Hoops and racing: Two-sport Tony Stewart?
LONG POND, Pa. -- Smoke was on a hot streak at the free-throw line.
Tony Stewart, the pole-sitter for Sunday's Sprint Cup race at Pocono Raceway, got a chance to show his skills on the hardwood during a recent appeararnce at Syracuse University. He had teamed Wednesday with Orange coach Jim Boeheim for a shooting contest.
The two-time Sprint Cup champion called the visit "really cool," though he did admit to being a little rattled on the basketball court.
"It's pretty intimidating when you go to somebody else's venue and you're in their house and then get in a competition with them," Stewart said this weekend.
Stewart, who is from Columbus, Ind., banked some basketball credibility for when he returns to his basketball-crazy home state.
"I'm happy to say that we tied four out of five on the free-throw side, so I held my own as an Indiana kid," Stewart said. "Hopefully now when I go back to Indiana, I won't get thrown out for not being good at basketball."
Stewart has also had to deal this year with finding a new sponsor for Old Spice, which will not renew its deal after this season. He hasn't been too involved on that front yet.
"Keep in mind, every race team has a marketing staff and that marketing staff is who is out trying to get the leads on sponsors and once they get so far down the road with each sponsor, that's when I get involved," Stewart said. "Every major race team has a marketing staff that is out there beating those doors down before it gets to my level."
ROUSH REAX: Jeff Burton hopes NASCAR team owner Jack Roush doesn't stop flying.
Roush is recovering from facial injuries sustained in a plane crash last week in Wisconsin. The aviation buff was at the controls of the business jet registered to Roush Fenway Racing when the plane crashed while attempting to land.
"Obviously, he has a passion for racing, but I think when he is flying, he's the driver," said Burton, a driver for Richard Childress Racing who once raced for Roush. "I certainly hope he continues flying."
Roush had another close call eight years ago, when he crashed into a lake in Alabama and nearly drowned before being rescued by an ex-Marine who lived nearby.
"It does make you think about your vulnerability and what we do as far as flying," Burton said. "We fly a lot and it is dangerous. Jack's a very, very, very good pilot."
News of the accident also made Kyle Busch recall the fear of flying of his fiance, Samantha Sarcinella. Busch said he was thankful that Roush survived.
"I don't if this is his second or third time, but he's made it through," Busch said. "A couple of people this week were mentioning that he needs to go to Vegas and try his luck there because he has some pretty good luck."
SUN POWER: Brian Vickers says he's doing well as he receives treatments for blood clots that have kept him off the track since May. He's out for the season.
"Everything is great," Vickers told The Associated Press in a phone interview Friday. "I'm doing very well. I hope to get back in the car next year."
He wasn't at Pocono Raceway, where the Sprint Cup series stops Sunday for a 500-mile race, though he was impressed with the new solar energy system formally unveiled this weekend.
The 25-acre installation across the street from the Pocono track may be the world's largest solar-powered sports facility, providing enough energy for the track as well as 1,000 homes.
Vickers said he hopes Pocono's $16 million solar farm makes fans aware of the environmental initiatives in a sport that burns about 135,000 gallons of fuel per Sprint Cup series.
"Most important is that yes, NASCAR is going to do a lot more things, such as what Pocono is doing on the solar farm, but a lot of times, people forget what they've already done," Vickers said.
TV DEAL: ARCA has extended its TV deal with the Speed channel for 2011.
As with this season, 10 ARCA races will be televised by the cable network next year, either live or on same-day tape. Speed has shown ARCA races since 1997.
It's the earliest that two sides have been able to finalize an extension annoucement, ARCA president Ron Drager said Saturday. The 2010 schedule has 20 events running on 17 tracks.
"It gives us some good news at a time when there's not much good economic news going on out there," Drager said. "We think it's a significant amount for us to have 10 events televised on Speed. Above and beyond that, we're always looking for exposure."