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Daytona 500 history will be made Sunday when two female tire changers work the race.Brehanna Daniels and Breanna O’Leary will be changing tires for Cody Ware, who drives the No. 52 Chevy Camaro ZL1 for Rick Ware Racing, becoming the first female tire changers in the Great American Race’s history. 2019 Daytona 500: Texans DE J.J. Watt named grand marshal O’Leary and Daniels were recruited to the program by Phil Horton. Both have athletic backgrounds, with Daniels having played Division I basketball at Norfolk State and O’Leary having been a softball player at Alcorn State.Daniels also made a splash on reality TV, when she participated and won NBC’s “Titan Games,” which was created and hosted by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.Thank you Brehanna for competing and leaving it all on the Titan Arena floor. Get back to trailblazing in @NASCAR and your mama is sure proud and smiling down on ya. Keep raisin’ the bar ~ DJ https://t.co/d5kMvSOXU2— Dwayne Johnson (@TheRock) February 5, 2019“We are proud to have these remarkable women on our team and we look forward to having them join us more throughout the 2019 season,” Rick Ware said. “Last July, Rick Ware Racing was the perfect fit for Brehanna and Breanna as the first female NASCAR Drive for Diversity tire changers to pit on the same team at the Cup level. We have always stressed our family philosophy at RWR, so we welcomed them into our family and they performed very well.” It actually marks the second time Daniels and O’Leary have gone over the pit wall at Daytona International Speedway. They got their feet wet in July for Rick Ware Racing in the Coke Zero Sugar 400 Cup Series race.“I’m really looking forward to pitting in the Daytona 500 and having my teammate alongside me,” Daniels said. “It’s incredible how far we’ve come in such a short time, and I couldn’t be more excited to be back at Daytona International Speedway.” They earned the positions after graduating from the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Pit Crew Development Program.“The Daytona 500 is such a huge stage and getting to share the experience with Brehanna will make it that much sweeter,” O’Leary said in a press release. “We came in together, trained together and got better together — and now February 17 will be another milestone we get to share together.” Related News
The 2020 FBS college football season is supposed to start Aug. 29, but that’s looking less likely with each passing day. On Wednesday, the Ivy League canceled fall sports and Ohio State announced that it was pausing offseason football workouts. The number of COVID-19 cases in the United States continues to increase, and those numbers are high in several key college football states. Stadium.com’s Brett McMurphy reports that almost 75 percent of the athletic directors in the FBS believes that will result in a delayed start to the 2020 season. A total of 25 percent of those ADs believe the season will be conference games only, and that number increases to 45 percent among Power 5 ADs. MORE: Ranking the best college football programs of the past 10 yearsThat’s the scenario to watch — because it seems like the best case at this point for a 2020 college football season. Here is how that could unfold. Delayed start The first FBS games are scheduled for Aug. 29, and the first full Saturday is scheduled for Sept. 5. That’s why the next two weeks are critical in terms of starting on time, which seems unlikely if the latest spike in COVID-19 cases continues. Given the recommended six-week window for a fall camp, that timetable is looking dicey considering a major program like Ohio State decided to pause workouts. The ACC announced it will not have athletic competitions in other sports before Sept. 1 (not including football): Sources: The ACC will not have any athletic competitions prior to Sept. 1. That will affect several fall sports that have games/matches/meets scheduled for late August, but not football. (This presumes we get to the point of having fall sports by Sept. 1.)— Pat Forde (@ByPatForde) July 9, 2020With that in mind, it might make sense to be proactive and scrap the September schedule, which is full of nonconference games. That’s a huge loss for Group of 5 schools looking for those “paycheck” games against Power 5 schools and it also means the loss of marquee nonconference games such as Alabama-USC, Ohio State-Oregon and Texas-LSU. Conference-only scheduleIt’s telling that 45 percent of Power 5 athletic directors believe the best option is a conference-only schedule in the fall. It’s preferable to a spring conference season — which would be complicated by players being forced to choose between that and the 2021 NFL Draft. It’s also better than no college football season at all. This is comparable to Major League Baseball’s 60-game schedule, which was hyper-regionalized to reduce cross-country travel. The conference-only model would also allow for the 10 FBS conferences to unify COVID-19 testing protocols for their member institutions and presents the fewest logistical hurdles for each conference in terms of trying to schedule games if that opportunity exists. What would a hypothetical conference-only college football schedule look like? If games could begin Oct. 3, then that would allow for nine weeks before conference championship weekend on Dec. 5. This also would give the Group of 5 conferences their best chance to play. Teams could play seven to nine games at that point, and most conferences play eight- or nine-game seasons. That leaves questions for independent programs such as Notre Dame, which has a five-game arrangement with the ACC. Still, this seems like the most-feasible plan if football cannot start on time. Can a Playoff still happen? What if conference championship games aren’t possible? How would college football legitimize the College Football Playoff? The last season in which there were no college football playoff games was 1991, and Miami and Washington spilt the national championship. That is another hurdle with the possibility that there would be no nonconference games in 2020. The four-team playoff has left out the Group of 5 every season, and the Pac-12 has been left out four of the six seasons under the current format. That might lead to a push for an eight-team playoff this year, but the fact that the semifinals and CFP championship game have already been selected means that is unlikely. The CFP could still select four teams, even in a conference-only season. Best-case scenario At this point, a conference-only season remains the best-case scenario for college football in 2020. The Ivy League decision could be either a precursor or an outlier, but the FBS athletic directors, conference commissioners and school administrators have tough decisions to make in the coming weeks that will impact the next several years of intercollegiate athletics. The problem is those decisions hinge on a pandemic that has not slowed down since the NCAA men’s basketball tournament was canceled. The nature of where COVID-19 stands over the next few months will determine more than anything where college football goes from here.