Jordan Grabouski raced to a career third IMCA Modified national championship this season. He’s now fifth on the all-time wins list for the division with 203 career feature wins. He is pictured with Speedway Motors President Clay Smith at left and IMCA President Brett Root at right. (Photo by Bruce Badgley, Motorsports Photography)BEATRICE, Neb. – A season that saw the highest of highs and the lowest of lows ended with Jordan Grabouski winning a career third IMCA Modified national championship.Grabouski, from Beatrice, Neb., topped 30 features in adding to a trophy collection that already included hardware from 2011 and 2016.The joy of his latest achievement was more than offset by the passing of son Jagger shortly after his birth on July 4.“It was a bittersweet season,” Grabouski said. “It was definitely a roller coaster season for us. We were glad to have won the national championship but there were nights when it wasn’t easy for us to race.”“My wife Whitney and I are extremely thankful and incredibly blessed to have an amazing support group of family and friends,” he continued. “We could never thank everyone enough for all the love and prayers that have followed the loss of our son.”Along with the Jet Racing Central Region prize, Grabouski earned track titles at Beatrice Speedway and Eagle Raceway, as well as his career-first Nebraska State crown.He completed a perfect season at Beatrice with his career 200th win in the division on Aug. 17.“It meant a lot to us to win a state championship and we had a lot of fun in a Stock Car (winning six times) but it seemed like we had to fight for a lot of things,” said Grabouski, who ended the season with 203 checkers, fifth on the all-time list for the division. “A lot went into our perfect season at Beatrice. I believe you create a lot of your own luck and when we sit back and look at what we were able to accomplish, it’s unreal.”By track, Grabouski collected 13 checkers at Beatrice, nine at Eagle, four at US 30 Speedway, two at Boone County Raceway and one each at Junction Motor Speedway and Osborne County Speedway.His first win of 2018 at Beatrice was also Grabouski’s record-extending career 10th Spring Nationals victory.“When I was growing up and going to the races, the Johnny Saathoff-David Murray Jr. rivalry was at an all-time high,” he said. “I drove for Ben and Melissa Novotny early in my career and won my first Spring Nationals in 2008 in one of their cars. It’s amazing to look at the success we’ve had.”Wins-30 Top Five Finishes-45 Starts-50HIS CREW: Josh Houseman, Bryson Fralin, Eric Ebeling, Steve Durman and Jackson Weeks.HIS SPONSORS: Twin Rivers Chrysler Jeep Dodge, Penner Insurance, AJC Wiens Custom Farming, Orange Bowl, J’s Grill and Pub, Wrightway Hay Harvesters and Nelson Tree Service all of Beatrice; Friesen Chevrolet of Sutton; Abbie and Jace Grabouski and Zeck Ford, both of Leavenworth, Kan.; Wojo Painting and Moock Trucking, both of Lincoln; Schmidt’s Inc. and Schmidt Machine, both of Fairbury; PBS Rentals of Crete; Hergott Farms of Gilead; Sasse Farms of Diller; Side Trek Bar & Grill of Harbine; Novotny Ag and Brynn Novotny Motorsports, both of Jansen; Brinkman Racing and Fabrication of DeWitt; Terry Phillips Racing of Springfield, Mo.; GRT Race Cars of Greenbrier, Ark.; VP Heartland of Manhattan, Kan.; Performance Bodies of Cedar Falls, Iowa; Fast Shafts of Des Moines, Iowa; Sybesma Graphics of Sanborn, Iowa; Jordan Hanisch Photography and BigWorms Racing Videos, both of Williams, Iowa; CPD Racing Shocks of Fort Dodge, Iowa; Real Racing Wheels of Independence, Iowa; Speedwerx Headers of Forest Lake, Minn.; Kevko of Fairmont, Minn.; Strange Oval of Morton Grove, Ill.; Quarter Master of Lake Zurich, Ill.; Simpson of Brownsburg, Ind.; Wehrs Machine and Racing Products of Bangor, Wis.; Sweet Manufacturing of Kalamazoo, Mich.; Keyser Manufacturing of Coopersville, Mich.; Integra Shocks of Coopersville, Mich.; Jones Pulley Systems of Ottsville, Pa. Bulldog Rear Ends of Lancaster, Pa.; Hooker Harness of Cranbury, N.J.; FK Rod Ends of Southington, Conn.; Ricochet Shock Guards of Brush, Colo.; Icon Pistons of Carson City, Nev.; Wilwood of Camarillo, Calif.; and Total Power Batteries of Vista, Calif.
“That was more of the New Jersey narrative,” Bryant argued, referring to the Nets succumbing to pressure not to draft him. “Cowens told me, ‘We don’t need you here.’ Then I was like, “Oh, all right.’ I quickly transitioned from smiley kid to killer instinct.” Nearly a week after completing the deal, West told former Showtime Laker Byron Scott that the 17-year-old Bryant had completed “the best workout I’ve ever seen.”“‘You got to be kidding me,’” Scott recalled. “He said, ‘B’ I’m telling you this kid is going to be a star.’”Bryant became the Lakers’ all-time leading scorer and a five-time NBA champion. “He repeatedly told me he wanted to be the best,” Scott said of Bryant during his rookie season. “I told him, “You will be the best.’ He was that good and that determined.” CHARLOTTE, N.C. >> Nostalgia swept over Kobe Bryant as he soaked in Michael Jordan’s tribute video and waved to adoring fans. But the Lakers’ 37-year-old star also carried 20 years worth of resentment toward former Charlotte Hornets coach Dave Cowens. Charlotte selected Bryant 13th overall in the 1996 NBA Draft, though the Lakers secured his rights by trading veteran center Vlade Divac. “Charlotte never wanted me,” Bryant said following the Lakers’ 108-98 loss to the Hornets on Monday at Time Warner Cable Arena. “Cowens told me he didn’t want me. It wasn’t a question of me even playing here.”It has long been reported Bryant and his former agent, Arn Tellum, ensured Bryant’s future in purple and gold. They reportedly limited Bryant’s pre-draft workouts and threatened teams that Bryant would play overseas if they selected him. Meanwhile, former Lakers executive Jerry West cleared cap space to acquire Shaquille O’Neal as a free agent and pair him with Bryant. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error At easeJeremy Lin has a new look, and that starts with the Charlotte guard sporting a spiked Mohawk. “Just something different,” said Lin, who is sporting a unique haircut with various friends and family members. “I’m the only one who has to deal with the public critique.”Lin no longer has to deal with as much public scrutiny in Charlotte (17-13) as he did last season with the Lakers (5-27). Then, Lin lost his starting spot 20 games into the season amid Scott’s frustration with his consistency. But Scott said Lin is “playing pretty well” after signing with Charlotte this offseason to a two-year, $4.3 million deal.“I’m having fun,” said Lin, who posted 13 points on 5-of-10 shooting and four assists in 34 minutes off the bench Monday. “It’s good to be back on the winning side.”Lin maintained he will “always miss L.A” after growing up in Palo Alto. Though Bryant blocked one of his shots and delivered a hard foul, the two exchanged pleasantries. “I told him during the game, ‘Man, I’m happy for you,’” Lin said, referring to Bryant’s farewell tour. “I hope you’re at peace because you deserve what you’re getting.’”Rest in peaceScott called George “Meadowlark” Lemon a “pioneer.” The longtime member of the Harlem Globetrotters died on Monday at the age of 83. “He’s one of those guys that in my era I will always remember as somebody who was an ambassador of basketball,” Scott said. “He brought a lot of fun to the game.”