Aaron's 499

Bowyer, Bear Bryant tag team a top ten at Talladega


Late last week we mentioned that Alabama’s 2011 BcS title team would be honored at this weekend’s NASCAR race inTalladega.

In addition to a Tide-themed paint scheme adorning Clint Bowyer‘s Toyota, the driver of the No. 15 Michael Waltrip Racing entry honored Bear Bryant with a stunningly awesome and way-too-cool helmet design.

Despite the Alabama coaching legend riding shotgun a short distance from his old collegiate stomping grounds, Bowyer was unable to secure the sixth win of his Cup career in a race that featured multiple late-lap wrecks.  The Kansas native and self-proclaimed huge Jayhawks fan did, though, finish sixth — his second-best finish of the 2012 season — in the first of two races this season at the track an hour or so from Tuscaloosa.

Thanks in large part to Bryant’s presence, no doubt, Bowyer moved up two spots from 12th to 10th in points on the season as well.

“Yeah, it was actually my idea about the helmet. I always have icons on the back of my helmets. I’ve had them on my helmet all year long,” Bowyer said prior to the race. “Trying to think of something to do with Alabama, it was only fitting to have Bear Bryant on the back of it. So it’s a pretty cool helmet that Nick Pastura painted for me. I just want to get down there and hopefully have the same success we’ve had over the past couple of years. Talladega is good to me, had a lot of fun there, and I can’t think of anything bigger than to win in Talladega, Ala. with the Alabama car.”

This was the third time in the past three years that the BcS champion from the state of Alabama the previous year was honored at the spring Talladega race, and Bowyer’s was the highest finish of the trio.  In 2010, David Reutimann drove the original Tide-themed car to a 14th-place finish, while Michael Waltrip was one lap down and in 28th place at the end of the 2011 race in the Auburn-themed car.

It’s unclear if this will be yet another title officially claimed by Alabama.

Former Texas A&M WR Thomas Johnson arrested on murder charge

Thomas Johnson
Associated Press

A very disturbing story has emerged out of Dallas, where former Texas A&M wide receiver Thomas Johnson sits in a Dallas County jail cell after allegedly admitting to hacking an unsuspecting jogger to death with a machete.

Just before 8 a.m. Monday, authorities say Johnson went to White Rock Creek Trail, a popular jogging trail in northeast Dallas, and randomly slashed a jogger to death. “It appears Mr. Johnson picked this victim at random. Absolutely random,” Deputy Chief Rob Sherwin told the Dallas Morning News. “He just attacked him. … It’s just very unusual. It’s quite shocking.”

Johnson then walked away from the scene in search of a cell phone. An onlooker had already dialed 911, and when police arrived Johnson allegedly told them there was a man “laying down with a sword in his head and not moving.”

“I just committed capital murder,” Johnson said and then repeated, according to his arrest affidavit. The only motive police reported was that Johnson was angry at his situation in life at the time of the slaying.

The victim, an unidentified male between the age of 25 and 35, passed away at a nearby hospital.

Johnson, meanwhile, remains in a Dallas County jail in lieu of $500,000 bail.

Johnson was a highly-regarded member of Kevin Sumlin‘s first recruiting class at Texas A&M. As a true freshman in 2012, the Dallas native caught 30 passes for 339 yards and one touchdown through the Aggies’ upset of then-No. 1 Alabama and then simply… disappeared. He went missing for three days in November 2012 before turning up back home in Dallas. His mother told the San Antonio Express-News last April Johnson would like to return to college football, but a return to the game never materialized.

No punishment from SEC for Bielema’s sideline interaction with Alabama player

Bret Bielema

Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema will not be disciplined by the SEC office for his brief interaction with Alabama offensive lineman Cam Robinson last weekend. A video showing Bielema exaggerating his interaction with Robinson at the end of a play was reviewed by SEC commissioner Greg Sankey, and the commissioner has discussed the situation with the Razorbacks coach.

“I visited with Bret over the phone on Monday and we discussed the play that has now become widely reviewed through a brief video clip,” Sankey said in a released statement. “Football is played in an intense competitive environment and I reminded him of the need for head coaches to resolve with their own players issues that may arise, which was his intent. The unsportsmanlike penalty assessed on the play was not directly associated with Bret’s efforts to intervene at the end of the play and we are moving forward in a positive manner.”

That appears to be the end of the discussion regarding Bielema’s act. I personally think there should have been some more done here by the league’s commissioner, but we will see if Bielema avoids putting himself in a similar position moving forward.