Countdown: NASCAR blows a tire, Tebow blows a budget

Thought we'd give you the full-body shot of The Count at the Atlanta Sports Awards.

Thought we'd give you the full-body shot of The Count at the Atlanta Sports Awards.

The Count apologizes for today’s late arrival. He was a presenter at the Atlanta Sports Awards last night and woke up feeling less than Count-like, not because he drank too much plasma but almost certainly because he didn’t drink at all. Mrs. Count was watching me. But it was a splendid evening, and where else can Derrick Favors, Zach Bogosian and The Count pose together for a photograph, setting up the possibility that 25 years from now many will look at that picture and wonder, “Who’s the old guy in the rented tux standing with the NBA and NHL Hall of Famers?” By the way, Carl Edwards was not in attendance. Turns out, the Atlanta Sports Council offered was no trophy for road rage. Nope. That’s  NASCAR’s job. Fraud time! We count down . . .

10. You know you’re hurtin’ for business when …

Carl Edwards is on double-secret probation.

Carl Edwards was probation-ed.

Covered the Kobalt Tools 500 the other day. Watched as Carl Edwards slam into the car of another driver, Brad Keselowski, at 190-ish from behind, sending Keselowski into the air, upside down, against the sometimes-protective fence between the track and the grandstands and then back down on its tires. Edwards was “parked” for the race. That’s NASCAR’s version of an NHL game misconduct. But suspend Edwards? Hah! Haven’t you heard? NASCAR wants its drivers to have fun again. So now comes word that Edwards will NOT be suspended. Nor will he fined. Nor will he be penalized any points in the standings. Instead, he’s going on three-race probation! Wow! Wait. What? Probation? What is that? Does he have to check in with a probation officer during pit stops? NASCAR: You just dropped the monkey wrench.

9. Right intent but the wrong decision

Memories of Miss Winston (Brandy DeJongh, 2003).

Memories of Miss Winston (Brandy DeJongh, 2003).

Yes, NASCAR needs personality again. Yes, that means fightin’ and yellin’ and spittin’ and slammin’ and wreckin’ And damn’t! More trophy girls, too! Can we start a movement to bring back Miss Winston? Because I’m sorry but Miss Smart Phone With Unlimited Texting just doesn’t sound right, you know? But back to NASCAR: This was the wrong call. I’m not saying Edwards should’ve been suspended for the season. Or even a month. But at least one race? I mean, can you give me Bristol? Martinsville? That incident was kinda ridiculous. The race was nearly over. Edwards (170) was 152 laps behind Keselowski (322). This wasn’t about going for a win. Keselowski wasn’t injured. Fortunately, neither were any fans. But a question: Is that what it’s going to take for NASCAR to take action? NASCAR clearly is desperate for sold out grandstands and fat TV ratings again. It believes fans want wrecks again, even at the possible risk of a fender landing on their cheeseburger, or possibly in their left ear. But this was weak, boys. Really weak.

Judge for yourself: A replay of Edwards’ road rage

8. NFL draft countdown: Brian Bosworth

The NFL draft is coming up. So The Count figured it was a good time to send a Happy Birthday to Brian Bosworth, who turned 45 today. Bosworth is a consensus member of the all-time top 10 NFL draft bust list. He had three great steroid-juiced years at Oklahoma. Then we all watched his body fall apart with the Seattle Seawhawks. Of course, it was pretty funny, especially since he is one of the most obnoxious creatures ever to walk the earth. He was run over by Bo Jackson on Monday Night Football. After calling out Jackson the week of the game, the former Auburn star ran for 221 yards and three touchdowns for the Oakland Raiders. On one, he just took Bosworth with him into the end zone. Here’s your video memory, via YouTube.

7. Forget RPI. Big 12 basketball just moved up in power rankings

A porn star (right) graces Lawrence, Kansas.

A porn star (right) graces Lawrence.

