October 23, 2016

As far back as 1963, fall in Greenville was about football and the Pirate’s faithful followers were a fan base ready for nationhood. Earl Aiken knew that, and he was up to the challenge.

That year, East Carolina College had an enrollment of about 6,500, the football team was beginning a…

October 23, 2016

Barring something dramatic (but not at all impossible) happening today at Talladega, Chase Elliott will likely see his shot at this year’s Sprint Cup championship come to an end.

Elliott enters the day 22 points behind the eighth-place cutoff spot in the standings and likely needs a win to…

NASCAR Talladega Auto Racing

October 21, 2016

I visited my brother in Riegelwood, N.C., shortly after Hurricane Floyd ravaged the east coast in September 1999. Paul Lockhart and I hauled his boat over from Tennessee to do some saltwater fishing.

We had seen the devastating flooding on television. And I remember having heard Gov. Jim Hunt on…

Mark Rutledge

October 17, 2016

In a time of vitriol and venom, peace seems long ago and far away. But it is actually in Minnesota.

In the heart of the continent, rippling outward in a thin reddish marrow of sedimentary rock, 10 feet beneath the amber waves of Minnesota, sweeps a vein of florid catlinite.

Catlinite is the stone…


October 16, 2016

Growing up in Michigan, I practiced tornado drills with my classmates and learned to anticipate blizzards.

But hurricanes were a distant terror. I gazed at photos of the storms’ devastation in a kind of wonder, stunned by the damage wind and water could inflict.

These days, of course, I have…


October 16, 2016

There are some numbers that immediately jump out in NASCAR lore.

The number seven represents the holy grail of championships, set by Richard Petty in 1979 and matched by Dale Earnhardt in 1994. Perhaps the only number more significant than seven is 200, as in the number of wins Petty,…

NASCAR Charlotte Auto Racing

October 15, 2016

My friend and former colleague, Scott Batchelor, suggested five years ago that the annual Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Washington, D.C., would be a good tradition in memory of my father. We did it again last weekend, wearing matching purple shirts.

The front of the shirt says “I wear…

October 10, 2016

TAMPA, Fla. — As torrents of rain washed over Greenville on Saturday, tearing apart trees, marooning drivers and playing on the fears of a city with a stormy history of hurricanes, the city of Tampa stood in complete contrast.

The still, sunny Florida day surrounding Raymond James Stadium was…

October 09, 2016

Golf first descended upon me from a grainy TV screen with Arnold Palmer striding across the putting green, his club raised high, his hair tossed in the wind — no golf cap for this guy. But it was another man I would briefly encounter — and fondly remember — many years later.…

October 08, 2016

I have beaten to death in this column how divisive the Chase for the Sprint Cup is.

The format has been picked at and scrutinized since its inception in 2004, and NASCAR’s constant tinkering with it has not helped with fans’ ability to get comfortable with it.

I think the format is as…

APTOPIX NASCAR Dover Auto Racing-4
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