Monday, April 28, 2014

Weekly Pull List: 4/30/2014

All the comics available this week can be found on Comixology, and head to Comic Book Resources for any breaking comics news.
This Skottie Young variant cover is adorable.

BOOM! Studios
Rush Clockwork Angels #2

Dark Horse
Star Wars Rebel Heist #1 (of 4)

Batman Eternal #4
Flash Annual #3

Chew #41

All-New X-Men #26
Amazing Spider-Man #1
Avengers A.I. #12
Hulk #2
Origin II #5 (of 5)
Silver Surfer #2
What if? Age of Ultron #5 (of 5)
Wolverine #5

Be sure to pick up...

Amazing Spider-Man #1
I'm only recommending one comic this week, and if you've read the pull list before I'm sure you knew this was coming.  Peter Parker has returned to his body, and he's going to return to the forefront of the series.  The Amazing Spider-Man kicks off this All-New Marvel NOW! title with a new #1 issue.  I didn't realize how much I missed Peter's quick one-liners during a fight until he returned in Superior Spider-Man #31.  I've been waiting since December 2012 for Peter to return, and I'm sure I'm not the only one.  This is a welcomed return for one of the most famous characters in comics.

So what books are on your pull list this week?  Comment below with what books you're reading this week.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Fantasy Preview: Richmond 4/26

This week, the Sprint Cup Series is back and under the lights at Richmond International Speedway.  Below, I'll tell you who I think will be strong this weekend.

Tier A
Photo courtesy Sean Gardner/Getty Images
Clint Bowyer
Bowyer is usually strong at the short tracks like Richmond, and I expect that to continue this weekend.  He finished second in this race last season, and he already has two victories at the track.  I expect him to be strong this weekend.

Kasey Kahne

Tier B
Brian Vickers
Vickers was strong at Bristol this year, and these two tracks are pretty similar (at least a lot more similar than Bristol and Martinsville).  Vickers ran strong here last season, but finished 35th following a crash while filling in for Denny Hamlin.  I think he should be strong this week.

Carl Edwards
Going off the similarities to Bristol, Edwards should be strong here.  He won at Bristol earlier this year, and he won the last race at Richmond back in the fall.  I wouldn't be surprised if he ends this race with a victory backflip.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Martin Truex Jr.

Tier C
Danica Patrick
Patrick had an average finish of 29.5 last season at Richmond, but she did finish 18th at Bristol earlier this year.  The drivers in Tier C (with the exception of Austin Dillon and Kyle Larson) are usually pretty rough, and most times I just hope for a top 25 finish out of them.

Landon Cassill

My pick to win the Toyota Owners 400: Carl Edwards
Carl Edwards celebrates his victory earlier this year at Bristol. Could he return to Victory Lane in Richmond?
That's all for this week!  Comment below with who you're starting this week.  Be sure to watch the Toyota Owners 400 from Richmond on Saturday at 7:00 p.m. EST on FOX.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Weekly Pull List: 4/23/2014

It's time for the pull list!  For all the comics available this week, check out Comixology, and head to Comic Book Resources for any breaking comics news.

Batman Eternal #3
Batman/Superman #9
The Flash #30
Secret Origins #1

The Walking Dead #126

Daredevil #2
Fantastic Four #3
George Romero's Empire of the Dead: Act One #4 (5)
Guardians of the Galaxy #14
Iron Patriot #2
Original Sin #0
Savage Wolverine #17
Superior Spider-Man Team-Up #12
What If? Age of Ultron #4 (of 5)

Be sure to pick up...

The Walking Dead #126
This is the conclusion of "All Out War!"  What a great storyline this has been, and if you read the last issue, it probably blew your mind.  This event has been crazy, and I've absolutely loved it.  Be sure to pick up the finale to this amazing story, as The Walking Dead will never be the same!

Original Sin #0
This is the prelude to Marve's big summer event.  Who is The Watcher?  Well, you should get to know him fast, because someone's going to kill him.  We won't know who until Original Sin begins this summer, but I'm pretty excited.  I'm usually a big fan of Marvel's big events.  And yes, that includes Age of Ultron.