OK, so The Count missed this story last week. But I’m sure it will please our resident Kansas alum at the AJC, David O’Brien. It turns out Samantha Ryan, porn star, apparently is a huge Jayhawks fan, and she even went to school there for at least, I dunno, five minutes. She was given four floor seats to the Kansas-Kansas State game by Jayhawks assistant coach Kurtis Townsend. We know this because Ms. Ryan Tweeted about it, and sent along the picture on the left. Now, for what it’s worth, Townsend said he met her on a flight in December and, “I had no idea she was a porn star. She was Jamie [Doe], a former KU student who said she was a big fan of the Jayhawks. I was just being nice and gave her my card and told her to call me if she ever wanted to go to a game.” That’s history and he’s sticking to it. For the record, IMDB says Ms. Ryan has appeared in 202 movies. While I can’t actually report the names of any of them, I’m pretty sure, “Rock Chalk, Jayhawk, KU!” is not included in any of the dialogue. Assuming there is dialogue.

6. Just like Butkus would’ve done

What does a $91.5 million contract buy you? At least 25 bottles of $350 champagne, and maybe a little honeymoon period with Chicago Bears fans. Julius Peppers, whom The Count believed would’ve looked fine in a Falcons’ uniform, apparently felt a little giddy at 2:30 a.m. at a Chicago club following his signing. So he purchased 25 bottles of Perrier Jouet Fleur de Champagne for the house. This memory will linger for several months with Bears fans, or at least until Peppers misses a tackle against Adrian Peterson.

Peppers buys bubbly for the house

5. Eagles pay $1.5 million to a player they’re going to trade?

A $1.5 million bonus should cut into Michael Vick's debts nicely.

A $1.5 million bonus should cut into Michael Vick's debts nicely.

Also celebrating today: Michael Vick. The Philadelphia Eagles were due to pay him a $1.5 million roster bonus today. This doesn’t make a lot of sense. Few believe Vick will be playing for the Eagles next season. He wants to start and that’s almost certainly not going to happen in Philadelphia. Nor can it be stated that the experiment of using him as a gimmick option worked (except against the Falcons). But clearly the team hasn’t been able to trade him, at least not for what it wants. So the Eagles pay him $1.5 million now, hoping draft pick compensation goes up in the next few weeks? And I thought $160 for a Tim Tebow autograph was a strange investment. Oh look, transition …

4.  Cost of Tim Tebow’s autograph: $20 per letter

Tim Tebow did not charge for this news conference. But the cost for his autograph was $160.

Tim Tebow did not charge for this news conference. But the cost for his autograph was $160.

You might have heard about this: Tim Tebow charged $160 for his autograph at a Jacksonville mall last week. I believe half the state of Florida showed up, something the Jacksonville Jaguars no doubt are taking note of in their NFL draft meetings. Yeah, I’m not completely comfortable with this, either. $160 seems a little steep for a guy who may get drafted in the third round. But there are some extenuating circumstances here. A significant portion of the money is going to Tebow’s foundation. Knowing his background, I think we can safely assume this foundation doesn’t exist to launder his slush fund so he can buy cars, boats and a tropical island. But safe to say Tebow might want to also hold a few man-of-the-people autograph sessions here or there at no charge, otherwise Wonderboy’s reputation might take a few hits. For the record, The Count has never paid for an autograph. Actually, I only recall asking for two autographs in my life: 1) President Jimmy Carter. I was sitting next to on a flight from Philadelphia to Atlanta; 2) Muhammad Ali. I met him at a function probably 20 years ago. Neither charged me. Nor punched me. Nor had their Secret Service attack me.  On a related note, I will be signing autographs Wednesday outside of the Waffle House by Holcomb Bridge and 400, for the cost of scattered-and-smothered.

The scene in Jacksonville


3.  We’re not talking about ‘practice’ any more

This might be the last time we see A.I. in uniform.

This might be the last time we see A.I. in uniform.

Stephen A. Smith, who is often lampooned, nonetheless had a fascinating column in the Philadelphia Inquirer, quoting sources as saying that Allen Iverson had serious alcohol and gambling problems. After seeing Iverson’s response on Twitter, I can’t quite figure out if it’s a denial, a confirmation or somewhere in between. But either way, I feel sorry for the guy. (I know. I’m getting soft.) “To my fans:  You all know that my life isn’t perfect.  I am going through some very tough times right now, like I am sure that we all dofrom time to time.  However, I will stand tall like always with “rhino” thick skin.  Even though I have become used to hearing people say about things about me that aren’t true, it still hurts.  I encourage you to continue your ongoing support and I want you to trust that this is about another obstacle in my life that, with God’s help I will overcome.” Safe guess: Career done.

