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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Snow made NASCAR drivers Ryan Newman and Martin Truex Jr. no-shows at Daytona 500 media day. Newman and

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20:12, Mar 06 2020

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Snow made NASCAR drivers Ryan Newman and Martin Truex Jr. no-shows at Daytona 500 media day. Newman and Truex missed the kickoff to Speedweeks on Thursday because a winter storm and icy conditions affected travel in the South and East. Newman posted a message on his Twitter page that included a photo of his snow-covered farm and several buffalo: "Stuck in NC. Headed out to check on Farm. Buffalo are happy this am." The weather caused several other NASCAR drivers to alter travel plans to Daytona International Speedway. David Gilliland and David Ragan were supposed to fly down Thursday morning, but instead of gambling on being able to get to the airport and take off without any delays, opted to drive Wednesday. They got on the road before the heavy stuff wreaked havoc on roadways. "If we left probably 30 minutes later, we would have been in trouble for sure," Gilliland said. "There was a lot of stuff happening. But luckily it was all a couple of exits behind us. We saw all the ice, snow, the trees breaking while we were driving down I-77 there." Parker Kligerman also ended up driving. But the Sprint Cup rookie made a rookie mistake by getting a late start and didnt get to Daytona until the wee hours Thursday. "We didnt get out til the midst of the storm," Kligerman said. "We literally hit gridlock. ... We had the car completely iced over at one point. We had to find a deicer. It was a disaster. We got stuck a couple of times. There were four or five overturned semis." Some drivers and teams arrived in Daytona a day or two early to avoid the chaos. Six-time and defending series champion Jimmie Johnson, though, decided to chance it and travel early Thursday. He said the key was moving his private jet to Charlotte-Douglas International Airport, which was better equipped to clear runways. "The trip from the hangar to the runway was pretty exciting," Johnson said. "They hadnt plowed any of that. I thought I was in an off-road truck for a while there, trying to get out to the runway." Aside from travel troubles, here are five things to know about media day: DEFENDING DANICA: Several drivers, maybe even most, defended Danica Patrick. Seven-time NASCAR champion Richard Petty said the only way Patrick could win a Sprint Cup race is if "everybody else stayed home." Patrick refused to fire back, politely saying everyone is entitled to an opinion. Her peers were more outspoken. Hendrick Motorsports teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. said "it was a little rough on Danica" and added that "she goes by a different set of rules because of her gender, and thats unfortunate. It seems like shes always having to answer to something like that, and thats a pain in her butt. And frankly its just got to get old." RETURN OF THE 3: The return of the iconic No. 3, the famed number the late Dale Earnhardt drove with Richard Childress Racing, was a hot topic. Childress grandson, Austin Dillon, will drive the black No. 3 for RCR. Dillon handled the attention perfectly, saying "the legend of Dale has lived on for a long time and is going to continue to live on forever. Dale Earnhardt is not just famous because of the number." Dale Earnhardt Jr., whose father died after crashing on the final lap of the 2001 Daytona 500, said hes "quite comfortable with how its going down and Im glad its back." STEWARTS REHAB: Tony Stewarts return to racing is down to hours. The three-time NASCAR champion has been out of a race car since crashing at a sprint-car event in Iowa last August and breaking his right leg. Stewart missed the final 15 races of 2013. He has been cleared to race and will be back in the car for practice Friday. "Its been the slowest off-season Ive ever had," he said. "Im ready to get doing something again." CHASE CHANGES: NASCAR drastically overhauled its Chase for the Sprint Cup championship by expanding the field, switching to a knockout-style format and placing more emphasis on winning. Johnson welcomed the tweaks. "I still think the way you win a championship is the same: youve got to win races," he said. "When we look around at sports, everythings changing. The Olympics look far different than they used to. The NFL is considering change. The world is changing. Our viewership is changing, so the sport has to change." GORDONS FUTURE: Four-time champion Jeff Gordon is talking retirement. Gordon said he is prepared to call it quits if he wins a fifth