Monday, March 31, 2014

Kurt Busch Returns to Victory Lane at Martinsville

Originally written for CLNS Radio.
Kurt Busch returned to victory lane on Sunday after snapping an 83-race winless after winning the STP 500 from Martinsville Speedway.

The win was his first with Stewart-Haas Racing, who added a fourth team for Busch this year.  SHR uses Hendrick Motorsports engines, and Busch said that was definitely a factor in the win.

“I didn’t know if we’d be able to do it, the 48 [of Jimmie Johnson] is king here, so is the 24 [of Jeff Gordon],” Busch said in victory lane.  “If you can’t beat them, join them.  We have Hendrick chassis and Hendrick engines at Stewart-Haas.”

Photo courtesy Chris Graythen/Getty Images
Practice was rained out on Saturday, and Busch joked that that may have been helpful in his victory today.

“Now we know what to do on Saturday; don’t practice.  We can’t dial out the car.”

Earlier in the race, Busch said his race was over after a run-in on pit road with Brad Keselowski.  Busch even went as far as to say he would punch Keselowski in the face, but that none of that mattered in victory lane.

“We won, we aren’t worried about any of that nonsense now.”

Busch had to outrun Johnson, who led a race-high 296 laps.  He said his car just got looser as the race wound down, and that is what cost him the victory.

“I’d been loose in the final third of the race and was just hanging on there,” Johnson said.  “When he [Busch] got by me, I’d hoped he’d fall off, and we got back by him but we couldn’t hold on.  Just a little too loose there to get the win.”

The race was dominated early by Johnson, Matt Kenseth and Joey Logano, who combined to lead 371 of the 500 laps on Sunday.  

Kyle Busch started on the pole, but he wasn’t able to lead for long because the first caution came out on the second lap when the field stacked up and Parker Kligerman spun.  

Busch led the field back to the green flag, but Johnson had taken the lead for the first time by the time competition caution came out on lap 40.

During the next run, Johnson traded the lead with Kenseth and Logano.  Johnson was leading when Ricky Stenhouse Jr. hit the wall on lap 103 to bring out the third caution.

When the race went back to green, Kenseth and Logano raced for the lead until Michael Annett, Travis Kvapil, David Gilliland and Michael McDowell got together to bring out another caution.

Logano led the field back to the restart, and he led until Johnson passed him for the top spot.  Greg Biffle passed Johnson for the lead, and Biffle led until the Casey Mears spun on lap 170.

Marcos Ambrose took over the lead during the caution, and he led until Kenseth took the lead on lap 196.  On lap 200, Jamie McMurray and Dale Earnhardt Jr. got together to bring out the caution.

A string of cautions kept the field bunched together, and Clint Bowyer raced hard with Johnson for the lead following a caution on lap 251.  Johnson continued to lead throughout four of the last five cautions, but Bowyer caught him on lap 450.  

Carl Edwards spun on lap 459 to bring out the final caution.  The field came down to make their final pit stops, and Bowyer was leading when the field came down.  Johnson won the race out of the pits, and Bowyer lost nine positions, which dropped him to 10th and out of contention.

Johnson led the field during the final restart, but Kurt Busch stayed right on his bumper.  Busch took the lead on lap 473, but Johnson got back around him on lap 483.  After racing hard, Busch got around Johnson for the final time on lap 490.  Busch was able to lead Johnson through lapped traffic to win the race.

Here are the unofficial results:

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

Next week, the Sprint Cup Series heads down south to Texas Motor Speedway.  The Duck Commander 500 will be next Sunday at 3:00 p.m. EST, only on FOX.

Photo courtesy Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Weekly Pull List: 3/26/2014

It's Wednesday! It's my pull list!  For all the comics available this week, check out Comixology, and be sure to check out Comic Book Resources for all the breaking comics news!

Batman: The Dark Knight #29
The Flash #29

Sex #12
The Walking Dead #124

Amazing X-Men #5
Deadpool #26
Deadpool: The Gauntlet Infinite Comic (Online Only)
George Romero's Empire of the Dead: Act One #3 (of 5)
Guardians of the Galaxy #13
Hawkeye #18
Indestructible Hulk #20
Iron Patriot #1
Marvel Knights: X-Men #5 (of 5)
Origin II #4 (of 5)
Savage Wolverine #16
Silver Surfer #1
Superior Spider-Man #30
Superior Spider-Man Team-Up #11

Be sure to pick up...

Batman: The Dark Knight #29
This is the final issue of this phenomenal series.  I was late to the party on most of the Batman titles, and this one quickly became my favorite.  I'm sad to see it go, but this is going to wrap up a great Man-Bat storyline that has gone on for the past few issues.

