Former NASCAR owner Charles ‘Hoss’ Ellington dies

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You could put together one heck of an all-star team of drivers who drove during their careers for NASCAR team owner Charles “Hoss” Ellington.

Among those notables who called Ellington “boss” at some point of their careers were NASCAR Hall of Famers Fred Lorenzen, David Pearson and Cale Yarborough, four-time Indy 500 winner A.J. Foyt, two-time Indy 500 winner Gordon Johncock, Buddy Baker, Bobby Isaac, Benny Parsons, Davey Allison, Donnie Allison, Kyle Petty, Sterling Marlin and Dale Jarrett.

Ellington, who earned five wins in his career as a team owner (four by Allison and the other by Pearson) from 1968 to 1988, passed away Friday. The Wilmington, N.C. native was 79.

Allison had the longest tenure with Ellington, making 55 starts (Ellington’s teams made 264 Grand National and Winston Cup starts during his 21-year ownership tenure).

Allison was racing for Ellington when one of the most infamous moments in NASCAR annals occurred.

In the closing stages of the 1979 Daytona 500 – which, with more than one-third of the country paralyzed by a massive snowstorm, was televised nationally live for the first time – Allison was leading the race when his car and that of Yarborough’s got together on the backstretch, resulting in a race-ending wreck for both of them.

Richard Petty went on to win the race, but Allison and Yarborough became involved in a fistfight in the infield, with Donnie’s brother and NASCAR Hall of Famer Bobby Allison, also becoming involved in one of the most celebrated fights in NASCAR history.

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Sage Karam, Tony Kanaan fastest in Monday’s practice for Indy 500

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In the second-to-last practice session of the week, Sage Karam paced the 33 drivers qualified for Sunday’s Indianapolis 500 on Monday.

Karam had a field-best speed of 226.461 mph, followed by Tony Kanan (225.123 mph), Ryan Hunter-Reay (224.820), Charlie Kimball (224.582) and Alexander Rossi (224.507).

Sixth through 10th fastest were Will Power (224.445), Helio Castroneves (224.368), Marco Andretti (224.148) and rookie Zachary Claman Demelo (224.91) and Scott Dixon (223.966).

Power and Castroneves ran the most laps of all drivers at 120 and 118, respectively.

Two other Team Penske drivers struggled to get speed out of their cars. Defending Verizon IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden was 28th-fastest (221.982 mph) and Simon Pagenaud, who was the slowest (220.902 mph) of the 33 cars on-track.

Pole sitter Ed Carpenter was 14th-fastest with a best speed of 223.573 mph in a 100-lap effort.

Most drivers were in race trim or were testing things for Sunday’s Greatest Spectacle In Racing such as fuel mileage, chassis setup and more.

Rookie Matheus Leist missed most of the session with an apparent electrical problem that kept him to just 19 laps.

There was one incident of note during the 3 ½ hour session: IndyCar rookie Robert Wickens crashed coming out of Turn 2 during the first hour of practice.

Wickens appeared to skim the outside SAFER Barrier, went left and then violently turned hard back into the outside retaining wall.

MORE: Wickens wrecks during Indy 500 practice

The Honda-powered machine for the Canadian driver suffered heavy damage to the right side, particularly the right front tire and the right side of the front end.

There will be no further on-track activity for the Indy cars until Friday’s final practice to fine tune things for Sunday’s 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500.

We’ll have the full practice speed chart, as well as What Drivers Said, shortly. Please check back soon.

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