Saturday, August 19, 2017

Busch Completes Bristol Sweep with Saturday Night Victory

Originally written for CLNS Media.

Kyle Busch won the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race on Saturday evening from the Bristol Motor Speedway.

Busch ran up front for most of the night, but he had to hold off rookie Erik Jones over the final 50 laps to get to victory lane.  Busch said he was happy with how Jones raced him in the closing laps.

Sean Gardner/Getty Images
“Erik Jones put up a whale of a fight,” Busch said.  “I was running him with my tongue hanging out and my arms were like Jell-O…that was all I had.”

“Can’t say enough about the young man…I have a lot of respect for him.  He raced me awesome out there like a great teammate and gave me the room when necessary and raced me hard when necessary.  It’s great to have a guy like that.”

With the victory on Saturday, Busch completed the weekend sweep following victories in Wednesday’s Truck Series race and Friday’s Xfinity Series race.  Busch said this victory was harder than the other two, but that his team was able to persevere to get to victory lane.

“That one was a lot harder,” Busch said.  “Car might not be perfect, but I’m never perfect; I never feel like we’re perfect.”

“Every single pit stop we kept working on it and kept adjusting on it.  This car was fast.”

Jones finished second for his best-career finish, but he still sits on the outside of NASCAR’s playoff picture.  Jones said his team did everything well on Saturday, but that it wasn’t enough to get them a playoff-clinching victory.

“It’s been a great weekend for us, you can’t take that away,” Jones said.  “You still wish you could have had that little bit more and grabbed the win.  Just didn’t have quite enough.”

“We’ll just have to keep after it…we’re going to keep fighting and keeping after these wins.”

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

Sean Gardner/Getty Images

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Weekly Pull List: 8/16/2017

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

All-New Guardians of the Galaxy #8
Amazing Spider-Man Renew Your Vows #10
Astonishing X-Men #2
Gwenpool #19
Spider-Men II #2
Star Wars #34
Star Wars Poe Dameron #18

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Larson Continues to Succeed in Michigan

Originally written for CLNS Media.

Kyle Larson won the Pure Michigan 400 from Michigan International Speedway on Sunday afternoon.

Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
Larson went four-wide on the final restart to take the lead with two laps to go, and he pulled away from Martin Truex Jr. to take the checkered flag.  Larson said he had planned the winning move while sitting in his car during a red flag prior to the final restart.

“I was running a few options through my head of what to do if I got a good jump, and that was one of them,” Larson said.  “It was the most perfect restart of my life; I’ve lost a lot on late restarts, but to get one from the second row makes up for some of them.”

Larson’s victory was the fourth of his career, and his third-consecutive win at Michigan.  Larson, who only led the last two laps, said he was happy his team was able to fight back to win after struggling with the car’s handling throughout the race.

“We were struggling all day, definitely not as good as we were the last two times here,” Larson said.  “I can’t believe that happened…I didn’t think I had a shot to win that at all.  My car was really loose in traffic and average in clean air.”

“We persevered…and had some good restarts there at the end.”

Truex had one of the most dominant cars all day after leading 57 laps.  Truex held off his teammate Erik Jones over the final runs, but he wasn’t able to keep Larson behind him on the final restart. 

Truex said his tires were too cold following the red flag and his car couldn’t go.

“Just tried to do something different there with Larson behind me, and he hit me; when he hit me I went and I spun the tires,” Truex said.  “The tires just got too cold under that red.”

“I thought there was no way he would go around me on the bottom with all that speedy dry down there.  Sometimes these things don’t work out.”

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

Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Weekly Pull List: 8/9/2017

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

Justice League Power Rangers #5

Back to the Future #22

Amazing Spider-Man #31
Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe Again #3
Edge of Venomverse #4
Rocket #4
Secret Empire #8
Star Wars Doctor Aphra #11
Star Wars Rogue One Cassian and K-2SO Special #1
Venom #153

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Truex Saves Enough Fuel for Watkins Glen Victory

Originally written for CLNS Media.

Martin Truex Jr. won the We Love New York 355 from Watkins Glen International on Sunday after saving enough fuel to hold off the field.

Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images
Truex was the class of the field on Sunday, but a late caution set up a dramatic fuel-mileage finish where many of the frontrunners had to pit in the closing laps.  Truex stayed out and saved just enough fuel to hold off Matt Kenseth on the final lap to pick up his fourth victory of the season.

Truex let Brad Keselowski and Ryan Blaney pass him for the lead over the final run, but retook the lead when Blaney ran out of fuel with two laps to go.  Truex said giving up the lead was hard to deal with in the closing laps.

“It’s so stressful to let guys go by you for the lead, I’ve never had to do that before,” Truex said.  “You just got to listen to your crew chief; luckily I’ve got the best one in the business.  I just do what he says and it always just seems to work out.”

The victory at Watkins Glen was Truex’s first at the track.  After growing up in New Jersey, Truex said it was a dream to win there after watching his father race at the track in the 1990s.

“I’ve wanted to win here for so long, this is a special place,” Truex said.  “Coming here as a kid and spending time in the garage, just walking around and dreaming of someday to race here, let alone win.  This is a big one for our team.”

Matt Kenseth finished second on Sunday, and he was on Truex’s bumper as the two took the checkered flag.  Kenseth said he hoped Truex would run out of gas before the end of the race.

“He was managing his gaps well, and as soon as he knew I could go, he just went too,” Kenseth said.  “Hate to be that close and not get it, but it was a good finish.”

“I thought we were going to be better than the 78 on fuel, but we both probably have a little excess.”

Unofficial results:
1. Martin Truex Jr.
2. Matt Kenseth
3. Daniel Suarez
4. Denny Hamlin
5. Clint Bowyer
6. Kurt Busch
7. Kyle Busch
8. Ryan Blaney
9. AJ Allmendinger
10. Erik Jones
11. Chris Buescher
12. Michael McDowell
13. Chase Elliott
14. Jamie McMurray
15. Brad Keselowski
16. Kasey Kahne
17. Kevin Harvick
18. Paul Menard
19. Ty Dillon
20. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
21. Aric Almirola
22. Danica Patrick
23. Kyle Larson
24. Joey Logano
25. Ryan Newman
26. Austin Dillon
27. David Ragan
28. Matt DiBenedetto
29. Jimmie Johnson
30. Boris Said
31. Gray Klutt
32. Brett Moffitt
33. Corey LaJoie
34. Cole Whitt
35. Trevor Bayne
36. Landon Cassill
37. Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Weekly Pull List: 8/2/2017

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

Sex Criminals #20

All-New Guardians of the Galaxy #7
Spider-Man #19
Spider-Man Deadpool #20
Star Wars Darth Vader #4

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Kyle Busch Returns to Victory Lane in Pocono

Originally written for CLNS Media.

Kyle Busch won the Overton’s 400 from Pocono Raceway on Sunday for his first victory of 2017.

Busch dominated the first stage of the race, but he fell behind during the second and final stages.  After making his final pit stop, he was able to run down the leaders to get to victory lane.

Busch has run well this season, but had failed to reach victory lane before Sunday.  Busch said he was happy to finally return to victory lane after a 36-race winless streak.

“It’s pretty cool, finally being able to get the monkey off our back, get to Victory Lane this year,” Busch said.  “It feels really good to finally capitalize on finally having a fast car.”

Busch won for the first time at Pocono on Sunday, and the 39th time in his career.  Busch said he was happy to check another track off his list.

“We’ve been really close at a lot of these tracks to continually make history, but haven’t been able to do so this year,” Busch said.

“”Hopefully it just kind of snowballs from here and we’re able to continue with wins.”

Kevin Harvick finished second on Sunday after giving up the lead with 20 laps to go.  Harvick said his car wasn’t fast enough to hold off Busch on fresher tires.

“There was no battle, he was way faster than we were,” Harvick said.  “Got to us, got around us, gone.”

“He was in a league of his own there at the end.”

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

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Weekly Pull List: 7/26/2017

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 #1

Back to the Future: Biff to the Future #6

Saga #45

Ben Reilly the Scarlet Spider #5
Deadpool #34
Edge of Venomverse #3
Gwenpool the Unbelievable #18
I Am Groot #3
Secret Empire #7
Spider-Gwen #22
Star Wars Doctor Aphra #10
Thanos #9

Monday, July 24, 2017

OPINION: NASCAR Must Make Changes to Avoid Further Controversy

NASCAR continues to shoot itself in the foot with controversial calls that end up costing race fans good racing moments and memorable finishes.

