Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Weekly Pull List: 2/26/2014

It's another Wednesday, which means it's time for another pull list!  As always, all the comics available this week are available on Comixology.

DC Comics
Batman/Superman #8
Batman: The Dark Knight #28
The Flash #28

Image Comics
Sex #11
The Walking Dead #122

Marvel Comics
Daredevil: Road Warrior Infinite Comic #1 (Online Only)
Deadpool #24
Deadpool: The Gauntlet Infinite Comic #8 (Online Only)
Empire of the Dead: Act One #2 (of 5)
Fantastic Four #1
Guardians of the Galaxy #12
Hawkeye #15
Indestructible Hulk #19
Origin II #3 (of 5)
Superior Spider-Man #28
Wolverine #2
Wolverine and the X-Men #42

D4VE #3 (Online Only)

Be sure to pick up...

Sex #11
I recently added a couple new books to my rotation, and this is one of the four Image books I added.  I really like it, and the story's pretty good.  It's like if Bruce Wayne stopped being Batman, left Gotham, and then came back completely removed from being Batman.  Like all of sudden everything has just been turned down to a dull roar.  It's pretty good, but it's also hard to find.  It's not on the Comixology app, and I'm not sure if it's in a lot of comic book stores.  Know why?  Too many boobs.  Definitely for mature readers only.

Superior Spider-Man #28
In the last issue, we found out that the Green Goblin knows that Doc Ock is just chillin' inside Peter's head.  We also saw Peter jump into Ock's body (in his mind) and become Otto Octavius.  Confused yet?  Yeah, well answers are going to start coming with only a few issues left in this book.

So what books are you picking up this week?  Leave a comment below with your pull list!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Wins Rain-Soaked Daytona 500

Originally written for CLNS Radio.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the Daytona 500 after rain delayed the race for over six hours on Sunday night.
Photo courtesy Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Earnhardt led a race-high 54 laps, but he had to hold off a hard charge from Denny Hamlin on the final lap.  

The win was Earnhardt’s second Daytona 500 victory.  The first came in 2004, 10 years ago.
“I didn’t know if I’d ever get a chance to do that again, and it feels just as good; it feels better,” Earnhardt told FOX Sports in victory lane.  “This car was awesome.  We showed them there we had the best car.”

Earnhardt couldn’t contain his excitement in victory lane.  After getting out of his car, he hugged each team member before doing an interview, thanking them for their effort.

“They put a lot into this car during the offseason.  It’s so rewarding to bring it to victory lane for them.”

Hamlin, an early favorite to win the race after winning the Sprint Unlimited and one of the Budweiser Duels on Thursday, finished second after having radio problems.  He lost radio contact with his team following a rain delay, which could lead to a bad situation at the 2.5 mile Daytona International Speedway.

“There’s a lot to be disappointed about, but there’s a lot to be happy about,” Hamlin told FOX.  “I had 150 laps without a spotter there.”

The race began with rookie Austin Dillon on the pole, driving the No. 3 made famous by Dale Earnhardt.  Hamlin quickly got around Dillon to take the lead for the first time of the day on lap two.

Kyle Larson, another rookie driving the No. 42 Chip Ganassi Target car, spun on lap 22 to bring out the first caution.

Martin Truex Jr. qualified second, but blew an engine on lap 31 to bring out the second caution.  During the caution the skies opened up, and the field was brought down pit road under the red flag.

After six hours and 22 minutes, the cars were finally re-fired and the race restarted.

The field drove on the edge of disaster for over 100 laps while they raced towards halfway, in hopes of beating another rain storm that threatened the track.

After running past halfway without incident, a string of multi-car wrecks continued to bunch up the field until the end of the race.

The first wreck came on lap 146, when Kevin Harvick and Brian Scott made contact.  Scott shot up the track into Aric Almirola, who then spun down the track.  The wreck collected Dillon, Michael Waltrip, Paul Menard, Justin Allgaier, David Gilliland and Danica Patrick, who hit the outside wall head-on.

On lap 163, Dillon got into Larson, spinning him in front of the field.  That wreck collected Marcos Ambrose, Michael Annett, Kasey Kahne, Brian Vickers and Casey Mears.  It once again bunched up the field.

On lap 184, Trevor Bayne hit the wall mid-pack, but everyone was able to avoid hitting him.  This set the field up for a 13-lap sprint to the finish.

With five laps to go, Dillon got into his teammate Ryan Newman to start another wreck.  The wreck collected Parker Kligerman, Cole Whitt, Brian Scott and Terry Labonte.  Labonte had announced earlier in the week that this would be his last Daytona 500.

