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Sports Then and Now



Whatever Happened To The Indianapolis 500? 3

Posted on May 30, 2010 by Dean Hybl

The Indianapolis 500 is still one of the most exciting one-day events in sports.

In case you haven’t noticed, and chances are pretty good that you haven’t, the 94th running of the Indianapolis 500 is happening this weekend.

It wasn’t all that long ago when the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing” wasn’t just a big deal for race fans, it was part of the national fabric and as important a part of Memorial Day Weekend as cookouts, swimming pools and veteran’s celebrations.

Much like the Kentucky Derby, Daytona 500 and Wimbledon Finals, it was one of those annual “sports spectacles” that everybody followed, regardless of whether they paid attention to the sport for the other 364 days of the year.

From 1965 through 1985, ABC televised the race through tape delay on Sunday night, meaning the only way to follow it live was on the radio.

As a kid growing up in Virginia in the 1970s and early 1980s, I remember that regardless of whether we were off on a family camping trip, visiting relatives, or at a picnic, on the Sunday afternoon of Memorial Day Weekend we always had the radio on and were listening to the race.

I then couldn’t wait until that night when I actually got to see what I had heard through ABC’s coverage of the race. I don’t really remember it bothering me that I already knew the winner. Read the rest of this entry →

Does NASCAR Need Saving By Danica Patrick? 5

Posted on February 12, 2010 by Dean Hybl
Is Danica Patrick what NASCAR needs?

Is Danica Patrick what NASCAR needs?

It seems like only yesterday that NASCAR was emerging on the national scene as a sport that could rival baseball, basketball and maybe even football as one of the most popular sports in the United States. Now, as the sport enters the second decade of the century, NASCAR finds itself suddenly struggling economically and simply battling to remain nationally relevant.

Few things illustrate how things have changed in recent years more than the circumstances surrounding the start of the 2010 season.

Just days after NASCAR announced a 10 percent purse reduction for 2010, the season is kicking off not with fanfare around its greatest stars, but instead around an IRL import who will not even be competing in the prestigious season opening Daytona 500 or the primary Sprint Cup Series.

To most Americans, Danica Patrick is probably better known for her GoDaddy commercials and straight dark hair than she is for her performance on the racetrack.

In five seasons driving in the IndyCar Series, Patrick has one victory in 81 races. She was the 2005 Rookie of the Year after finishing fourth at the Indianapolis 500. Read the rest of this entry →

  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Drew Pearson: Mr. Clutch
      August 7, 2021 | 6:59 pm

      Drew Pearson

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month is a former NFL wide receiver know as “Mr. Clutch” for his penchant for making big receptions at crucial moments of the game. After waiting for more than 30 years, he is finally earning his rightful place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a member of the 2021 Hall of Fame Class.

      During his decade with the Dallas Cowboys, Drew Pearson had a habit of making the big catch at the right moment to help the Cowboys time and again snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

      The favorite target of Hall of Fame quarterback Roger Staubach, Pearson was widely recognized as one of the great receivers of his era. Though at the time of his retirement many expected Pearson to easily breeze into the Hall of Fame, his enshrinement was derailed by changes to the game which artificially inflated receiver stats and made the numbers he produced during a time when wide receivers weren’t catching 100 passes a season seem inferior.

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