IndyCar's Conor Daly Gunning To Qualify For Daytona 500 With Mayweather's Team

WELCOME TO THE TEAM
TMZSports.com

IndyCar star Conor Daly will be repping Floyd Mayweather's Money Team Racing when he hits the NASCAR pavement later this month -- joining the boxing legend's squad in hopes of qualifying for the Daytona 500.

TMT Racing announced the big news Tuesday morning ... saying Daly will be behind the wheel for their #50 car when he competes for one of the four open spots in the race.

Floyd spoke about Conor's return to TMT ... saying, "The Money Team Racing shocked the world by making the Daytona 500 last year and I believe in this team and know we will prepare a great car for this year's race."

On top of Daytona, Daly will suit up for TMT in up to six more NASCAR events this year, while competing full-time in the IndyCar series.

"Like a fighter who's always ready to face the best, Conor has the courage to buckle into this beast without any practice and put that car into the field," Floyd continued. "Conor is like a hungry fighter and my kind of guy. I sure wouldn’t bet against him."

Daly has a bit of experience in NASCAR ... but he'll be going up against some stiff competition -- action sports superstar Travis Pastrana and 7-time champ Jimmy Johnson are among at least five other drivers hoping to make the cut.

NASCAR Star Kyle Busch I Was Detained In Mexico Over Gun 'I Apologize For My Mistake'

NASCAR star Kyle Busch says he was detained by authorities in Mexico last month ... after he says they found a handgun in his bag at an airport.

Busch said it all happened following the conclusion of his vacation with his wife, Samantha, in late January.

According to the 37-year-old driver, he was going through airport security screening ... when he realized he accidentally brought his firearm in his luggage.

Busch claims he has a valid concealed carry permit for it -- but its discovery still alarmed authorities, who detained him over it all.

"I was not aware of Mexican law and had no intention of bringing a handgun into Mexico," he said in a statement on his social media page Monday.

"When it was discovered, I fully cooperated with the authorities, accepted the penalties, and returned to North Carolina."

Prosecutors in Quintana Roo appeared to address the incident in a statement released over the weekend. Officials said the defendant, ID'ed only as "Kyle Thomas 'B'" from the state of Nevada, was detained following the discovery of a firearm on Jan. 27. They noted that following an investigation, he was sentenced to three and a half years in prison as well as a fine.

Busch made no mention of a prison sentence in his statement Monday.

"I apologize for my mistake and appreciate the respect shown by all parties as we resolved the matter," Busch said. "My family and I consider this issue closed."

Busch raced in the Busch Light Clash at The Coliseum in Los Angeles on Sunday ... finishing in third place.

NASCAR's Ross Chastain On Banned Wall-Ride Move I'm Taking It Like 'Badge Of Honor'

ONE FOR THE HISTORY BOOKS
TMZSports.com

NASCAR star Ross Chastain says he's honored that his iconic wall-riding stunt is now banned in the rule book ... telling TMZ Sports, "I'm proud that I'll be the first and last guy to successfully do it.

Remember, the 30-year-old Trackhouse Racing driver went viral for his video game-inspired move at Martinsville Speedway last year ... when he shot from 10th place to 5th on the final lap to secure his spot in the Championship 4 by hitting the wall to reach insane speed to cross the finish line

While the move was considered legal at the time, NASCAR recently emphasized its rules to make sure the stunt isn't replicated in the future.

"I'm good with it," Chastain told Lucas Widman ahead of the Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum. "I'm proud that I've got a rule named after me, right?"

Chastain explained his inspiration for the move after the race ... saying he "played a lot of NASCAR 2005 on the GameCube" when he was 8 years old.

The wall-ride is now explicitly stated as a big no-no in the rule book, and Chastain says it's a tip of the cap to his team ... and their ability to push his car to the limits.

"I take it as a badge of honor that I want my crew chief and my engineers and my mechanics pushing the limits of the car -- I don't want to break the rules, but I want them to have to write new rules and explain things more clearly where we might find a gray area on the car."

