Concerns rising over safety in auto racing

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Concerns rising over safety in auto racing

From Comcast SportsNet
MILTON KEYNES, England (AP) -- Formula One champion Sebastian Vettel wants motor racing safety improvements following the death of IndyCar driver Dan Wheldon, although drivers accept the dangers involved. The Red Bull driver called Wheldon's death a "big loss" but said risks can not be avoided. "The bottom line is what we do might not be the safest so there is always some risk but we are ready to take that into account because we love racing and we love motor sports and it is dangerous," Vettel said Wednesday. The 33-year-old Wheldon, a two-time Indianapolis 500 winner, died Sunday in a fiery wreck at an IndyCar race in Las Vegas. The last F1 driver killed on the track was Ayrton Senna in 1994. Despite some claims that F1 has become "too safe," Vettel stressed that Wheldon's death shows racing should never stop trying to improve safety. "The last couple of years we've had some big crashes and luckily no big injuries or worse than that," the 24-year-old German driver said. "We should never give up on trying to make racing safer in general." Vettel was back at the Red Bull team factory on Wednesday to celebrate becoming the youngest two-time F1 champion. He insisted motivation would not be lacking over the season's final three races as he is three wins away from matching Michael Schumacher's record of 13 victories in a season and two pole positions away from equaling Nigel Mansell's record 14. "It's been an extremely successful year, especially when you start to realize what we have achieved so far and the season is not over yet. Winning the championship with four races to go is something that doesn't happen every day," Vettel said. "(But) if you expect to stay unbeatable then that is the first day you will be beaten." Vettel and his Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said the priority now was to ensure teammate Mark Webber finished the season with a race win and second-place in the drivers' standings with the team having already clinched the constructors' championship. Fourth-place Webber trails current runner-up Jenson Button by only 13 points. Vettel said improved maturity made his second title easier than his first -- when he won the last race to edge Fernando Alonso of Ferrari -- and even made mention of a long-term goal of Schumacher's seven career championships. But he quickly backed off from lofty ambitions, too. "I don't really set myself a target for wins, records," Vettel said. "I'm not racing for stats." Vettel clinched the title in Japan and then won the subsequent Korean GP on Sunday, only returning home after that, and to a cold house. "It was quite cold so I put the fire on. I have a problem with the heating," Vettel said of the first thing he did after getting home as two-time world champion.

Fast Break Morning Update: Blackhawks win, Jimmy Butler starts All-Star Game

Fast Break Morning Update: Blackhawks win, Jimmy Butler starts All-Star Game

Here are some of Sunday's top stories in Chicago sports:

Jimmy Butler: 'Hopefully I’m not going to get traded'

Patrick Kane leads Blackhawks to win in Buffalo homecoming

What Joe Maddon wants to see next from Javier Baez

Jose Abreu ready for 2017 after season full of 'different challenges'

Wojnarowski: Bulls-Celtics Jimmy Butler trade talks 'will loom over the entire week'

After surreal offseason, Ben Zobrist comes to Cubs camp in style as World Series MVP

White Sox rookie Charlie Tilson out at least 10 days with foot injury

Fire score five goals for fourth preseason win

Simeon beats rival Morgan Park for city championship

Former Northwestern football player Torri Stuckey now focuses on helping others

Jimmy Butler: 'Hopefully I’m not going to get traded'

Jimmy Butler: 'Hopefully I’m not going to get traded'

NEW ORLEANS — Every All-Star isn’t created equal, even by the slimmest of margins as the best 24 NBA players take their turn on the midseason stage.

So Jimmy Butler being announced among the first five as an All-Star starter had to represent some form of validation, now that he’s not a novice at the whole experience and he’s able to go through the motions of the hectic weekend without breaking much of a sweat.

But despite being a three-time All-Star and routinely mentioned as one of the game’s top 15 players or even top 10, he can’t shake the trade rumors that have seemed to follow him since this time last season.

As he finished up his All-Star experience at Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, clarity was nowhere to be found—although heading to some tropical island for a couple days to actually unwind with clear water and warm air seemed to be the best therapy if he’s stressed by the uncertainty of the next few days.

“What’s Thursday? Oh, trade deadline,” Butler said. “I don’t know. I don’t know. Am I anxious? Come on, man. I don’t worry about it. It don’t bother or scare me none.”

“Hopefully I’m not going to get traded but I don’t know. I don’t control that. Control what I can control, like going on vacation.”

Surely it has to be frustrating for a guy who’s elevated his game yet again, averaging 24.5 points, 6.3 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 1.8 steals for the Bulls in 51 games. But he refuses to let it damper his All-Star spirits, playing with some of the best players in the world and a few guys he calls friends, like DeAndre Jordan and Kevin Durant.

“Not for me,” said Butler of the potential stress. “Not saying I’m untradeable but I don’t think about that. If I’m not in a Bulls uniform, I’ll give you a hug and say goodbye to you.”

Moments after Butler made his statement in the media room, the floodgates opened for the trade market as fellow Olympian DeMarcus Cousins was traded from the Sacramento Kings to the New Orleans Pelicans for what seemed to be mere fodder, pennies on the dollar for the most talented center in the NBA.

[SHOP: Get your Bulls gear right here]

While Cousins is far more of a handful than Butler could be, the trade almost signals a consistent truth that always bears repeating—that short of a select few, anybody can be traded.

Even a franchise altering talent like Cousins, who was traded to the city he was physically in for All-Star weekend, and included in the package of players was a guy who hit him in the groin last week (Buddy Hield), resulting in a Cousins outburst and ejection.

Butler has made his name with the Bulls, although not necessarily on the All-Star stage, a player who values defense and doesn’t have as much flash as some of the game’s shinier players.

With a six-point outing in 20 minutes, Butler was an on-court afterthought despite being a starter for the first time.

“Six? Should’ve gone for eight,” he sarcastically deadpanned.

In a relatively jovial mood through the weekend, Butler joked about the talk surrounding him and tried to brush it off as mere chatter as opposed to the franchise not seeing enough in him to make a firm commitment for the long-term, as the Boston Celtics are always hovering.

League sources expect the Celtics to engage the Bulls in conversations for the next few days, but nobody has a great feel for what either side is truly looking for.

But as Butler insisted, he’s only controlling what he can control, which is making himself a fixture for All-Star games to come as opposed to some of the first-timers who don’t know if they’ll get back here again.

“I think I got two underneath my belt,” Butler said. “I know what they’re feeling the first time, It’s so surreal like maybe I do belong here. That’s how I was thinking. Now it’s how do I get here every year? I think that’s the fun part, that’s the challenge. A lot of those guys have done it 10-plus years, hopefully I’m one.”

The only question seems to be, which uniform will it be in because the crazy season has begun.