2. The Ron Artest story: Hair today, gone . . .

233811_Lakers_Magic_Basketb72917779

Just when I was about to seek out Ron Artest as my spiritual guide, he went and shaved his head. On the left you, you see the word “defense” in Hebrew, Hindi and Japanese carved into his hair, at least according to his barber, the Maharisi Mahesh “Boogie.” Artest and Boogie were so proud of this that they posted a video on Artest’s Twitter link (@ThugRaider37). But now comes the photo on the right, taken Monday in practice. The clippers (electric, not Los Angeles) took down Artest’s defense with no problem. Nobody’s sure why. Maybe he just stopped channeling Dennis Rodman.

Artest breaks down his new defense

1. And finally, Helton speaks on Edwards

Mike Helton: See no evil, hear no evil, suspend no evil.

Mike Helton: See no evil, suspend no evil.

NASCAR president Mike Helton just released this statement on Edwards: “We made it very clear to [Edwards] that these actions were not acceptable and did go beyond what we said back in January about putting the driving back in the hands of the drivers.” When asked about the seeming contradiction in his ruling, Helton referred reporters to Sportscenter highlights.

Also posted today: Do Mark Fox and Georgia have a miracle in them in the SEC tournament?

Follow me on Twitter @JeffSchultzAJC and on Facebook.com/JeffSchultzAJC

111 comments Add your comment

pepe

March 9th, 2010
2:53 pm

Herschel Talker

March 9th, 2010
2:55 pm

Schultzie – sign me up for 34 autographs of yours please. Much appreciated!

Mikey

March 9th, 2010
3:02 pm

Schultz, you are overreacting on the Carl Edwards thing.
Nascar didnt see fit to punish further so why do you?

Keselowski brings this crap on himself. If you were a regular Nascar watcher you’d know it.

SOUTH GA DAWG FAN

March 9th, 2010
3:04 pm

in the top ten maybe

TebowTheSaintIsDead

March 9th, 2010
3:04 pm

Why would anyone buy a signature from someone likely to be a complete bust in the NFL? He definitely will not be the poster boy he was in Gainesville and he knew it….that is why the Heisman Trophy winner returns to school. He knew the money was not there (talk was he was a 7th rounder at best) while returning to Athens allowed him to where the eye paint and tape a Super Bowl commercial. Likely, the closest he ever comes to the actual Super Bowl.

SOUTH GA DAWG FAN

March 9th, 2010
3:04 pm

4th alright my first top five

MatthewH

March 9th, 2010
3:05 pm

“assuming there is dialogue”. Assuming? You didn’t do your due dilligence and investigate all 202 movies? Shame on you! Where’s the investigative journalism?

GT Trumpet

March 9th, 2010
3:05 pm

5th is what you get for reading first. Dang it!

TebowTheSaintIsDead

March 9th, 2010
3:11 pm

Mikey…since when has NASCAR ever ruled things correctly? They are arbitrary rules that tend to favor the fan favorites much like WCW (fake wrestling) does on television. Why is there not a rule book for drivers stating exactly what will happen for such and such behavior? They (the owners of NASCAR) like the arbitrary nature of the rules so that they can make changes but will only set the example with drivers that are much lower in popularity

SOUTH GA DAWG FAN

March 9th, 2010
3:15 pm

I agree Edwards should have gotten a stiffer penalty if he wasn’t one of the fan favorites he would have been suspended for 5 races or so more than likely.

Buford

March 9th, 2010
3:16 pm

it doesn’t take a regular NASCAR viewer to see a deliberate attempt to injure when it happens.

So its okay as long as the car or debris doesn’t fly into the stands?

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

March 9th, 2010
3:19 pm

thanks JS- now my day is complete and you certainly did not dissapoint with porn stars and hebrew lettering in the head. i’m wondering how to spell moron in Artest’s head in different languages. Do the ancient Chinese have a one letter/symbol to represent spirit on moronism??