As for whether he'd ever try the move again ... and he makes it clear it was a one-time thing.

"I don't want to do it again," Chastain said. "I don't want to see guys doing it. And, I'm proud that I'll be the first and last guy to successfully do it."

NASCAR is in Los Angeles on Sunday for the race at the L.A. Coliseum ... and it's safe to say no one will be purposely slamming into the wall.

Frankie Muniz Winning A Race ... It'd Be One Of The Greatest Moments Of My Life!

THIS IS MY LIFE
TMZSports.com

Frankie Muniz starred in a massively popular TV show, and has been nominated for Emmys and Golden Globes, and a bunch of other awards ... but the star actor says if he were to win an ARCA series race, it'd be the greatest professional achievement of his career!

"I don't know exactly how I'll react [to winning a race] but the way I feel right now with even the thought about it, it would rank 100% as the greatest accomplishment of ... Well okay, maybe having a wife, having my son. But, definitely number 3!" Muniz told Babcock on the "TMZ Sports" TV show (airs nightly on FS1).

37-year-old Muniz recently signed on to race full-time in the Rette Jones Racing #30 Ford Mustang car -- a NASCAR-owned ARCA team -- when the series kicks off in mid-February at the Daytona International Speedway in Florida.

Of course, Frankie starred as Malcolm in the hit TV show, "Malcolm In The Middle." He also starred in "Big Fat Liar" and "Agent Cody Banks," among many other films.

Frankie, whose first love is cars/racing, could barely contain his excitement at the prospect of racing, and even got emotional during the interview.

"I am on cloud 9. I've been very fortunate in my life to get to do a lot of cool things but this is something that I've wanted, literally, since I was five years old. I've reached in the past but I always knew I wanted to go Stock car racing. I wanted to race NASCAR so I'm thrilled to be in the ARCA Menards Series this year and finally get to announce it the other day. Felt really good 'cause it's something we've been talking about for a long time and here I am."

Muniz knows he has a lot to learn as the new guy on the circuit, but he's more than ready to go.

"I've got a lot to learn and I know that so I'm competitive, I want to win," Frankie said, while recognizing he'll be facing drivers with far more experience.

"I know I have to be a realist and know that this gonna be a pretty difficult year for me. I'm more motivated than ever, being older, you know, 37 years old which is fairly old to get started in the stock car world," Muniz said.

Bottom line for Muniz ... this is his chance to fulfill his dream, and he isn't going to let it go by without giving everything he's got.

"I have this opportunity in front of me right now and I'm gonna go for it 100%. I don't wanna look back at the end of the year and go 'man I wish I tried harder, I wish I trained harder, I wish I spent more time in the ship with the guys learning about the car figuring things out.'"

Muniz will make his ARCA debut in less than a month! Good luck!

Frankie Muniz I'm A Full-Time Driver Now!!! ... Set To Race In NASCAR's ARCA Series

Frankie Muniz is going from "Malcolm in the Middle" to the middle of a racing pack ... revealing Wednesday he's set to drive full time in the NASCAR-owned ARCA Series this season!!!

The actor-turned-driver will be behind the wheel for Rette Jones Racing's #30 Ford Mustang ... starting next month, when the series hits Daytona International Speedway.

Muniz said this week he's pumped for the career change, revealing it's been a lifelong goal of his to eventually trade paint on the NASCAR Cup Series circuit.

"I look forward to not only demonstrating my ability on the track and just how serious how I am in progressing in my racing career," the 37-year-old said of the move to ARCA, "but also showing my son and family what it is to chase your dreams and re-invent yourself."

Muniz has been a lifelong fan of professional driving ... and has even posted pics and vids of him behind the wheel several times throughout the past few years.

MUNIZ ON THE TRACK
Instagram / @frankiemuniz4

Ford Performance Motorsports official Mark Rushbrook called Muniz "a skilled and enthusiastic racer" ... while Rette Jones Racing co-owner Terry Jones said he's thrilled to see Agent Cody Banks commanding one of his rides this year.

