Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte visits Daytona
Think three-time Olympic gold medalist Ryan Lochte moves fast in
the pool? Watch him on the highway.
Lochte, who served as grand marshal for the first of two
150-mile qualifying races for the Daytona 500, said Thursday he has
reached 175 mph in one of his cars.
”I drive it pretty fast,” Lochte said. ”Just on the highway.
I made sure no one was around.”
Lochte won’t have the same luxury during a busy weekend, which
includes touring Daytona International Speedway, a swimming event
in nearby Orlando and a trip to the NBA All-Star game.
As for the London Games? Well, Lochte said he hopes to supplant
Michael Phelps as the top swimmer in the pool. Phelps won eight
gold medals in Beijing in 2008.
”That’s the plan,” Phelps said. ”I have (beaten Phelps) in
the past couple of years. My training’s been a lot better than the
years before, so I definitely know I’m ready for this summer. It
won’t be easy, but I know I’m capable of doing that.
”A lot of people (ask) if I’m going for eight (gold medals),
but honestly I could go for one or I could go for 20, I just love
racing. That’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to do out there and
swim as many events as possible and we’ll just hope for the
Lochte grew up in Daytona Beach and attended the University of
Florida in Gainesville.
”I’ve been coming to NASCAR races pretty much my whole life and
it’s fun,” he said. ”I love just going fast.”
BUSCH APOLOGY: NASCAR driver Kurt Busch publicly apologized
Thursday to the ESPN reporter he berated during last season’s
finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Busch began an on-camera interview with ESPN’s Jerry Punch by
hugging him and saying he was ”so sorry with the way last year
”I feel horrible,” Busch added.
A fan videotaped Busch verbally abusing Punch as he waited to be
interviewed. Busch also was caught on his in-car camera making an
obscene gesture as he drove into the garage at Homestead. NASCAR
later fined Busch $50,000.
Busch and Penske Racing parted ways a few weeks later in what
both called a mutual agreement, but many believe he was fired in
the fallout of yet another embarrassing incident for the race
Busch, who has been working with a sports psychologist, is now
driving the No. 51 car for Phoenix Racing and owner James
FRANCE TRIBUTE: Daytona International Speedway has a new statue,
this one to honor late NASCAR head Bill France Jr.
France helped build NASCAR and International Speedway Corp. into
the national racing series that it is today, and the famed track
recognized his achievements with a sculpture just outside the
The statue of the 6-foot-5 France is more than 10 feet tall. It
was created by sculptor John Lajbe and was unveiled Wednesday,
placed near the track’s two other statues – one of seven-time
NASCAR champion Dale Earnhardt and another of NASCAR founder Bill
France Sr. and his wife, Anne.
France Jr. died in 2007 from lung cancer.
On hand for the unveiling were France’s widow, Betty Jane
France; his son, current NASCAR CEO Brian France; his daughter, ISC
President Lesa France Kennedy; and his brother, ISC CEO Jim
STEWART’S SECOND THOUGHT: Defending NASCAR champion Tony Stewart
has had several days to think about Saturday night’s frantic finish
in the exhibition Budweiser Shootout, and there are some things he
would have done differently.
Kyle Busch pushed Stewart for much of the final lap, then pulled
to the outside and edged Stewart at the finish line. It was the
tightest finish in the history of the event.
And Stewart has replayed the ending since.
”I’ve got a couple of ideas and none of them would be trying to
block him,” Stewart said. ”That would have been the last idea I
would have had. If you try to block that guy, you’re just going to
get wrecked and you’re probably going to wreck both cars. … I’ve
got a couple of ideas in my mind, but I don’t want to share them
with everybody to be honest. I might need them for Sunday.”
Stewart acknowledged that he should have driven closer to the
apron, reducing the amount of side draft Busch got during the
PACKER BACKER: As a Wisconsin native and avid Green Bay Packers
fan, Matt Kenseth was happy to hear that standout tight end
Jermichael Finley has agreed to a new two-year contract with the
team. Finley confirmed the deal on his Twitter account Wednesday
”I think he’s probably one of the best tight ends in the
league,” Kenseth said.
Now, about those passes Finley dropped last season.
”After watching all those drops at the end of the year, I
thought maybe they should have paid him per catch and then subtract
per drop or something like that,” Kenseth said. ”I thought that
would have been cool.”
Kenseth is known for his dry sense of humor, but insisted his
pay-per-catch idea was somewhat serious.
”Racing’s changed a little bit through the years,” Kenseth
said. ”A lot of it’s incentive-based. The better you finish, the
more you get paid. The worse you finish, the less you get paid. But
I do think he’s really good.”