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NASCAR drivers, fans pay tribute to announcer Steve Byrnes, dead at 56

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Longtime Fox NASCAR announcer Steve Byrnes died Tuesday of cancer, the network announced. He was 56.

>> PHOTOS: Notable deaths in 2015

Byrnes, who had neck and throat cancer, was diagnosed in September. The NASCAR community showed its support by renaming last weekend's Sprint Cup race in his honor. Fans and drivers also rallied behind him with the hashtag #ByrnesStrong. Learn more here.

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Click here or scroll down to see how social-media users paid tribute to Byrnes.

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NASCAR race car stolen, recovered undamaged next day

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For one motorist, it was not an ordinary sighting of an ordinary car stranded on the side of the road.

Indeed, sitting on the side of Lenora Road in the area of Pate Road was missing Number 44 NASCAR Sprint Cup race car stolen from Morrow, Georgia  Thursday morning. It was found near Snellville, but not the trailer and pickup used to transport it.

Gwinnett County Police were dispatched to a suspicious vehicle call about 2:30 a.m. and confirmed it was the vehicle stolen from a Morrow hotel parking lot the day before.

The owners of the car, which was to be driven by Travis Kvapil in this weekend’s Atlanta Motor Speedway races, made arrangements to recover it.

As far as police can tell, there was no missing parts of damage to the car, said Officer Jeffery Richter, public information officer.

He said the name of the motorist who discovered the car was not available at this time.

He’s pretty sure, though, that the discovery caused a double take.

“It would have certainly been a shock to me to be driving down the road and seeing that car sitting off of the shoulder,” he said.

Gwinnett police said there are no suspects at this time.

The car, along with the trailer housing it and the pickup pulling it, were stolen from outside a Morrow hotel Thursday morning where it was parked in advance of this weekend’s race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton.

When Kvapil got the call, he figured someone on his race team was playing a joke.

“They said there was trouble with the car,” Kvapil told the Associated Press. “I thought we could figure it out when we got in the garage area. They’re like, ‘No, the car is gone.’”

For a few hours, the team held out hope of the car being found in time for qualifying Friday, but it was forced to withdraw when it missed NASCAR’s mandatory inspection.

“It’s really bizarre,” Kvapil said. “You can handle maybe getting a flat tire, or getting caught up in a wreck, or a blown engine, something that actually happens on the race track. Or you don’t qualify, because you don’t have enough speed. But to not even get a chance … that’s pretty disheartening.”

A trailer with the red race car inside was hitched to a black 2004 Ford F-350 pickup truck parked outside a hotel in Morrow, Georgia, about 15 miles south of Atlanta and a short drive from the speedway, police said. Surveillance video showed the truck and trailer being driven out of the parking lot around 5:30 a.m., Morrow police Detective Sgt. Larry Oglesby said.

Photos: Jeff Gordon's final NASCAR season

Stunt rider jumps motorbike 18-stories off ski jump

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Aussie Robbie “Maddo” Maddison just upped the ante on crazy stunts.

Stunt motorbike rider Maddison, who has a history of sensational jumps and doubled for Daniel Craig in the James Bond movie “Skyfall,” jumped from a ski jump ramp at Olympic Park in Park City, Utah.

Maddison was estimated to have been traveling 71 MPH and jumped a distance of 374 feet. He also set a world record with a vertical drop of 185 feet, or about 18 stories.

Before the jump off the Olympic ski jump, Maddison warmed up on the bobsleigh track used in the 2002 Winter Olympics held in Salt Lake City.

On Dec. 31, 2008, Maddison sped up a street-level ramp to land on top of a 96-foot-high replica of the Arc de Triomphe in Las Vegas. Seven months later, he jumped over Tower Bridge in London, while it was opened by 25 feet. 

Grand jury to weigh case of NASCAR's Tony Stewart

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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The fate of NASCAR driver Tony Stewart could soon be in the hands of a jury. The jury will decide whether he'll face criminal charges for hitting and killing Kevin Ward during a race in August, despite investigators announcing last month they were not going to charge him with a crime. Stewart and Ward were participating in a race on a dirt track at Canandaigua Motorsports Park in Canandaigua, New York. A video shows when Ward got out of his car and started waving his arms, possibly in pursuit of Stewart, who repeatedly bumped into Ward's car during the race. On another lap around the track, Stewart struck and killed Ward. Ontario County's district attorney in New York announced Tuesday he was going to be taking evidence from the incident to a grand jury to see if the evidence supports criminal charges against Stewart.