On the restart, Earnhardt had to hold off his teammates Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson, along with Brad Keselowski and Hamlin.  Coming out of Turn 4, Harvick got together with Kyle Busch, which sparked a big wreck coming to the checkered flag.

Here are the unofficial results:

1. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
2. Denny Hamlin
3. Brad Keselowski
4. Jeff Gordon
5. Jimmie Johnson
6. Matt Kenseth
7. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
8. Greg Biffle
9. Austin Dillon
10. Casey Mears
11. Joey Logano
12. Landon Cassill
13. Kevin Harvick
14. Jamie McMurray
15. Bobby Labonte
16. Reed Sorenson
17. Carl Edwards
18. Marcos Ambrose
19. Kyle Busch
20. Terry Labonte
21. Kurt Busch
22. Ryan Newman
23. Alex Bowman
24. Josh Wise
25. Brian Scott
26. AJ Allmendinger
27. Justin Allgaier
28. Cole Whitt
29. Parker Kligerman
30. Brian Vickers
31. Kasey Kahne
32. Paul Menard
33. Trevor Bayne
34. David Ragan
35. Tony Stewart
36. David Gilliland
37. Michael Annett
38. Kyle Larson
39. Aric Almirola
40. Danica Patrick
41. Michael Waltrip
42. Clint Bowyer
43. Martin Truex Jr.

The Sprint Cup season is just beginning, and next Sunday the stars of the Sprint Cup Series roll into Phoenix International Raceway.  The Profit on CNBC 500 can be seen at 3:00 p.m. ET on FOX.

Photo courtesy Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Friday, February 21, 2014

Weekly Pull List: 2/19/2014

It's hump day, so let's read some comics.  It's a big pull list this week, with a very big selection from Marvel.  As always, all the comics available this week can be viewed on Comixology.

DC Comics
Batman and Robin #28
Harley Quinn #3

Amazing X-Men #4
Daredevil #36
Deadpool: The Gauntlet Infinite Comic # 7 (Online Only)
Iron Man Annual #1
New Warriors #1
Night of the Living Deadpool #3 (of 4)
Nova #13.1
Punisher #2
Savage Wolverine #15
Superior Spider-Man Team-Up #10
Uncanny X-Men #17
X-Men #11

Be sure to pick up...

Daredevil #36
I didn't jump on the Daredevil bandwagon until a couple months ago, but I blew through every issue.  This is such a well-written series, and big things are going to change for Matt Murdock.  This is the final issue of this series, before it gets re-made for All-New Marvel Now.  We'll learn the fate of Foggy Nelson, who's currently being treated for cancer, and I'm not sure I want to see what happens to him.

New Warriors #1
This new series features Nova and Scarlet Spider as part of a young superhero team.  I'm really excited for this series. This group has to band together to fight the High Evolutionary, who has built an army to combat the evolution of humanity.

Punisher #2
My only introduction to the Punisher is through old Spider-Man comics, where he mostly talk through his war journal, and it's actually pretty annoying.  I picked up issue one because I figured it would be a better introduction to the character.  I'm glad I did.  I loved #1, and it quickly jumped up on my list of favorite titles.  Do yourself a favor and pick this one up this week.

There's this week's pull list!  Comment below with the books you're picking up this week!

2015 NASCAR Hall of Fame Nominees Announced

NASCAR announced the 20 nominees for the 2015 Hall of Fame class in Charlotte on Friday afternoon.

The list of nominees was reduced from 25 to 20 names for the first time this year, with many names returning to the list.

Below are the list of nominees, listed alphabetically:

Buddy Baker: won 19 times in NASCAR's premier (now Sprint Cup) series, including the Daytona 500 and Southern 500.

Red Byron: First NASCAR premier series champion in 1949.

Richard Childress: 11-time car owner champion in NASCAR's three national series.

Jerry Cook: six-time NASCAR Modified champion.

Bill Elliott: 1988 premier series champion, two-time Daytona 500 winner and 16-time Most Popular Driver.

Ray Fox: legendary engine builder and owner of cars driven by Buck Baker, Junior Johnson and others.

Rick Hendrick: 14-time car owner champion in NASCAR's three national series.

Bobby Isaac: 1970 NASCAR premier series champion.

Terry Labonte: Two-time NASCAR premier series champion.

Fred Lorenzen: 26 wins and winner of the Daytona 500 and World 600.

Raymond Parks: NASCAR's first champion car owner.

Benny Parsons: 1973 NASCAR premier series champion.

Larry Phillips: Only five-time NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national champion.