"Without a doubt, we believe in Frankie’s ability and commitment," Jones said, "and with Mark's leadership, we believe that he will quickly adapt on track and contend for a championship in his rookie season."

Muniz's first race is expected to go down on Feb. 18 -- getcha popcorn ready!

Brad Pitt Snubs F1 Journo Martin Brundle Racing Community Pissed

Brad Pitt might be making a movie about Formula 1 racing, but he sure doesn't respect the sport in real life -- at least that's what F1 Twitter's saying after snubbing one of their heroes.

The A-lister was on the ground these past few days down in Austin -- where the U.S. Grand Prix's been taking place all weekend -- but on Sunday ... the guy skirted out of an interview with Sky Sports' Martin Brundle ... a famed former race car driver turned pundit/journalist.

PITT IN THE PIT
Formula 1

Brundle -- who's well-known these days for his grid walks, where he interviews celebs (sometimes awkwardly) impromptu -- got a bit of a cold shoulder from BP in person.

Now, in Brad's defense ... he didn't totally not respond to Brundle's questions -- ones about the movie, which he says can't answer since it's top secret -- but clearly didn't wanna chat. It would seem like a no harm, no foul sitch ... but some online are offended on MB's behalf.

Brundle himself seemed perturbed -- saying to the camera, "They're known at 'pit stops'" if they don't want you talking to Brad Pitt. Bird app users are mostly agreeing, arguing he should respect the culture and talk to Brundle, whose interviews are par for the course on the grid and who's an F1 staple. In other words, play ball when you're on our turf, Brad!

It's not the first time a celeb has brushed off Brundle -- Megan Thee Stallion famously did it last year -- but in this case, some are suggesting that since Brad is literally making a film about F1 ... he should be aware of the major players, Brundle included, and show reverence.

Outside of this salty interaction ... Brad has mostly been receiving the rock star treatment during his time in Texas, at one point posing for a pic with the Williams Racing team. He's still a golden boy in Hollywood -- and this won't change that.

Haters, take your mark.

NASCAR's Bubba Wallace Apologizes For On-Track Altercation ... With Kyle Larson

NASCAR's Bubba Wallace is apologizing to Kyle Larson for forcefully shoving the former champ during an on-track altercation at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday -- saying he simply lost his cool.

The quarrel happened during the NASCAR Cup Series race -- after Wallace intentionally crashed his Toyota into Larson's No. 5 Camaro ZL1 as retaliation for brushing him into the wall when the two drivers were side by side.

Wallace's rage continued after the cars finally came to a stop off the track ... the 29-year-old driver went straight for Larson, and shoved him numerous times before walking away.

After taking a day to cool off, the 23Xi Racing driver realized he was wrong and issued an apology on Monday.

"I want to apologize for my actions on Sunday following the on-track incident with Kyle Larson and the No. 5 car," Wallace said on social media.

"I compete with immense passion, and with passion at times comes frustration."

Wallace added, "Upon reflecting, I should have represented our partners and core team values better than I did by letting my frustrations follow me outside of the car."

Wallace -- who signed with Michael Jordan's NASCAR team in 2020 -- says his actions do not reflect 23XI Racing or any of his partners ... and vows to do better.

"You live and learn," Wallace said, "and I intend to learn from this."

Larson -- who races for Hendrick Motorsports -- hasn't released a statement on the incident. NASCAR says they're reviewing the on-track incident.

Nelly Makes Disabled Fan's Day ... Gives Him Jacket Off His Back!!!

MEETING THE FANS
TMZ.com

Nelly is the kind of guy who will give you the jacket off his back -- just ask young NASCAR superfan Jacob Lemke, who experienced just that ... after a very cool encounter with the diamond-selling rapper.

Jake was born with Lesch-Nyhan syndrome, a rare genetic order, and he and his good friend Nate Salisbury were recently VIP pit guests during the 2022 playoff cup race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway ... where Nelly performed to kick off the event.

