The Chicago Bulls managed to upset the Brooklyn Nets in game two of their NBA Eastern Conference Quarterfinals by a score of 90-82, which tied the series up at 1-1 and ensured that it will go at least five games.

That means the Bulls will get back to Brooklyn one way or another. It also puts them right into the series with two games coming up at the United Center in Chicago on Thursday, April 25 and Saturday, April 27. Thursday’s game is slated for 7:30 p.m. and Saturday’s for 1 p.m.

The biggest differences for the Bulls between Game 1 and Game 2 were shown at the defensive end of the floor and in rebounding. In the series-opening loss, the Bulls allowed the Nets to hit nearly 56 percent of their shots from the floor, 43 percent of their threes and 82 percent of their 17 free throws.

In Game 2, the Bulls played a more physical brand of basketball and though they sent the Nets to the line six more times and saw them hit at an 87 percent clip at the charity stripe, the Nets were just 35 percent from the floor and 19 percent from three-point range.

In addition, the Bulls went from a minus-four on the boards to a plus-five. Offensively, the Bulls didn’t see too much of a difference in their shooting numbers or point output, scoring 89 and 90 points respectively. The big change was slowing down the Nets offense and rendering Gerald Wallace ineffective. Wallace had 14 points and six rebounds in Game 1, but only scored 2 points and grabbed three rebounds in Game 2.

The Bulls hope the home crowd at the United Center can propel them forward with a scrappy, defensive brand of basketball while the Nets hope to find their shooting stroke again in the Madhouse on Madison.

Playoff basketball at the United Center is always a blast, so don’t miss out. Get your tickets today and see it in person as the Bulls and Nets continue their playoff series.

Was Excessive Play the Reason for Kobe’s Injury?

It seems that whenever a star player is hurt, the coach is the first one to take the blame — even often more than a player who caused the injury. And while there was no enemy interference when Kobe Bryant tore his Achilles tendon on Friday, Coach Mike D’Antoni is taking even more than his fair share of the blame. Critics are calling the coach out, saying that too many minutes were the cause of Kobe’s injury, and that D’Antoni is personally responsible. D’Antoni in turn, has responded in a way that both accepts his part in it, but that also shows no regret.

Kobe had played a lot, even for someone in the prime of their NBA career. But the 34-year-old has played 17 seasons, and he’s only missed two this year. He averages 38.6 minutes a game, which is second in the league; and that increased to 45.6 minutes these last couple of weeks as the Lakers have made their push towards the playoffs. It was definitely a time his team needed him and according to D’Antoni, Kobe knew that, and it was one of the determining factors in why he played.

“In an ideal world, we wouldn’t have played him that many minutes,” D”Antoni said. “But without Steve Nash, Bryant said ‘I’ve got to do that or we’re not going to make the playoffs.’ And for him, that was the most important thing. It’s tough.”

D’Antoni says that had the team been better in the start of the season, Kobe wouldn’t have been relied on as much, and he takes responsibility in that sense.

“There’s a little bit of, ‘Yeah, you’re right, and we were playing a little bit with fire,'” he says. “But I thought managing tendinitis, or where Bryant couldn’t finish a game…nobody knows if there’s a correlation, so I’m not defensive about it. We’d probably do it again the same way. It’s just too bad we put ourselves in this hole. That’s the biggest thing.”

The injury has certainly ended Kobe’s season and kept him out of the playoffs, as the injury requires at least six months to heal.

What do you think? Is D’Antoni to blame for Kobe’s injury? Or is it just a case of really bad luck?

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