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  • NASCAR allows franchise system to give team owners value (The Associated Press)

    NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France speaks during a news conference in Charlotte, N.C., Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016. NASCAR announced a new charter system for team owners. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

    NASCAR announced a dramatic overhaul of its business model Tuesday, shifting to a franchise-like system that is intended to provide actual value and financial stability to team owners after decades of heavy reliance on sponsors. The change gets away from the independent contractor model that had been used since NASCAR's 1948 inception. ''This is a very complicated agreement, to sort out, with 60 years of history doing business in a certain way,'' NASCAR chairman Brian France said.


  • Injured Tony Stewart to miss start of final NASCAR season (The Associated Press)

    FILE - In this Thursay, Jan. 21, 2016, file photo, Stewart Haas Racing co-owner and driver Tony Stewart talks to members of the media during the NASCAR Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Tour in Charlotte, N.C. The three-time NASCAR champion has been hospitalized with a back injury after a non-racing accident on Sunday and Stewart-Haas Racing is unsure of the extent of his injuries, a team spokesman told The Associated Press, Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2016. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn, File)

    Tony Stewart will miss the start of his final NASCAR season after fracturing his back in an accident on an all-terrain vehicle, Stewart-Haas Racing said Thursday. The three-time NASCAR champion sustained a ''burst fracture of the L1 vertebra'' when he crashed on an ATV Sunday and he had surgery Wednesday, the team said. A timetable for Stewart's return has not been determined, but SHR said he is expected to make a full recovery and race this year.


  • NASCAR's Tony Stewart hospitalized with back injury (The Associated Press)

    FILE - In this Thursay, Jan. 21, 2016, file photo, Stewart Haas Racing co-owner and driver Tony Stewart talks to members of the media during the NASCAR Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Tour in Charlotte, N.C. The three-time NASCAR champion has been hospitalized with a back injury after a non-racing accident on Sunday and Stewart-Haas Racing is unsure of the extent of his injuries, a team spokesman told The Associated Press, Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2016. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn, File)

    Three-time NASCAR champion Tony Stewart was hospitalized Tuesday with a back injury and Stewart-Haas Racing said the team was unsure of the extent of his injuries just a week before he is expected in Daytona to prepare for his final season in Sprint Cup. The 44-year-old Stewart was injured Sunday during an accident while he was riding an all-terrain vehicle somewhere on the West Coast, SHR spokesman Mike Arning told The Associated Press. Arning indicated Stewart's condition will not be updated again until Thursday.


  • Legendary NASCAR broadcaster Barney Hall dies at 83 (The Associated Press)

    The grandstands during the Daytona 500 auto race on Feb., 22, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Reinhold Matay

    Barney Hall, whose folksy delivery brought NASCAR racing to life for radio listeners across the country for more than five decades, died late Tuesday. Hall called his first Daytona 500 in 1960 and missed ''The Great American Race'' just four times in 57 years. A native of Elkin, North Carolina, Hall was one of the original members of the Motor Racing Network staff and widely known as the ''Voice of MRN.'' He was inducted into the National Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2007.


  • Smith delights crowd during off-the-cuff induction speech (The Associated Press)

    The 2016 class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame, from left, Bruton Smith, Terry Labonte, Curtis Turner, Jerry Cook, and Bobby Isaac, is shown during an announcement at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, N.C., Wednesday, May 20, 2015. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

    Bruton Smith, the colorful chairman of Speedway Motorsports Inc., delighted the audience with an off-the-cuff speech Saturday while accepting his place in NASCAR's Hall of Fame, touching on everything from his building of Charlotte Motor Speedway to his unwavering support of Coca-Cola. Smith, who owns eight tracks that host 12 Sprint Cup Series events, had steadfastly maintained he didn't care about making NASCAR's Hall of Fame as he repeatedly failed to make the ballot of nominees. Smith discussed the difficulty in financing the building of a race track, only to see it completed and not have enough money to keep it open.