TIME NASCAR

Jeff Gordon Will Not Compete for Championship After 2015 Season

2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards - Show
Jeff Gordon speaks during the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards at Wynn Las Vegas on Dec. 5, 2014 Ethan Miller—Getty Images

Four-time Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon will run his final full-time season in 2015, he announced on Thursday.

Gordon, 43, has raced in the Cup Series since 1992 for Hendrick Motorsports. He had four wins, three poles and 14 top-fives en route to finishing in sixth place in the Chase last season.

He declined to say he is retiring, because he remains open to racing on a limited basis after this season.

As a race car driver, much of what I’ve done throughout my life has been based on following my instincts and trying to make good decisions,” Gordon said. “I thought long and hard about my future this past year and during the offseason, and I’ve decided 2015 will be the last time I compete for a championship. I won’t use the ‘R-word’ because I plan to stay extremely busy in the years ahead, and there’s always the possibility I’ll compete in selected events, although I currently have no plans to do that.

“I don’t foresee a day when I’ll ever step away from racing. I’m a fan of all forms of motor sports, but particularly NASCAR. We have a tremendous product, and I’m passionate about the business and its future success. As an equity owner in Hendrick Motorsports, I’m a partner with Rick (Hendrick) and will remain heavily involved with the company for many years to come. It means so much to have the chance to continue working with the owner who took a chance on me and the incredible team that’s stood behind me every step of the way.

Gordon won his first championship as a 23-year-old in 1994 and also won titles in 1997, 1998 and 2001. His 92 Cup wins and 77 poles are each No. 3 all-time.

He won the inaugural Brickyard 400 at Indy Motor Speedway in 1994 and has won the event a record five times. He is also a three-time Daytona 500 champion.

This article originally appeared on SI.com

TIME NASCAR

NASCAR Driver’s Ex-Girlfriend Denies Being an Assassin

Kurt Busch speaks to the media after qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 in Homestead, Fla. on Nov. 14, 2014.
Kurt Busch speaks to the media after qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 in Homestead, Fla. on Nov. 14, 2014. Todd Warshaw—Getty Images

The claim comes after NASCAR driver Kurt Busch's testimony regarding ex-girlfriend Patricia Driscoll on Tuesday

The four-day hearing over a no-contact order filed against NASCAR driver Kurt Busch took a bizarre turn on Tuesday, when Busch testified that his ex-girlfriend is a trained assassin.

Patricia Driscoll, Busch’s ex, has accused the 2004 NASCAR Cup champion of slamming her head three times against a bedroom wall in his motorhome at Dover International Speedway on Sept. 26. Busch and his legal team have denied the allegations, as have her Driscoll and her legal team regarding the assassin allegations.

From the Associated Press:

“Everybody on the outside can tell me I’m crazy, but I lived on the inside and saw it firsthand,” Kurt Busch said when his attorney, Rusty Hardin, questioned why he still believed Patricia Driscoll is a hired killer.

In an interview late Tuesday, Driscoll called Busch’s assertion “ludicrous,” saying he took it “straight from a fictional movie script” she has been working on for eight years and that he has proofread.

Driscoll, 37, is president of the Armed Forces Foundation, a non-profit that supports active and retired members from all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces. In 2010, the foundation partnered with NASCAR to form “Troops to the Track,” a program that hosts and celebrates service members at races. According to the foundation’s website, the program has expanded to 26 races across the country and honors more than 400 wounded service members, veterans and their families.