Wendell Scott: NASCAR trailblazer was the first African-American NASCAR premier series race winner, and first to be nominated for induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

O. Bruton Smith: Builder of Charlotte Motor Speedway and architect of Speedway Motorsports Inc.

Mike Stefanik: Winner of record-tying nine NASCAR championships.

Curtis Turner: Early personality, called the "Babe Ruth of stock car racing."

Joe Weatherly: Two-time NASCAR premier series champion.

Rex White: 1960 NASCAR premier series champion.

Robert Yates: Won NASCAR premier series championship as both an engine builder and owner.

So now that you've seen the list, who do you think should make up this year's Hall of Fame class?  I think I've already decided who I want to be a part of this year's class:

Raymond Parks deserves to be in the HOF.
Bill Elliott
Raymond Parks
Benny Parsons
O. Bruton Smith
Curtis Turner

Raymond Parks is definitely my first choice for the Hall of Fame.  I've voted for him every year since the first class, and every year I've been disappointed by the fact he hasn't made it in.  I think many people just don't know much about him, and they should check him out.  He was a part of the  famous meeting that created NASCAR in Daytona, and he needs to be a part of the Hall of Fame.

Check out the book Driving with the Devil: Southern Moonshine, Detroit Wheels, and the Birth of NASCAR by Neal Thompson for more info about Parks and NASCAR in general.  Go buy it on Amazon here.

So the list is shorter this year.  Now that the nominees have been announced, who do you think got snubbed and was left off the list.  Of course you're thinking Mark Martin, and I am too.  Hopefully he'll get onto the ballot next year and become a first-ballot Hall of Famer.

Who is on your list for this year's class?  Comment below with your Hall of Fame picks!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Denny Hamlin Wins the Sprint Unlimited

Originally written for CLNS Radio.

Denny Hamlin held off NASCAR’s best in a wild Sprint Unlimited at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday night.

Denny Hamlin celebrates his second career Sprint Unlimited (Photo courtesy Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Hamlin had to hold off hard-charging teammates Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano to win the race.  Hamlin said his team worked hard all weekend, and it proved to be the deciding factor.
“We had a great car all weekend,” Hamlin told ESPN.  “It was survival of the fittest for sure, but this car was phenomenal.”
The race was all about the fans, with multiple parts of the race decided based upon a fan vote.

The race started with one of these fan votes, and the fans decided to have the starting line-up set by final practice speeds.  This put Hamlin on pole, and he stayed up front for most of the race.

Hamlin led at the end of the first 30-lap segment, when defending Sprint Cup Champion Jimmie Johnson got loose coming off turn 4 and spun into the inside wall.

After pit stops in between segments, segment two started with Jeff Gordon in the lead.  Just five laps later, however, the infamous “big one” struck, and it cut the field in half.

Matt Kenseth cut down in front of Logano heading through the tri-oval, and he spun in front of the field.  The wreck collected Gordon, Tony Stewart, Kurt Busch, Danica Patrick, Carl Edwards, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Kevin Harvick and Kenseth.

Kenseth took full responsibility for the accident.

“I honestly had no idea Joey was that close to me,” Kenseth said.  “Our cars just got hooked together.”

The race restarted on lap 11 of the 25-lap segment, and Hamlin found himself in the lead when the segment finished.  

After the segment, fans voted for a mandatory 2-tire pit stop, and Hamlin was able to win the race off pit road.

When the race restarted, the excitement didn’t stop.  Kyle Busch got turned by Keselowski, but Busch was able to save the car, much like he did during the 2012 Sprint Unlimited.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. restarted as the leader, but he and Marcos Ambrose got together just three laps later, and that ended Earnhardt’s night.

“I was trying to get down, and Marcos went to the outside and I didn’t see him,” Earnhardt said after the wreck.  “It’s hard racing, but I can’t say I was happy with him.”

When the race restarted, Logano and Keselowski commanded the field.  But Hamlin went 3-wide with two laps to go, and he was able to hold off the rest of the field for the victory.

Unofficial Results:

1. Denny Hamlin
2. Brad Keselowski
3. Kyle Busch
4. Joey Logano
5. Kevin Harvick
6. Jamie McMurray
7. Marcos Ambrose
8. Ryan Newman
9. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
10. Matt Kenseth
11. Tony Stewart
12. Jeff Gordon
13. Carl Edwards
14. Kurt Busch
15. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
16. Danica Patrick
17. Jimmie Johnson
18. Terry Labonte
Next Sunday, the Sprint Cup Series kicks off their season with the Daytona 500.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Weekly Pull List: 2/12/2014

It's Wednesday, which means it's time for another pull list! This week is jam packed with a ton of cool comics, which might make it hard to make my top picks this week.  As always, all the comics available this week are on Comixology.