>> Read more trending stories "I think there is a lot of pressure on people up there in that county to see that the right thing is done," said former Charlotte Motor Speedway General Manager Humpy Wheeler. Wheeler believes Stewart's celebrity is fueling a second look since the announcement comes more than a month after the incident and after a investigation with the Ontario County Sheriff's Office. So far, no charges have been filed and that's why Stewart continues to race. He took three weeks off after the crash before returning for the final two races of the Sprint Cup season. He's expected to race this weekend in New Hampshire. His friends believe that's the best thing for him. "He's going through the dickens since the whole thing happened and now his fate is in the hands of a jury. That's a pretty tough deal," Wheeler said. Stewart released this statement that reads: "I respect the time and effort spent by both the Ontario County District Attorney and the Sheriff's Office in investigating this tragic accident. I look forward to this process being completed, and I will continue to provide my full cooperation." We don't know when the grand jury will meet because it is confidential. NASCAR said it will monitor what happens through the legal process, but would not comment further on this latest development.

NASCAR released a statement Tuesday afternoon regarding Tantillo's announcement:

"We are aware of the completed investigation and the announced next steps. First, our thoughts continue to be with all who have been impacted by this tragedy. We will monitor this process and stay in close contact with Stewart-Haas Racing. It would be inappropriate for NASCAR to comment on this case so we will continue to respect the process and authorities involved."

NASCAR driver Kyle Busch issued speeding citation

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NASCAR driver Kyle Busch was issued a speeding citation on April 29 in Denver on suspicion of traveling 60 mph in a 45 mph zone.According to the police report, the stop happened in front of Beach’s Grocery. Busch said he thought the speed limit was 55 mph. The officer commented in the police report that Busch had a “disrespectful attitude.”He was driving a Lexus sedan when he was stopped around 7:45 p.m.This is not Busch’s first documented driving incident.In 2006, he was ticketed for reckless driving after he “chirped” his tires while pulling out of a Richmond, Va., gas station and into a fast-food restaurant next door.Busch was cited for careless and reckless driving and speeding in 2011 when he was stopped in Iredell County for going 128 mph in a 45 mph zone.Busch released a statement after the 2011 stop, saying he was test driving a new sports car and got carried away.He continued, "I went beyond the speed I should have been going on a public road. I apologize to the public, my fans, sponsors, and race teams for my lack of judgment.”

IMAGES: Daytona 500 qualifying

NASCAR driver's girlfriend slaps, dislocates jaw of rival

It was the slap seen ‘round the NASCAR world Sunday when driver Max Papis was hit by rival driver Mike Skeen’s girlfriend. But Monday Papis announced the slap was a lot stronger than it looked — claiming it dislocated his jaw.

“Papis and Skeen had a little dispute on the track during the truck series race in Ontario. After the race, Skeen slams into Papis’s truck. Then, one of Skeen’s crew members tries to get a piece of Papis while he’s sitting in the truck as you can see right there.” (Via HLN)

Shortly after those confrontations — enter Skeen’s girlfriend. The woman is being identified as Kelly Heaphy. Skeen says he didn’t know about the slap at the time, but later saw it on TV. (Via Fox Sports)

But the feud didn’t stop there.

Papis took to Twitter shortly after the race and ripped Skeen, saying he wasn’t man enough to fight his own battles and called him an amateur. That’s also where Papis announced his injury tweeting: “And by the way yes my jaw was dislocated and had to go to Get fixed but NO COMPLAIN here just FYI.”

Papis told ESPN, “What do you do? You don't hit a lady … I was in disbelief. Complete disbelief.”

But Skeen claims after the race that Papis DID get physical with Heaphy saying, “I didn't know about the slap, but that was relatively tame considering he barged our trailer later and tried to pull her down the stairs in front of a NASCAR official and several members of our team. She has bruises to prove it.” (Via Facebook / Mike Skeen)

Papis says he’s gone to NASCAR officials about the incidents and isn’t ruling out taking legal action for the slap. But believe it or not, this is actually the second slapping-related incident Papis has been involved in this year.

He was on the giving end of this slap to fellow NASCAR driver Elliot Johnson in June. Not surprisingly, Johnson’s helmet warded off any jaw dislocations and he was perfectly fine. (Via NASCAR)

Papis finished sixth in the race while Skeen finished 13th. The next NASCAR Camping Truck race will take place next Sunday at Iowa Speedway.

- See more at Newsy.com

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