Driscoll also works for Frontline Defense Systems, a surveillance system company based in Washington, D.C. Her bio on the company’s website reads as follows:

Patricia has spent the majority of her career in the narcotics and intelligence world. While working abroad, many issues came up at home that brought her to Washington DC, where over the last 9 years she has developed strong relationships in the House, Senate, and the White House. Her strongest ally’s are the Armed Services Committee, Appropriations, Ways and Means, the Homeland Security Committee, and the Intelligence Committee. Here are a few of the things she has been involved in over the past few years:

  • Became an advisor for the field directors of Border Patrol and Customs to Congress and Headquarters Border Patrol and US Customs
  • Testified before Congress on small business issues regarding Homeland Security
  • Was paid by the British Embassy to go on a speaking tour of England regarding “Doing Business with Homeland Security”. I was the panel expert on the law enforcement section as well as the security and intelligence components.
  • Was invited to be a panel expert for the intelligence field for the Dept of Defense summit on Small Business at the Pentagon.
  • Panel advisor for State Dept. to the Ambassador for Human Trafficking
  • Congressional advisor for narcotics, trafficking, immigration, and border protection

In a YouTube video entitled “Pocket Commando,” Driscoll details her involvement with both companies, as well as her role as a parent with a young boy.

“I’m ‘Commando Mommy,’ as far as he’s concerned,” Driscoll says when describing her relationship with her son.

Warning: The video below features explicit language and adult themes.

Driscoll denied Busch’s assertions to the AP, calling the allegations of her being a trained assassin “ludicrous and without basis,” and saying, “Not even Rusty Hardin believes this,” referring to Busch’s attorney.

A court ruling on Driscoll’s request for the no-contact order is expected by early February. The allegations of Busch shoving Driscoll’s head into the wall are the subject of a separate criminal investigation.

This article originally appeared on SI.com.

TIME NASCAR

NASCAR Driver Says His Ex-Girlfriend Is a Trained Assassin

Kurt Busch speaks to the media after qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 in Homestead, Fla. on Nov. 14, 2014.
Kurt Busch speaks to the media after qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 in Homestead, Fla. on Nov. 14, 2014. Todd Warshaw—Getty Images

Patricia Driscoll accused Busch of assaulting her in September, and is seeking a no-contact order

NASCAR driver Kurt Busch testified on Tuesday that his ex-girlfriend, Patricia Driscoll, is a trained assassin.

Busch’s testimony came during a four-day hearing over Driscoll’s request for a no-contact order.

Driscoll has accused Busch, the 2004 NASCAR Cup champion, of slamming her head three times against a bedroom wall of his motorhome at Dover International Speedway on Sept. 26. Busch and his legal team have denied the allegations, which are the subject of a separate criminal investigation. The four-day hearing on the protection order ended Tuesday afternoon.

From the Associated Press:

”Everybody on the outside can tell me I’m crazy, but I lived on the inside and saw it firsthand,” Kurt Busch said when his attorney, Rusty Hardin, questioned why he still believed Patricia Driscoll is a hired killer.

In an interview late Tuesday, Driscoll called Busch’s assertion ”ludicrous,” saying he took it ”straight from a fictional movie script” she has been working on for eight years and that he has proofread.

Busch and his legal team have attempted to discredit Driscoll as a bitter ex-girlfriend who is trying to destroy his career after their breakup. During his testimony on Tuesday, Busch said Driscoll had claimed that a female character from Zero Dark Thirty, a 2012 film depicting the CIA’s hunt for Osama bin Laden, was a “composite” of her and other women.

On Monday, Busch said Driscoll told him she was a “mercenary who killed people for a living,” and had shown him pictures of bodies with gunshot wounds.

Driscoll denied the assertions to the AP.

”These statements made about being a trained assassin, hired killer, are ludicrous and without basis and are an attempt to destroy my credibility,” Driscoll said. ”Not even Rusty Hardin believes this.”

”I find it interesting that some of the outlandish claims come straight from a fictional movie script I’ve been working on for eight years,” Driscoll added.

A court ruling on Driscoll’s request for a no-contact order is expected later this month or in early February.

This article originally appeared on SI.com.

TIME Auto Racing

NASCAR Driver Tony Stewart: Deadly Incident Will ‘Affect My Life Forever’

Oral-B USA 500 - Practice
Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Bass Pro Shops / Mobil 1 Chevrolet, speaks to the media prior to practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Oral-B USA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 29, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia. Jamie Squire—Getty Images

Nascar champion Tony Stewart's car struck his fellow racer on Aug. 9

NASCAR driver Tony Stewart said Friday he remains heartbroken after he hit and killed fellow driver Kevin Ward in a racing crash three weeks ago. The comments come as Stewart, a champion driver, prepares to race again for the first time since the tragedy.