That's all for this week!  Leave a comment and let us know what books you're picking up this week!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Vote for Raymond Parks

Imagine a Hall of Fame without Babe Ruth or Vince Lombardi; without Wayne Gretzky or Michael Jordan.  Imagine a Hall of Fame without the people who helped build a sport and change the landscape of those sports forever.

This is the problem that faces the NASCAR Hall of Fame.  The NASCAR Hall of Fame has a long list of great people who helped shape the sport, including Bill France Sr., Dale Earnhardt and Richard Petty.  But one person the Hall of Fame is missing is Raymond Parks.

NASCAR was built by men who ran moonshine in the south during the prohibition era.  One of the men who made money off this was Raymond Parks. 

Parks made a name for himself throughout Atlanta throughout numerous business ventures, but he had an immense impact on the sport of NASCAR.

Parks was part of the group that founded NASCAR with Bill France Sr. at the Streamline Hotel in 1947.  He also became the first championship car owner when Red Byron won the Grand National Championship (now the Sprint Cup Series) in NASCAR's inaugural season in 1948.

Parks retired in the mid-1950s, saying, "I loved racing and I loved winning, but it was costing too much money.  I had to start making a living."

But Parks left a big legacy once he left the sport.  His drivers included Bob Flock, Roy Hall and Curtis Turner.  He also teamed with legendary mechanic Red Vogt during his first NASCAR season.

What Parks did after his retirement may have been even more important for the sport.  Colleagues noticed frequent transactions between Parks and France that helped NASCAR through a few rough financial spots early on in NASCAR's history.  Simply put: without Raymond Parks, NASCAR might not still be around.

Many NASCAR fans don't know who Parks is or why he was so important to the history of the sport.  Until his death on June 20, 2010, he was the only person who had witnessed all of NASCAR's history.

You can vote for Parks by heading to the NASCAR Hall of Fame's website before voting closes on May 20, 2014.

At a reception for the inaugural Hall of Fame class in 2010, Mike Helton said Parks was "the heart and soul or spirit that got NASCAR started."  Let's help make Parks become the heart and soul of the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Weekly Pull List: 4/16/14

It's Wednesday, which means it's time for comic books!  As always, check out Comixology for all the comics available this week, and head to Comic Book Resources for any breaking comics news.

Dark Horse
Star Wars Lucas Draft #7 (of 8)

Batman #30
Batman Eternal #2
Harley Quinn #5
Sinestro #1

Amazing X-Men #6
Deadpool vs. Carnage #2
Hulk #1
Nova #16
Superior Spider-Man #31
Ultimate FF #1
Uncanny X-Men #20
What if? Age of Ultron #3 (of 5)
Wolverine #4
Wolverine and the X-Men #3
X-Men #13

Be sure to pick up...

Batman #30
The final story in Zero Year starts here!  "Savage City" is going to be good, and I can't wait to see how Batman can finally take down the Riddler.  This storyline has been one of the best of the year, and I'll be sad to see it end.  But let's enjoy the ride!

Superior Spider-Man #31
This is it! In the last issue, Doc Ock made the ultimate sacrifice and allowed Peter Parker to take back control of his body.  Peter's back and he has to clean up Ock's mess.  I can't wait to see Peter swinging through the streets in his original suit, kicking some Goblin butt!  This series has been really fun, and I can't wait to pick up this final issue!

That's all for this week!  Leave a comment below and tell us what books you're picking up this week!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Kevin Harvick Wins the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway

Originally written for CLNS Radio.

Kevin Harvick locked up his spot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup with a win in the Bojangles’ Southern 500 from Darlington Raceway on Saturday night.

Harvick had the most dominant car on Saturday night, and showed it early and often.  He won the pole on Friday, and led 239 of 374 laps on Saturday night.

Photo courtesy NASCAR via Getty Images
The win was Harvick’s second of the season, effectively locking him into the Chase for the Sprint Cup.  That was good news for Harvick, who has struggled with mechanical problems in the past few weeks.

“We had to overcome a lot over the last several weeks,” Harvick said in victory lane.  “We’ve kept our heads down and kept doing what we had to do.”

When the green flag fell, Joey Logano jumped out to the lead after starting on the inside of Harvick.  Harvick quickly learned his lesson, however, and he restarted on the inside following the first caution on lap 41.  He took the lead away from Jeff Gordon, and held on to the top spot until the next caution came out on lap 59.

Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Matt Kenseth and Denny Hamlin used pit strategy to get up front, and they restarted on the front row following the caution.  It only took 10 laps for Harvick to chase down Kenseth for the lead, and he led over the next two caution periods, for a span of over 100 laps.

Kasey Kahne had to make an early pit stop during a long green-flag run, and he was able to gain a lot of time on the leaders with his fresh tires.  When the stops cycled around, Kahne led Harvick by over five seconds.  

Harvick took the lead back following another restart on lap 208.

After Aric Almirola spun to bring out the caution on lap 222, Brian Vickers and Ryan Newman took two tires to get to the front of the field.  They were able to hold off Harvick on the following restart, and a caution 20 laps later reset the field again.

On the next restart, Harvick was able to drive around Vickers for the lead, and he held on until lap 358, when Logano got into the wall to bring out the caution.

Jimmie Johnson only took two tires during the caution period, and he led the field into Turn 1 on lap 363.  He was able to hold off the leaders until the caution came out for debris with just three laps to go.

On the next restart, Harvick pushed Dale Earnhardt Jr. to the lead.  Earnhardt was headed into Turn 3 when the caution came out again for a spin by Kurt Busch.  Busch had made contact with Clint Bowyer, and showed his displeasure by glaring at the No. 15 as it drove by.

On the final restart, Earnhardt jumped out to the lead, but was caught by Harvick coming down the backstretch.  Harvick drove around Earnhardt coming out of Turn 4 and took the checkered flag for his 25th career victory.

Here are the unofficial results:

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

The Sprint Cup Series will return to action on April 26 for another Saturday night race under the lights.  The Toyota Owners 400 from Richmond International Raceway can be seen at 7:00 p.m., only on FOX.

Harvick celebrates in victory lane. (Photo courtesy NASCAR via Getty Images)

Friday, April 11, 2014

Fantasy Preview: Darlington 4/12

This week, the Sprint Cup Series heads to the Lady in Black, Darlington Raceway.  Read on to find out which drivers I'm starting on my fantasy team this weekend!

Tier A
Kyle Busch
Photo courtesy Chris Trotman/Getty Images
Darlington is a good track for Kyle Busch.  It's a track where you can run right next to the wall, get into it a little bit and keep racing.  Busch is always one of the first drivers to get a Darlington Stripe, but that shouldn't slow him down.  I always think of his victory in the 2008 race at Darlington, when he drove an Indiana Jones car and completely flattened the right side.  Too bad that only made his car go faster.

Clint Bowyer

Tier B
Tony Stewart
I was surprised Tony Stewart ran so well at Texas.  I think that team is starting to turn the corner, and I think he should run well at Darlington.  A strong run at this track will help that team build even more confidence heading towards the summer months.

Greg Biffle
Greg Biffle is always strong at Darlington, and I think he'll run well this weekend.  That team just seems to be missing something, but I expect them to find it this weekend, or at least come close.  Biffle knows how to get around Darlington, and he should run well this weekend.

Carl Edwards
Brad Keselowski

Tier C
Michael Annett
Honestly, I'm just picking Annett because I can't keep using Austin Dillon and Kyle Larson every weekend.  He's shown a few flashes (and by that, I mean he's run in the top 20 a few times).  He finished 26th at Bristol, which is the closest thing on the schedule to Darlington.  Expect him to run around the same place this weekend.

Danica Patrick

My pick to win the Bojangles' Southern 500: Kyle Busch
Kyle Busch celebrates his victory earlier this season at Auto Club Speedway. (Photo courtesy Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
That's all for this week's fantasy preview!  Check back next week for my race recap, and be sure to comment below with who you're picking this weekend!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Weekly Pull List: 4/9/14

It's hump day, which means it's also comic book day!  As always, all the comics available this week can be found on Comixology, and keep up with any breaking comics news on Comic Book Resources.