Nate tells us ... after the show and the driver introductions, Nelly was in the area posing for pics and conducting interviews when he spotted them and came right over.

You can see Jake's face light up as Nelly walks over ... complimenting his vest as he gifts him the custom Charlotte Motor Speedway jacket he was wearing for the performance.

Little did Nelly know, Jake was on hand to celebrate his 23rd birthday on a trip planned by Nate and his mother ... making the moment that much more special!!!

Nate says he used to be Jake's teacher and befriended him over 8 years ago.

Waiting for your permission to load the Instagram Media.

Jake's father recently passed away but introduced Jake to the world of hip hop music and NASCAR before he died ... and it appears to be working!!!

Nelly's brand of "Country Grammar" hip hop has allowed him to rap on a wide array of stages. He recently performed at a Baltimore Ravens game and is scheduled for appearances at Longhorn City Limits and Stagecoach '23 ... meaning more opportunities to make unsuspecting fans' day with surprises!!!

NASCAR Champ Kyle Busch Escapes Shooting At Mall Of America ... In Chaotic Video

Scary moment yesterday for Kyle Busch ... the 2-time NASCAR champion and his family were at the Mall of America in Minnesota when gunshots erupted, causing chaos, and sending people running for their lives.

37-year-old Busch had been enjoying a day at the country's largest mall with his son, Brexton, and his wife, Samantha, before things took a frightening turn.

In the video posted online, you see Busch, wearing a black and green shirt and white hat, holding hands with Brexton ... as everyone was trying to get to safety amid the chaos.

Soon after, Samantha sent an update to friends, family and fans, writing ... "If you are seeing the news about the @mallofamerica we got out and are safe."

"Praying others inside are too," she added.

"We are currently working an active incident inside Mall of America on the northwest side. Numerous officers are on scene. We will update when we have more information," the Bloomington Police Department's official Twitter account wrote.

Police later confirmed that gunshots were fired ... adding the suspect fled the MOA on foot and officers were investigating the isolated incident.

After some semblance of order was restored, Bloomington PD Chief Booker Hodges addressed the incident in a press conference ... saying his officers heard gunshots near the Nike store at the famous mall.

"After reviewing video, we observed two groups get into some type of altercation at the cash register in the Nike store," Hodges said.

"One of the groups left after the altercation, but instead of walking away, they decided to demonstrate a complete lack of respect for human life. They decided to fire multiple rounds into a store with people."

Fortunately, neither Busch, nor his family were injured, and according to police, it didn't appear anyone else suffered any injuries. The chief urged the culprit(s) to surrender to law enforcement.

HEROIC PIZZA DELIVERY GUY I'm NASCAR's Special Guest ... Catch Me At The Brickyard!!!

Nick Bostic, the heroic pizza delivery guy who saved 5 kids from a burning house, is getting some serious recognition for his life-saving actions ... and it might make his NASCAR dreams come true.

Nick tells us honchos at NASCAR reached out to him and invited him to be a special guest at Sunday's race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

A DREAM COME TRUE
TMZ.com

It sounds like Nick will be in for a bunch of surprises when he's a VIP at the Verizon 200 at the Brickyard, he's not sure what's in store, but he's hoping to get behind the wheel of a race car.

Nick says it's always been his dream to be a NASCAR driver, he sounds confident he might blow his hosts away with his racing talent, if he's given the chance to show what he can do.

Remember ... Nick was driving through Lafayette, Indiana back on July 11 when he spotted a house engulfed in flames with no firetrucks or other emergency vehicles in sight.

7/11/22
LIFE SAVING DELIVERY

Nick acted quickly, rushing into the home and leading 4 children safety before realizing there was a 6-year-old girl trapped still inside. He found her and jumped from a second-story window with her in his arms, using his body to cushion the fall and saving her life.

It's good to see Nick getting the recognition he deserves ... and it sounds like his recovery is going well.

One things for certain, Nick would have the best backstory in NASCAR if he ever becomes a driver.