“I’ve taken the last couple of weeks off out of respect for Kevin and his family and also to cope with the accident in my own way,” Stewart said. “It’s given me the time to think about life and how easy it is to take it for granted. I miss my team, my teammates and I miss being back in the race car and I think being back in the car this week with my racing family will help me get through this difficult time.”

The incident, which occurred in a sprint car race in upstate New York earlier this month, shocked the racing world. Stewart’s car struck 20-year-old Kevin Ward, Jr. as Ward walked on the tarmac of the race track, apparently trying to flag down Stewart after a collision between the two drivers.

Stewart did not take questions at the Friday press conference, citing an ongoing police investigation of the incident.

 

TIME Auto Racing

Tony Stewart to Miss Third Consecutive NASCAR Race

Tony Stewart stands in the garage area after a practice session for Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series auto race at Watkins Glen International, in Watkins Glen, N.Y on August 8, 2014.
Tony Stewart stands in the garage area after a practice session for Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series auto race at Watkins Glen International, in Watkins Glen, N.Y on August 8, 2014. Derik Hamilton—AP

Since his car struck and killed Kevin Ward Jr. during a race in upstate New York on August 9

Three-time NASCAR champion Tony Stewart will not participate in this weekend’s Bristol Motor Speedway, Stewart-Haas Racing announced Wednesday, marking the third consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup race he has missed since his car struck and killed Kevin Ward Jr. during a race in upstate New York on August 9.

Stewart could face criminal charges for Ward’s death, who had exited his vehicle after Stewart clipped his car and sent it crashing into the wall. After exiting his car, Ward wandered onto the track and tried to flag down Stewart, but was struck by Stewart’s fast-moving vehicle as the driver lapped back around.

Jeff Burton will replace Stewart for the second straight week. Burton took the number 14 car for Saturday’s Michigan International Speedway race.

NASCAR announced new rules on Friday to protect the safety of its drivers, requiring that “at no time” should a driver or crew member approach another moving vehicle or the racing surface after an on-track incident that prohibits the car from moving forward.

TIME Auto Racing

NASCAR Changes Safety Rules After Driver’s Death

Cheez-It 355 At The Glen
Rush Truck Centers/Mobil 1 Chevrolet, driven by Regan Smith, is pushed to the grid with police escort prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Cheez-It 355 at Watkins Glen International on Aug. 10, 2014 in Watkins Glen, N.Y. Jeff Zelevansky—Getty Images

In the wake of Kevin Ward Jr's death

NASCAR announced new rules Friday to protect the safety of its drivers, a day after the funeral of Kevin Ward Jr., the NASCAR Sprint Cup driver struck and killed by Tony Stewart’s car during a race this month.

The new rules state that “at no time” should a driver or crew member approach another moving vehicle or the racing surface after an on track incident that prohibits the car from moving forward. The driver must then proceed as directed by safety officers and other cars “should slow down to a cautious speed” as already outlined by Nascar’s “Yellow Flag” rules. Nascar said it would handle potential penalties for infractions on a case by case basis.

Stewart could face criminal charges after striking Ward, who left his vehicle after it was clipped by Stewart’s car, sending his car crashing into the wall. Stewart has decided to not participate in Sunday’s Michigan International Speedway race as scheduled.

TIME NASCAR

Father of Driver Killed After Race Collision: Tony Stewart Was ‘Only One’ Who Didn’t See My Son

Cheez-It 355 At The Glen
The #14 Rush Truck Centers/Mobil 1 Chevrolet is prepared by its crew in the garage area prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Cheez-It 355 at Watkins Glen International on August 10, 2014 in Watkins Glen, New York. Jerry Markland—Getty Images

Kevin Ward, Sr., says his son slept with a smile on his face

The father of Kevin Ward, Jr., who died Saturday after bring struck by NASCAR star Tony Stewart, said Tuesday that his son “was just a very God-gifted kid.”

