BRASELTON, Ga. (AP) — Jimmie Johnson stood at the doorway of the lounge inside a team transporter casually eating from a can of Pringles. Upon noticing his arrival, Chad Knaus spun in his chair to confront the driver he teamed with for seven NASCAR championships.
“Apparently you and I need to have a discussion,” Knaus said to Johnson. “I’m going back to Charlotte.”
“I’ve heard this before,” Johnson laughed.
Knaus moments earlier had learned of an interview released last week in which Johnson made unintentional headlines in a longform profile for “In Depth with Graham Bensinger.” Among the soundbites promoted ahead of the television program was “Johnson unveiled specifics of his rift with former crew chief Chad Knaus, which eventually eroded their relationship and forced a separation.”
Johnson and Knaus won 81 races together, as well as a record-tying seven Cup championships and a record five-straight from 2006 to 2010. Their relationship had always been up and down, and Rick Hendrick famously served the two milk and cookies following the 2005 season and ordered them to stop fighting like a pair of little boys or he’d split them apart.
The breakup didn’t actually come until 2018, when the crew chief was moved from the No. 48 team he’d built 17 years earlier following two-plus losing seasons.
“When times got tough, Chad reverted back to the crew chief that he was when we first started,” Johnson told Bensinger. “Micromanaging, explaining where I was making mistakes, what I needed to do, how I needed to work on it.”
The tense relationship unraveled, Johnson claimed, at the start of the 2017 season when he informed Knaus he wanted to live in Colorado — almost 1,800 miles away from Hendrick Motorsports in Charlotte.
“And things started to get personal then,” Johnson told Bensinger, “and him questioning where my heart was with the team and the time and effort I wanted to spend to be with the team was really kind of the starting fracture point.”
Johnson’s quotes published ahead of the show release made headlines in NASCAR but Knaus had heard nothing of the interview until asked about it during an interview with The Associated Press at the Petit Le Mans sports car race at Road Atlanta.
Johnson retired from NASCAR after the 2020 season and spent this last year as an IndyCar rookie and dabbling in IMSA sports cars, and Knaus is the strategist for the No. 48 Cadillac that Johnson and Hendrick Motorsports assembled to run in four endurance races.
“I mean, I thought we’re fine,” a confused Knaus initially responded when asked by AP.
It took several attempts to explain the context of Johnson’s comments, and then Johnson at last arrived, blindsided by the conversation he’d just entered. He explained to Knaus “a headline writer” had picked a handful of soundbites from a lengthy, in-depth interview “as clickbait, to get traction for the show,” and that his remarks were about their relationship three years ago.
Knaus wasn’t actually upset and a restless Johnson, after eating a second can of Pringles and then a bag of cool ranch Doritos all while standing in the lounge doorway, went looking for something else to do during the long day of waiting around at the track.
It left Knaus to now himself revisit the breakup of arguably the best driver-crew chief combination in NASCAR history.
Johnson drove just one more season in NASCAR following the split, and Knaus was crew chief for another driver for just the one year. He’s now management at Hendrick and the vice president of competition.
“It was work, it was tough, right? I mean, we’ve gone through it and there was many a time we had to do maintenance on our relationship,” Knaus told AP. “But every relationship needs maintenance, period, and we went through an ebb and a flow throughout our career. Even when the times were good, they weren’t always good, right?”
But yet they always pulled through and both remained committed to tying Hall of Famers Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt with seven Cup titles. They hit the mark in 2016 and even though Johnson won three of the first 13 races the next season, he and Knaus were headed toward a final breaking point over Johnson’s desire to move his family to Colorado.
It’s ancient history now to Knaus.
“You know, the Aspen thing, man, look, it is what it is,” Knaus told AP. “It’s hard from my perspective. I am older now and I am in a different place. But when I look back and look at where I was at that point, I was in it and living it every single day and in the grind. And you can begin to feel like a single parent — the one the kid comes around for the weekend play, and you know, everything’s great, but the kid doesn’t want to play with them every single day.
“That’s what that felt like going through that and it was challenging because (stuff) wasn’t going well and you feel like you’re in the storm by yourself.”
