Sports

Colts in Jacksonville Thursday Night

November 7th, 2012 at 6:08 am by under Sports, Weather

Kickoff is at 8:20 for the Colts Thursday night in Jacksonville.  It will be cool by Florida standards, but mild by ours!  Temps will be in the 50s during the game.  It should be a dry evening.


April 12th, 2012 at 5:24 pm by under Sports

Editor’s note: WISH-TV Sports Reporter Chris Widlic shares his thoughts on a surprise phone call from former Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning.

By Chris Widlic

Peyton Manning’s departure from Indianapolis changes the dynamic for the Colts, but it hasn’t changed Peyton Manning.

I received an interesting phone call late Thursday afternoon. When I picked up, the voice on the other end said, “Chris, this is Peyton Manning.” It was a bit startling.

All eight years I covered his games with the Colts, and all the hundreds of pre and postgame interviews we did with him, it never really got so personal as exchanging phone numbers. But Manning and the local media never had a chance to say thanks, or even goodbye. This was it.

Peyton said it’s been such a whirlwind, he’s been very busy, but wanted to say how much he appreciated our relationship and how much he enjoyed our professionalism and working with us. I told him it was my pleasure. Seeing him and his team make that great run over the past decade was a thrill, coming from the football fan in me.

He said he’ll miss the relationships he made with us here, but I told him he wasn’t finished with us yet — we’ll still be around to cover some of his games. I also told him I was happy to see him continue his career with my home team in Denver, and he laughed.

Manning has and always will handle himself with class.


Meet The Drivers

May 24th, 2011 at 6:22 pm by under Sports

One thing I get asked a lot is “where can I meet the drivers?”

There are plenty of opportunities during the Month of May, but not all of them are publicized on a wide scale.

So for the next couple of weeks, I will try and keep you updated on where and when you can meet your favorite drivers.

One of my favorite places to say hello to the drivers is Mike King’s Indy Live radio show.

After years of the show taking place at the Brickyard Crossing dining room, this year, the show has moved to the Firestone Service Center on Crawfordsville Road just west of the Speedway.

Each Tuesday and Thursday The Voice of the 500 hosts the show, and he always has top notch guests.

Tonight, it’s John Andretti, Marco Andretti and Davey Hamilton, at 7:00 P.M.

Then in the second half hour, Mike will be joined by Danica Patrick, Ryan Hunter-Reay, and rookies Pippa Mann and Charlie Kimball.

So grab one of your outdoor chairs from the garage and head over to Firestone tonight at 7:00 P.M. for the show.


Meet The Drivers

May 17th, 2011 at 10:41 am by under Sports

One thing I get asked a lot is “where can I meet the drivers?”

There are plenty of opportunities during the Month of May, but not all of them are publicized on a wide scale.

So for the next couple of weeks, I will try and keep you updated on where and when you can meet your favorite drivers.

One of my favorite places to say hello to the drivers is Mike King’s Indy Live radio show.

After years of the show taking place at the Brickyard Crossing dining room, this year, the show has moved to the Firestone Service Center on Crawfordsville Road just west of the Speedway.

Each Tuesday and Thursday The Voice of the 500 hosts the show, and he always has top notch guests.

Tonight, it’s KV Racing Technology night, at 7:00 P.M. You can meet Takuma Sato, E.J. Viso, and Tony Kanaan.

Then in the second half hour, Mike will be joined by Tomas Scheckter, J.R. Hildebrand and the 2004 Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Rice.

So grab one of your outdoor chairs from the garage and head over to Firestone tonight at 7:00 P.M. for the show.


Rainy Days And Sundays

May 15th, 2011 at 5:28 pm by under Sports

Not exactly the start to the Month Of May I was hoping for.

Rain is such a drag. When there’s a rainout, I always feel bad for those of us who live for the Month of May, because especially now with the shortened schedule, each minute of track time is precious.

Unfortunately, as “Mother Nature” is apt to do during May, rain has interrupted Opening Weekend.

