Saturday, July 14, 2018

Truex Dominates in Kentucky

Originally written for CLNS Media.

Martin Truex Jr. won the Quaker State 400 from Kentucky Speedway on Saturday night.

Michael Reaves/Getty Images
Truex won both stages and led a race-high 174 laps on his way to a dominant victory.  Truex did the same thing last year at Kentucky, and it propelled him into his championship run.

Truex said his team has the perfect notebook for Kentucky.

“We love coming here,” Truex said.  “We made it look easy last year but it certainly wasn’t.”

Truex started on the pole for Saturday’s race, and he said his team worked overnight to make the car better from practice and qualifying.

“We thought we were good yesterday and we tweaked on it for today,” Truex said.

Ryan Blaney finished second on Saturday, and he said it was a step in the right direction following a few weeks of poor finishes.

“After the last few weeks we’ve had, this is a very good positive for us,” Blaney said.  “Hopefully we can get it going in the right direction.”

Unofficial results:
1. Martin Truex Jr.
2. Ryan Blaney
3. Brad Keselowski
4. Kyle Busch
5. Kevin Harvick
6. Kurt Busch
7. Erik Jones
8. Aric Almirola
9. Kyle Larson
10. Joey Logano
11. Paul Menard
12. Clint Bowyer
13. Chase Elliott
14. Jimmie Johnson
15. Daniel Suarez
16. Denny Hamlin
17. Jamie McMurray
18. David Ragan
19. Matt Kenseth
20. William Byron
21. Ryan Newman
22. Austin Dillon
23. Chris Buescher
24. Michael McDowell
25. Kasey Kahne
26. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
27. Darrell Wallace Jr.
28. Ross Chastain
29. Ty Dillon
30. AJ Allmendinger
31. Corey LaJoie
32. BJ McLeod
33. Landon Cassill
34. Timmy Hill
35. Jesse Little
36. Garrett Smithley
37. Matt DiBenedetto
38. JJ Yeley
39. Alex Bowman

Sarah Crabill/Getty Images

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Erik Jones Survives Wild Daytona Race for First Cup Win

Originally written for CLNS Media.

Erik Jones won the Coke Zero Sugar 400 on Saturday night from Daytona International Speedway.

Sarah Crabill/Getty Images
Jones survived a wild race where multiple wrecks took out half the field.  Jones was involved in the first big accident, but his team was able to repair the car and get Jones back to the front. 

Jones said he didn’t think his car would be able to compete following the early damage.

“I thought we were out of it and then we were right back in it,” Jones said.  “I didn’t think we were going to have a shot to win it there at about halfway, but we got ourselves back into contention.”

The victory was Jones’ first in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, and he said he never thought it would be at a superspeedway like Daytona.

“I’ve never been that good on superspeedways and never really thought this our shot to win,” Jones said.  “It’s the first win, and not much has felt better than this one.”

Martin Truex Jr. was leading on the final restart, but he couldn’t hold off Jones over the final two laps. 

Truex said he just wasn’t able to block Jones’ run in time.

“I just got to get better at the blocking; it’s never been my strong suit,” Truex said.  “It was a good run, but we came up a little short.”

“They destroyed some cars tonight…cool to get to the end.”

Unofficial results:
1. Erik Jones
2. Martin Truex Jr.
3. AJ Allmendinger
4. Kasey Kahne
5. Chris Buescher
6. Ty Dillon
7. Matt DiBenedetto
8. Ryan Newman
9. Austin Dillon
10. Alex Bowman
11. Jeffrey Earnhardt
12. Brendan Gaughan
13. DJ Kennington
14. Darrell Wallace Jr.
15. David Ragan
16. Ray Black Jr.
17. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
18. JJ Yeley
19. Kevin Harvick
20. Trevor Bayne
21. Ross Chastain
22. Clint Bowyer
23. Jimmie Johnson
24. Landon Cassill
25. Joey Gase
26. Michael McDowell
27. Aric Almirola
28. Paul Menard
29. Kyle Larson
30. Jamie McMurray
31. Corey LaJoie
32. William Byron
33. Kyle Busch
34. Chase Elliott
35. Daniel Suarez
36. Brad Keselowski
37. Kurt Busch
38. Denny Hamlin
39. Joey Logano
40. Ryan Blaney

Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Busch Beats Larson in Thrilling Finish at Chicago

Originally written for CLNS Media.

Kyle Busch held off Kyle Larson to win the Overton’s 400 from Chicagoland Speedway on Sunday afternoon.

Dylan Buell/Getty Images
Busch led 59 laps on Sunday, but he had to hold off Larson over the final run.  With Larson closing in the final laps, Busch had to change his racing line to try to hold up Larson’s momentum.