championship. "Go out on a high note," said the 42-year-old Gordon, who won titles in 1995, 1997, 1998 and 2001. <a href="https://www.cheapairmax1store.com/">Discount Nike Air Max 1</a>. -- The defending Canadian womens curling champions squandered an opportunity to take sole possession of first place in the standings Tuesday at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts. <a href="https://www.cheapairmax1store.com/">Nike Air Max 1</a>.Y. -- In a span of three days, Shabazz Napier and Connecticut knocked out both Philadelphia schools in the NCAA tournament. <a href="https://www.cheapairmax1store.com/">https://www.cheapairmax1store.com/</a>. -- Two out of three aint bad. <a href="https://www.cheapairmax1store.com/">Nike Air Max 1 Store</a>. Seth Smith hit a towering drive for a tying homer leading off the eighth and Chris Denorfia singled home two runs to give the Padres a 3-1 victory against the rival Dodgers in baseballs North American opener Sunday night. <a href="https://www.cheapairmax1store.com/">Replica Nike Air Max 1</a>. The right-hander said he threw about 30 pitches in a routine bullpen session Sunday at Yankee Stadium, his final hurdle before starting Tuesday night at Tampa Bay.Bob and Tina Hanifins first-born child arrived on Jan. 25, 1997, but it took Dad and Mom another few days before they decided on a name for their baby boy. Noah. Noah Hanifin. "My wife loved it," Bob Hanifin said. "After we named him that, she told me, Hes going to go on to do great things with this name." If youre not familiar with Noah Hanifin, you soon will be. And, yes, it would appear hes on course to do great things, certainly in the hockey arena. This years NHL draft is billed as the Connor McDavid draft. Or Connor McDavid vs. Jack Eichel. McDavid and Eichel have been labeled generational talents, potential NHL franchise centres, the undisputed top two in the Class of 2015. Hanifin, a defenceman, will be hard pressed to displace either of the star centres, but the Boston College freshman goes into this season as a potential elite offensive blueliner who could yet transform the high end of this draft from a dynamic duo to a tremendous trio. "Theres not a huge gap between McDavid or Eichel and Hanifin but there is, to start the season anyway, a gap between those top three and everyone else," said one head scout of an NHL team. "(Hanifin) is at a disadvantage simply because hes a defenceman and the other two guys are centres. But (Hanifin) could be Scott Niedermayer. He skates like him." Hanifin is a shade under 6-foot-3 and weighs 205 pounds. The scouting report says he has world-class wheels, elite offensive skills, can run a power play and use his size effectively to play physically when its required. Hes not quite as big as Nashville Predator Seth Jones, the last prospect, before Hanifin, who went into his NHL draft year billed as the next great American defenceman. Some scouts like Hanifin better than Jones at the same stage of development. Others think the jury is still out on that. Regardless, Hanifin is certainly viewed as being in the same universe as the top defenceman from the 2013 NHL draft, who was ranked No. 1 much of his draft year before going fourth overall to Nashville. TSNs pre-season 2015 NHL draft rankings will be unveiled in a half-hour special (and on www.tsn.ca) Thursday at 7:30pm et/4:30pm pt – at precisely the same time as Hanifin, Eichel and others will be playing in the USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game at Buffalos First Niagara Center. There is considerable discussion amongst NHL scouts who should start this season as No. 1 – McDavid or Eichel – but (spoiler alert) theres little doubt whos ranked No. 3 – eight of 10 NHL scouts surveyed by TSN have Hanifin right behind the two star centres. Hanifin played last season for USA Hockeys Under-17 program based out of Ann Arbor, Mich., but in late March was added to the Under-18 national team, where he excelled at the Under-18 World Championships last April, helping to lead Team USA to the gold medal. With one goal and five points, Hanifin was highest-scoring American defenceman. "He took over the tournament as an underage defenceman," said another NHL head scout. Hanifin was a teammate of Eichels at that tournament; Hanifan hasnt played with or against McDavid, though Hanifin did skate this summer with McDavid -- as well as Sam Gagner, John Tavares and other NHLers -- at a skating and skills session in the Toronto area. Hanifin first met McDavid last year at a Boston Bruin game when they were both there as guests of the agent – Bobby Orr – they share. Hanifin is uniquely qualified to size up the Mac (McDavid) or Jack (Eichel) battle, but as one might expect, hes playing it safe, with