Friday, March 17, 2006

Hamilton: I have cancer

Hamilton: I have cancer

Former Truck Series champ out of truck after Friday's race at AMS
By Ryan Smithson, NASCAR.COM
March 17, 2006
04:57 PM EST (21:57 GMT)

HAMPTON, Ga. -- Bobby Hamilton has never been one to wear his emotions on his sleeve, but even he had a hard time holding back tears when he announced on Friday that he has been diagnosed with neck cancer.

But Hamilton retained the tears -- and his humor.

"It's called head-and-neck cancer. I don't have anything wrong with my head, but [Ken] Schrader said a lot of people would doubt that," said Hamilton.

Hamilton, 48, will begin radiation and chemotherapy treatment on Monday at Vanderbilt Medical Center in his hometown of Nashville, Tenn. He had a tumor removed from his neck on Feb. 8, and said Friday his blood count is normal.

"I have always been sort of a survivor," said Hamilton, who emerged from a difficult Nashville upbringing to become a four-time winner in NASCAR's top division. "I was on the street when I was 13, 14 years old, ending up doing what I did and got a chance to race with the best racecar drivers in the world."

Hamilton considered racing while undergoing treatment, but when he starting studying the side effects, he changed his mind. He will instead focus on treatment and promoting cancer awareness.

"I want to use what little bit of celebrity status I have left and try to promote the awareness of this disease," Hamilton said. "Out of respect for everyone I race against, I didn't think it was fair for my competitors to even think there was a problem."

His son, Bobby Hamilton Jr., will drive the No. 18 Dodge for the remainder of the season, but the elder Hamilton said that he is aiming to return to racing by November. He will continue to attend races as a truck owner.

"I am going to have to be in bad shape not to be there," said Hamilton. "I feel out of place if I am not around it. It is going to have to be about death for me not to be there, and I don't foresee that happening."

Hamilton Jr. will step into the truck next month at Martinsville.

"The situation to come back home and race is exciting, but the way the situation turned out just sucks," said Hamilton Jr. "It is not what we want to experience, but it is what we are dealt with."

Ironically, Hamilton went to his dentist with wisdom tooth pain last fall, but even after the tooth was removed, the swelling in his neck didn't recede. As a result, Hamilton credits the tooth pain with saving his life.

Despite the grim diagnosis, Hamilton was defiant, labeling himself as a "survivor, not a victim," and he said that he will do everything possible to show up at the track as a truck owner.

"I will be back. I am not quitting. I am not that damn weak," he said

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Book by Johnny Cash's 1st Wife Coming Out

Book by Johnny Cash's 1st Wife Coming Out

By Associated Press
16 minutes ago

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The first Mrs. Johnny Cash had a line to walk, too, and before she died last year she told about it in a book that will be published early next year.

"I Walked the Line," by Vivian Liberto Distin, is slated to arrive Valentine's Day 2007, it was announced Wednesday by Scribner, a division of Simon & Schuster.

The book's title plays off Cash's hit song, "I Walk the Line," which he wrote about Vivian. The same title was used for the recent Golden Globe-winning movie that focused on Cash's romance with his second wife, singer June Carter Cash.

The book is based on thousands of letters exchanged by the couple before their marriage while he was overseas with the Air Force, co-writer Ann Sharpsteen said.

"The letters really reveal the real man, unclouded by drugs. Letters were his dreams, fears, a variety of subjects, fidelity, alcohol, faith. It's like reading someone's diary," Sharpsteen said.

The couple divorced in 1966 after 13 years.

Kathy Cash, one of Johnny and Vivian's daughters, said her mother visited her father in 2003 to tell him she wanted to do the book.

"He said, `Vivian, if anyone on this whole earth should write a book it should be you,'" Kathy Cash said.

The book helped Distin find closure, her co-author said.

"She had never gotten over Johnny, so it was a journey of healing," Sharpsteen said.

Cash died in 2003.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Ol' D.W. 'unretires' for Martinsville Busch race

Ol' D.W. 'unretires' for Martinsville Busch race

From Team Press Release
March 16, 2006
09:17 AM EST (14:17 GMT)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Darrell Waltrip will race brother Michael's No. 99 Aaron's Chevrolet at the Busch Series race under the lights at Martinsville Speedway on July 22.

In an announcement made during the final moments of a Darrell Waltrip Roast benefiting the Boys' and Girls' Club of Tennessee, Darrell's wife Stevie gave her permission to let her husband run the Busch Series' first visit to Martinsville since 1994.

"The Aaron's ad campaign has been a lot of fun for me over the years, but I seriously thought I would never get to race that car," Waltrip said.
"I really appreciate Michael and Aaron's and, of course, my wonderful and supportive wife Stevie, for giving me this opportunity."

Darrell Waltrip completed what he called his "One and Done" race in the Craftsman Truck Series last October at Martinsville.

"When we let the fans vote on whether or not to let D.W. race the No. 99 Aaron's Dream Machine, the response was definitely in favor of letting him drive it," Aaron's Sales & Lease Ownership president Ken Butler said. "I have a great respect for Darrell Waltrip and what he has accomplished in his career, including his 13 previous Busch series wins. We are honored to have him represent Aaron's behind the wheel in Martinsville."

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Tests Show Milosevic Died of Heart Attack

Tests Show Milosevic Died of Heart Attack

By ANTHONY DEUTSCH, Associated Press Writer
47 minutes ago

THE HAGUE, Netherlands - A heart attack killed Slobodan Milosevic in his jail cell, the U.N. war crimes tribunal said, citing preliminary findings from Dutch pathologists who conducted a nearly eight-hour autopsy Sunday on the former Yugoslav leader.

The tribunal said pathologists had determined that "Milosevic's cause of death was a 'myocardial infarction.'"