On the final lap, Larson dove below Busch and both drivers made contact.  In the final corner, Busch bumped Larson and sent him spinning, while Busch was able to drive to victory.

Busch said it was just hard racing between two fast cars.

“Larson tried to pull a slide and didn’t quite complete it,” Busch said.  “He slid up into me and used me, and then I kind of used him as a little bit of a brake getting into Turn 3 and I was able to come back for the victory.”

“When you start banging doors on each other, that’s what it turns the race into and it’s fair game after that.”

Busch struggled with his handling early in the race, but he said the car came to him when he got into clean air while leading.

“This thing was horrible today,” Busch said.  “We just never gave up…just kept working on it and making the most of it.”

“Got it to where we needed it at the end.”

Larson slid through Turns 3 and 4, but was able to save the car to finish second.  Larson said he wasn’t upset with Busch following their contact.

“I’m not upset…I tried to get to his door and I opened the door for him to retaliate into 3,” Larson said.  “I thought it was free game; I got into him first.”

Unofficial results:
1. Kyle Busch
2. Kyle Larson
3. Kevin Harvick
4. Martin Truex Jr.
5. Clint Bowyer
6. Erik Jones
7. Denny Hamlin
8. Joey Logano
9. Brad Keselowski
10. Alex Bowman
11. Daniel Suarez
12. Jamie McMurray
13. Paul Menard
14. Jimmie Johnson
15. Ryan Newman
16. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
17. Kurt Busch
18. Ryan Blaney
19. Chase Elliott
20. William Byron
21. Michael McDowell
22. Chris Buescher
23. Darrell Wallace Jr.
24. AJ Allmendinger
25. Aric Almirola
26. Trevor Bayne
27. Kasey Kahne
28. Ty Dillon
29. Matt DiBenedetto
30. Ross Chastain
31. Gray Gaulding
32. Reed Sorenson
33. Kyle Weatherman
34. Corey LaJoie
35. BJ McLeod
36. Landon Cassill
37. Austin Dillon
38. David Ragan
39. Timmy Hill

Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Truex Tricks the Field for Sonoma Win

Originally written for CLNS Media.

Martin Truex Jr. won the Toyota/Save Mart 350 from Sonoma Raceway on Sunday afternoon.

Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images
Truex had a dominant car throughout the race and led 62 of 110 laps, but he had to use pit strategy to take the lead for the final time.

10 laps before making his final pit stop, Truex’s crew chief called him to pit road, but told him to stay out at the last second.  After hearing the call, Kevin Harvick pitted and was forced onto a different pit strategy.

Truex said he trusted crew chief Cole Pearn’s judgement.

“It’s all Cole,” Truex said.  “I’m cool with whatever he wants to do…a lot of trust in him.”
Once he had the lead, Truex was far enough ahead of Harvick that he was never challenged for the lead over the final 20-lap run.

Truex said he was worried a caution would come out in the closing laps and ruin their strategy.

“Honestly, all you’re doing is hoping that a caution doesn’t come out,” Truex said.  “Just hoping for no cautions and don’t make any mistakes.”

Harvick said he didn’t blame his team for calling him to pit road after they had been tricked by Truex.

“We all make mistakes…we all do things split-second that aren’t right after it all happens,” Harvick said.  “We had a shot today…and I was just too hard on the car the first couple stages.”

Unofficial results:
1. Martin Truex Jr.
2. Kevin Harvick
3. Clint Bowyer
4. Chase Elliott
5. Kyle Busch
6. Kurt Busch
7. Erik Jones
8. Aric Almirola
9. Alex Bowman
10. Denny Hamlin
11. Jimmie Johnson
12. Chris Buescher
13. Brad Keselowski
14. Kyle Larson
15. Daniel Suarez
16. Austin Dillon
17. Matt DiBenedetto
18. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
19. Joey Logano
20. Kasey Kahne
21. Michael McDowell
22. David Ragan
23. Parker Kligerman
24. Ryan Newman
25. William Byron
26. Paul Menard
27. Trevor Bayne
28. Justin Marks
29. Darrell Wallace Jr.
30. Gray Gaulding
31. Chris Cook
32. Tomy Drissi
33. Ty Dillon
34. Ryan Blaney
35. Cole Whitt
36. Cody Ware
37. Jamie McMurray
38. AJ Allmendinger

Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Bowyer Wins Rain-Shortened Michigan Race

Originally written for CLNS Media.

Clint Bowyer won the rain-shortened FireKeepers Casino 400 from Michigan International Speedway on Sunday afternoon.

