Danica Patrick loses NASCAR job

Published: Wednesday, September 13, 2017 @ 9:56 AM

Danica Patrick - Fast Facts

Danica Patrick, the only female driver at NASCAR's top level, is likely at the end of her driving career after a sponsorship shake-up left her without a ride at Stewart-Haas Racing.

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Patrick posted a statement on her Facebook page Tuesday saying her time with Stewart-Haas "had come to an end" due to a new sponsorship arrangement for the team next season. The statement came shortly after Smithfield Foods said it will leave Richard Petty Motorsports to become a primary sponsor at Stewart-Haas next year.

The news is a blow to RPM, which is also losing driver Aric Almirola. But it also forced changes at Stewart-Haas, which has struggled with sponsorship for three of its four cars, including the No. 10 Ford driven by Patrick.

"It has been my honor to drive for Tony Stewart, Gene Haas and everyone at Stewart-Haas Racing for the past six seasons," Patrick wrote. "Sponsorship plays a vital role in our sport, and I have been very fortunate over the course of my career, but this year threw us for a curve."

Patrick, whose participation in NASCAR has always been polarizing given the attention she receives despite her lack of success, closed the post by writing: "I have the utmost faith in myself and those around me, and feel confident about my future."

Patrick has launched a clothing line, has a book coming out next year and has made a huge transition into promoting a healthy and fit lifestyle. It has her positioned for a second career at the age of 35 if she chooses. She's also in a long-term relationship with fellow driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr., who will make his debut in the playoffs this weekend.

Sponsorship dollars have been hard to come by for a number of drivers and teams. Smithfield's decision leaves Petty's team in need of a sponsor, and Almirola is looking for a ride.

But the bigger changes are clearly underway at SHR, which didn't reveal where Smithfield will be in the organization in 2018.

"Details of the agreement, including the driver who will be added to SHR's Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series lineup in 2018, will be provided at a later date," SHR said in a statement.

That means Smithfield could end up on the car Patrick has driven. Clint Bowyer and Kurt Busch both need sponsorship on their cars, too. Busch, the Daytona 500 winner, does not have a deal with SHR for next season.

Both Harvick and Busch will represent SHR in the 10-race playoffs that begin Sunday at Chicagoland Speedway.

Now that Patrick has confirmed she's out at SHR, the team could choose to downsize to three cars, or pursue Almirola, Matt Kenseth, Kasey Kahne or any other available driver. The team could be in the market to replace just Patrick, or both Patrick and Busch.

Patrick has driven for Stewart-Haas Racing her entire Cup career. She has seven top-10 finishes in 180 career starts and is currently 28th in the standings, the lowest in her Cup career.

Still, she won the pole for the 2013 Daytona 500, won an IndyCar race in 2008, is the highest finishing female driver in Indianapolis 500 history with a third-place run in 2009 and is the only woman to lead laps in both the Indy 500 and the Daytona 500. Patrick is the only woman to win a Cup pole and those top-10 finishes are the most of any female Cup driver.

"She will go down as the best female NASCAR driver of all time. Will likely take decades to see anyone even challenge her legacy," Brad Keselowski posted on Twitter. He later added in a second post: "Have come to accept that mankind never knows or appreciates what it has until its gone. NASCAR fans will miss her badly in time."

Patrick's contract with SHR ran through 2018, but the team has been searching for sponsorship since Nature's Bakery abruptly ended its three-year deal after one season.

RPM is now in a similar bind because it lost Smithfield, which has been associated with Petty the last six years. RPM this year downsized to one Cup car because of sponsorship reasons, and talks on a contract extension with Almirola stalled when Smithfield began looking at other options.

Petty ripped the company and suggested he was blindsided.

"Over the past few months, Smithfield had continually told me they wanted to be with us, and I recently shook hands on a deal to extend our relationship," Petty said. "I come from a time when we did major deals with sponsors like STP on a handshake. I'm sad to see this is where we are now. This decision is very unexpected, and we are extremely disappointed in this late and abrupt change of direction."

Smithfield CEO Kenneth M. Sullivan called Petty's claim of a handshake deal "unequivocally and patently false," and accused the team of not delivering on "tens of millions of dollars of unwavering financial support."

"Smithfield's numerous discussions with RPM over the past several months focused exclusively around one issue: RPM's inability to deliver on the track and the organization's repeated failure to present a plan to address its lack of competitiveness," Sullivan said in a statement. "It is very unfortunate and disheartening that RPM has chosen to disseminate false statements regarding our communications to NASCAR fans who we have supported wholeheartedly with more than a $100 million investment in the sport over the last several years."