Dark Horse
Star Wars #16

Batman Eternal #1

Invincible #110
The Walking Dead #125

All-New Doop #1 (of 5)
All-New Ultimates #1
All-New X-Men #25
Amazing Spider-Man Cinematic Infinite Comic (Online Only)
Avengers A.I. #11
Captain Marvel #2
Daredevil #1.50
Deadpool #27
Iron Fist: The Living Weapon #1
Iron Man #24
Nightcrawler #1
The Superior Foes of Spider-Man #11
What If? Age of Ultron #2 (of 5)

Be sure to pick up...

Batman Eternal #1
This new weekly series looks like a cool concept.  It will take a closer look at how Batman and the cast of characters in the series interact with Gotham.  It will be interesting to see if this weekly model works for DC, as Marvel does their weekly series through the Infinite Comics on their mobile app.  I'm curious to see if people will buy into the model as paper books.

Deadpool #27

This is it!  The wedding of Deadpool!  If you've been reading the current series, as well as the Infinite Comic, you'll know that big things have been happening in Deadpool's life.  He seems to have changed a little following his trip to North Korea with Captain America and Wolverine, and now he's going to finally settle down and get married to his undead/monster bride Shiklah.  Well, maybe not settle down, but he'll definitely get married.  I doubt anything will go wrong.

Nightcrawler #1
Kurt Wagner has returned to the land of the living, and he returns to his own ongoing solo series.  Nightcrawler was revived following the events of Amazing X-Men, and this series sees X-Men grandfather Chris Claremont.  Claremont is one of those writers that is synonymous with a certain cast of characters, and he's been a part of the biggest X-Men storylines ever.  With this series, Kurt has to come to terms with his second lease on life in a world where the X-Men are splintered and Charles Xavier is dead.

That's all for this week!  Leave a comment to let us know what books you're picking up this week!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Joey Logano Wins the Duck Commander 500 from Texas

Joey Logano ran away from the field to win the rain-delayed Duck Commander 500 from Texas Motor Speedway on Monday afternoon.
Photo courtesy Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Logano led during the race’s final green flag run, but he almost lost the race when the caution came out coming to the white flag.  Logano said he was upset the caution came out when it did.

“You’re like, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me,’” said Logano.  “You get so mad that you can barely control yourself.”

The caution set up a green-white-checkered finish that saw Logano restart in third after making a pit stop.  He started behind Jeff Gordon and Brian Vickers after both drivers only took two tires.  The tires couldn’t stand up to Logano’s four, and he was able to get around Gordon after taking the white flag.

“This team has been doing a great job giving me what I need to win these things.  To have both Team Penske cars with a win already is big.  You feel a little bit more comfortable.”

The race was postponed on Sunday afternoon due to rain, and the green flag was set to fly at 12:08 p.m. on Monday.  After running the first 11 laps under caution to help dry the track, the field finally took the green flag and the excitement soon followed.

Just two laps into the race, Dale Earnhardt Jr. saw his day go up in flames.  He clipped the grass, which was wet from all the rain, and it tore his front end off.  He hit the outside wall hard, and his car caught on fire.  He was able to get his car stopped, and he got out of the car without injury.

“I was following the 43 [of Aric Almirola] and just didn’t see the grass,” said Earnhardt.  “With the way the A-post is in these cars, you can’t really see.  I didn’t have a good visual of where the grass was, and got into the grass pretty good.”

The accident also caused major problems for Jimmie Johnson, who was running directly behind Earnhardt at the time.  In addition to some minor damage to the front end, Earnhardt’s car also kicked up a lot of mud that caused part of Johnson’s windshield to cave in.
Photo courtesy Nick Laham, Getty Images

When the race finally restarted following a lengthy cleanup, it was dominated early by pole-sitter Tony Stewart.  After winning his first pole position since 2012, he led 74 of the first 77 laps.

After chasing down Stewart, Brad Keselowski took the lead for the first time on lap 78.  He traded the lead with Jeff Gordon during a cycle of pit stops, and Denny Hamlin took the lead after running down Keselowski.

During the next set of green-flag pit stops, Hamlin was caught speeding while exiting pit road, and the resulting pass-through penalty cost him a shot at the win.

Kyle Busch took over the lead when Hamlin pitted, but he was quickly caught by Gordon, who retook the lead on lap 153.  

Over the next 100 laps, Gordon and Keselowski swapped the lead numerous times, before Joey Logano took the lead on a restart on lap 227.  