Knaus now supervises the four current Hendrick drivers, among them Chase Elliott, who has not moved from his Georgia hometown. When asked what made Elliott’s permanent address acceptable when Johnson could not relocate out of North Carolina, Knaus said it was situational.
He pointed to a period of time when Jeff Gordon at his heyday lived in Florida without it harming his career or relationship with crew chief Ray Evernham, as well as Elliott’s continued progression from rookie to 2020 Cup champion.
“It’s all about the environment and when everything’s going well, there’s not many problems to be solved,” Knaus told AP. “But if you’re not running well, everything is in question. And it’s a team sport and you get to a point where you feel abandoned. Nonetheless, I knew he was a fantastic racecar driver and he was going to give me everything he had every single weekend. Just like I did for him.”
Knaus later relocated to the Action Express pit stand to call qualifying for the No. 48 at Road Atlanta. Kamui Kobayashi qualified the car, so Johnson sat behind Knaus wearing a headset to listen to the session.
Knaus signaled for Johnson’s attention.
“You good, bud?” Johnson responded.
“Well, I was until I found out you hated me,” Knaus deadpanned.
The two began to laugh, both content with the current state of their relationship.
More AP auto racing: https://apnews.com/hub/auto-racing and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
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Tennis star Novak Djokovic deported from Australia after visa cancellation
Tennis star Novak Djokovic has been deported from Australia after a federal court upheld his visa’s cancellation over his vaccination status. He had been initially scheduled to play in the Australian Open, which kicks off Monday. However, Australian officials require everyone coming into the country to be vaccinated against COVID-19, and Djokovic remains unvaccinated. CBSN’s Lana Zak sits down with CBS News foreign correspondent Imtiaz Tyab to discuss Sunday’s court ruling and widespread reactions to the controversy.
Americans Won’t ‘Vote for a Cheat’
Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) attempted to wave off any concerns on Sunday about former President Donald Trump’s push to install election-denying supporters into election supervisory positions, claiming that “it’s just not true” that these officials could impact final vote counts.
At the same time, Cassidy insisted that the American public won’t fall for Trump-backed candidates pushing the “Big Lie” at the ballot box. “The American people are not going to vote for a cheat,” he confidently proclaimed.
During an appearance on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday, Cassidy—who voted to convict Trump of impeachment for inciting the Jan. 6 insurrection—defended his decision not to support restoring parts of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, even though the Senate voted 98-0 to reauthorize the law just a decade ago.
“So the Supreme Court decided—the Supreme Court decided that the conditions in 1965 are different than they are now,” the Louisiana Republican replied. “Imagine that. We’ve had an African American elected president of the United States, an African American elected to the vice presidency, and an African American elected to the Senate in South Carolina. If anyone can’t see the circumstances have changed, they’re just not believing their lying eyes.”
CNN anchor Jake Tapper, meanwhile, noted that voting rights activists would argue that “discrimination and prejudices continue to exist” while pointing out that Republican legislations across the country are passing bills restricting voting access following Trump’s 2020 election loss.
“I don’t know what to say. This proves the system works,” Cassidy contended, adding that many Democratic-led states have more restrictive voting laws than Texas and Georgia, where recent restrictions were passed.
Tapper, however, reiterated that the influx of voting restriction bills and candidates peddling Trump’s baseless claims of widespread election fraud comes amid a coordinated push by the disgraced ex-president to make the “Big Lie” the GOP’s central issue.
“We did see Trump last night in Arizona trying to pressure legislators to decertify the 2020 election. On Friday, he called for an effort to get vote counters—more of them in office who are supporters of his,” the veteran anchor.
After airing a clip of the former president urging the GOP to be “tougher and smarter” on “counting the vote” by installing election deniers to election supervisory roles, Tapper pressed Cassidy on the rapid rise of election denialism within his party.
“We know what he means by ‘tougher and smarter,’ right? I get you don’t support the Democrats’ legislation. Let’s talk about another path forward,” the State of the Union moderator asked. “What do you support in order to secure our elections, to make sure there isn’t any fraud, but also they’re free and safe and that the efforts to disenfranchise that we saw in 2020 are not successful?”