Almirola was 20th in the standings when he broke his back in May. It caused him to miss seven races, and the team is currently 25th in the standings. He did make NASCAR's playoffs, in 2014, after he won at Daytona in July.

Petty, the Hall of Fame driver and seven-time NASCAR champion, is no longer the primary owner of his race team. Andrew Murstein of Medallion Financial Corp. is the majority owner of the team.

Petty said he and Murstein were committed to "moving forward" with the No. 43 team.

"Losing a sponsor of this magnitude in September is a significant set-back to Richard Petty Motorsports," Petty said. "We've been around since 1949, and we'll be around a lot longer."

Danica Patrick (10), driver of the Code 3 Associates Ford, greets fans during the pre-race ceremonies of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series - Pure Michigan 400 race on August 13, 2017 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)(Icon Sportswire/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Don’t forget safety while shopping on Black Friday, police say

Published: Thursday, November 23, 2017 @ 12:05 AM

Black Friday 2017 Deals

Holiday shopping mania can make it easy to forget some common-sense rules to keep you and your belongings safe. Police recommend these tips before hitting the stores on Black Friday:

1Remove valuables from view: After a successful shopping run, you should place and secure all holiday packages in your trunk, away from prying eyes. Thefts are crimes of opportunity, and thieves wait and watch those who park, so lock and secure all windows and doors.

2Plan your route: Park in well-lighted spots, which thieves tend to avoid. It takes only three minutes for a vehicle to be burglarized or stolen, safety experts say.

3Don’t leave vehicle idling: No matter how quick the trip into the store will take, always turn off the ignition, lock your doors, roll up the windows and take your keys.

4Report any suspicious activity: Call 911 if you see something fishy and be sure to give a good description of the suspicious subject.

5Follow all traffic rules: For instance, don’t block intersections or rights of way, and park only in marked spaces. If you create a parking space, you risk being towed.

(Photo by Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images)(Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images)
6Keep your eyes peeled: Watch for shoppers crossing streets and walking in parking lots. Look for cars backing in and out of parking spaces. Sunset Valley police want shoppers to remember that all incoming mall traffic has the right of way and should not stop — exiting traffic should always yield.

Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade 2017: What time, what channel, which balloons will be there?

Published: Wednesday, November 22, 2017 @ 11:38 PM

Police officers stand near the site where a large balloon of Olaf, from the animated film,
Police officers stand near the site where a large balloon of Olaf, from the animated film, "Frozen", is being inflated for the Thanksgiving Day parade in New York, Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2017. Sand-filled sanitation trucks and police sharpshooters will mix with glittering floats and giant balloons at a Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade that comes in a year of terrible mass shootings and a deadly truck attack in lower Manhattan.(AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade has signaled the start of the holiday season for nearly 100 years. It draws 3 million people in person in New York City, and more than 50 million on television. 

There are stars who sing and dance, marching bands and balloons. Big balloons.

This year’s version of the parade is set to go off Thursday in New York City with a cast of more than 8,000.

Here’s what you need to know about this year’s parade.

What time does it start?

9 a.m. ET. It is scheduled to last until noon.

What channel is it on?

The parade is broadcast on NBC.

How long is the parade route?

2.5 miles

What is the parade route?

The parade begins at 77th Street and Central Park West in Manhattan. It moves south on Central Park West, and at Columbus Circle, it turns east onto Central Park South. When the parade reaches 6th Avenue, it turns south on to 34th Street. At 34th Street it turns west to Macy's Herald Square and ends at 34th Street and Seventh Avenue.

When was the first Macy's Thanksgiving day parade?

The first parade was held on Christmas in 1924.

Which balloons will we see this year?

Angry Birds’ Red

Ice Age’s Scrat and his Acorn

Red Mighty Morphin Power Ranger

Sinclair’s Dino

Hello Kitty

Pillsbury the Doughboy

Ronald McDonald

Trolls

SpongeBob SquarePants

Pikachu

The Elf on the Shelf

Charlie Brown

Diary of a Wimpy Kid

Super Wings’ Jett

Paw Patrol’s Chase

The Grinch

Frozen’s Olaf

Novelty Balloons

Charlie, Kit & C.J. Holiday Elves

Harold the Policeman

Yellow Star

Pumpkins

Harold the Baseball Player

Rex the Happy Dragon

Cloe the Clown

Christmas String of Lights

Candy Cane

Blue Ornament

Red and Gold Macy’s Star

What about the floats?

There will be 31 floats in the parade.

Who is performing?

