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Johnson & Knaus relationship now solid



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.


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College Student Dead After Frat’s Diabolical ‘Underground Fight Club’




On November 19, Nathan Valencia, a 20-year-old Las Vegas college junior and fraternity member, fought a member of another campus fraternity in the “main event” of an annual boxing match.

According to an Instagram flyer leading up to Kappa Sigma Fight Night, proceeds for the annual event were supposed to support Center Ring Boxing, a youth boxing club in Las Vegas.

But the friendly match quickly turned tragic.

According to KLAS-TV, Valencia, a member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, collapsed shortly after his bout. Four days later, the outlet reported, he was dead.

His family told the outlet that Valencia suffered brain injuries that led to his death in a hospital.

Joe Castro, a friend of Valencia’s who witnessed the fight, described the atmosphere to KLAS-TV as an “underground fight club” and said Valencia decided to participate in the event even though he had zero boxing experience.

Castro said that at some point Valencia collapsed and a brawl broke out. He said that amid the chaos, Valencia received no medical help. “I saw no medical, no doctors, nothing,” Castro said.

The referee appeared to be poorly trained, and Valencia received several fatal blows as the crowd kept cheering, a boxing expert told KLAS-TV after reviewing footage of the fight.

11 Indicted in Fraternity Pledge’s ‘Tragic’ Hazing Death

Nicholas Lasso, an attorney representing Valencia’s family, told The Daily Beast in a statement that a “preliminary investigation” revealed that “mistakes were made and safety precautions overlooked.”

“College students should not be placed in a situation where they are pitted against each other for combat,” Lasso said. “We will leave no stone unturned to determine how a 20 year old ended up in a school-sanctioned amateur fight that cost him his life.”

In a statement on Friday, Keith Whitfield, President of UNLV, put some distance between the university and the event, calling the boxing match an “off-campus event intended to raise money.”

Whitfield did not take responsibility for the event and its safety precautions, but said the university would be reviewing the incident to determine how future off-campus events can be “as safe as possible.”

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department is investigating the incident. The police department did not respond to a request for comment.

A GoFundMe page raising money for Valencia’s funeral expenses said Valencia died on Nov. 23, days before his 21st birthday.

The page described Valencia as having a smile that “lit up every room he walked into.” It also described him as an active member of his fraternity. “He had so much love for his chapter and valued the genuine connections he was able to make.”

As of Saturday afternoon the page had raised nearly $46,000 for Valencia’s family.

The Kappa Sigma chapter of the university did not respond to a request for comment. In an Instagram post, the Sigma Alpha Epsilon chapter that Valencia was part of expressed condolences to his family. The chapter did not respond to a request for comment.

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NASA launches new mission to defend Earth



NASA launches new mission to defend Earth


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Eye Opener: New COVID variant discovered in South Africa



Eye Opener: New COVID variant discovered in South Africa


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Washington State pummels Washington 40-13 in Apple Cup



SEATTLE (AP) — Travell Harris rode on the shoulders of the crimson fans that engulfed the field. Jayden de Laura waived a version of Ol’ Crimson before spiking the unmistakable flag into the turf field.

Even Butch, the Washington State mascot, took his turn crowd surfing on the field at Husky Stadium.

After seven straight losses to its rivals, Washington State had a celebration to remember after the most lopsided Cougars’ victory in the history of the rivalry matchup against Washington.

“It’s special. Coug Nation deserves it, this team deserved it, the seniors deserved it,” Washington State running back Max Borghi said. “I can’t really put words into it yet, it hasn’t really sunk in. But holding that Apple Cup trophy is something we’ve all dreamt about and it was incredible.”

Borghi rushed for 129 yards and two touchdowns, and Washington State handed Washington a 40-13 defeat in the Apple Cup on Friday night.

The Cougars snapped a seven-game losing streak to their rivals, picking up their first win in the series since 2012 and first at Husky Stadium since 2007.

And the Cougars (7-5, 6-3 Pac-12) did it in grand, record-setting fashion with a dominant and complete thumping that left those in crimson rushing the field to celebrate while those clad in purple made an early move to the exits.

The 27-point margin of victory topped the previous high of 26 points when Washington State won 52-26 in 1973, a game also played in Seattle.

“This win, it wasn’t just for us,” Washington State linebacker Justus Rogers said. “It was for the people that came before us, the teams that came before us that I’ve been a part of as well.”

Borghi scored on a 32-yard touchdown run on Washington State’s opening possession and set the tone for the night. He added a 1-yard TD run in the third quarter and only the Cougars’ inability to finish drives in the first half kept the game from being even more one-sided.