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

March 9th, 2010
3:20 pm

ironically, all her movies are bondage’esque…could be a theme with Kansas- you never know

Conyers NASCAR fan

March 9th, 2010
3:21 pm

It was a stupid and dangerous act by Edwards. No way to defend such an act like this. The problem
will not go away as long as NASCAR takes the position that the fans want to see a “show” like this
and some fans do pay to see this stuff.

lanier

March 9th, 2010
3:24 pm

what “Teeth” did to the 12 car was the acceptable back in the day before NASCAR became corporate ( sponser ) controlled. problem is the 12 car flew but that used to happen also they just didn’t go so high. i saw a guy fly completely out of Atlanta Speedway once but now there are grandstands where he went out so there is the rub.

Jeff Schultz

March 9th, 2010
3:24 pm

Pepe — you short-changed yourself.

Jeff Schultz

March 9th, 2010
3:25 pm

Herschel — You get one, gratis.

Jeff Schultz

March 9th, 2010
3:25 pm

Mikey – NASCAR didn’t because they see $$$. I don’t see $$$ because I’m not affected either way. That’s why. And whether Keselowski brings it on himself or not is irrelevant. It’s either right or wrong.

Jeff Schultz

March 9th, 2010
3:27 pm

South Ga Dawg — Really? What put it over the top, Samantha or Miss Winston?

Jeff Schultz

March 9th, 2010
3:28 pm

Matthew: I’m almost certain the word, “Yes!” was spoken. That’s solid reporting there.

Jeff Schultz

March 9th, 2010
3:29 pm

Dr. Kenneth — I laughed at the “porn stars and hebrew lettering” thing. Yes, it’s the Internet, where it all comes together!

Jeff Schultz

March 9th, 2010
3:30 pm

Conyers NASCAR fan — we agree, 100 percent.

StingerSplash

March 9th, 2010
3:35 pm

Come on, Jeff, can’t believe you didn’t chime in on Big Ben trolling in little old Milledgeville. I mean, at least a shot at that shirt he was wearing, if the pictures provided by the bastions of journalism at TMZ are any indication.

[...] Also posted today: Tuesday Countdown ($160 for a Tim Tebow autograph?) [...]

StingerSplash

March 9th, 2010
3:36 pm

And if we pick up the scattered and smothered, will you take care of the sweet tea and tip?

SOUTH GA DAWG FAN

March 9th, 2010
3:38 pm

miss winston = awesome

Tigers Wood

March 9th, 2010
3:38 pm

kind of a weak effort by The Count but I did like the pic of miss winston.

get the Count some energy drinks please

Jeff Schultz

March 9th, 2010
3:42 pm

Stinger — actually did a blog about it yesterday, more on him hiring Ed Garland as his defense attorney. Here’s the link: http://blogs.ajc.com/jeff-schultz-blog/2010/03/08/roethlisberger-hires-garland-attorney-to-troubled-sports-stars/
Bottom line — I’d rather not joke about it right now as long as there’s a possibility that a serious crime took place here. But give me time.

Jeff Schultz

March 9th, 2010
3:43 pm

StingerSplash — And yes — drink and tip. Maybe even a bowl of Bert’s Chili!

Falcons Superbowl Bound

March 9th, 2010
3:48 pm

Anquan Boldin will be another Peerless Price ……………? The Ravens will bust this year.

Falcons Superbowl Bound

March 9th, 2010
3:49 pm

You didin’t have Boldin in your story Jeff but just about everything else, thought I would help.

SOUTH GA DAWG FAN

March 9th, 2010
3:50 pm

wasn’t brooke gordon a miss winston ? where is she now

J.B.

March 9th, 2010
3:51 pm

Dude. Did the intro paragraph actually praise an Atlanta Thrasher, indicating he may one day be an NHL Hall of Famer? WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WITH JEFF SCHULTZ?!?!?!?!

PMC

March 9th, 2010
3:51 pm

Maybe no one likes Brad Keselowski? I mean if the guy was a popular driver and not a douche 99% of the time I’m sure a rule could be made up quickly. That’s the usual course anyway.

PMC

March 9th, 2010
3:56 pm

Nascar shouldn’t allow these guys who are wrecked and out of it to be on the track anyway. Just give them a total points for laps complete and get them the heck out of the way instead of giving them the opportunity to do ridiculous meathead things like Edwards did the other day. At the very least he’s been an embarassment to himself.