Logano ran away from the rest of the field until Kurt Busch blew a tire coming to the white flag.  The leaders hit pit road one last time, and Gordon and Vickers only took two tires to get out first.

On the restart, Logano worked his way around Vickers and made a last-lap pass of Gordon to take the victory.

Here are the unofficial results:

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

Next week, the Sprint Cup Series heads to Darlington for the first official night race of the season.  The Bojangles’ Southern 500 can be seen at 6:30 p.m. EST, only on FOX.

Logano celebrates his victory at Texas. (Photo courtesy Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Fantasy Preview: Texas 4/6

As a part of my Interactive Multimedia 1 class, I had to start a blog on a topic of my choice that featured two posts per week (check it out here).  This will be my second regular weekly post for that page, so I'll feature it here as well.

I will be looking at my fantasy team each week in anticipation of that weekend's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race.  I use Yahoo! Fantasy Auto Racing, so I'll be setting up my driver choices as Tier A, B and C.  So let's get started!

Tier A
Jimmie Johnson
Johnson has been so close to getting the win in the past few weeks.  He was outrun by Kurt Busch last week, and he had tire problems just laps from the finish in California, so he's going to be hungry to get his first victory of the season.

Kasey Kahne

Tier B
Ryan Newman
Newman has really surprised me at Richard Childress Racing this season.  He's been a lot stronger than I was expecting; maybe Stewart-Haas was holding him back.  I think Newman should run strong this weekend, and I wouldn't be surprised if he finishes in the Top 10.

Joey Logano
Photo courtesy Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images
Logano has been extremely fast on the 1.5 mile tracks this season, so hopefully he'll do well this weekend.  He's been really good at the new qualifying procedures, so chances are good he'll pick up some fantasy points for a strong qualifying effort.

AJ Allmendinger
Tony Stewart

Tier C
Austin Dillon
Dillon hasn't finished lower than sixth in all four Nationwide races he's driven at Texas.  He also ran both Sprint Cup races at Texas last season, so he has a lot of laps under his belt.  He's been strong every week this season, so I think he'll do well this weekend.  Don't be surprised if he's fighting for the win at the end of the race on Sunday.

Kyle Larson

My pick to win the Duck Commander 500: Jimmie Johnson

Jimmie Johnson won the last race at Texas Motor Speedway. Will we see him return to victory lane this weekend? (Photo courtesy Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
That's all for this week!  Leave a comment below with what drivers are on your fantasy team this weekend!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Weekly Pull List: 4/2/2014

It's Wednesday, which means it's time for the pull list!  As always, all the comics available this week can be found on Comixology, and check out Comic Book Resources for any breaking comics news.

Detective Comics #30
Green Arrow #30
Green Lantern #30

Deadpool: The Gauntlet Infinite Comic #13 (Online Only)
Deadpool vs. Carnage #1 (of 4)
Inhuman #1
Loki: Agent of Asgard #3
Magneto #2
Moon Knight #2
New Warriors #3
The Punisher #4
She-Hulk #3
Ultimate Spider-Man #200
What If? Age of Ultron #1 (of 5)

Be Sure to Pick Up (minor spoilers)...

Deadpool: The Gauntlet Infinite Comic #13
This is the final issue of this series, which has been really fun to read.  This is going to lead right into Deadpool #27, which is the much-anticipated wedding of Deadpool.  I'm guessing he's going to marry Shiklah, but that's just me.  Or maybe it's the fact that they've already gotten married.

Deadpool vs. Carnage #1
From the writers of Night of the Living Deadpool comes another mini-series featuring everyone's favorite Merc with a Mouth.  What could be more fun than Deadpool and Carnage?  That's right, nothing.

Ultimate Spider-Man #200
On the anniversary of Peter Parker's death (in the Ultimate Universe), his family and friends get together to honor his memory.  I'm really looking forward to this, especially because it's going to feature one of the "biggest surprise endings of the year."

What If? Age of Ultron #1
These What if? titles from Marvel are always really fun, and this one is featuring Marvel's big event from last year.  What if the wrong founding Avenger had died?  Uh-oh.

That's the pull list for this week!  Leave a comment and let us know what comics you're picking up this week.