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By Elise Armacost | September 28, 1997
I WENT to the big NASCAR race at Delaware's Dover Downs International Speedway last Sunday, an experience comparable to Wild Bill Hagy enjoying an afternoon of chamber music.Here is all you need to know about my knowledge of motor sports: I had to ask somebody how you tell which driver is in the lead.But then, I didn't go for fun. I went to the Winston Cup Series MBNA 400 to learn what a motor speedway might mean for Baltimore County, where a group of people who call themselves the Middle River Racing Association want to open a privately funded, 54,800-seat track in Middle River by 1999, then expand it to to 87,000 seats in 2002 and 109,600 seats in 2004.
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By Don Markus and The Baltimore Sun | September 1, 2013
Brad Banker grew up a sports fan outside Green Bay, Wis., but auto racing was not high on his list of passions. His father was a longtime employee of the Packers and Banker, who somehow became a fan of the rival Minnesota Vikings, wound up playing football and lacrosse at Moorhead State in Minnesota. Banker taught for a year after getting his master's, but went into commercial real estate to make a little more money. But it wasn't until Banker got his commercial trucking license and found a job working for Andretti Racing that he finally found his dream job. Starting off driving the team's haulers from stop to stop, Banker eventually got a part-time gig changing tires on pit road and wound up overseeing the team's logistical issues for everything from corporate tents to Port-o-Johns.
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SPORTS
By Sandra McKee | May 6, 2004
Busch Series driver Donnie Neuenberger of Brandywine is taking an indefinite medical leave of absence as the driver of the Moy Racing No. 77 car. Neuenberger has been diagnosed with follicular non-Hodgkins lymphoma. He will begin treatment immediately. Three-time Hagerstown Speedway champion Roy Deese of Jessup leads a tight points race in the late-model division, with Gary Stuhler of Greencastle, Pa., only one point behind going into Saturday's race. Ronnie Dennis, also from Jessup, has a one-point lead in the pure stocks division.
SPORTS
By Don Markus, The Baltimore Sun | July 12, 2013
If not for a yellow flag with 2 1/2 laps left in this year's Indianapolis 500, Carlos Munoz might have become the youngest champion in one of auto racing's iconic events. Still, what the 21-year-old Colombian accomplished at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway over Memorial Day weekend served notice that his second season on the Indy Lights circuit will likely be his last. Munoz, who was in third place behind Ryan Hunter-Reay and Tony Kanaan when the late yellow flag was dropped, seemed disappointed at the time to finish second behind Kanaan, who won his first Indy 500 in his 12th attempt.
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By Sandra McKee and Sandra McKee,SUN STAFF | September 5, 1999
Dale Earnhardt certainly caused a stir last week when he bumped Terry Labonte out of the way at Bristol. When he got to victory lane, the fans booed him so loudly, he probably had a momentary identity crisis.Was he Dale Earnhardt, seven-time champion who has long demonstrated his penchant for roughhouse racing? Or was he the man nearly everyone loves to boo, three-time champ Jeff Gordon?Going into today's usually raucous Southern 500 in Darlington, S.C., there is still a lot of talk about Earnhardt's last move at Bristol, and nearly everyone has an opinion.
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By Sandra McKee and Sandra McKee,SUN STAFF | November 28, 1999
This is the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. For readers seeking gifts for auto racing fans, here are a few ideas:"French Kiss": Butler's Michael Keyser talks with such excitement in his eyes and energy in his voice about his recently released book "A French Kiss with Death -- Steve McQueen and The Making of `Le Mans,' " the impression is it's an homage to the late screen star.But "French Kiss," which Keyser wrote with Jonathan Williams' help, is no loving smooch."I knew he had a lot of warts on him," said Keyser, who has no qualms about showing those imperfections.
SPORTS
September 21, 1995
The biggest names in Indy racing may skip the biggest race in the world next year.IndyCar owners are threatening a boycott of the Indianapolis 500 unless Speedway president Tony George rescinds a new qualifying plan that would affect teams and drivers not aligned with his new Indy Racing League."
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By Sandra McKee and Sandra McKee,SUN STAFF | October 7, 2001
Winston Cup points leader Jeff Gordon was in a good mood as he talked last week from his home in Florida. With eight races to go, counting today's UAW-GM Quality 500 in Charlotte, N.C., Gordon realizes he needs a good finish today, but he also is starting to think about wrapping up the title. "To me, if we have to wrap it up in 10-degree weather, in six feet of snow at New Hampshire, that's fine with me," he said. "No matter when, where or how, I'll be happy. But it does take a toll on your nerves when it comes down to the final race."
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By Sandra McKee and Sandra McKee,SUN STAFF | September 2, 2001
Long before May 12, 2000, when Adam Petty became the first of four NASCAR drivers to die in racing accidents in nine months, Lowe's Motor Speedway president H. A. "Humpy" Wheeler was on record as saying, "There is no excuse for anyone dying in a racing accident." So it should come as no surprise that last week Wheeler was the driving force behind a "soft" bumper test at his speedway. Over the years, Wheeler has been behind a lot of safety testing involving soft-wall technology. Now he is testing and recommending a new carbon-fiber bumper designed to lessen a high-speed crash's impact on a driver.
