News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Ramblin' Reck

July 27, 2010

Ramblin' Reck: Chip Ganassi, you had the best weekend ever

TERRE HAUTE — If anyone had a better weekend in auto racing than Chip Ganassi, we haven’t heard about it.

The personable car owner went into the record books Sunday when one of his drivers, Jamie McMurray, won the Brickyard 400. He earlier had won the Daytona 500 and one of Ganassi’s IndyCar Series drivers, Dario Franchitti, won the Indianapolis 500.

Ganassi became the first car owner to have winners in the Triple Crown of racing in the same year.

Late in Sunday’s race, both of his drivers, McMurray and Juan Pablo Montoya, were in the top five of the NASCAR Sprint Cup race. Montoya lost time in the pits when he took on four tires instead of two, then hit a safer barrier and made contact with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and did not finish the race, finishing 32nd.

He was dominant through much of the race for the second year in a row after earning the pole in qualifying on Saturday. If he keeps at it, he will be the first driver to win the Indianapolis 500 and Brickyard 400.

And not long after McMurray crossed the finish line first in Indy, another Ganassi driver, Scott Dixon, won the IndyCar Series race in Edmonton after Will Power had led most of the way.

Dixon won because Helio Castroneves was penalized for blocking after he had apparently won the race in Canada. Castroneves was furious and likely will be penalized for his actions.

Franchitti, meanwhile, finished third to give Ganassi a 1-3 finish in the race.

Like I say, no one had a better weekend than Ganassi and his efforts in the sport paid off big time for one of the truly “good guys” of sports.

Attendance was down as expected for the race but the estimated 140,000 still was the biggest for a Sprint Cup race this season. Indianapolis Motor Speedway officials were slated to announce a special ticket plan for next year’s race on Monday.

Kyle Busch did not win the race but had a good week in Indiana. He was second in the truck race Friday, won the Nationwide Series race Saturday and finished eighth Sunday after being involved in a mishap on the first lap.

Oh yes, our pick to win the main event was Kevin Harvick. He finished second.

• • •

• On the move — One of my friends and colleagues in journalism has left the Midwest and moved to Arizona.

Marshall (Ill.) native Bryan Bloodworth began work in Arizona last week, serving as vice president of business operations for the Arizona Sundogs of the Central Hockey League.

Bloodworth had been sports editor of The Pantagraph in Bloomington, Ill., for a long time and most recently had been assistant general manager and director of media relations for the Prairie-Thunder CHL team in Bloomington.

Jerry McBurney was vice president and general manager of the Bloomington team and recently was named president of the Arizona team. Bloodworth was one of his first hires.

Bloodworth is a member of the Illinois Basketballl Coaches Hall of Fame. Brother Tim has been one of the baseball and basketball assistant coaches at Marshall.

• Hot day — It was hot day for race fans on Saturday and Sunday at Indianapolis and plenty hot for fans who took in the St. Louis-Philadelphia baseball game in St. Louis last Thursday.

Thanks to friends who got us tickets and invited us to make the trip, we were in the crowd and enjoyed the game but perspired a lot as the game went into extra innings with the Phillies winning 2-0 in the 11th frame.

Cole Hamels was superb for the Phillies, allowing just one hit in eight innings, and Adam Wainright pitched well for the Cardinals, but neither got the decision.

Placido Polanco homered in the 11th to snap the scoreless tie and the Phils added another run before St. Louis was retired in order in the bottom of the frame after Jon Jay drew a leadoff walk.

The Cardinals didn’t have much better luck in Chicago but won in extra innings Sunday and took a half-game lead in the NL Central standings.

• • •

• Tom-Cattin’ It — The Terre Haute Golf Association Senior Championship is this weekend with play slated at Rea Park on Saturday and the final round at Hulman Links on Sunday.

Qualifying began Monday in the state junior boys tournament at West Lafayette. Match play begins Wednesday.

• Curt Chase has resigned as boys basketball coach at Edinburgh after four seasons, compiling a 34-49 record and winning the school’s first sectional since 1973 last season.

He said he more time with his family and will remain on the staff as assistant principal.

n Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees hit his 599th homer last Thursday but was still looking for No. 600 on Monday. He escaped serious injury when hit by a pitch Sunday against Kansas City.

Tom Reck may be contacted by phone at (812) 232-3231, by email at tm_reck@yahoo.com or by mail at 4284 S. Fifth St., Apt. 3, Terre Haute, IN 47802.

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