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Davis named managing director and chief security officer
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- NASCAR and International Speedway Corporation have named veteran FBI executive and risk management expert Christopher Davis as Managing Director and Chief Security Officer.
Leavine Family Racing secures Sprint Cup Series charter
MORE: Buy tickets for Homestead-Miami Championship Weekend NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team owner Tommy Baldwin said Thursday that this weekend's event at Homestead-Miami Speedway will be the last as a full-time organization for his single-car outfit. The former crew chief said in a post on Facebook that "we felt it's time for a new chapter in our lives and we have sold our charter to a great group of people who will continue to guide our vision." According to a release from Leaving Family Racing, which currently runs under the Circle Sport Leavine Family Racing name, LFR has purchased the charter from Tommy Baldwin Racing . No purchase price was announced. Baldwin's team currently fields the No. 7 Chevrolet with driver Regan Smith . The team was formed following the departure of Bill Davis Racing, for whom Baldwin served as crew chief, in 2009. It has just two top-five finishes in nearly 400 starts, the most recent coming at Pocono this year when Smith finished third. "For the past eight years we've shown up at every race, worked hard to compete at the top level and bring value to our sponsors," Baldwin wrote. "I feel confident that we are moving on having accomplished that. There have been many teams like ours that have come and gone. I'm proud that we have been able to sustain ourselves from the very beginning. … "If you're reading this, you already know that NASCAR is the greatest sport in the world. I have been blessed to have a career in motorsports because of how NASCAR has grown over the years." Baldwin went on to say that he isn't sure what the future holds; fielding a part-time team wasn't mentioned but neither was closing the team entirely. Securing the charter means that the LFR team, which currently fields the No. 95 Chevrolet for driver Michael McDowell , will be guaranteed a starting spot in each race next season. " Leavine Family Racing is committed to continued growth on and off the race track," owner Bob Leavine said. "The charter is a meaningful step forward for our team and provides us further stability as we look towards success in 2017 and beyond. We are confident that the purchase of the charter and continued improvement on the track will lead to increased revenue opportunities."
Dale Jr. takes NFL's Thomas Davis on a wild ride at Charlotte
Carolina Panthers linebacker named honorary pace car driver for Coke 600 CONCORD, N.C. -- Making friends with a member of the NFL's Carolina Panthers on Tuesday wasn't all that easy for Dale Earnhardt Jr ., a diehard fan of the Washington Redskins. The driver's outward allegiance to a rival team wasn't lost on Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis , who rode along with Earnhardt at rapid speed at Charlotte Motor Speedway , shortly after gaining his certification to be the honorary pace car driver for Sunday's Coca-Cola 600 (6 p.m. ET, FOX, PRN, SiriusXM). "It's OK. I mean, we take care of the Redskins, like I said earlier," Davis said, fully aware of his team's three straight victories against Washington. "I'm pretty sure he knows." Davis' crossover into the world of NASCAR was a seamless one, as the 10th-year pro was unfazed as a passenger for Earnhardt's five-lap thrill ride. Part of Davis' nonchalance perhaps stemmed from the similar intensity of his day job, delivering hard hits as part of the Panthers defense. "I ran that thing as hard as it'd go," said Earnhardt, who estimated he approached speeds of nearly 175-180 mph in a Richard Petty Driving Experience machine with his No. 88 colors. "I was watching him over there. He wasn't impressed. He was filming the whole thing with his phone, like he was riding down the interstate." The connection between Earnhardt and Davis reaches further than their common ground as participants in adrenaline-fueled sports. Davis' humanitarian efforts earned him recognition as the 2014 recipient of the NFL's Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, an accolade sponsored by Nationwide -- an Earnhardt sponsor. Those bonds, as well as their mutual affiliation with the Charlotte community, have helped Earnhardt separate his fandom from his personal interactions with Panthers players. "Actually, it's gotten easier," Earnhardt said. "I've got a lot of friends -- real, real close friends -- that are Panthers fans and they make it real hard to pull for the Panthers the way they act and cheer for their team is just … I don't know. Some of my close buddies, they just don't have any class when it comes to the Panthers, especially when they beat the Redskins. I have to hear about it years and years later, and they beat 'em two years ago and I still hear about that. "But I got to get to know (Panthers tight end Greg) Olsen really good, working together with him on some stuff for our charities and he restored my faith in the football team. I really appreciate what they do for the Charlotte community and the area. Obviously, being a business owner in downtown Charlotte with Whisky River, they have a huge influence on our business and our company and the decisions we make, and they're something that we're very proud of. I'll always pull for the Redskins, number one, but I'm definitely warming up to the Panthers after meeting some of the players. They've got some genuine, quality people on their team, and Thomas is one of them." The two athletes exchanged helmets as gifts before their ride-along, but Earnhardt said he hadn't given much thought to making a sports crossover of his own. The 40-year-old driver said he's attended Redskins training camps in the past, but seemed content to limit his football participation to made-for-TV backyard games in Wrangler commercials. "I'm really nervous and shy, so I don't know if I'd want to put myself out there like that," Earnhardt said, noting that he was always too small to suit up in high school. "But just because I'm a fan of a particular sport doesn't mean I think I'm very talented in it at participating. I enjoy the occasional softball game with my buddies or basketball in the gym with my friends. And I love going to the training camp to see the 'Skins and just get an idea of how the team feels and how their morale is and their energy on the field is when they're training, but I don't need to be out there trying to play." Davis' own training exercise Tuesday was slightly less rigorous, but he still earned a thumbs-up from NASCAR official Wayne Auton to lead the 43-car field to the green flag in Sunday's 600-miler, stock-car racing's longest event. In some ways, Davis said, his pace-car duties are nothing new, drawing yet another parallel to Earnhardt's day job. "I'm always ready to perform on Sunday," Davis said. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
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