NASCAR owner involved in plane crash

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NASCAR owner involved in plane crash

From Comcast SportsNet
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- NASCAR team owner Rick Hendrick returned home Tuesday, a day after he broke a rib and shoulder when his plane ran off the runway in Key West, Fla. Hendrick Motorsports said the brakes failed when the Gulfstream G150 landed at Key West International Airport on Monday night. The plane is co-owned by Jimmie Johnson and normally shuttles the five-time defending NASCAR champion and his family to and from races. "As everybody is aware, there was a brake issue with the airplane landing," Johnson said. "All four on board are OK and are home back in Charlotte. We are just beyond thankful that everything turned out well with the crash and there weren't any major injuries down there. It certainly was a scary event -- I can only imagine." Hendrick, his wife, Linda, and the two pilots were all released from Lower Keys Medical Center on Tuesday morning and returned to Charlotte. Linda Hendrick sustained minor cuts and bruises. The two pilots were not injured. The plane apparently skidded off the 4,800-foot runway and came to a stop along a 600-foot unpaved safety area that had been added in May. "If we hadn't done that, it likely would have been a different story," county airport director Peter Horton said of the safety area that is meant as a runway overrun space. The FAA incident report listed the damage to the aircraft as undetermined. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating. Hendrick is the most successful team owner in NASCAR, and fields cars for Johnson, four-time champion Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Mark Martin. The team recently celebrated its 199th career victory in the Sprint Cup Series. In 2004, a plane Hendrick owned crashed en route to a race in Martinsville, Va., killing all 10 on board. That included Hendrick's son, Ricky, his brother and twin nieces. Photographs of the crash show the plane largely intact and with its nose resting on the ground about 20 feet in front of a chain-linked airport boundary fence. Johnson said he spoke to Hendrick on Tuesday. "It's been a long night for him -- he's trying to get some rest and we just touched base and I know that he's OK," Johnson said. "It's just nice to hear his voice and hear him say he's fine and OK and Linda is as well along with the pilots. "We don't have a lot of answers at this point. There's a lot of really good, smart people working on getting answers to these questions so we can all understand what exactly took place." NASCAR driver Greg Biffle was uninjured this year when his plane's right main landing gear failed and the wing hit the runway during a landing at Blue Grass Airport in Lexington, Ky. Biffle's team owner, Jack Roush, has survived two plane crashes, including one last year in Wisconsin in which he lost his left eye.

The Kyle Schwarber reboot begins Monday in Iowa

The Kyle Schwarber reboot begins Monday in Iowa

MIAMI – This isn’t a Tommy La Stella situation. The Cubs purposely told Kyle Schwarber to take a few days off to decompress before reporting to Triple-A Iowa. The reboot will begin Monday in Des Moines.

“We’re doing it to hopefully reset him, get him back up with a fresh start,” manager Joe Maddon said. “As you would expect, he was very professional about it, understood it entirely.

“There’s no actual timetable. I don’t anticipate it to be long. But we’ll see how it plays out, give him a little bit of room to get things right and then move it forward from there.”

The Cubs broke the news to Schwarber after Wednesday’s 3-2 loss to the San Diego Padres at Wrigley Field, where the entire lineup went 1-for-27 outside of rookie Ian Happ’s two-run homer. It left Schwarber hitting .171 with a .673 OPS, not enough to justify his 12 home runs and suspect outfield defense. The Iowa Cubs are in the middle of a four-game series this weekend in Round Rock, Texas.

The Cubs hope Schwarber can regain his confidence and almost become a trade-deadline addition, reenergizing the team the way he did in 2015, when he blasted 16 homers in 69 games and five more in the playoffs.

Under entirely different circumstances in 2012, future All-Star first baseman Anthony Rizzo used 70 games with Iowa to rework his swing and make adjustments after bombing his audition with the Padres.

“He’s going to go down and be able to exhale a little bit,” Rizzo said. “Hopefully, he can smooth things out. We’re all confident he will. Just do the best down there to get back up here and to be the Kyle Schwarber that we all know and love.”

Niklas Hjalmarsson reflects on time with Blackhawks: 'I had the best time in Chicago'

Niklas Hjalmarsson reflects on time with Blackhawks: 'I had the best time in Chicago'

Niklas Hjalmarsson heard some of the rumors, but not to a large degree. The former Blackhawks defenseman wasn’t spending a lot of time on the internet reading up on his potential fate. He figured he’d still stay put in Chicago.

“But when my agent called me about the 10-team list, I understood it was serious. Stan [Bowman] wouldn’t ask for that unless they made up their mind already,” Hjalmarsson said via conference call on Saturday. “That’s when it hit me that I’m probably not going to put the Hawks jersey on anymore.”

Indeed, Hjalmarsson’s next jersey will be that of the Arizona Coyotes, who acquired him in exchange for defenseman Connor Murphy on Friday. Hjalmarsson’s departure marks the end of the line for another Blackhawks core player, and this one is jarring in how it will change the team’s defense.

Speaking of change, Hjalmarsson faces a lot of it himself now. Sure, there’s the obvious change for a guy who’s played his entire career in one place. It’s new surroundings and a new team, on which he knows former Blackhawks teammate Antti Raanta and fellow countryman Oliver Ekman-Larsson.

But the Coyotes have dealt with a lot of upheaval lately. Goaltender Mike Smith is gone. So is veteran Shane Doan. On Thursday, head coach Dave Tippett and the Coyotes parted ways.

“They’re on a rebuild, a lot of new faces, lot of changes,” Hjalmarsson said. “It’s tough to know what to expect but I think they’re a hungry organization that wants to win like other teams. I’m looking forward to try to contribute with playing my game, just try to get the organization back in the playoffs.”

Hjalmarsson should find chemistry with Ekman-Larsson – the two were teammates in the Winter Olympics in Sochi – and Hjalmarsson will likely play a bigger role with the Coyotes. Arizona will probably look to Hjalmarsson a lot during its rebuild, given his Cup-winning history.

The first 24 hours were full of mixed emotions of Hjalmarsson. With his limited no-move clause, he was always a likely candidate to be moved from a Blackhawks team laden will full no-move clauses. He’s turning a page, but he won’t forget his time in Chicago anytime soon.

“I’m trying to always be a positive guy,” Hjalmarsson said. “I spent my whole 20s in Chicago, 10 unbelievable years. I didn’t think I’d win three Cups. Hopefully I can get one more before my career is over. I had the best time in Chicago, enjoyed every single year, playing in front of the best fans in the league. I’ve been spoiled. Now it’s time for me and my family to move on and seize the opportunity in Arizona and create some new fond memories.”