NASCAR driver Daryl Harr teams up with former NFL kicker in anti-bullying campaign

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Nationwide Series competitor Daryl Harr has become the first NASCAR driver to get involved in a major anti-bullying campaign.

Harr will work with former NFL kicker Nick Lowery to speak out against bullying, and it appears that a program targeted around NASCAR events will be taking shape.

“We know that clinical psychologists agree that part of the reason that the tragedy at Columbine and other school shootings has happened has sometimes been preceded by a toxic environment where the varsity athletes were the only ‘cool’ ones in school and sometimes made others feel unimportant and damaged their sense of value,” Harr said in a press release.

“Nick and I want to help varsity athletes all over NASCAR Country stand up for the marginalized kids in the shadows of schools. That’s what Nick and I will be doing in schools in NASCAR communities.”

Lowery enjoyed a 19-year-career playing for the Patriots, Jets, and Chiefs; in fact, he is still the all-time leading scorer in the Chiefs’ history. But he has also distinguished himself off the field as well.

In addition to holding a graduate degree from Harvard, Lowery played a role in launching Americorps for former President Bill Clinton and The Points of Light Foundation for former President George H.W. Bush. He also received the NFL’s top humanitarian award, the Justice Byron “Whizzer” White Award, in 1993.

His Nick Lowery Youth Foundation has created multiple youth leadership programs and puts an emphasis on getting varsity athletes across the country to do their part in breaking the culture of bullying.

Neuville wins Rally Australia; Ogier takes FIA WRC title

Sebastien Ogier. Photo: Getty Images
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COFFS HARBOUR, Australia (AP) Belgium’s Thierry Neuville won Rally Australia by 22.5 seconds on Sunday as torrential rain added drama to the last day of the last race of the World Rally Championship season.

Neuville entered the final day with an almost 20 second advantage after inheriting the rally lead Saturday when his Hyundai teammate, defending champion Andreas Mikkelsen crashed and was forced to retire for the day.

His lead was halved by Jari-Matti Latvala early Sunday as monsoon-like rain made conditions treacherous on muddy forest stages on the New South Wales coast. The rain stopped on the short Wedding Bells stage where Neuville was almost 5 seconds quicker than his rivals, stretching his lead to 14.7 seconds entering the last stage.

COFFS HARBOUR, AUSTRALIA – NOVEMBER 17: Thierry Neuville of Belgium and Nicolas Gilsoul of Belgium compete in their Hyundai Motorsport WRT Hyundai i20 coupe WRC during Day One of the WRC Australia on November 17, 2017 in COFFS HARBOUR, Australia. (Photo by Massimo Bettiol/Getty Images)

That stage was full of incident. The driver’s door on Neuville’s Hyundai i20 coupe swung open in the middle of the stage and Neuville had to slam it closed as he approached a corner.

Latvala’s Toyota then crashed seconds from the end of the stage, allowing Estonia’s Ott Tanak, in a Ford, to take second place overall and New Zealalnd’s Haydon Paddon, in a Hyundai, to sneak into third.

Sebastian Ogier was fourth after winning the final, power stage but the Frenchman had already clinched his fifth world title before Rally Australia began. Neuville’s win was his fourth of the season, two more than Ogier, and was enough to give him second place in world drivers’ standings for the third time in five years.

Ogier owed his drivers’ title to his consistency: he retired only once and finished no worse than fifth all season.

Neuville admitted the last day was touch and go as the rain made some stages perilous, forcing the cancellation of the second to last stage.

“That was a hell of a ride,” Neuville said. “Really, really tricky conditions.

“I kept the car on the road but it was close sometimes. I knew I could make a difference but I had to be clever. You lose grip, you lose control and the car doesn’t respond to your input.”