That doesn’t mean there wasn’t any fun to be had at the Brickyard.

The Celebration of Automobiles was simply amazing. I didn’t get to see all of the cars, but the ones I saw were incredible. What’s neat for me is to see the pride in the owner’s faces when someone stops to talk with them, or take a picture of their classic car.

Getting to see Parnelli Jones and Danny Sullivan was a thrill. Parnelli, the 1963 Indianapolis 500 winner is a staple every year in May, I admire his dedication in coming back to the Brickyard every year. Sullivan doesn’t get back as often, but he was highly entertaining during his on-stage talk with the outstanding Kevin Lee.

The most unusual thing I saw on opening day involved one of my favorite people in the world, Penske Racing’s Will Power.

Will rode his bike from the garage area over to the Pagoda area to check out the new Dallara concept cars.

While he was checking out the designs, and doing an interview with Kevin Lee, one of the “Yellow Shirts” actually confiscated his bike, and took it inside the media center entrance.

When I caught up with Will, he was looking around for his bike, before someone finally got it out of lockup for him.

Will took the whole thing with his usual smile, despite the fact that he wasn’t allowed to ride the bike back to the garage. Instead, one of the “yellow shirts” drove Will and the bike back to Gasoline Alley on a golf cart.

I also ran into the absolutely delightful Katherine Legge. The former Champ Car driver had a huge smile on her face, and for good reason, as she’s closing in on a deal to run some IndyCar Series races later this year. “Kat” didn’t want to let out too many details during my brief talk with her, but clearly she’s on to something, and she would be a welcome addition to the series.

It was great to see Ed Carpenter and Sarah Fisher Racing top the speed charts on Saturday. Sarah is really doing things the right way in building her team, and the added intrigue with their #57 car will keep them in the news all week.

If we can keep the rain away.


The Right Call

May 5th, 2011 at 9:04 pm by under Sports

I don’t know Donald Trump, I’ve never met him, but I’ve seen him on TV (to paraphrase the commercial).

He’s a unique self-promoter who has a heck of a lot more money in his checking account than I do.

But he should have never been in the running to drive the pace car for the Indianapolis 500.

This is the Greatest Sporting Event In The World, not WrestleMania.

(And before the WWF/WWE fans protest, I have nothing against the WWE, in fact, I’ve been known to want to “RKO” plenty of people in my day.)

The 100th Anniversary of the Indianapolis 500 is special to many people, especially me, and A.J. Foyt, (or Al Unser, or Rick Mears, or Gordon Johncock, or Jacques Villeneuve, or any 500 driver you want to trot out) , would be a better choice than Trump.

I understand Trump is a media sensation, he gets people talking, and usually I’d say, ANYTHING that gets more eyeballs on the “500″ is fine by me.

But this year is special.

It’s the 100th Anniversary.

Think about that.

When the first “500″ happened, the Titanic was still unsinkable, the Red Sox weren’t playing in Fenway Park and nobody had ever heard of Babe Ruth.

Donald Trump has no business filling the seat once held by Carl Fisher, the visionary who gave us the Speedway, and Wilbur Shaw, the visionary who saved it from ruin.

Indy 500 winners have driven the pace car, so has a World War I flying ace and the man who broke the sound barrier.

Eddie Rickenbacker, Chuck Yeager, Donald Trump.

As Sesame Street would say, one of these things is not like the other.

 


Preserving History

May 4th, 2011 at 6:19 pm by under Sports

It’s finally May, easily my favorite month of the year, and even more so this time around.

That’s because this is the 100th Anniversary of my favorite sporting event, the Indianapolis 500.

The best part about this year’s 500 for me, is that there will be plenty of talk about history and drivers from the past, which is right up my alley.

I make no bones about the fact that I am an Indianapolis 500 “history geek”, so having a Centennial Celebration highlighting the great drivers and races of the past is right in my wheelhouse.

