Atlanta Motor Speedway honors longtime motorsports reporter ‘Capt. Herb’ Emory

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Atlanta Motor Speedway’s media center is overflowing this weekend, with a number of reporters on scene to report on Tony Stewart’s return to NASCAR racing after missing the last three races following the Kevin Ward Jr. tragedy.

But two long-time figures around AMS are not there.

First is AMS marketing and public relations director Marcy Scott, who lost a long and valiant battle with cancer last November. The infield media center has been renamed in honor of Scott, who served the track for over a decade before falling ill.

And there is also an empty seat in the back corner of the media center that was filled for more than two decades by longtime Atlanta radio and TV reporter Capt. Herb Emory. A baseball cap marks Emory’s longtime seat at AMS this weekend.

Flying both helicopters and planes (hence how he earned the nickname of “Capt.”), Emory for years was the primary source of traffic news around Atlanta on WSB AM and FM radio, shepherding drivers around backups and accident scenes.

Emory, 61, passed away in April after suffering a massive heart attack..

Emory was also a long-time motorsports reporter, covering dozens of races at AMS as well as attending other races around the country, hosted a weekly racing show on WSB-AM for nearly 20 years, and was a yearly fixture on the annual preseason NASCAR Media Tour in Charlotte, N.C., in January.

True to his nature of always helping people, Emory died while assisting victims of a car crash that occurred in front of his suburban Atlanta home.

“That was Herb Emory,” Douglas County Commission Chairman Tom Worthan told the Atlanta Journal Constitution back in April shortly after Emory’s death. “Always serving his community.”

To honor Emory, AMS has painted a special “Capt. Herb” logo in the corner of the frontstretch and will hold a pre-race presentation to his widow, Karen Emory.

On a personal note, I knew Emory for close to 15 years. While we weren’t close, we had a number of conversations over the years and he was always both professional and friendly. He and Marcy Scott will continue to be missed for many, many years to come by members of the NASCAR media and the NASCAR community.

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

Ricciardo set to see Dale Jr.’s final Texas ride in two weeks (VIDEO)

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We’ve written before about Daniel Ricciardo’s love of Dale Earnhardt and his love of the No. 3, which Ricciardo has selected as his permanent number for the duration of his Formula 1 career. And additionally, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has offered up the opportunity that one day Ricciardo could race a JR Motorsports car in NASCAR Xfinity Series competition, and Ricciardo has said he’d be up for it.

And although Earnhardt Jr. has only used the No. 3 on a handful of occasions in his career in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Ricciardo knows how much the number means to the NASCAR veteran as he prepares for his final few starts in the Cup Series the tail-end of this year.

After the Mexican Grand Prix next week, Ricciardo is set to stay in North America for the off-week between the Mexican and Brazilian Grands Prix.

In that break, he said he’ll see Earnhardt Jr. in person at the Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway (Sunday, Nov. 5, 2 p.m. ET, NBCSN) to ensure he gets to see him before he retires from full-time competition.

Ricciardo explained his planning during Thursday’s pre-race edition of the NBC Sports Group original digital series Paddock Pass, speaking to NBCSN’s Will Buxton at the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas in Austin.

“Well I’ll see him for the first time in Dallas. I’m gonna go to the NASCAR race in two weeks time at Texas Motor Speedway,” Ricciardo told NBCSN.

“Yeah, so, I gotta see him race before he hangs up the helmet.

“The Earnhardt family is a huge name in motorsport, not only in America but all over the world. Yeah I wish him well.”

Ricciardo is also optimistic he’ll get the chance to do a helmet swap with Earnhardt Jr. at the event.

“Hopefully I get to see him perform well in Texas. I’m gonna try to do a helmet swap with him. We’ll see how we go.”

Stay tuned for more on this over the coming weeks.