Rain delayed the start of the race on Sunday by over two hours, and it threatened the track throughout the race.  The rain finally arrived and ended the race on lap 133 of 200 while Bowyer was out front.

Daniel Shirley/Getty Images
Bowyer’s team used pit strategy to get to the front, taking only two tires on the final pit stop while the rest of the field took four tires.

Bowyer said he was nervous when he was the only driver to take two tires.

“When he said two tires…I don’t know,” Bowyer said.  “Especially when I looked in the mirror and everyone else took four.  When you come out that far ahead of everybody else, you know you’re on a mission for a gamble.”

On the final restart, Bowyer had to hold off his teammate Kevin Harvick, who had led the most laps throughout the race.  Bowyer said he knew holding off Harvick would be a challenge.

“Being on the same tires with Kevin on a restart, you know what you’re up against,” Bowyer said.  “He was so much faster than me in 1 and 2.  I got down to 3 and 4 and I had to chop him off and take his line away.”

Harvick said he was surprised Bowyer’s car was so fast with just two fresh tires.

“Clint had a good restart,” Harvick said.  “I hadn’t restarted against a car that was as good as his and just a foot from clearing him there.”

“If you’re going to lose one in the rain and give it away, you might want to give it to your teammate.”

Unofficial results:
1. Clint Bowyer
2. Kevin Harvick
3. Kurt Busch
4. Kyle Busch
5. Paul Menard
6. Brad Keselowski
7. Joey Logano
8. Ryan Blaney
9. Chase Elliott
10. Jamie McMurray
11. Aric Almirola
12. Denny Hamlin
13. William Byron
14. Austin Dillon
15. Erik Jones
16. Alex Bowman
17. AJ Allmendinger
18. Martin Truex Jr.
19. Darrell Wallace Jr.
20. Jimmie Johnson
21. Ty Dillon
22. Ryan Newman
23. Kasey Kahne
24. Chris Buescher
25. Michael McDowell
26. Ross Chastain
27. Corey LaJoie
28. Kyle Larson
29. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
30. Daniel Suarez
31. Gray Gaulding
32. Landon Cassill
33. Matt Kenseth
34. DJ Kennington
35. Timmy Hill
36. Matt DiBenedetto
37. BJ McLeod
38. David Ragan
39. Garrett Smithley

Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

Monday, June 4, 2018

Weekly Pull List: 6/6/2018

All the comics available this week can be found on ComicList, and any comic book news is on CBR.

BOOM! Studios
Go Go Power Rangers #10

Ben Reilly the Scarlet Spider #19
Deadpool #1
Star Wars #49

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Truex Wins at the Tricky Triangle

Originally written for CLNS Media.

Martin Truex Jr. won the Pocono 400 from Pocono Raceway on Sunday afternoon.

Truex had a strong car and ran up front for most of the day.  After winning Stage 1, a pit road miscue forced him to restart in the back of the pack.
Bryan Nicodemus

Truex was able to work his way through the field throughout the second segment, and took the lead away from Kevin Harvick in the final segment.

After staying out on a late pit stop, Truex took the lead and had to hold off Harvick, Kyle Larson and Kyle Busch over multiple late-race restarts.

Truex’s crew chief Cole Pearn said there was some concern when most of the field pitted under the late caution.

“When only four of us stayed out, it was a little bit more of a concern at that point,” Pearn said.  “In practice we were able to re-fire really well on older tires…that kind of gave us some optimism at least.”

11 of the first 14 races this season have been won by Truex, Busch and Harvick, and Truex said he was excited to beat the best drivers for the victory at Pocono.

“It’s always fun to win, but especially when you beat the best guys out there,” Truex said.  “Once we got in clean air, this thing was a rocket ship.”

Unofficial results:
1. Martin Truex Jr.
2. Kyle Larson
3. Kyle Busch
4. Kevin Harvick
5. Brad Keselowski
6. Ryan Blaney
7. Aric Almirola
8. Jimmie Johnson
9. Joey Logano
10. Chase Elliott
11. Paul Menard
12. Austin Dillon
13. Matt Kenseth
14. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
15. Jamie McMurray
16. David Ragan
17. Chris Buescher
18. William Byron
19. Kurt Busch
20. Clint Bowyer
21. Michael McDowell
22. AJ Allmendinger
23. Ty Dillon
24. Daniel Suarez
25. Ryan Newman
26. Cole Custer
27. Alex Bowman
28. Ross Chastain
29. Erik Jones
30. Cole Whitt
31. Landon Cassill
32. JJ Yeley
33. Gray Gaulding
34. Derrike Cope
35. Denny Hamlin
36. Kasey Kahne
37. Matt DiBenedetto
38. Darrell Wallace Jr.

Sarah Crabill/Getty Images