NASCAR drivers start their engines on Sunday for the first time this Season, at the Daytona 500. And all eyes will be on the woman leading the pack at the starting line. Danica Patrick will be the first woman to start in pole position for any race in the history of NASCAR's premier Sprint Cup Series. Patrick's milestone comes at a critical time for NASCAR, which has seen a steep decline in ticket sales over the last few years and has some big TV contract negotiations coming up.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, Aristotle and Dante are the names of two important philosophers from history, but they're also the names of the principle characters in an award-winning new young adult novel about two Mexican-American boys and their journey of self-discovery. We'll hear from the author of "Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe." That is just ahead.
These have certainly been dispiriting times for those who admire athletes, who proclaim that sports build character. The horrendous shooting by Oscar Pistorius is of course, in a category mercifully unapproached since the O.J. Simpson case, but the Whole Earth Catalog of recent examples of athletic character-building is certainly noteworthy.
Lance Armstrong's ex-teammate testified Tuesday at the trial of a Spanish doctor accused of masterminding one of the world's largest doping rings. Tyler Hamilton, who was stripped of his 2004 Olympic gold for doping, says he was a client of Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes. He described secret meetings with the doctor at the side of a highway in Spain, and how he and the doctor used secret telephones to arrange blood transfusions. Hamilton told the court that one 2004 transfusion from Fuentes went bad, and turned his urine black.
Jerry Buss died yesterday at the age of 80, a very important guy to sports fans here in Southern California. He transformed the Los Angeles Lakers from a good pro basketball team into a great one. During the 34 years Jerry Buss owned them, the Lakers won more games than any other NBA team and took 10 league titles. He also changed the Lakers into the NBA's glamour team, bringing modern showmanship to the league.