Cassidy, for his part, asserted that “we are seeing the success of state and local government in protecting the election,” further stating that courts and judges rejected Trump-backed lawsuits to overturn election results.
As for election supervisors, the senator downplayed any role they would have in counting the votes.
“They don’t count the vote,” he declared. “It’s not some back room where you can either toss it out or keep it. It’s a public process in which both sides are represented, and there’s votes counted.”
Additionally, Cassidy—perhaps naively—expressed confidence that American voters wouldn’t support any candidate that openly supported the overturning election results or cheating at the ballot box.
“Lastly, I can imagine a campaign slogan, ‘Vote for me, I’m gonna cheat in the election.’ We should not underestimate the American people,” he said. “The American people are not going to vote for a cheat. If someone says I’m voting because I want to flip an election, they’re going to lose their election.”
Cassidy concluded: “And so I think we have to kind of give credit to the American people in the elections, in the process that we’ve gone to. Those ill intents didn’t pass, and as I pointed out in Georgia, they have more permissive laws than Delaware and New York.”
At his Arizona rally, Trump played a supercut of NY Attorney General Letitia James, who is investigating his real estate company for fraud, labeling her an ‘unhinged liberal’
New York Attorney General Letitia James is leading a civil fraud investigation into the Trump Organization’s business dealings.
During his rally in Arizona, Donald Trump claimed he did not know who she was.
In December, Trump filed a lawsuit against James, accusing her of harassing him with investigations.
On Saturday, former President Donald Trump held a rally in Florence, Arizona, where he played a supercut mocking New York Attorney General Letitia James, who is currently leading a fraud investigation into the Trump Organization.
“Keep our prosecutors out of politics because this could work very much in the other direction also, and all it takes is a few more votes and it’ll work in the other direction. And that would be very, very sad,” Trump said, before directing attendees to watch the video.
Clips showed James repeatedly calling Trump an “illegitimate president,” stating that prosecutors need to focus on following his money. In the final frame, “unhinged liberal” was superimposed over James’ face.
James’ probe is focused on whether Trump organization officials artificially inflated or deflated the value of properties for loan and tax purposes, respectively.
On December 1, James issued subpoenas to the former president’s eldest children, Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr.
Eric Trump, executive vice president of the Trump Organization, baselessly claimed that the investigation is “unconstitutional” during an interview with Sean Hannity on Monday.
“It violates the Consitution. It’s unethical. It’s wrong,” Eric Trump said. “This is what you’d expect from Russia. This is what you’d expect from Venezuela. This is third-rate stuff.”
Read the original article on Business Insider
Trump calls the Capitol Police officer who shot Ashli Babbitt a ‘disgrace’ and claims the FBI was behind the insurrection
Trump held his first rally of 2022 in Arizona on Saturday.
The former president spewed falsehoods about the January 6 insurrection in his speech.
Trump called the officer who fatally shot Ashli Babbitt a “disgrace” and an “out-of-control dope.”
Former President Donald Trump called the Capitol Police officer who shot and killed Ashli Babbitt during the January 6 riot at the US Capitol a “disgrace” and claimed the FBI was behind the insurrection.
In the first rally of the year in Florence, Arizona, Trump falsely claimed that Democrats wanted to “protect” the officer exonerated of wrongdoing in Babbitt’s killing following an internal investigation.
“I watched this guy being interviewed, they wanted to protect him so they wanted to keep him. He couldn’t get on television fast enough. The guy who shot Ashli Babbitt for no reason,” Trump said.
Trump called the officer an”out-of-control dope” and a “disgrace.”
“He’s so proud of himself. Let’s see how he could do without the protections that he got. And by the way, if that happened the other way around they’d be calling ‘let’s bring back the electric chair,'” Trump added, referencing Democrats.
Lt. Michael Byrd, a 28-year-veteran of the force, revealed his identity in an interview with NBC News in August, months after the insurrection.
Babbitt, who the night before the attack tweeted “Nothing will stop us. They can try and try and try but the storm is here and it is descending upon DC in less than 24 hours,” was shot while trying to climb through a shattered window in front of the Speaker’s Lobby.
