The retired NASCAR and IndyCar driver will join NBC Sports’ inaugural coverage of the Indianapolis 500 as an analyst alongside host Mike Tirico in May. Patrick retired from racing after last year’s Indy 500, the race that helped make her reputation after finishing fourth as a rookie in 2005 after leading late in the race. “This is an event that means so much to me,” she said. “I am so glad I did the 500 last year because my information is much more current and relevant. I think it’s going to be quite a bit of work — I’ve always thought being part of the broadcast team is a different kind of work — there’s a lot of preparation there.” On the track, Patrick is the only woman to lead laps in the Indy 500 and win an IndyCar Series race. Her third-place finish at Indy in 2009 is the highest for a woman. She moved to NASCAR and was the first woman to win the pole for the Daytona 500, and she concluded her career last year with the “Danica Double” of racing in one final Daytona 500 and Indy 500.
The Houston Astros’ pitcher and his wife, Kate Upton, are helping veterans suffering from PTSD by pairing them with rescue dogs. Their program is named Adopt. Rescue. Heal. It trains rescue dogs to become service dogs, then places them with veterans, aiding with the transition to civilian life. “We’re so excited to finally pair these dogs with their veterans,” Verlander said. “I think we all can agree that animals are so healing — at least in our family they are. I think it’s such a great opportunity to help these veterans heal through animals.” The first four veterans will receive their dogs, all mixed breeds, this week. The Astros honored the men and their dogs before Wednesday’s spring training game against the Yankees. The charity is a combination of sorts between the couple’s two philanthropic efforts, Upton’s Grand Slam Adoption pet rescue charity and Verlander’s Wins for Warriors foundation aiding veterans.
Photo: Darron Cummings / Associated Press
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