Last mission to repair the Hubble telescope Hubble space telescope discoveries have enriched our understanding of the cosmos. In this special report, you will see facts about the Hubble space telescope, discoveries it has made and what the last mission's goals are.
For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
Fill out this form to email this article to a friend
CEO sees stable period upcoming for NASCAR
By BRANT JAMES
Published January 25, 2005
CHARLOTTE, N.C - A year after landmark change, NASCAR will enter a stable period, or so hopes Brian France .
The CEO's state of NASCAR address at the annual media tour Monday was heavy on congratulation for a Chase for the Championship format that created the closest finish in series history - Kurt Busch won by eight points - and light on the kind of transformation that highlighted previous seasons.
France called 2004 "one of the best seasons we have ever had.
"What I really had hoped - that the stage would get bigger and that the performances would be noticeably better," France said. " ... You go back to Jimmie Johnson getting on his (four) out of (five wins), Jeff Gordon at Darlington having problems and coming back through the field. Those were big-time performances. Busch having to pull it together with the wheel off in the last race, all that pressure. Mark Martin , in his performance, I could see the exhaustion and the effort guys put in."
In past years, France or his father, former CEO Bill France Jr ., used the address to unveil new safety initiatives, schedule realignment and the playoff system.
The most interesting dynamic in an otherwise scripted news conference came in exchanges between France and Darrell Waltrip , a former Winston Cup champion who owns a Truck team and works as an analyst for Fox.
Waltrip, seated behind France with other former and current drivers, dissented on several of the CEO's official league stances.
Last season, drivers often knocked products that did not sponsor them from the roofs of their cars in Victory Lane until Johnson incurred a $10,000 fine. Waltrip followed France's company line of Victory Lane celebrations and their impact on sponsor commitments by saying, "Fans want to see spontaneous, not orchestration."
Countered France over his shoulder: "You should take some of the sales calls I take."
Waltrip admitted later that NASCAR is not a free-speech society.
"You can't be outspoken," he said. "You have to be careful what you say ... and who you say it to."
BRIGHT IDEA: France said NASCAR and International Speedway Corp. are seeking Federal Aviation Administration approval to erect lights at Homestead-Miami Speedway, site of the season-ending Nextel Cup, Busch and Truck series races. If approved, lights could be in place before the November races, allowing for Truck and Busch races on Friday and Saturday, respectively, and a twilight Cup race Sunday.
SPARK PLUGS: Champ Car champ and Tampa resident Sebastien Bourdais won the fan vote for Speed Channel driver of the year.