NASCAR owner involved in plane crash

576246.jpg

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.

Blount on free agency: 'I definitely want to go back to New England'

patriots-blount-1-102316.jpg

Blount on free agency: 'I definitely want to go back to New England'

LeGarrette Blount knows where he wants to be for 2017. Ever since he re-joined the Patriots in 2014 following a short stay in Pittsburgh, the 250-pound back has been very open about how he wants to play out the rest of his career in New England. 

Those feelings haven't changed, even as he faces free-agency after having recorded the best season of his seven-year career.

"I just want to make sure that I go to this free agency with an open mind, knowing that I definitely want to go back to New England," he told NFL Total Access on Monday. "I love it there. I love the culture. I love the players. I've become close with a lot of the guys. Obviously you know how my running back group is.

"We'll cross that bridge whenever we cross it. On that point, I feel great. I'm in amazing shape. I feel like I could play 100 more years if I have to."

Blount finished 2016 with career-highs in attempts (299) yards (1,161) and touchowns (18). His ability to help the Patriots close games in the fourth quarter was notable throughout the course of the season, and he was among the most effective goal-line backs in the league. His 18 rushing scores are a franchise record.

Toward the end of the season, as Dion Lewis worked his way back into the Patriots offense, Blount had his workload cut into, and his fumble in the Super Bowl was a near-catastrophic moment -- his devastated reaction to which was caught expertly by NFL Films. But a big-picture view of Blount's year would reveal that he  posted the most prodictive "big back" season the Patriots have had in more than a decade.

Blount signed a one-year deal with the Patriots last offseason after seeing his 2015 prematurely ended by way of a hip injury. He turned 30 in December.

Magic Johnson named Lakers president of basketball ops, Kupchak fired

Magic Johnson named Lakers president of basketball ops, Kupchak fired

Magic Johnson was named the Los Angeles Lakers' president of basketball operations after longtime Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak and vice president of basketball ops Jim Buss were fired, the team announced.

"Today I took a series of actions I believe will return the Lakers to the heights [late owner] Dr. Jerry Buss demanded and our fans rightly expect,” Jeanie Buss, Jerry Buss' daughter, Jim Buss' brother and Lakers president and co-owner, said in a statement. “Effective immediately, Earvin Johnson will be in charge of all basketball operations and will report directly to me. Our search for a new General Manager to work with Earvin and Coach Luke Walton is well underway and we hope to announce a new General Manager in short order. Together, Earvin, Luke and our new General Manager will establish the foundation for the next generation of Los Angeles Lakers greatness.”

Johnson, the Hall of Famer guard who led L.A. to five NBA titles, said in the same statement: “It’s a dream come true to return to the Lakers as President of Basketball Operations working closely with Jeanie Buss and the Buss family. Since 1979, I’ve been a part of the Laker Nation and I’m passionate about this organization. I will do everything I can to build a winning culture on and off the court. We have a great coach in Luke Walton and good young players. We will work tirelessly to return our Los Angeles Lakers to NBA champions.”

Johnson, part of a group that owns MLB's Los Angeles Dodgers, returned to the organization as an adviser earlier this month. Johnson coached the Lakers briefly in the 1993-94 season, going 5-11. 

Johnson's new job with the Lakers won't change his role with the Dodgers, according to the L.A. Times.

The current Lakers have the third-worst record in the NBA at 19-39 after finishing with the second-worst mark in the league (17-65) last season. Kupchak was named an assistant GM under Jerry West in 1986 and in 2000 took over for West as GM.