Another great part of May kicked off on Monday, with the return of The Talk of Gasoline Alley, hosted by a true treasure, Donald Davidson on 1070 The Fan in Indianapolis.

If you’re not familiar with the show, the format is pretty simple, Indianapolis Motor Speedway historian Donald Davidson takes listener questions “of a nostalgic nature”.

Donald is a truly remarkable man, with an amazing memory, that has dazzled radio audiences for decades. He first wowed fans with his knowledge of Indianapolis 500 facts on the Speedway Radio Network in 1964, and has been a staple ever since.

I’ve had the honor of speaking with him on several occasions, and you won’t meet a finer person.

He has been unbelievably kind to me and is a big reason for my passion for the 500, which I will always appreciate.

The best part about the show is, you can call in, and ask about a driver of the past (preferably the long-past) and have your question answered live on the air.

The show has been on 1070-AM continuously since 1971, outlasting the station’s change from WIBC-AM to WFNI-AM, and has almost a “community” feel to it.

You can always to expect to hear “regular” callers Jerry from Delphi, Mike from Vernon Hills, Illinois, and the now-legendary Dave from Marion, who delights listeners every year with his calls.

It’s a nightly step-back-in-time that’s well worth your time every night.

The only disappointment about this year’s show is that we have to wait an extra 2 hours to hear it. After 40 years, the show has been moved from 6:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M., but it’s still going strong.

I invite you to call in, and ask about Eldon Rasmussen, or Bill Spence, Milton Jones, or perhaps Alberto Ascari. You will be glad you did.

Preceding the program, is Trackside with Curt Cavin and Kevin Lee, which focuses on the present-day issues involving the Izod IndyCar Series. “Cavin and Kevin” are true professionals who bring inside information every night. It’s a great show, that you can’t miss if you’re an IndyCar fan.

 

 

 

 


A Wild Weekend

April 20th, 2011 at 7:09 pm by under Sports

As the calendar creeps closer to May (not nearly fast enough for me), it’s time to look back at a wild weekend of racing, and look ahead to a historic Month of May.

NASCAR – Jimmie Johnson wins at Talladega with a last-lap pass. Unfortunately the whole race wasn’t as exciting as the finish. The 2-by-2 tandem racing that has taken over at Daytona and Talladega has simply got to go. Talladega and Daytona used to be “must-see” TV. Even if you weren’t a fan of the “restrictor-plate pack racing”, you had to watch, because you simply never knew what you were going to see. Now the excitement of 4 and 5 wide racing has been replaced by this tandem mess. If you haven’t seen it, (you haven’t missed much), but to put it simply, one car pushes another car around the track for a few laps, then, the cars switch, and car “A” starts pushing car “B” for a while.

As Dale Earnhardt once said, “Do you want to race, or not?”.

IndyCar-   Mike Conway capped off another amazing comeback Sunday, by taking home the Long Beach Grand Prix. Conway joins Will Power in the list of drivers who have come back from a serious crash, to land in victory lane the next year. Conway and Power actually are both reserved guys, who do their talking on the track. Speaking of Power, it was incredible to see his teammate Helio Castroneves punt him late in the race. I’ve never seen Helio more down, as I did in the post-race interview where he took the blame for the clearly avoidable contact.

Next up for IndyCar is the race in Brazil, before returning for the 100th Anniversary edition of the Indianapolis 500.

Speaking of the “500″. I will be using this space extensively over the next 6 weeks to talk about the anniversary edition. We’ll take a look back at some of the great moments in “500″ history, and preview some of the big events on this year’s schedule.

Should be an amazing month.

Is it May yet?

 

 

 

 


First-class March Madness

March 20th, 2011 at 11:13 am by under Sports

Who knew it was possible to pack that much drama, devastation and sheer delight into the final 2.2 seconds of any sporting event?

Butler sophomore Andrew Smith hit – what everyone at the Verizon Center assumed – would be the game-winning bucket with just over two seconds to play in Saturday’s slug-fest between No. 8 Butler and No. 1 Pittsburgh in the third round of the N.C.A.A. Tournament.