a fellow American/former teammate who is now a college rival at Boston University and a young Canadian whom he got to know as a friend/training partner this summer. "Well, theyre both tremendous players," Hanifin said. "But I just try to focus on my own game and what I can control." This was supposed to be Hanifins senior year at high school, the season in which he moved up fulltime to the U.S. Under-18 program. But he instead opted to fast track his high school graduation – he took internet courses all summer – so he could go directtly to Boston College, where hes been billed as the youngest player in BC history.dddddddddddd (For the record, Boston College has no definitive word on who is the youngest player to play for the Eagles, but a 17-year old freshman is highly unusual.) "Its always been my goal to play college hockey and Ive always wanted to go to Boston College," Hanifin said. "Its a big jump but Im looking forward to the challenge. Im feeling confident in practice but I know Ill be playing against guys who are a lot older, a lot more mature. So its going to be a challenge but I like challenges. Im looking forward to getting started." Hanifin began his minor hockey career as a forward. But Neil Shea, an NHL scout (now with the Colorado Avalanche) who was Hanifins coach through much of his minor hockey career in the Boston area with the South Shore Kings, moved him to the blueline, and theres been no looking back. Hanifin also excelled at St. Sebastians prep school before going to the U.S. program in Ann Arbor. As a 13-year-old eighth grader, Hanifan made the St. Sebastians varsity high school team, playing against competition as much as five years older. Hanifin grew up in Norwood, Mass., southwest of Boston. He has a younger brother Cole, 12, and younger sister, Lily, 11. His parents – Bob, a Boston court officer, and Tina, who works in human resources with a law firm – both grew up in the city (Boston). Not surprisingly, Noah was raised to be a Bruin fan. "Oh, yeah, my Dad was always a huge Bruin fan," Hanifin said. But the defenceman he most admired growing up was Detroit Red Wing star Nick Lidstrom. Hanifin wore no. 5 in minor hockey and at St. Sebastians as a tribute to Lidstrom. No. 5 wasnt available with the U-17 team so he wore 55. No. 5 is taken at Boston College, so hell wear No. 7, which isnt a coincidence. Hanifin is too young to recall Ray Bourques time with the Bruins but his Dad most certainly imparted some wisdom. "Ive watched a lot of Ray Bourque video because my Dad told me all about him," Hanifin said. "Nick Lidstrom and Ray Bourque, those would be the two defencemen Ive tried to model my game after." Disappointments have been few and far between in Hanifans young hockey career, but he was not happy to not be invited to USA Hockeys national junior team summer evaluation camp in Lake Placid, N.Y., though he wasnt alone on that count. U-17 teammate Zach Werenski, who often was paired on the blueline with Hanifin, was also overlooked. Like Hanifan, Werenski fast-tracked through high school to leave the U.S. program a year early for the University of Michigan. There was speculation the Lake Placid snub was a USA Hockey reaction to the pair bolting early. Players are generally expected to play two seasons - U-17 and U-18 - in the system. Nevertheless, USA Hockey still considers Hanifin, Werenski and, for that matter, Tampa first-rounder draft pick Anthony DeAngelo of the OHLs Sarnia Sting (a third high profile absentee from the Lake Placid camp) as candidates for the U.S. world junior team. "I wasnt that surprised (at not being invited to the summer camp)," Hanifin said. "Im a young guy but Im a competitive kid and I feel like I can contribute. (Not getting invited) motivated me even more." In the meantime, he intends to do whatever he can to work on the areas of the game that need improvement. "Im really focusing on my shot," he said. "Im working on that a lot. Im trying to shoot it harder, be better at the one-timers, get more shots through." Hes also taking advantage of having Bobby Orr as a sounding board and confidante. "The biggest thing Bobby tells me is to not get caught up in everything -- the draft, the attention, the pressure, all that stuff," Hanifan said. "He tells me to embrace it, just enjoy playing, just try to have fun playing the game and focusing on that." So that is what he will do, and it all starts in earnest this week: McDavids third OHL season with the Erie Otters begins on Wednesday; Eichel, Hanifan and the best young American talent playing in the U.S. prospects game in Buffalo on Thursday. <a href="http://www.chinawholesalejerseysnfl.com/">Wholesale Jerseys</a> ' ' '

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