O'Donnell: NASCAR, NBC bringing non-muffled nonsense to the streets of Chicago

THE CITY OF CHICAGO NEEDS A NASCAR street race on the Fourth of July weekend like Talladega needs an infield exhibit of Chagall on a race day.

Nonetheless, Confederate-fried capitalism will meet civic intrusion Saturday and Sunday when the teched-up heirs to moonshiners and the General Lee go vrooming around Grant Park.

As an inappropriate Chicago showcase, it's Kelly Clarkson playing Buddy Guy's.

NBC Sports will be there in full peacock, although the key question looms:

Who in the name of Fireball Roberts is going to take time away from an active, happy holiday weekend to watch this straining TV demo derby?

DALE EARNHARDT JR. AND JEFF BURTON will center coverage of both "The Loop 121" Xfinity Series race on Saturday (USA Network, 4 p.m.) and "The Grant Park 220" Cup Series Sunday (NBC and Peacock, 4:30 p.m.).

Studio overview will originate from the fabled Peacock Pit Box at Buckingham Fountain. Dale Jarrett, Marty Snider and keenly personable ex-NBAer Brad Daugherty (for real) will steer that set.

Hopefully, former Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot will have some kind of presence, since it was her harried administration that is primarily responsible for bringing this Jim Dandy to The City That Doesn't Need It.

ONE LIKELY RESIDUAL in the days following will be an increase in dangerously nutty driving on area highways.

That's how impressionable minds work. Just try doing only 10 over the speed limit on the Jane Addams after dusk and see how that works out.

But in the end, maybe the NASCAR grandmasters will push the tachometer on the internal low-riding query:

Which nimrod muffler tweak is louder - MagnaFlow or Flowmaster?


ABSOLUTELY SPLENDID NEWS for friends and fans of Harry Teinowitz.

After months of waiting, the longtime sports talk funnyman received a new liver overnight Saturday / Sunday during a 10-hour transplant operation at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago.

Brother Billy Teinowitz reported: "So far, all is going really well. He'll still have a long road to recovery over the next few months. The family wants to send out a big message of appreciation to all those who have tried to help and also have had Harry in their prayers."

THE ENDURING WIT also got a secondary dab of good news: His "When Harry Met Rehab" is all but signed, sealed and delivered for an off-Broadway run in NYC next year.

The theatrical comedy - co-authored with Spike Manton - starred Dan Butler (sports talker Bulldog Briscoe on "Frasier") and Melissa Gilbert ("Little House on the Prairie") during its world premiere at The Greenhouse Theater Center in Chicago 19 months ago.

That well-received debut was rough-curtained by the pandemic.


LARRY RIVELLI CONFIRMED that the racing career of Two Phil's - the second-place finisher in last month's Kentucky Derby - is over.

The explosive 3-year-old blasted to victory in the $500,000 Ohio Derby at Cleveland's Thistledown Saturday.

But after Two Phil's returned to his home base at southwest suburban Hawthorne Race Course, abnormal swelling caused by a bone chip in an ankle was detected Sunday morning.

Following consultations with veterinarians, Rivelli and co-owners Vinnie Foglia and mother Pat Foglia (80 percent), Phil Sagan (10) and Sol Kumin (10) decided to send the colt on his way to stud.

RIVELLI TOLD THE DAILY HERALD: "What kills me is that 'Phil' was blossoming into another Secretariat. We had a huge shot at the Travers (at Saratoga) in August."

Shed no tears for "High Strike," a resident of North Barrington. He is having a career year. Plus, his post-Arlington Park philosophy of "less is more" could reap more sophomore dividends next spring.

Rivelli is already high on 2-year-olds Foxy Cleopatra - a filly - and Ravin's Town, owned by Richard Ravin of Highland Park.


Good morning Connor Bedard Effect: TNT will open its 2023-24 regular-season NHL slate with the Blackhawks at Boston on October 11. Maybe Jenner & Block can drop the first puck. ...

At least three media entities - two national, one local - are reported to be taking aim way up the Chicago sports totem pole. A direct hit by any could shake the metropolis. ...

Close to 200 feted Jeannie Ponsetto Tuesday night at Chicago's Theater on the Lake to celebrate her resolute run as athletic director at DePaul (2003-21). Prominent was Debbie Brinkman-Strus (the late Forest View High '76), a teammate of Ponsetto's during the pioneering days of Title IX and mother of Miam Heat bombardier Max Strus. He is bounding toward a lucrative free agency this week. ...

News that Ryan Seacrest will succeed Pat Sajak as host of "Wheel of Fortune" sent more ardent TV sports archivists YouTubing. Seacrest first touched the national up-scope at age 18 in 1993 when he hosted the ESPN bow-wowser "Radical Outdoor Challenge." (And somehow survived to thrive.) ...

And Bruce "Baby Man" Barnes, on Shohei Ohtani finishing his mammoth 2-home run, 10-strikeout game vs. the White Sox Tuesday night as DH despite a cracked fingernail: "That sort of injury would have put Yoan Moncada on the DL for a month."

• Jim O'Donnell's Sports and Media column appears each week on Sunday and Thursday. Reach him at All communications may be considered for publication.

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