Guardians of the Galaxy #13
The final issue in the Trial of Jean Grey storyline!  This storyline is already a front-runner for best storyline of the year, in my opinion.  This should have lasting effects on both teams, as the X-Men are going to have to deal with whatever comes next and the Guardians end up doing something to get attention heading towards the movie.

Superior Spider-Man #30 
Marvel says "DO NOT MISS THIS ISSUE," and you'd be crazy to miss it.  This is the penultimate issue of Superior Spider-Man, and the Goblin Nation is taking over.  Peter's life is falling apart, and now Spider-Man 2099 has been dragged into the mess.  With just one issue left, you can be assured nothing will be the same.

Let us know in the comments what books you're picking up this week!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Kyle Busch Wins Auto Club 400 from California

Originally written for CLNS Radio.
Kyle Busch won his second-straight spring California race by outrunning rookie Kyle Larson in the Auto Club 400 on Sunday.

Kyle Busch celebrates his victory on Sunday (Photo courtesy Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)
Busch ran near the front for most of the race, but he only led five laps on his way to the victory.  Busch said the fans won on Saturday during the Nationwide race, but he said Sunday’s race was even better.

“I think the fans won today too,” Busch told FOX Sports.  “What do you expect when you get a green-white-checkered and everyone has to get four tires?  That’s a Days of Thunder moment right there.”

Larson won the Nationwide race on Saturday, and he came close to sweeping the weekend by getting his first Cup Series victory.

“I thought we were in trouble there [restarting 9th], but somehow I ended up in second there behind Kyle down the backstretch,” Larson said.  “It did cross my mind that we might sweep the weekend.”

Some of the biggest news was announced before the race even began.  Denny Hamlin was replaced by Sam Hornish Jr. just 30 minutes before the green flag fell.  Hamlin was suffering from a sinus infection that made it hard for him to see, and he was taken to the hospital for observation.  Hornish was already in California standing by for Matt Kenseth, who’s wife is expecting a baby.

Kenseth won the pole for the race, but Brad Keselowski took the lead after starting on the front row for the third week in a row.

The first caution of the race came out for a flat tire on Kevin Harvick’s car.  It was the first of many tire problems during the race, as many teams were pushing their set-ups to their breaking points.

Kyle Busch jumped out to the lead when the race restarted, but Keselowski quickly got it back.  Keselowski led until Dale Earnhardt Jr. cut down a tire on lap 43.

Jimmie Johnson won the race off pit road, and he led the race for the first time of the day. 
On lap 56, Tony Stewart spun after losing control of his car coming off the corner. 

Under the caution, Keselowski stayed out to take the lead.  When the race restarted, Johnson and the rest of the field blew by Keselowski.  Keselowski almost fell to 40th before the caution came out for an accident between Aric Almirola and Brian Scott. 

When the race restarted on lap 75, Kenseth took the lead and held off Johnson until lap 86.  As soon as Johnson took the lead, the caution came out after Parker Kligerman hit the wall.

Kenseth led the field to the green flag on lap 91, but Johnson quickly blew around him to take the lead.  He led until Jeff Gordon took the lead on lap 109.

On lap 117, Greg Biffle slowed with a tire problem, but he was able to make it to pit road without incident.  His teammate Carl Edwards was not as lucky.  He spun with a flat tire to bring out another caution.

Kenseth led the field back to the green flag, but Johnson was once again able to get around the No. 20 for the lead.  He led until the caution came out for debris in Turn 3.

Johnson led the field back to the green flag on lap 159, and he and Kenseth raced hard for the lead until David Gilliland wrecked to bring out the caution on lap 168.

Johnson led the field back to the green flag, but Gordon began to catch the 48.  Johnson began to pull away once again, and it seemed like he would win another California race.  But he suffered his first tire problems of the day just seven laps from the finish.

Gordon took over the lead, and he was headed towards the white flag when Clint Bowyer cut down a tire and spun coming out of Turn 4 to bring out the final caution.

Landon Cassill stayed out under the caution, and he led the field back to the green flag.  Kurt Busch only took two tires under the caution, and he jumped around Cassill for the lead.  He raced side-by-side with Stewart for the lead until the white flag. 

Going into Turn 1, Kyle Busch got around both of them, and he brought rookie Kyle Larson with him.  Busch and Larson raced down the backstretch and into Turn 3, but Larson couldn’t get around Busch to get the victory.

Here are the unofficial results:

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

Next weekend, the Sprint Cup Series heads to the famous Martinsville Speedway.  The STP 500 will be next Sunday at 1:00 p.m. EST, only on FOX.

Photo courtesy Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images