A.J. Foyt, Pro Football Hall of Famer Joe Namath swap helmets (VIDEO)

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Situated in Alabama, Barber Motorsports Park has the ability to use the state’s rich sports history in order to help promote its various races.

The road course outside Birmingham has brought in Alabama sports luminaries such as Charles Barkley, Bart Starr, and Bo Jackson to be Grand Marshal for its Verizon IndyCar Series races in the past.

And for this year’s running, the honor has gone to Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback “Broadway Joe” Namath, who led the Alabama Crimson Tide to the 1964 National Championship – five years before he followed through on his guarantee of victory at Super Bowl III with the New York Jets.

As part of his pre-race rounds, Namath met up with another legend in four-time Indianapolis 500 champion and current Verizon IndyCar Series team owner A.J. Foyt.

The two swapped helmets, with Foyt receiving an autographed ‘Bama football helmet with Namath’s famous No. 12…

…and Namath receiving an autographed 1960s racing helmet trimmed in Coyote Orange and bearing the message “It’s hell getting old!”

Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing driver Josef Newgarden also showed Namath the technology behind the steering wheel on his No. 67 Honda…

…and then, the two joined with a chef from Taste of the South magazine for a cooking demonstration.

“To meet people that I was a fan of growing up, starting with A.J., is something else,” Namath told INDYCAR.com. “To see the young guys such as Josef Newgarden out there doing their thing surrounded by the teams…It’s amazing what they do in these super race cars.”

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.”