Dark Horse
Star Wars #14

Batman #28
Nightwing #28

The Walking Dead #121

All-New X-Men #23
Deadpool #23
Deadpool: The Gauntlet Infinite Comic #6 (Online Only)
Marvel Knights: X-Men #4 (of 5)
She-Hulk #1
Superior Spider-Man #27.1
Wolverine and the X-Men #41

Be sure to pick up...

All-New X-Men #23

This is shaping up to be a good storyline, with a crossover with the Guardians of the Galaxy.  If you remember, the last issue of that book was highlighted on a previous pull list.  This book should continue what was started in that issue, and I really can't wait to see how these intergalactic threats deal with Jean Grey.

Superior Spider-Man #27.1
If you haven't been reading Superior Spider-Man, now is the time.  It all ends here.  This is the final storyline before Peter takes control of his body, and it is gonna be good.  In the last issue, we saw Peter chilling in Doc Ock's brain, and I got really excited seeing all the throwbacks to past adventures.  Goblin Nation starts now!

That's all for this week's pull list!  Comment below to let us know what books you're picking up this week!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Weekly Pull List: 2/5/2014

It's Wednesday, and you know what that means: another pull list!  All of this week's comic offerings are available on Comixology.  Let's get started!

Dark Horse
The Star Wars #5 (of 8)

DC Comics
Batman Black and White #6 (of 6)
Detective Comics #28
Green Arrow #28
Green Lantern #28

Deadpool: The Gauntlet Infinite Comic #5 (Online Only)
Iron Man #21
Loki Agent of Asgard #1
Marvel Knights: Spider-Man #5 (of 5)
Punisher #1
Superior Carnage Annual #1
The Superior Foes of Spider-Man #8
Wolverine #1
X-Men #10.1

Be sure to pick up...

Detective Comics #28
I recently read all of Detective Comics on winter break, and it has been a pretty good series.  This storyline, "Gothtopia," is really interesting.  Nothing is as it seems in Gotham, as the Scarecrow has everyone fooled into thinking things are better than they are.  So far only Batman sees the truth, and the last issue ended with him fighting Catwoman.

Marvel Knights: Spider-Man #5 (of 5)
This is the conclusion to a very fun (and weird) mini-series in the Marvel Knights line.  Spider-Man has had to fight 99 of his greatest foes, and we're still not quite sure what's going on.  I really can't wait to see how this trippy series ends!

What are you picking up this week?  Comment below with your weekly picks!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Reaction to Chase Changes

On Thursday, NASCAR announced their not-so-secret changes to the Chase for the Sprint Cup.  And I don't agree with the direction they're going.

Before I get into the good and the bad of the new system, be sure to check out my story on CLNS Radio to get a better feel for what the new system is. 

After taking a look at the new system, there are some things that I like about it. The idea that a driver must win to get into the Chase is a great idea. This is a good way to place more importance on winning in the sport. Now most people have a chance to get into the Chase, especially when it comes to the restrictor plate tracks. 

Another part of the new format that I like is the eliminations. This should keep the Chase exciting. This is nothing really new though, because it happens anyway. At least half the field is basically eliminated by the time the Chase is halfway over, so this will just solidify the fact that only a few drivers will fight for the championship. 

The part I most disagree with is the winner-take-all finale. I get it, they want that "Game 7" moment. They want another Carl Edwards vs. Tony Stewart showdown. The problem with this thinking is that these moments can't be fabricated. 

These moments are exciting because they don't happen that often. That's what makes them special. With this new format, NASCAR is making sure the finales are exciting, but they are also making sure that these moments are no longer special. 

With the exciting finale, NASCAR is trying to make itself like other sports, but in doing so, they are just solidifying the fact that they are unlike any other sport. And that's okay.

NASCAR needs to stop trying to be like stick-and-ball sports and focus on making its product better.  Even after saying all this, I'm sure it will be exciting and most fans will like the changes.  

Many people believe that this change was made to keep Jimmie Johnson from winning the championship, but I still think he will tie and pass Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt. Johnson is just that good, and no matter the format he is one of the best drivers ever.

And I have to laugh, because this new format is supposed to foster more competition and more winners in the Chase.  If this system had been in place last year, however, the winless Dale Earnhardt Jr. would have won the championship.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. would have won the championship last year under this new format. (Photo courtesy Getty Images)
No one actually knows what the new system will be like, or how it will play out.  We'll all find out in a few more weeks, when the Daytona 500 kicks off the NASCAR season.