Falcons Superbowl Bound

March 9th, 2010
3:59 pm

Hey, Roethlisbergers lawyer says “Ben is completely innocent”………..!!! Strong statement.

meh

March 9th, 2010
4:00 pm

driver’s bump each other all the time on the track. Edwards didn’t do anything different than any other driver would do. everyone’s just freakin out because Keselowski went airborn. If Keselowski had just slammed the wall everyone would be moving on with their lives by now.

Falcons Superbowl Bound

March 9th, 2010
4:00 pm

I tip 15% for service you expect. 20% if the server causes me and my party to enjoy our meal substanially more!

Falcons Superbowl Bound

March 9th, 2010
4:00 pm

meh, your probably right

PMC

March 9th, 2010
4:04 pm

It does make a lot of sense to keep Vick for a paltry 1.5 million Jeff. He is still one of the better options on the market right now and they might be able to flip him up until August or use him more this year now that he is getting back into football shape. The 1.5 takes them up to the Draft and likely to training camp and given the wretched state of QB play for some teams in the NFL his value could go up considerably. The Eagles are one of the more financially sound teams in football and this was an investment, might as well see it through and see what they can get.

gdawginkalamazoo

March 9th, 2010
4:06 pm

Nice cape count!

The thing with Edwards is the Keselowski knocked him out of the race earlier. So his Tom Tom told him to take a right turn at the #12 car. Blame placed on the Tom Tom gets you probation. Deal with it.

NASCAR seems to be the only place where the gas pedals aren’t sticking for Toyota.

Funny $160 for a Tebow autograph. That’s the same amount Samantha Ryan makes per scene.

Ron Artest, you guys are reading that wrong. You read those languages from right to left and Japanese from the top. In all three they mean Dick, not defense.

Michigan did hire AI to help with the NCAA “practice” investigation. He stalled the investigators for three hours. They got bored and left.
“What are we talking about? Practice?…….”

Clay

March 9th, 2010
4:08 pm

Jeff, let’s see, Ms Ryan is cute, blonde, and a porn star. Bet she could get tickets to the Masters pretty easily, too!

oldfart

March 9th, 2010
4:14 pm

NASCAR is tacitly approving Keselowski getting his comeuppance from a veteran which he so richly deserved. Even if you ignore his bump putting Edwards out of contention earlier and sending Edwards sailing at Talledega last year, look back at the kid’s record in the Nationwide and truck series. He got what he had coming and Edwards made sure the kid didn’t get a top 5 payday for his efforts.

SimpleDawg

March 9th, 2010
4:17 pm

Schultz, you and your little stuffed creature should go back to your room and play. Leave the sports commentary to those who know something of which they speak.

Can you imagine NASCAR suspending Dale Earnhardt, Sr for all of the wrecks he caused, including the one that killed him. He would have competed in about 10 races per year. I say these young, overly aggressive little snots should suffer a little payback when they get out of line. Brad Keselowski would be the poster boy for them.

I’m surprised Child Busch hasn’t had his ass whipped several times already….no point wrecking him though, he’ll do that himself.

So Schultzie, stick to your little play things and stay away from the big boy stuff where things get rough.

gdawginkalamazoo

March 9th, 2010
4:17 pm

You have to admit that the Edwards interview was hilarious. “Yeah, I meant to bump him but I didn’t mean to flip him over.” He had to be looking in his rearview mirror saying “oh crap.”

StingerSplash

March 9th, 2010
4:18 pm

Yeah, I saw the blog about Ed “Attorney to the Stars — 1-800-ACQUITTAL” Garland. Thought you might — might — have a take today, but I also understand that a case of that gravity may not be the time for such levity.
Maybe Ben can be introduced to the Jayhawks’ most notable courtside fan. And, as a frequent visitor to DOB’s well-rounded and insightful blog, for all his discussion of his movies, there hasn’t been a review of Ms. Ryan’s, um, “work.”

Bob Horner had a sweet compact swing

March 9th, 2010
4:18 pm

I feel the Winston girl is over dressed…JMHO…

StingerSplash

March 9th, 2010
4:19 pm

Mmmm … Bert’s chili …. mmmm……

StingerSplash

March 9th, 2010
4:20 pm

Mmmmm … antacid tablets …. mmmm…..

gdawginkalamazoo

March 9th, 2010
4:24 pm

Bob Horner, I concur.