De Laura hit 21 of his first 22 pass attempts and finished 27 of 32 for 245 yards. Dean Janikowski kicked four field goals for Washington State as well.

The victory may have locked up the head coaching position permanently for interim head coach Jake Dickert, who was already receiving significant support for the job he’s done in the wake of Nick Rolovich being fired in mid-October. The Cougars went 3-2 in Dickert’s five games in charge.

And there could still be one more game to come besides a bowl trip for Washington State. If Oregon State can beat Oregon on Saturday it will be the Cougars as the Pac-12 North representative opposite Utah in the Pac-12 championship game next Friday in Las Vegas.

“They’ve given me everything they can and they stay together and they trusted each other. They’ve kept believing,” Dickert said. “It’s very fitting for these guys to go out there and to enjoy this moment to bring the Apple Cup back home.”

Washington (4-8, 3-6) capped its worst season since going winless in 2008. The Huskies were already assured of a losing record after last week’s loss at Colorado and their performance against the Cougars was bland and at times lifeless.

Highly-touted Washington freshman quarterback Sam Huard made his first start of the season as Dylan Morris was relegated to spectator for the season finale. Fans have called for Huard as the offensive struggles have continued all season.

Huard was put into a tough position and his performance matched his inexperience. Huard threw four interceptions, the last one a deflection that should have been caught by Devin Culp and was returned 28 yards by Armani Marsh for a touchdown, his second interception of the game.

Huard finished 17 of 31 passing or 190 yards. He threw the first touchdown of his career as Rome Odunze made a terrific catch for a 16-yard TD early in the fourth quarter.

“It’s been a crazy season,” Washington running back Sean McGrew said. “It would have been nice to end on a positive note but (stuff) happens and can’t change it now. It’s definitely sad.”


Washington’s streak of holding opponents under 36 points came to an end at 86. The last team to score 36 or more against Washington was UCLA in a 44-30 loss to the Bruins in 2014. It was the longest active streak in the country.


Washington State: It was the 12th time in the history of the Apple Cup the Cougars won by double figures and the first double-digit winner since 23-6 in 1994. Washington State’s last six wins in the series had all been by seven points or less. … Washington State led 13-7 at halftime, its first halftime lead in the Apple Cup since 2013.

Washington: The Huskies are facing a major rebuild whoever ends up with the head coaching job after the firing of Jimmy Lake. Washington started the season in the AP Top 25 and will end with four straight losses.


Washington State: The Cougars will wait to find out if they’re playing in the Pac-12 title game or if a bowl game is their next stop.

Washington: The Huskies are scheduled to open next season at home vs. Kent State.


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Beautiful sunsets across the US bring a thankful close to Thanksgiving



The Daily Beast

The War on Thanksgiving Is America at Its Worst

GettyThe culture war doesn’t take Thanksgiving week off, and its two main participants aren’t big on giving thanks, anyway.The illiberal left wants to radically transform an inherently evil America that was founded on slavery and colonialism. The post-liberal right wants to forfeit the idea of liberal democracy, contending that modern America is weak, secular, and decadent.Let’s start with the left. On Tuesday, the Women’s March issued an apology for sending out an email noting that their averag


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Canadian man who traveled to Texas for Cowboys Game missing, last seen in Deep Ellum



A 29-year-old Canadian man has been reported missing after traveling to Texas to see the Dallas Cowboys game on Thursday. According to a social media post by the man’s wife, he never showed up to the game.

Aaron Tschritter was last seen on Thursday leaving the Vinty Club, at 2810 Elm St. in Deep Ellum, around 3 a.m., his wife Melissa said in a social media post Friday. He was not in his hotel in the morning and did not show up for the game in the afternoon, she said.

Tschritter is 5 feet 10 inches tall and about 190 pounds with short brown hair and hazel eyes. He has a birthmark on his right forearm.

Tschritter has uncharacteristically made no contact with family and his phone is going straight to voicemail, his wife said. His family has checked his location, credit card statements and called 10 area hospitals for him with no luck, according to the post.

“We need everyone in Dallas to see his face,” Melissa said in her Instagram story Friday afternoon. “I need someone to come forward with a tip so we can trace his steps.”

A police report has been filed with the Dallas Police Department.

On Friday, Melissa Tschritter posted on her Instagram story about her husband Aaron’s disappearance.


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How could U.S. respond to new COVID-19 variant?



Some governments have already started imposing travel restrictions because of a new potentially dangerous COVID-19 variant detected in South Africa. Britain has banned flights from South Africa and other neighboring countries, and Israel and Singapore also announced tighter border restrictions in response to the latest threat. CBS News chief White House correspondent Nancy Cordes joined CBSN to discuss a possible U.S. response.


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