Found dead in his cell Saturday morning, the 64-year-old Milosevic had suffered from heart ailments and high blood pressure, and his bad health caused numerous breaks in his four-year, $200 million trial before the tribunal.

Some wondered if suicide might have been an out for the man accused of causing wars that killed 250,000 people during the breakup of Yugoslavia in the 1990s. And a legal adviser said Milosevic feared he was being poisoned.

Earlier, the chief U.N. prosecutor, Carla Del Ponte, had said claims that Milosevic committed suicide or was poisoned were "just rumors."

"You have the choice between normal, natural death and suicide," she told reporters at the tribunal, where Milosevic had been standing trial for more than four years on 66 counts of war crimes and genocide in Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo during Yugoslavia's violent breakup in the 1990s.

Milosevic's body was to be delivered to his family by Monday, according to the tribunal and an official in Serbia-Montenegro. But there was disagreement among relatives about whether he should be buried in his homeland of Serbia or in Russia, where his wife and son live in exile.

In Serbia, Milosevic loyalists burned candles in memory of their fallen hero at branches of his Socialist Party. Elderly women sobbed and kissed his photographs adorned with black cloth, while nationalists signed condolence books declaring him a defender of "Serb honor."

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice would have none of that, calling Milosevic "one of the most malign forces in Europe in quite a long time."

"Some feel that they wish there had been the opportunity to bring him to justice and to have the final verdict of history be in the courts, but I think the final verdict of history about Milosevic is pretty clear," Rice said after visiting Chile.

A pathologist sent by Serbia observed the autopsy at the Netherlands Forensic Institute, an agency of the Dutch Justice Ministry.

Tribunal spokeswoman Alexandra Milenov said the autopsy revealed Milosevic had been suffering from two heart conditions. Asked if poisoning could have caused the heart attack, Milenov said it was too early to draw conclusions.

She said the inquiry into Milosevic's death was continuing, with a final report expected to be released within days.

Outside the tribunal's offices, Milosevic's legal adviser showed reporters a six-page letter that he said the former leader wrote the day before his death claiming traces of a powerful drug used to treat leprosy or tuberculosis had been found in his bloodstream.

Zdenko Tomanovic said Milosevic was seriously concerned. "They would like to poison me," he quoted Milosevic as telling him.

A Dutch state broadcaster, NOS, said later that an adviser to the tribunal confirmed such a drug was found in a blood sample taken in recent months from Milosevic. The report said the adviser, who was not identified, said the drug could have had a "neutralizing effect" on Milosevic's other medications.

Doctors found traces of the drug when they were trying to determine why Milosevic's medication for high blood pressure was not working, the NOS report said.

Milosevic had appealed unsuccessfully to the war crimes tribunal last December to be allowed to go to a heart clinic in Moscow for treatment. He repeated the request as late as last month.

In Belgrade, Rasim Ljajic, human rights minister for Serbia-Montenegro, said Milosevic's remains would be handed over to the former leader's family by Monday. His comments were confirmed by the tribunal.

Milosevic's older brother, Borislav, suggested to Serbia's Beta news agency that he should be buried "in his own country, as he's a son of Serbia."

But the late leader's wife, Mirjana Markovic, and their son, Marko, could be arrested if they returned to Serbia for a funeral. They want Milosevic buried in Moscow, where they live, Beta said.

Milosevic's daughter, Marija, disagreed with both sites. She said the burial should be in Montenegro, at the family grave in the town of Lijeva Rijeka. "He's not a Russian to be buried in Moscow," she told Beta, adding that she would not attend a Moscow funeral.

Milosevic, the first sitting head of state to be indicated for war crimes, was arrested early in 2001 after being forced from power when Serbs grew tired of the hardships brought by the Balkans conflicts.

Despite the lengthy proceedings, his death means there will be no judicial verdict on his alleged crimes.

"It is a great pity for justice that the trial will not be completed and no verdict will be rendered," Del Ponte said. His death "deprives victims of the justice they need and deserve."

In Serbia's U.N.-administered Kosovo province, Ferdone Qerkezi, 52, wept with rage, cursing Milosevic for eluding justice by dying. Her husband and four sons died in a 1999 crackdown by Serb forces.

"He should have been dragged through streets of towns and thrown into a bottomless pit so no one could ever find him," she said. "For what he has done to us, there is no punishment on earth that befits him."

"No matter his death, he should be sentenced," Qerkezi said, her eyes red. "His family should not be able to see him even dead in the next 500 years."

While some Serbs spent Sunday mourning Milosevic, others marked the third anniversary of the slaying of a key Milosevic foe: the charismatic Zoran Djindjic, who headed the pro-democracy movement that toppled Milosevic and engineered his handover to the U.N. court for trial.

Hundreds gathered in the northern Serbian city of Novi Sad handing out recordings of Djindjic's speeches and urging passers-by to "remember the best Serbia ever had."

Bosko Djokovic, a 35-year-old Belgrade teacher, called it "poetic justice" that Milosevic died on the eve of the anniversary. The Serb strongman "was responsible for Djindjic's death, and he ultimately paid for that," Djokovic said.

Milosevic was the sixth war crimes suspect from the Balkans to die at The Hague. A week earlier, convicted Croatian Serb leader Milan Babic killed himself in the same prison. He had been a star prosecution witness against Milosevic.

Milosevic's trial was the longest and most expensive of the cases before the tribunal, which has spent about $1 billion in total, experts say.


Associated Press writers Bruce Mutsvairo in The Hague; Katarina Kratovac and Dusan Stojanovic in Belgrade, Serbia-Montenegro; and Fisnik Abrashi in Djakovica, Serbia-Montenegro, contributed to this report.