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At 96, Raymond Parks, NASCAR's last surviving founding father. A native of Dawsonville, Ga., Parks (above in the late 1940s, wearing fedora and necktie and flanked by, from left, drivers Red Byron and Curtis Turner, and NASCAR founder Bill France Sr.) began running moonshine at 14, a venture that led him to spend nine months in federal prison on conspiracy charges in 1936 and '37. After his release he found success in real estate in Atlanta—where he also owned vending machines and convenience stores—and in '38 began his career as a race car owner. A veteran of the Battle of the Bulge, Parks was a member of the group of men who formed NASCAR in December 1947 at the Streamline Hotel in Daytona Beach, and in '49 he owned the car that Red Byron drove to the first Strictly Stock title, the forerunner of today's Cup championship. Parks was nominated, but not selected, to be among the first five members of the NASCAR Hall of Fame, which opened last month. "He set the standard," said Richard Petty last March. "When racing first started, it was pretty rough. Rough characters, rough cars, rough situations. Mr. Parks brought the sport class. ... It took people like Mr. Parks to lay the foundation that we're still living off of."
After 20 NHL seasons, seven-time All-Star defenseman Rob Blake, 40, who captained the Sharks to the Western Conference finals this spring. Raised on a farm in Simcoe, Ont., Blake was playing collegiately for Bowling Green when he was drafted by the Kings in the fourth round in 1988. A key member of the L.A. team that reached the 1993 Stanley Cup finals, he earned the Norris Trophy as the NHL's top blueliner in 1997--98. Blake won his only Cup as a member of the Avalanche in 2000--01. A gold medalist at the world championship in 1994 and '97, and at the Olympics in 2002, Blake scored 240 goals in his career, which ranks 10th all time among defensemen. It's an impressive total for a man who played the bulk of his career in the age of the neutral-zone trap. Said Sharks G.M. Doug Wilson, "He's an elite-level player, but he has a blue-collar heartbeat."
A trade, by Redskins defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth, on the grounds that the team has broken promises it made to him. Haynesworth (right) signed a seven-year, $100 million deal with Washington in February 2009 after two straight Pro Bowl seasons with the Titans. But he is unhappy with the direction taken by new coach Mike Shanahan and defensive coordinator Jim Haslett, who want to make the 6' 6" 350-pounder the nosetackle in a 3--4 defensive alignment. Haynesworth refused to attend the Redskins' mandatory two-day minicamp that began on June 16, for which the team—which is reportedly seeking ways to recoup all or part of a $21 million bonus he received on April 1—fined him $10,000. Chad Speck, Haynesworth's agent, told The Washington Post, "The Redskins are trying to establish a new regime with new schemes ... and [are] not an organization that Albert would have ever been attracted to just a short year ago—regardless of the money. He has made it clear to me that he does not want to play for the Washington Redskins."
As the creative honchos of the 2012 Summer Olympics, British film directors Danny Boyle, who won an Oscar last year for Slumdog Millionaire, and Stephen Daldry, who helmed '09 best-picture nominee The Reader. When their appointments were announced last Thursday, the London Olympic organizing committee said that Daldry, 49, would handle the overall creative duties for the Games, while Boyle, 53, would be the artistic director for the July 27 opening ceremonies. "Music has to play a big part in the ceremony," Boyle told the Sunday Telegraph last week. "For such a small country, we have the most extraordinary tradition of music, and people look to Britain as a beacon of music." Boyle, who also directed the 1996 cult classic Trainspotting, went on to add that he wanted to stage an "epic and intimate" event that showcases Britain's "idiosyncracies," as well as London's status as a "welcoming city without prejudice."
By FIFA, charges against the organizers of a guerrilla marketing campaign for a Dutch beer at a World Cup match last week. A group of 36 women dressed as Dutch soccer fans entered Johannesburg's Soccer City before the June 14 game between the Netherlands and Denmark. In the 25th minute of the match, the women stripped down to orange minidresses given to them by Bavaria NV, a Dutch brewer. Bavaria's scheme was orchestrated by two women from the Netherlands paid by the company to fly to South Africa and recruit local females for the stunt. The two were arrested on charges of "ambush marketing" by the South African police after the game and were freed on 10,000-rand (approximately $1,300) bail. Bavaria also paid for the 36 game tickets but insists that none of the dresses bore its logo or brand name; the company also has accused FIFA of "intimidation."