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Volume 24 No. 159

People and Pop Culture

Pocono Raceway Founder & Chair Dr. JOSEPH "DOC" MATTIOLI died Thursday at Lehigh Valley Hospital at the age of 86, according to Mike Kuhns of the POCONO RECORD. Mattioli "developed and built Pocono Raceway in the early 1960s." Though there were times "when Mattioli considered selling the track," keeping the track "may have been Mattioli's best business decision in the Poconos." Mattioli retired last year, "leaving full responsibility to his grandson, BRANDON IGDALSKY" (POCONO RECORD, 1/27). NASCAR VP/Competition ROBIN PEMBERTON said that Mattioli's death in "no way affects future decisions to keep two Cup events at the track," and he "praised the Mattioli family for all of the improvements it has made at the facility in Long Pond, Pa." (, 1/26). The AP's Steve Reed noted Pocono Raceway is the "only remaining family owned and run track on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule" (AP, 1/26). In Pennsylvania, Tom DeSchriver writes it "takes a special, and gutsy, person to look at an overgrown field, which Pocono Raceway's location was in the 1960s, and envision a huge race track that the world's best drivers would come to. ... But Mattioli pulled it off." And as a "shrewd and crafty a businessman as he was, most folks who knew him well will remember the Mattioli with a big smile, a gift for gab and a generous heart" (POCONO RECORD, 1/27). YAHOO SPORTS' Jay Hart noted Mattioli modeled his track after Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Daytona Int'l Speedway. That is how the "one-of-a-kind layout known as the 'Tricky Triangle' came to be." He "set the distance of his races at 500 miles, because that’s what they had in Indy and Daytona" (, 1/26).

Samson has a 21-mile run
Sunday morning
Marlins President DAVID SAMSON lives a high-octane life, and this weekend will be no different. Samson will be in Las Vegas to celebrate his sister’s 30th birthday and brother-in-law’s 35th birthday. But even with the party underway, Samson plans to find time for his training runs along the Strip and has an early departure to be back for a 21-mile run in Miami Sunday morning. Although his exact hotel will remain unknown (“If I told you I would have to kill you”), Samson shared the rest of his weekend plans. 

BUCKLE UP: On Friday and Saturday I will be in Las Vegas celebrating my sister’s birthday. And I will be in Miami on Sunday because I have to do a 21-mile training run on Sunday coming off a red eye Saturday night. And then I am taking my son to his baseball game. So this weekend will be one of 15 times in my life I have run 20 miles on no sleep. We’ll see how it goes. (My flight) gets in at 6:25am and I will home by 7:45am and I’ll be on the road by 8:30am and I’ll be done by 12:15. After the run, (my son) has a baseball game. I’m also going to see four movies this weekend. And then Sunday night there is a great chance of hospitalization due to exhaustion.

BIRTHDAY BONANZA! Here’s the rub: it’s Saturday night. So picture the scene of a Saturday night celebration, and then right to the airport, right to the Cinnabon stand, right to the airplane and then right to the run. And don’t forget how many times In-N-Out will be consumed in the course of two days.

HAVE IT YOUR WAY: It’s my sister’s birthday and it is totally up to her. She told me she would leave an itinerary in my hotel room of where I needed to be when and I promised her I would do it as long as it didn’t interfere with any training runs while I’m in Vegas. … So I’m going to do a six (mile run) Thursday in Miami, and then a nine Friday in Vegas, a seven Saturday in Vegas and a 21 Sunday back in Miami.

EARLY BIRD: I’m running starting at 4:30, 5:00 in the morning. I don’t recall the last time I slept past 6:15, that’s pretty late. I don’t sleep a lot. I get to bed around 1:00 or 2:00. I run five to six times a week, depending on if it’s an up week or a down week in the mileage.

SEE-FOOD DIET: Given that I’m 5’5,” 118 pounds I would say that I do my best to eat as much as I can, but training this much, it is hard to keep up.

PLAY BALL: I do not coach. I do not yell at the umpires. I do not assume that my son is a major leaguer to be. I sit there and enjoy watching him have fun. I go to every game I can.

LIGHTS, CAMERA, OSCAR: I’m going to see some Oscar-nominated movies because it’s Oscar time. So I would expect this weekend I would be seeing “The Artist,” I will see “Warrior;” NICK NOLTE nominated for supporting actor. I will see “Albert Nobbs,” which is a best actress for GLENN CLOSE and a best supporting actress for JANET MCTEER. And I can’t think of the fourth one that’s on my list. But anyway I’ve got until February 26, which is my favorite day of the year to get all the movies seen. I watch one movie a day every day. I actually review movies on the radio once a week with DAN LE BATARD.

ONLY THING CONSTANT IS CHANGE: For a guy with some aging OCD, that’s surprising but it’s true: No weekend is the same. When you’re in baseball, once the season starts it’s a much greater routine in terms of when games are because they’re every day.

NASCAR promoted SCOTT WARFIELD to Dir of NASCAR Media Group/Entertainment & Marketing Communications, AMANDA ELLIS to Senior Manager of NASCAR Competition Communications and JASON CHRISTLEY to Senior Manager of NASCAR Competition Communications, Developmental Series. NASCAR also named KURT CULBERT Dir of Stakeholder Communications, ZACK ALBERT Manager of Sport Services and MATT CIESLUK Dir of Strategic Media Projects (NASCAR).