“I think he slept with a smile on his face,” Kevin Ward told Syracuse.com of his son, in an interview published Wednesday.

Kevin Ward, Jr. was killed after he was struck by Stewart’s car during a race on a dirt track in Canandaigua, New York, about 25 miles from Rochester. Before the incident, Ward’s car was bumped into a wall by Stewart’s vehicle, effectively knocking Ward out of the race. During a subsequent safety lap, Ward got out of his car and stood on the track, seemingly to confront Stewart about the collision — a move that’s not uncommon in local races. However, Ward was struck and dragged by Stewart’s car, and he died later that day.

An investigation into the incident is currently ongoing. Stewart, a NASCAR driver who also often competes on a local level, dropped out of a NASCAR event Sunday following Ward’s death.

“I think the reason [Ward] probably got out of that car is who put him into the wall. He was definitely put into the wall,” Ward’s father told Syracuse.com. “Apparently, Tony Stewart was the only one driving out there who didn’t see him.”

Ward Sr. said he did not see his son get hit because he was busy getting to the spot where the racer’s car had hit the wall. He did, however, watch paramedics perform CPR on his son for some 45 minutes.

“He was a special person to many, and a very special person to his family,” Ward Sr. said.

Ward Sr. and his wife have met with the Ontario County Sheriff’s deputies twice since their son’s death.

“The one person that knows what happened that night is possibly facing 10 years in prison. Is he going to say what he done?,” asked Ward Sr.

[Syracuse.com]

TIME NASCAR

Tony Stewart Hits and Kills Driver in Sprint Car Race

20-year-old Kevin Ward exited his car during a race, and Stewart struck him on the track

Updated 2:40 p.m.

NASCAR star Tony Stewart struck and killed 20-year-old race car driver Kevin Ward Jr. during a sprint car race Saturday night.

Stewart spun Ward out during the Canandaigua Motorsports Park sprint car race in upstate New York on Saturday and Ward angrily got out of his car and stepped into the track. Stewart’s vehicle struck Ward and sent him sliding down the cement, witnesses to the race told USA Today.

Ward was rushed to the hospital and pronounced dead on arrival.

Local police said that the 43-year-old Stewart was “fully cooperative,” and that the incident was not being investigated as a criminal matter. Police are gathering interviews and video evidence of the incident, and are awaiting the results of an autopsy.

Stewart released a statement through his racing team Stewart-Haas Racing, NBC reports.

“There aren’t words to describe the sadness I feel about the accident that took the life of Kevin Ward Jr.,” he said. “It’s a very emotional time for all involved, and it is the reason I’ve decided not to participate in today’s race at Watkins Glen. My thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and everyone affected by this tragedy.”

A video uploaded on YouTube purports to show the incident. (Warning: it’s disturbing.)

Early eyewitness accounts corroborate the video. When Stewart’s car struck him, Ward had exited his car and was pointing at Stewart’s car as he approached on the ensuing caution lap, witnesses said.

“Tony came around … the back end slid out, and he definitely caught him – I couldn’t tell if it was with the front or the back of the car,” said witness Adam Dulski. “The body made contact with the car and went sliding across the track. It was the worst thing I’ve ever seen.”

Stewart had intended to compete in a NASCAR race on Sunday but pulled out early in the day, the Associated Press reports.

[USA Today]

TIME Auto Racing

The Indy 500: The Greatest Spectacle in Racing

Gentlemen, start your engines.

It’s Memorial Day weekend, which means pools are opining for the summer, families are firing up their grills and drivers are starting their engines for the greatest spectacle in racing: the Indy 500.

Indy car racers have gathered at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway since 1911 to run the 500-miles-over-200-laps race with the hopes of taking the checkered flag. So sit down and pay attention, because TIME’s going to explain everything you need to know about the Indy 500 from the green flag to the victory milk swig. But don’t blink, because these cars move fast.

TIME

Pictures of the Week: April 11 – April 18

From the sinking of a South Korean passenger ferry to the first anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing, to Passover in Jerusalem and Holy Week around the world, TIME presents the best photos of the week.

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