Donovan McNabb takes part in NASCAR festivities at Fontana

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Shortly after Jimmie Johnson won his sixth Sprint Cup last fall at Homestead-Miami Speedway, former NFL quarterback Donovan McNabb became Public Enemy No. 1 in NASCAR Nation when he claimed that Johnson wasn’t a true athlete on a Fox Sports 1 studio show.

Johnson took the putdown largely in stride, even if he allowed himself a nod to the McNabb incident in December when he tweeted that his third-place showing in voting for the Associated Press’ Male Athlete of the Year was “not bad for a non-athlete.”

But it appears that the matter is water under the bridge now, as McNabb himself has dropped in on today’s Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway in Southern California.

The ex-Philadelphia Eagle was in attendance for today’s pre-race drivers’ meeting, as shown by this Instagram video from USA Today’s Jeff Gluck.

Video: Donovan McNabb intro'd at drivers meeting.

A post shared by Jeff Gluck (@jeff_gluck) on

NASCAR vice president of competition Robin Pemberton made sure to make note of McNabb’s presence, as Gluck’s colleague and NBCSN contributor Nate Ryan reports:

NASCAR.com’s Zack Albert also writes that McNabb was given a pace car ride on the two-mile Fontana oval by Michael Waltrip Racing’s Clint Bowyer, who will start fifth in today’s main event.

Albert says the two actually swapped seats during the experience, with McNabb claiming he hit 130 miles per hour behind the wheel. Bowyer, ever the wise-cracker, responded: “It’s a good thing you’re an athlete, ’cause you’re not worth a damn as a driver.”

And of course, McNabb and Johnson had a chat with each other as well, with NASCAR.com’s Holly Cain tweeting a photo for posterity.

All is forgiven? It would seem that way…

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.”