Three NASCAR personages make Time Magazine list

Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the garage during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup AAA 400 Drive For Autism at Dover International Speedway on May 14, 2016 in Dover, Delaware.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the garage during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup AAA 400 Drive For Autism at Dover International Speedway on May 14, 2016 in Dover, Delaware.

DOVER, Del. –  It’s only appropriate that Time Magazine’s recent list of the “Top 10 Most Influential Car People in Sports” would include three individuals who have made their respective marks in the NASCAR ranks.

Brian France, chairman and CEO of the sanctioning body, was No. 5 on the list because he “puts cars in front of more eyeballs than just about anyone else in sports.”

Stewart-Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas followed at No. 6 for joining forces with Tony Stewart to make his organization a “top-tier Sprint Cup contender.” Also worth mentioning is the over-achieving Haas F1 team, which has already scored championship points in its debut season in Formula One racing.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. weighs in at No. 7 because “one of every five marketing dollars spent on NASCAR is spent on Dale Earnhardt Jr. One visit to the Fanatics Trackside Superstore at any NASCAR track is all you need to confirm that assertion.

For the record, here’s the full list, topped by reigning F1 champion Lewis Hamilton:

1. Lewis Hamilton, 31; Formula One race car driver

2. Ken Block, 48; Global Rallycross Driver, Hoonigan Racing Division; founder, D.C. Shoes

3. Floyd Mayweather, 39; Retired boxing champion

4. Alex Vega, 41; Owner of Auto Firm in Miami, Florida

5. Brian France, 53; Chairman and CEO of NASCAR

6. Gene Haas, 63; Owner, Stewart-Haas Racing and Haas F1

7. Dale Earnhardt Jr., 41; Driver, #88 car, Hendrick Motorsports

8. C.J. Wilson, 35; Pitcher, Los Angeles Angels and owner of C.J. Wilson Racing

9. Yoenis Cespedes, 30; Outfielder, New York Mets

10. David Beckham, 41; Retired soccer player

SHORT STROKES
Two different Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas led Saturday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practices. Kyle Busch topped the speed cart in the morning session with a lap at 157.839 mph. Teammate Denny Hamlin, who was second to Busch in the first practice, was fastest in Happy Hour with a lap at 157.329 mph… None of the three drivers who rolled out backup cars after crashing in Friday’s practice cracked the top 15 in final Sprint Cup practice. Jamie McMurray was 17th at 154.586 mph. Stewart-Haas Racing teammates Tony Stewart and Danica Patrick were 21st and 28th, respectively.

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