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By Sandra McKee and Sandra McKee,SUN STAFF | July 22, 2001
Several weeks ago, some readers took issue with the idea expressed here that the CART open-wheel series is in trouble. But during a conference call last week, none other than Michael Andretti, CART's winningest and most veteran driver, admitted the ground is shaky. "I think what has kept CART alive since the CART and IRL split has been the international influence," Andretti said, referring to the series' success in Australia, Canada, Japan and, until this year's forced cancellation, Brazil, since the open-wheel drivers broke into rival groups in 1996.
EXPLORE
By Kevin Leonard | November 27, 2012
Long before there was a Patuxent Greens Golf Course or Stewart Towers high rise building, a mammoth oval race track occupied that area of land off Route 197, near Route 198. Horse racing at Laurel Park racetrack had been ongoing since 1911, but in 1924 an idea was pitched to the public to construct the Baltimore-Washington Speedway, a new wooden track for auto racing. Promoters issued a slick brochure for potential investors, extolling the benefits of the enterprise and describing the proposed track and how investing in it worked.
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By Sandra McKee, The Baltimore Sun | August 25, 2012
Many years ago, longtime NASCAR crew chief Harry Hyde said a stock car is "like an egg. You have to handle it gently or it will break. " Though at its heart it was true, it was a shocking statement. Who compares a stock car — a big, brute of a car — to such a thin-shelled egg? That philosophy may have found its match during a Grand Prix of Baltimore interview with Helio Castroneves when he compared driving an Indy car to dancing. "There are no secrets," Castroneves said, when asked how competitors on Dancing with the Stars are able to perform intricate moves so quickly.
NEWS
By Candus Thomson, The Baltimore Sun | May 30, 2012
A benefit motorcycle ride and a NASCAR race in Dover, Del., are expected to create heavy traffic this weekend at the Bay Bridge, the Maryland Transportation Authority said Wednesday. About 600 motorcyclists will cross the span at about 10 a.m. Saturday as part of the Ride Across Maryland event to benefit Komen for the Cure. Officials will direct participants to the far-right side of the toll plaza before allowing them to cross. In addition, eastbound traffic is expected to increase throughout the weekend as fans travel to and from the Sprint Cup race.
NEWS
November 5, 2011
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake famously promised that the Baltimore Grand Prix would be a "game-changer" for the city. But after nearly $7 million of infrastructure funds have been squandered for what merchants outside the Inner Harbor say was little or no benefit, race organizers are failing to pay their bills from backers and local vendors. The Maryland Stadium Authority, which represents taxpayers' half-million dollar investment in the event, says it is "preparing for the worst" ("Grand Prix's financial troubles," Nov. 3)
SPORTS
By Susan Reimer, The Baltimore Sun | September 4, 2011
Turn 1, a sharp right from Pratt Street onto Light Street, was the scene of numerous wipe-outs during practice runs, and as the inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix got started yesterday it was a scene that Chris Clifford captured with his cellphone, which he held aloft to relay the thundering noise to a friend who had the misfortune of being elsewhere. "Hear anything?" Clifford shouted over the roars and squeals of the racecars a few feet away. Then Clifford, from Salisbury, summed up the crowd's collective enthusiasm this way: "To have a grand prix so close to us is terrific," he said.
NEWS
By Frederick N. Rasmussen, The Baltimore Sun | August 14, 2010
It's one of the more crackpot civic katzenjammers in recent years: How come the so-called cash-strapped city can find the $5.5 million needed to prepare streets for the Grand Prix next August, while officials resort to tambourine rattling to keep public swimming pools from closing? The three-day Grand Prix event to be held on a 2.4-mile course around the Inner Harbor and Camden Yards promises, the mayor and other officials say, to bring more than 100,000 people to the city and keep cash registers ringing.
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By Sandra McKee and Sandra McKee,SUN STAFF | June 27, 2001
Washington will be the site of at least one major-league auto race in 2002 or 2003, according to Bobby Goldwater, president and executive director of the D.C. Sports and Entertainment Commission. "The commission is talking to two different organizations that want to sanction a race here," Goldwater said. "The American Le Mans Series and CART [Championship Auto Racing Teams] are each proposing a race. They are two different concepts, two different everythings - except they agree this would be a great place."
SPORTS
By SANDRA MCKEE | May 12, 2002
They've installed "soft walls" at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and by the time the Indianapolis 500 is finished May 26, they will have been well-tested. Tracks -- including New Hampshire International Speedway, where NASCAR drivers Adam Petty and Kenny Irwin were killed -- already have announced they will install the safety structures. Others, no doubt, will follow suit after determining how those walls will work at their facilities. All of it is being done in the pursuit of safety.
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By Conor O'Neill, The Baltimore Sun | August 13, 2010
Being the engineer for an F2000 Championship Series driver is no glorified position. But that doesn't matter to Eric Langbein of Annapolis. "I really love what I do," Langbein, 35, said. "There's too much time involved for anybody who doesn't love it to keep doing it. " Langbein engineers racecars for driver Tim Minor, who is in fifth place in the F2000 Series. The circuit is primarily a proving ground for up-and-coming IndyCar drivers. Minor, 50, is part of the "Masters Class" in F2000 racing, meaning that he is among a competitive class of older drivers in the series.
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