The Pope of NASCAR

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Pope Richard the First
By Shannon Olexa

As for the reason I painted so many little models blue as a kid…

Forever #43, the King of NASCAR racing, or as I prefer, the Pope of stock car racing will always be Richard Petty. A man’s man of a man’s man such was he.

Sir Richard was my childhood idol of a southern gentle courtier who, as we grew older both, he typified the best of the best in modern matters of engine power and Speed. Utilizing the best wrench-turning on American iron, he and his ‘gents’ or crew (called so by the masses) worked their magic with gasoline and steel to perform TV miracles of determination and death-defiance on never enough given Sundays to boys and girls of every age.

Whether it was grandma complaining about the din of what to us was the ‘music of motors’ or our girlfriends intent on finding a more suitable distraction to this bizarre ritual of seemingly mindless and misdirected worship of a ‘bunch of cars going around in circles’ – we relished every moment. It was, I believe these moments that have arguably made us better men (and women) today as it helped to build a richer life for those of us ‘car crazies’ who knew a true flesh and blood American hero.

Hats off to Pope Richard the First.

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New Porsche Boxster Facelift

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2013 Porsche BOXSTER

Text: Dan Strong / Photos: Brenda Priddy & Company

The new Porsche Boxster has hit the road, and autoexpress.co.uk has the clearest pictures yet.

As our images show, every body panel is new and it now has a bolder, more dramatic profile. At the rear, there are new LED equipped brake lights that wrap around the tail.

According to sources close to the project, the cabin gets inspiration from the new 911 – meaning clearer instruments and a boost in quality.

There are also bigger roll over hoops, and a more steeply raked windscreen – helping exaggerate this car’s “roadster” status.

Codenamed 981, the model we have spied is a sporty Boxster ‘S’, which gets huge 18-inch alloy wheels as standard – plus flared wheel arches, a more shapely body and deeper intakes to feed cool air to the rear mounted engine.

Under the skin, there’s an all new platform, which is derived from the forthcoming 911 – codenamed 991 and due for launch in November. Drivers can also expect new suspension, a wider track and a longer wheelbase.

Insiders have told Auto Express the Boxster S’ direct injection 3.4-litre flat six will be carried over to the new line-up but gets stop and start technology and new tuning to meet tougher emissions regulations.

However, time is being called on the old, 255bhp 2.9-litre six-cylinder engine. It will be replaced by a smaller turbocharged flat four-cylinder engine which produces around 270bhp but, crucially, less emissions.

Porsche is working hard to cut its carbon dioxide emissions so the Boxster will be lighter than the car it replaces thanks to the use of more aluminium. But the biggest change is likely to come with the engines.

Emphasis will also be placed on the firm’s seven-speed PDK gearbox which allows faster shifts than a manual, but also contributes to better fuel economy because of the better spread of ratios.

Originally tipped to appear at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show, it’s thought the car will now make its debut at the Detroit Motor Show in January 2012, before going on sale in spring.

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Genetically Modified Mustangs

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Bailout money roasting on an open fire…

Chevrolet Volt rushed to market and now to the junkyard

Lithium fumes billow from a burning Volt. Jack Frost nipping at your tax dollars.

(AP)WASHINGTON — Federal officials say they are investigating the safety of lithium-ion battery in General Motors Co.’s Chevrolet Volt after a second battery fire following crash-testing of the electric car.The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Friday that three Volt battery packs were crash-tested last week. In one instance, the battery caught fire afterward, and in another the battery emitted smoke and sparks.

Last May, a fire erupted in the battery of a Chevy Volt that had been damaged during a government crash test three weeks earlier. Last week’s tests were an attempt to replicate the May fire.

NHTSA has opened a formal safety defect investigation of the batteries.

General Motors officials said previously that government officials didn’t follow the carmaker’s protocols for storing post-crash batteries.