EXECS: Nike promoted BERT HOYT to VP & GM of Western Europe, replacing BRENT SCRIMSHAW, who is retiring. ROLAND WOLFRAM will replace Hoyt as VP & GM of Global Football, TOM PEDDIE will replace Wolfram as VP/Global Sales and ANN HEBERT will replace Peddie as VP/North American Sales (, 1/26)....Canada's Own the Podium program named ANNE MERKLINGER CEO, replacing ALEX BAUMANN, who is now CEO of High-Performance Sport New Zealand (POSTMEDIA NEWS, 1/27)....Nautilus, Inc. CFO MICHAEL MULHOLLAND has resigned (, 1/26)....MLS FC Dallas promoted VP/Finance & IT JIMMY SMITH to CFO (FC Dallas)....Palace Sports & Entertainment named Insideout Sports & Entertainment Partner ADAM SCHNEIDER Senior VP/Events & Booking (PSE)....The Marketing Arm named MINDY KUHL Global Account Dir and promoted BASIA WOJCIK to Associate Dir of Global & Olympic Consulting (THE DAILY).

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In N.Y., Sam Borden writes NFL Giants President & CEO JOHN MARA saw his team "endure a brutal collapse, missing the 2010 playoffs in such devastating fashion that it turned his stomach." He listened to fans "call for the firing of his head coach, his general manager and, occasionally, himself." He spent "long summer nights hoping there would be a 2011 NFL season, then worked long summer days during the lockout to ensure that there would be." Somewhere in the middle, he "spent four weeks on the jury in a federal drug trial that resulted in two men going to prison." Mara gave a "mock look of exasperation when he talked about the logistics of getting his entire family to the Super Bowl." He said that the "contingent is nearing 70 people ... but he does not mind." After all, it was "not that long ago that he had 'significant doubts' about the Giants playing any games at all because of the lockout." Among the relatives joining him for the game will be his niece, ROONEY MARA, who earned a best actress Academy Award nomination for her role in "THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO," and his mother, ANN, who "became an Internet sensation after scolding" Fox' TERRY BRADSHAW for "always picking against the Giants" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/27).

SUPER AGENT: USA TODAY's Jarrett Bell profiles NFL agent TOM CONDON, noting he is arguably the league's "most powerful agent, evidenced by his A-list clients," including Colts QB PEYTON MANNING, Giants QB ELI MANNING, Saints QB DREW BREES, Cowboys QB TONY ROMO, Lions QB MATTHEW STAFFORD and Falcons QB MATT RYAN. Bell notes that Condon "evolved into the agent for so many marquee quarterbacks is a bit ironic." As a player, Condon "was not among the elite and was never voted to the Pro Bowl." He began "thinking of a second career after injuring a knee in his second pro season." He went to "law school during NFL offseasons" and went on to serve as the Chiefs' player rep and then became NFLPA President. After he "retired from football, he served as outside counsel for the NFLPA." Condon joined CAA in '06, and CAA Football now "boasts about 150 NFL players, including 14 starting quarterbacks." In the past three drafts, CAA "has represented 25 first-round picks -- more than any other agency" (USA TODAY, 1/27).

STANDING UP FOR PATERNO: In N.Y., Mark Viera notes in the "most riveting moment" of Thursday's memorial for late Penn State football coach JOE PATERNO, Nike Chair PHIL KNIGHT "lambasted Penn State's board of trustees for firing Paterno." Knight said, "Whatever the details of the investigation are, this much is clear to me: if there is a villain in this tragedy, it lies in that investigation, not in Joe Paterno." Knight's comments drew an "explosion from the crowd of about 12,000, followed by a sustained standing ovation" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/27).

NAMES: FS North and the Wild last Saturday held a telethon to raise money to support the medical needs of Minnesota high school hockey player JACK JABLONSKI, who suffered a spinal cord injury during a game last month. The day-long benefit raised more than $134,000 and was held as part of FS North's annual "Hockey Day Minnesota" (Fox)....Musical duo LMFAO will join MADONNA for the Super Bowl XLVI halftime show on Feb. 5. The group "scored a pair of Hot 100 chart-toppers last year with "PARTY ROCK ANTHEM" and "SEXY AND I KNOW IT" (, 1/26)....U.S. snowboarder SHAUN WHITE said he is "entertaining" several film offers, but declined to give specifics. White played himself in last year's film, "FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS" (, 1/26)....ESPN's JEMELE HILL is teaching a class on sports business media for Univ. of Central Florida's sports management program this semester (, 1/25)....Patriots QB TOM BRADY made an appearance at the Seaport Hotel in Boston Thursday to “promote next summer’s Best Buddies Challenge: Hyannis Port, the walk, run, and cycle benefiting Best Buddies” (BOSTON GLOBE, 1/27)....Former Dolphins coach DON SHULA opened his first Shula Burger restaurant last month in the Florida Keys (MIAMI HERALD, 1/26)....The Lofts at West Station on its Facebook page Wednesday announced that “a restaurant will be opened on the main floor of the building” by Virginia Tech football coach FRANK BEAMER. The restaurant will be called “Beamer’s 25” (, 1/26)....Celtics G RAY ALLEN and his wife SHANNON had their fourth boy, WYSTAN, on Wednesday (BOSTON HERALD, 1/27).