Gwen Stefani

98 Degrees

Sara Evans

Andra Day

Cam

Common

Dustin Lynch

Wyclef Jean

Goo Goo Dolls

Smokey Robinson

Kat Graham

The Radio City Rockettes

Olivia Holt

JoJo Siwa

Andy Grammer

Miss America Cara Mund

Leslie Odom Jr.

Padma Lakshmi

Tom Colicchio

Angelica Hale

Bebe Rexha

Lauren Alaina

Nicky Jam

Sabrina Carpenter

Patti LaBelle

Marching Bands

There are 12 marching bands in the parade. They are:

Nation Ford High School Band

West Harrison High School

NYPD Marching Band

U.S. Air Force

Colony High School Band

Ohio University Marching Band

Rockford High School Marching Band

Macy’s Great American Marching Band

Prairie View A&M Marching Storm

Rosemount High School Marching Band

Davis High School Marching Band

Trumbull High School

Parade History

According to the New York Tourist Commission, the inaugural Macy's Day Parade took place on Christmas 1924 and had an audience of 250,000 people. There were no giant balloons until 1927 when Felix the Cat showed up. The parade was first broadcast on radio in 1932.

The Balloons

The balloons are filled with 12,000 cubic feet of helium. They are inflated the day before Thanksgiving at the American Museum of National History from 3 p.m. -10 p.m.

Some numbers

  • On average, 300 bands a year apply for the 12 slots in the parade
  • Those handling the balloons, 30 to 100 of them for each balloon, are volunteers.
  • It  takes 15 minutes to deflate the balloon.

 

 

Mama June proves she kept her weight loss promise 7 months later

Published: Wednesday, November 22, 2017 @ 11:38 PM

[June  April 5, 2017] AJ Calloway interviews Honey Boo Boo and Mama  in New York City.  (Photo by D Dipasupil/Getty Images for Extra)
D Dipasupil/Getty Images for Extra
[June April 5, 2017] AJ Calloway interviews Honey Boo Boo and Mama in New York City. (Photo by D Dipasupil/Getty Images for Extra)(D Dipasupil/Getty Images for Extra)

Seven months after losing 300 pounds on “Mama June: From Not to Hot,” Mama June Shannon is here to prove she’s still keeping the weight off!

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The 38-year-old reality star was spotted out and about in Atlanta this week while Christmas shopping and was happy to show off her slim figure. Dressed in athletic wear leggings and a long-sleeved gray shirt, she was all smiles while proving she’s kept her weight loss promise.

“I can promise you I’m never going back to that size. I’m happy where I’m at,” Shannon told PEOPLE back in April after she underwent weight loss surgery and drastically changed her diet and exercise routine, going from 460 pounds to a size 4.

At the very beginning of her weight loss journey, she wanted to drop the pounds to make her ex Mike “Sugar Bear” Thompson jealous at his then-upcoming wedding to his new love. However, over time it became much more than that.

“My goal when I first started this weight loss journey was to make Sugar Bear kind of jealous,” she said. “But it’s no longer about revenge. Doing all the surgeries really took a toll on me -- not just physically, but emotionally. I feel like [I’m] becoming the person on the outside that I always felt like [I was] on the inside.”

When she made her big debut after shedding the weight, her daughter and “Toddlers & Tiaras” star Alana “Honey Boo Boo” Thompson, said, “She looks great. I’m really proud of her.”

While Shannon continues to drop jaws whenever she updates fans on how she’s been keeping up her weight loss, she barely turns heads back at home.

“It’s kind of crazy. A lot of people don’t recognize who I am until I talk,” she said. “It’s kind of like I’m in my own disguise. Normally when I walk through the streets, everybody notices me, and now it’s like nobody [does].”

However, she may not slip under the radar for much longer, because she’s headed back to your television screens in January for “Mama June: From Not to Hot” Season 2:

#Repost @wetv (@get_repost) ・・・ #MamaJune is doing what?!? Season 2 of #FromNotToHot premieres this January!

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Joe Barton apologizes for graphic photo circulating online

Published: Wednesday, November 22, 2017 @ 11:04 PM

Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) questions witnesses during a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing.  (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) questions witnesses during a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)(Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

U.S. Rep. Joe Barton, R-Ennis, issued an apology Wednesday after a sexually explicit photo of him made the rounds on social media.

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Barton reportedly sent the photo to a woman he was involved with after he and his now ex-wife had separated.

“While separated from my second wife, prior to the divorce, I had sexual relationships with other mature adult women,” he said, according to The Texas Tribune. “Each was consensual. Those relationships have ended. I am sorry I did not use better judgment during those days. I am sorry that I let my constituents down.”

Barton, who recently announced he would run for re-election in 2018, said through a spokeswoman that he has no plans of resigning.