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7 things to know about the Indy 500

Tony Stewart to retire after 2016 season, reports say

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NASCAR's Tony Stewart will retire after the 2016 season, multiple news outlets are reporting.

According to The Associated Press, the three-time Sprint Cup Series champion will announce his retirement at a Wednesday news conference, said an unnamed source "familiar with Stewart's plans." Clint Bowyer likely will replace Stewart as driver of the No. 14 Chevrolet for Stewart-Haas Racing in 2017, ESPN reports.

>> AUGUST 2014: Tony Stewart involved in fatal collision with other driver

>> SEPTEMBER 2014: Grand jury to weigh case of NASCAR's Tony Stewart

Stewart's team has not commented on news reports of the announcement.

Stewart, described by the AP as "a lock for NASCAR's Hall of Fame," has 48 Sprint Cup victories and 582 starts in 17 years. He won championships in 2002, 2005 and 2011. 

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But according to Motorsport.com, which broke the retirement news, Stewart has "not been the same person" in recent years. In August 2014, Stewart struck and killed Kevin Ward Jr., a driver who was walking on the track, at a race in upstate New York. Stewart faces a wrongful death lawsuit in the case. And in 2013, Stewart was injured in a crash in Iowa and missed one-third of the season.

Read more here.

PHOTOS: Buddy Baker through the years

NASCAR legend Buddy Baker dead at 74

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NASCAR legend Buddy Baker has passed away.

Baker, who won 19 cup races, including the 1980 Daytona 500, announced last month he had lung cancer.

>>PHOTOS: Buddy Baker through the years

Most recently, Baker hosted a show on Sirius XM Radio. They announced his passing around 6:30 a.m. Monday.

Baker was among the nominees for the NASCAR Hall of Fame’s class of 2016.

He was 74 years old.

PHOTOS: Confederate flags at Daytona

NASCAR drivers, fans pay tribute to announcer Steve Byrnes, dead at 56

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Longtime Fox NASCAR announcer Steve Byrnes died Tuesday of cancer, the network announced. He was 56.

>> PHOTOS: Notable deaths in 2015

Byrnes, who had neck and throat cancer, was diagnosed in September. The NASCAR community showed its support by renaming last weekend's Sprint Cup race in his honor. Fans and drivers also rallied behind him with the hashtag #ByrnesStrong. Learn more here.

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Click here or scroll down to see how social-media users paid tribute to Byrnes.

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NASCAR race car stolen, recovered undamaged next day

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For one motorist, it was not an ordinary sighting of an ordinary car stranded on the side of the road.

Indeed, sitting on the side of Lenora Road in the area of Pate Road was missing Number 44 NASCAR Sprint Cup race car stolen from Morrow, Georgia  Thursday morning. It was found near Snellville, but not the trailer and pickup used to transport it.

Gwinnett County Police were dispatched to a suspicious vehicle call about 2:30 a.m. and confirmed it was the vehicle stolen from a Morrow hotel parking lot the day before.

The owners of the car, which was to be driven by Travis Kvapil in this weekend’s Atlanta Motor Speedway races, made arrangements to recover it.

As far as police can tell, there was no missing parts of damage to the car, said Officer Jeffery Richter, public information officer.

He said the name of the motorist who discovered the car was not available at this time.

He’s pretty sure, though, that the discovery caused a double take.

“It would have certainly been a shock to me to be driving down the road and seeing that car sitting off of the shoulder,” he said.

Gwinnett police said there are no suspects at this time.

The car, along with the trailer housing it and the pickup pulling it, were stolen from outside a Morrow hotel Thursday morning where it was parked in advance of this weekend’s race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton.

When Kvapil got the call, he figured someone on his race team was playing a joke.

“They said there was trouble with the car,” Kvapil told the Associated Press. “I thought we could figure it out when we got in the garage area. They’re like, ‘No, the car is gone.’”

For a few hours, the team held out hope of the car being found in time for qualifying Friday, but it was forced to withdraw when it missed NASCAR’s mandatory inspection.

“It’s really bizarre,” Kvapil said. “You can handle maybe getting a flat tire, or getting caught up in a wreck, or a blown engine, something that actually happens on the race track. Or you don’t qualify, because you don’t have enough speed. But to not even get a chance … that’s pretty disheartening.”

A trailer with the red race car inside was hitched to a black 2004 Ford F-350 pickup truck parked outside a hotel in Morrow, Georgia, about 15 miles south of Atlanta and a short drive from the speedway, police said. Surveillance video showed the truck and trailer being driven out of the parking lot around 5:30 a.m., Morrow police Detective Sgt. Larry Oglesby said.

Photos: Jeff Gordon's final NASCAR season

Stunt rider jumps motorbike 18-stories off ski jump

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Aussie Robbie “Maddo” Maddison just upped the ante on crazy stunts.

Stunt motorbike rider Maddison, who has a history of sensational jumps and doubled for Daniel Craig in the James Bond movie “Skyfall,” jumped from a ski jump ramp at Olympic Park in Park City, Utah.

Maddison was estimated to have been traveling 71 MPH and jumped a distance of 374 feet. He also set a world record with a vertical drop of 185 feet, or about 18 stories.

Before the jump off the Olympic ski jump, Maddison warmed up on the bobsleigh track used in the 2002 Winter Olympics held in Salt Lake City.

On Dec. 31, 2008, Maddison sped up a street-level ramp to land on top of a 96-foot-high replica of the Arc de Triomphe in Las Vegas. Seven months later, he jumped over Tower Bridge in London, while it was opened by 25 feet. 

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