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Last Build Date: Thu, 08 Dec 2016 08:33:19 PST

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NASCAR star Earnhardt cleared to race again after concussion (The Associated Press)

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 08:33:19 PST

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NASCAR star Dale Earnhardt Jr., who missed the final 18 races of last season because of a concussion, has been medically cleared to return next year. Hendrick Motorsports announced Thursday that Earnhardt will take part in the season-opening Daytona 500 on Feb. 26. Dr. Micky Collins, medical director of the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program in Pittsburgh, in consultation with Charlotte neurosurgeon Dr. Jerry Petty, cleared the 42-year-old driver Wednesday following a test session at Darlington Raceway in South Carolina.



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Dale Earnhardt Jr. reflects on long concussion recovery (The Associated Press)

Sat, 03 Dec 2016 07:46:26 PST

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The longer Dale Earnhardt Jr. couldn't drive because of the debilitating effects of a concussion, the more uptight he became. ''When I did that I became a better version of myself,'' Earnhardt said. Earnhardt spoke to reporters Friday night after accepting the award as NASCAR's most popular driver for a record 14th straight year.



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Johnson, Stewart, Earnhardt honored as NASCAR closes 2016 (The Associated Press)

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 21:21:27 PST

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Jimmie Johnson called winning a record-tying seventh NASCAR Sprint Cup title ''insane'' Friday night, while Tony Stewart was sent off into retirement and Dale Earnhardt Jr. told his adoring fans at the season-ending banquet that he'll be ready to race in 2017. Johnson's dramatic victory in the finale last month at Homestead moved him into a tie with Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt for the most series championships. Johnson was introduced by 23-time Olympic gold medalist swimmer Michael Phelps at the Wynn Las Vegas.



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NASCAR hopes sponsor Monster attracts needed younger fans (The Associated Press)

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 12:14:43 PST

NASCAR's top circuit has been called the Winston Cup, Nextel Cup and Sprint Cup. Starting in 2017, the sport could have a Cup-less name, one of many changes expected as Monster Energy takes over as title sponsor with a desire to attract younger fans to a sagging sport. ''Young people set trends in fashion and then older people adapt,'' said Mark Hall, Monster's chief marketing officer.



Happy, healthy Stewart leaving NASCAR so he can race more (The Associated Press)

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 09:24:21 PST

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Tony Stewart sat in a casino ballroom wearing a coat and tie he no doubt wanted to rip off and brushed off a question about whether he was happy his NASCAR career was over. ''It's not over yet,'' Stewart said. Stewart's signature biting and cutting remarks arrived on cue this week at NASCAR's awards event that culminated with Friday night's season-ending banquet.



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Caffeine rush: Monster Energy to sponsor NASCAR's top series (The Associated Press)

Thu, 01 Dec 2016 21:02:14 PST

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NASCAR announced an agreement with Monster Energy on Thursday that makes the energy drink maker the title sponsor of its top series in 2017, ending a lengthy process of finding a replacement for Sprint. NASCAR Chairman Brian France declined to provide financial details or the length of the deal, saying it was a ''complicated agreement'' that includes option years. It was believed to be for less money than Sprint's multimillion-dollar sponsorship.



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Delayed goosebumps for Johnson's crew chief Chad Knaus (The Associated Press)

Thu, 01 Dec 2016 16:33:01 PST

Chad Knaus had been a champion for six days, but the NASCAR title was so improbable, so unlikely, it still hadn't sunk in for Jimmie Johnson's crew chief. Knaus received the Champion Crew Chief Award on Thursday, a day before Johnson will be honored for capturing their seventh NASCAR Sprint Cup title together. Also on Thursday, the National Motorsports Press Association awarded its prestigious Myers Brothers Award to the late philanthropist Betty Jane France for her NASCAR contributions.