As it turns out, there was still a lot more basketball left to play.

With 1.4 seconds remaining, Shelvin Mack committed what he called “probably the worst foul in Butler history” on Pittsburgh’s Gilbert Brown near mid-court.

The feeling of shock and disbelief on Butler’s bench was palpable from where I was sitting 50 feet away.

“Once the call was made, I realized that was the dumbest mistake of my life,” Mack said.

His record setting 30-point performance (that’s seven points more than any Butler player has scored in any N.C.A.A. Tournament game) almost became a footnote in last night’s epic finish.

“I’m like – ‘you’ve gotta be kidding me,’” said Butler freshman Khyle Marshall.  “We make a big play on the offensive end and then we’re gonna mess it up at half-court…My mind was just everywhere.  I can’t believe all this work is about to go to waste.”

Gilbert Brown was the best Pittsburgh player on the floor Saturday night. He shoots 78-percent from the charity stripe and had yet to miss a free throw the entire evening.  But the very last one he took – the most important one – appeared to be going in and then inexplicably rimmed out.  Howard grabbed the rebound and the rest is history.

“I knew we didn’t’ have any timeouts,” said the senior star.  “I had the ball, my reaction was to look up court and I felt his arm come across me so I just threw the ball towards the rim.”

The officials called a foul on Nasir Robinson, and the dumbest foul in Butler history was one-upped by the dumbest foul in Pittsburgh history.  So with the game tied at 70 and 0.8 seconds remaining, Howard stepped to the line.

“I honestly felt really calm about it,” Howard said.   “Coach just told me to make the first one and miss the second one on purpose.  So that’s what I went up and did.”

“It was the craziest two minutes of my life,” Mack said.  “You go from the very bottom – almost costing your team the season, to getting another possession and Matt saving me with his free throw.”

For the second time in as many games Howard scored the final bucket, in the final second, to breathe life into Butler’s postseason and extend his college career for at least another five days.

“Everything that kid does – he’s made Butler better,” head coach Brad Stevens said.  “Like how many guys can say that?  He has made a whole university better, and I respect him a great deal for that.”

Apart from the empathy you feel for Pittsburgh (and you should feel empathetic when you consider the Panthers shot 56 percent, out-rebounded Butler 31-21…and still lost) there is one other thing that’s too bad about last night.  Those two egregious fouls in the final 2.2 seconds will forever define a game that should rank among one of the greatest ever played because of the first 39 minutes and 57.8 seconds.

Andrew Smith had made just one field goal all night until he hit the go-ahead bucket in the final two seconds.  Matt Howard drew more offensive fouls than Big Baby Davis does at the TD Banknorth Garden.  Freshman Khyle Marshall played like a senior, and defensive guru Ronald Nored shut down Ashton Gibbs – one of the hottest shooters in the country coming into last night’s game.  Those are just a few note-worthy story lines doomed to be overlooked.

Somehow though, I have the feeling that’s quite all right with the Dogs.

Butler will face No. 4 Wisconsin in the Sweet 16 next Thursday in New Orleans.

I think Zach Hahn summed things up nicely last night when I asked him to quantify what the last three days has been like for this team.

“It’s just a really great time to be a Butler Bulldog.”


The Return Of Engine Competition

November 10th, 2010 at 4:19 pm by under Sports

A majority of IndyCar fans have wanted engine manufacturer competition since Toyota pulled out of the series, leaving Honda as the sole engine supplier.

On Friday, it appears they will get their wish.

24 Hour News 8 has learned that it’s expected that General Motors will announce their intentions to rejoin the Izod IndyCar Series as an engine manufacturer at a news conference at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum Friday.

Chevrolet engines were used in the Indianapolis 500 for several years in the late 1980′s, winning the Greatest Spectacle in Racing from 1988 until 1993 and again in 2002. Oldsmobile engines also won the “500″ five times from 1997 until 2001.