Bobby East Nascar Driver Stabbed to Death Suspect Shot by Cops

UPDATE

11:05 AM PT -- Law enforcement sources tell TMZ ... a SWAT team executed a search warrant at an Anaheim-area apartment Friday -- two days after East was stabbed -- where officers were informed Millsap may be holed up. During the raid, an officer-involved shooting occurred ... we're told Millsap was shot and killed on the scene as the police were trying to arrest him. The Orange County DA is investigating the shooting.

NASCAR driver Bobby East was fatally stabbed this week by a drifter during a bloody altercation at a California gas station, police and media reports say.

Tattoo-faced Trent William Millsap is being sought by police in connection with East's murder, which occurred at a 76 gas station around 6 PM Wednesday, according to Deadline.

East reportedly got into a war of words with Millsap while the racecar driver was pumping gas. It wasn't clear what sparked the argument, but Millsap allegedly plunged a sharp object into the chest of East.

Cops were called to the scene and reportedly performed life-saving measures on East until paramedics arrived. East was then rushed to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Millsap, who had an outstanding parole warrant, is a drifter who frequents motels in the usually safe and crime-free Westminister area. He is considered armed and dangerous.

East was a three-time U.S. Auto Club champion who snagged the USAC Silver Crown Championships in 2012 and 2013.

Bobby was 37.

RIP

Originally Published -- 10:13 AM PT

NASCAR's Clint Bowyer Struck And Killed Woman In Tragic Car Accident

Former NASCAR star Clint Bowyer struck and killed a woman in a tragic car crash earlier this month, according to new police documents obtained by TMZ Sports.

The accident, per a Lake Ozark Police Dept. crash report, happened on June 5 at around 9 PM in Missouri -- just hours after Bowyer had finished working a gig as a TV analyst for a NASCAR Cup Series race in Madison, IL.

According to the docs, the 43-year-old ex-racecar driver said he was traveling in a 2019 Nissan Rogue when he hit a pedestrian in the middle of the street.

Bowyer, cops say, immediately hit his brakes and called 911.

Officers said in the docs that medical personnel arrived on the scene a short time later, and attempted to render aid to the 47-year-old woman. They say, however, she died at the scene.

In the docs, cops say Bowyer showed "no signs of impairment" ... adding that a breathalyzer test revealed he had a .000 BAC.

According to officers in the docs, "a crystalline substance ... believed to be methamphetamine" was found near the woman's belongings ... and residents at a nearby RV park where the woman was staying believed she had been "under the influence of drugs."

Bowyer -- who did not work his role as an analyst for last Sunday's NASCAR Cup Series race in California -- released a statement Thursday addressing the accident, saying, "Anyone that knows me, knows that family is everything to me."

"My thoughts and prayers are with the family and loved ones of [the woman]. This is a very difficult time for my family and I, please respect our privacy as we move forward."

Bowyer started as a driver in the NASCAR Cup Series from 2005 to 2020. He's since been working as a race analyst for FOX Sports.

Kurt Busch's Wife Files For Divorce From NASCAR Star

UPDATE

10:05 AM PT -- Busch just released a statement on the matter ... saying, "I am heartbroken to confirm that my wife Ashley and I are working to dissolve our marriage. Divorce is a personal and private matter and I hope our privacy will be respected."

Kurt Busch's wife has filed for divorce from the NASCAR star ... saying in court documents, obtained by TMZ Sports, their marriage is "irretrievably broken."

Ashley Busch filed the docs in Florida on May 9 ... and in them, she alleged Kurt "committed a tortious act." She did not expound on the allegation.

Kurt and Ashley -- a polo player -- first met in 2015 ... and later got married in December 2016, Ashley said.

In the docs, Ashley added that things went sideways with the couple just last month ... when she claims Kurt cut off her access to their joint banking account and credit cards.

Ashley also wrote in the docs that the 43-year-old driver demanded she leave the family home by the first week of June.

Ashley noted in the documents that the couple -- which does not have any kids together -- did have a prenup.

We've reached out to Ashley's attorney, as well as reps for Kurt for comment, but so far no word back yet.