Trump, however, went on to allege that the “real insurrection happened on Election Day” and alleged the FBI was behind the riot.
“They never talk about that crowd. They talk about the people that walked down to the Capitol. They don’t talk about the size of that crowd. I believe it was the largest crowd I’ve ever spoken [to] before and they were there to protest the election,” Trump said.
He added: “The fake news never talks about it. They never talk about it. Exactly how many of those present at the Capitol complex on January 6 were FBI confidential informants, agents, or otherwise directly or indirectly with an agency of the United States government. People want to hear this.”
Read the original article on Business Insider
Ex-Alabama quarterback Jay Barker, who is married to Sara Evans, charged with felony assault
Former Alabama quarterback Jay Barker was arrested early Saturday morning in Nashville and charged with felony aggravated assault.
Barker, 49, is being held in Davidson County on a $10,000 bond with one count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. His arrest booking report lists him by his full name of Harry Jerome Barker.
Barker was placed on a 12-hour hold for domestic violence, according to Davidson County Sheriff’s Office records.
Barker led Alabama to the 1992 national championship, including a victory over No. 1-ranked Miami in the Jan. 1, 1993, Sugar Bowl. He is the school’s all-time winningest quarterback with a 35-2-1 record as a starter, and won the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award in 1994 as a senior. He finished fifth in Heisman Trophy voting that year.
Barker was selected in the fifth round of the 1995 NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers but was cut from the roster. He spent time with the New England Patriots and Carolina Panthers as a backup but never played in a regular-season game.
Barker hosts a radio show carried on 100.9 FM in Tuscaloosa as its flagship station. He previously had a morning sports talk radio show with Al Del Greco and Tony Kurre on WJOX in Birmingham.
He has been married to country music singer Sara Evans since 2008, his second marriage. The couple was married in Franklin, Tennessee.
Barker’s son, Braxton Barker, was a walk-on backup quarterback at Alabama for the past four seasons. He announced recently that he is entering the transfer portal to leave for another school.
Tommy Deas contributed to this report.
This article originally appeared on Nashville Tennessean: Ex-Alabama QB Jay Barker, married to Sara Evans, charged with felony
Aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk departs Bremerton for Texas dismantling
BREMERTON — The USS Kitty Hawk, the nation’s last oil-fired aircraft carrier, departed Bremerton on Saturday for a 16,000-mile journey around South America for its ultimate fate: scrapping at a Texas shipyard.
Onlookers, many of them former sailors aboard the “Battle Cat,” watched as tugs pulled the rugged warship into Sinclair Inlet on a foggy Saturday morning. At more than 1,000 feet long, the Kitty Hawk won’t fit in the Panama Canal, so the warship will be tugged through the Strait of Magellan en route to Brownsville, Texas.
Corey Urband, a Navy veteran who became a machinist at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, was among those old sailors gathered to see it go. Many swapped stories of being thrust onto a Navy ship, put in charge of millions in equipment and the care of thousands of lives.
“As hard as life was on this ship, it’s part of my history,” said Urband, who served from 1992 to 1996 as a machinist’s mate. “While most people were graduating from high school and college, I was 30 feet below the waterline, halfway around the world from home.”
For Rich Bratlee, an electrician from Spanaway, the Kitty Hawk was an eye-opening rite of passage. The 6,000 sailors of the Kitty Hawk were double the size of his hometown in Montana.
“Quite a culture shock,” said Bratlee, who served from 1979-1983 and watched the ship depart Bremerton on Saturday. “I’ve come a long ways since being a kid on a farm.”
The massive ship had two escalators to help move around thousands of sailors more easily. Yet it never seemed to work well, sailors say. At times too many people would propel the escalator forward, spilling those at the bottom into a pileup.
“The were nothing but a pain,” Bratlee said.
The Kitty Hawk follows from Bremerton’s mothball fleet the USS Constellation, USS Independence and USS Ranger, which were all dismantled at the same place: International Shipbreaking Ltd. The company contracted for the warship, along with fellow carrier USS John F. Kennedy, for the stately price of one cent.