Kurt is having a solid 2022 season despite it all ... in fact, he just won his first race of '22 at Kansas Speedway on Sunday.

Originally Published -- 10:01 AM PT

Daniel Ricciardo I'm Going To Chill After F1 Retirement ... No U.S. Racing For Me

MAY 2022
FAN FOR NOW
TMZSports.com

Sorry NASCAR and IndyCar fans -- Daniel Ricciardo says he's already got his plans lined up after he retires from Formula 1 ... and it doesn't include racing in the U.S.

TMZ Sports spoke with the McLaren driver out in West Hollywood this week ... and asked if he'd ever take his talents to the States full-time when he's all done tearing it up in F1.

Of course, Daniel is only 32 ... and Sebastian Vettel (34), Lewis Hamilton (37), and Fernando Alonso (40) are all still doing their thing on the track this year.

But, Ricciardo got people talking recently ... when he jokingly said he was delaying his retirement after F1 announced the Las Vegas Grand Prix would debut in 2023.

PITS ON THE STRIP
F1

The guy was clearly just having a laugh, but it put the thought into fans' heads that maybe he was considering hanging up the helmet soon.

While Ricciardo says he's a huge fan NASCAR and American racing, he says he intends to enjoy his time away from behind the wheel.

It seems Ricciardo hasn't put too much thought into his post-racing life ... which could mean it might not be coming for a while.

Danica Patrick Feeling Great 1 Week After Breast Implant Removal ... 'The Heal Is Real'

Danica Patrick clearly doesn't have a single regret about removing her breast implants last week ... saying she feels great roughly seven days after the surgery.

Patrick -- who got her implants removed in a procedure on April 27 -- has been sharing consistent updates on her progress since going under the knife ... and in her latest posts, she said her body looks and feels so much better.

In one post on Wednesday afternoon, she said she can feel her inflammation reducing drastically. In another post Thursday morning, she said her scalp is healthier, her face is producing natural oil, and her lymph nodes aren't swollen.

"#thehealisreal," she wrote on one picture.

As we reported, the former racecar driver -- who got fake boobs in 2014 -- removed the implants after she believed they were poisoning her.

Patrick said she was suffering from Breast Implant Illness ... and has been vocal about her struggles with it all in an effort to raise awareness for others who might be going through a similar situation.

In fact, Patrick said in a post Wednesday she wished she had never gotten the procedure done in the first place.

Waiting for your permission to load the Instagram Media.

"I wish I could of told this 32 year old girl that boobs won’t make you more perfect or have it all or be more feminine," Patrick said. "Super grateful to be feeling better so quickly."

"To be clear, the transparency of the dangers of implants are an issue. I also understand that mastectomy’s require options. However, all I’m saying is, if we don’t have an insecurity issue... any potential risk or danger go away."

Michael Jordan Bro Sesh With Pierre Gasly ... Getting Into F1?!?

Is Michael Jordan looking to get into Formula 1??

If so, he's already bumping elbows with drivers ... enjoying a dinner with AlphaTauri's Pierre Gasly ahead of Sunday's Grand Prix in Miami!!

The French star posted pics of his time with #23 to social media ... showing MJ trying on his helmet and signing a few autographs.

"Unforgettable dinner! @jumpman23👑" Gasly said on IG ... and naturally, his fellow F1 bros are jealous.

"I actually think I would cry," Daniel Ricciardo said in the comments.

The GOAT is one of several megastars reportedly slated to attend the race this weekend ... including LeBron James, David Beckham, Tom Brady, James Corden, Serena and Venus Williams and more.

Of course, His Airness is no stranger to racing -- he launched his 23XI NASCAR team with Denny Hamlin in 2020 ... signing Bubba Wallace and Kurt Busch to his roster.

Could the dinner be a sign of MJ's future business plans?? It's unclear -- maybe they're just buds -- but with F1's meteoric rise in popularity over the past few years, it wouldn't be too surprising if Jordan was trying to get in on it.

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