“The contract values reflect that the contracted company will benefit from the subsequent sale of scrap steel, iron, and non-ferrous metal ores,” said Alan Baribeau, a spokesman for the Naval Sea Systems Command.
The Kitty Hawk got a rare visit to one of the Navy’s only two carrier dry docks in 2021 so that its marine growth could be scraped off. Under an agreement with the state, Suquamish Tribe and other groups, the ship’s hull could not be cleaned in Sinclair Inlet after a previous carrier’s scrubbing sparked environmental concerns.
The Kitty Hawk participated in combat operations during the nation’s wars in Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq. The Kitty Hawk was also the fleet’s only permanently forward-deployed carrier in Yokosuka, Japan, from 1998 to 2008. It was decommissioned a year later and has been in mothballs in Bremerton until this year.
Five former aircraft carriers have been turned into museums, but the Kitty Hawk will not be one of them. Though many sailors and others advocated for its preservation, the Navy declined to pursue that course. Advocates worried that there will never be another carrier preserved for posterity, as those of the nuclear-powered era must be mangled to remove all radioactive remnants. The San Diego-ported USS Midway, a flattop that served from 1945 to 1992, was the last the Navy turned into a museum.
Kitty Hawk history: a timeline
1956: The keel is laid by New York Shipbuilding Corporation for the second ship named after Kitty Hawk, N.C., site of the Wright brothers’ first flight.
1961: The USS Kitty Hawk is commissioned in 1961 at Philadelphia Naval Shipyard.
1963: The “Battle Cat” conducts “experiments” to find out if the U2 high-altitude reconnaissance planes could land on a carrier.
1969: The flattop is awarded a presidential unit citation for its participation off Vietnam during the Tet Offensive.
1972: A race riot aboard the ship ended with almost 60 injured men and “initiated reforms in the Navy culture.”
1984: The carrier collides with a surfacing Russian submarine in the Tsushima Strait, leaving the sub’s propeller embedded in the carrier’s hull.
1992: Kitty Hawk supports Operation Restore Hope off Somalia.
1998: The warship pulls into Yokosuka, Japan, to serve as the forward-deployed carrier in the 7th Fleet.
2003: The carrier and its crew are a part of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
2009: The Kitty Hawk is decommissioned and brought to its new home at the Navy’s mothball fleet in Bremerton.
2017: The Navy announces the Kitty Hawk will be dismantled, disappointing sailors and others who called for the ship’s preservation as a museum.
2021: The Kitty Hawk’s hull is scraped in the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard to remove marine growth and prepare it for the journey to Texas.
2022: The ship departs Bremerton.
Josh Farley is a reporter covering the military and Bremerton for the Kitsap Sun. He can be reached at 360-792-9227, firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @joshfarley.
This article originally appeared on Kitsap Sun: Old carrier USS Kitty Hawk departs Bremerton for Texas dismantling
CNN Unearths Audio Of Kevin McCarthy Saying Trump Admitted Responsibility For Riot
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said days after the U.S. Capitol riot that then-President Donald Trump had admitted to him that he bore some responsibility for the violence that unfurled among his supporters on Jan. 6 last year.
“I say he has responsibility. He told me personally that he does have some responsibility. I think a lot of people do,” McCarthy said in a Jan. 12 interview with Bakersfield, California, radio station KERN that CNN’s “K-File” unearthed and released on Friday.
Listen to the audio here:
McCarthy reportedly made a similar claim about Trump taking responsibility for the riot in a Jan. 11 call to Republican lawmakers, per Reuters.
“I asked him personally today if he holds responsibility for what happened, if he feels bad about what happened. He told me he does have some responsibility for what happened,” the top House Republican reportedly said, although he’s since claimed he can’t recall saying it.
The resurfacing of the KERN interview audio is notable, given that Trump has never publicly admitted his role in inciting the storming of the Capitol (for which he was later impeached) and McCarthy has reasserted himself as a key Trump ally and refused to cooperate with the House select committee’s investigation into the riot.
Listen to McCarthy’s full interview on KERN Radio here:
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.
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