Sunday's race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was not the best Monster Energy Cup Series Race by any means, but it also wasn't the worst.  While Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. were the class of the field throughout the first two segments, the race was blown wide open when the two leaders wrecked themselves with 50 laps to go.

Matt Sullivan/Getty Images
But that wreck set up a wild chain of events that led to numerous front-runners wrecking, two red flags that threatened to end the race due to the impending sunset (more on that later) and the return of everyone's favorite overtime line.  

When a wreck with two laps to go broke out off of Turn 2, NASCAR seemed to hold the caution flag until the leader passed the overtime line, thus ending the race.  Unfortunately, it didn't seem like NASCAR followed its own rule, as the wreck happened with more than enough time to throw the caution before the leaders passed the line.  To most people, it seemed like NASCAR just wanted to end the race with the overtime line rather than see it end due to darkness at the track.

This is at least the third time this season that a race has been decided by the overtime line, with the June Dover Cup race and the Xfinity Series Daytona race earlier this month being those other two instances.

I understand that the overtime line made sense at the time of it's creation.  It was created in the wake of Kevin Harvick basically causing a wreck during the single overtime at Talladega in 2015 to save himself and move on in the Chase.  Many drivers campaigned for some kind of overtime line to avoid a finish like that, and it made sense at the time.

And it does make sense, but maybe only at Daytona and Talladega.  This would be used to avoid something like Austin Dillon's terrifying accident at Daytona two years ago.  But at any other track, maybe we should go back to three attempts at a green-white-checkered finish before calling the race.

Although, maybe NASCAR wouldn't have even gotten into this situation had they not gone for higher TV ratings (which have still been declining) instead of doing what's best for the fans that attend races.  Like I said, we'd get back to the start times.

The Brickyard 400 on Sunday started at 3 p.m., instead of the former traditional start time of 1 p.m.  At 1 p.m., there wasn't any rain, and the race could have probably made it to the end of Stage 2, making it an official race.  But instead, the race started at 3, and went 12 laps before rain caused a 2.5 hour delay.  

Sean Gardner/Getty Images
Had NASCAR started earlier, it would have never been in a situation where it needed to beat the sunset at a track without lights.  If the race had been postponed because of rain that could have been avoided if the race had started at a more normal time, the stands at Indy would have been much emptier than they had been on Sunday.  And those stands were pretty empty on Sunday.

And I'm not the only person who doesn't like the later starting times.  During the rain delay on Sunday, both Brad Keselowski and Dale Earnhardt Jr. tweeted about their dislike for 3 p.m. starts.  Those are two pretty high-profile stars speaking out about the way NASCAR is doing things.

NASCAR lucked out on Sunday when they traded one controversy for another.  But eventually, its luck will run out. Next week NASCAR heads to Pocono, a track that is notorious for rain.  In fact, last year all three major races at the track (two Cup Series races and an IndyCar race) were postponed due to rain, causing the track to enact a weather guarantee for all of its tickets.

NASCAR needs to take a hard look at its policies, and possibly make a change that will prevent further controversy down the line.  If it doesn't make a change, it should at least read its own rule book and call races in black and white for the rest of the season, instead of giving itself a ton of leeway and living in the gray area.

Kahne Snaps Winless Streak with Wild Brickyard Win

Originally written for CLNS Media.

Kasey Kahne won his first race of the season in the Brickyard 400 on Sunday afternoon from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Daniel Shirey/Getty Images
The race was red-flagged for over two hours early in the race due to rain, and then again on two separate occasions over the final 10 laps for accidents.  Kahne had to hold off Brad Keselowski over the final two restarts, with Kahne taking the lead on the final restart.

Kahne said he knew he came close to handing the victory to Keselowski.

“The [restart] before just didn’t work, everything went wrong,” Kahne said.  “On the final one, everything went right.”

“Once I got to Turn 1, I got good power and was able to clear [Keselowski] off 1.”

After being dropped by numerous sponsors, Kahne has been rumored to be on his way out at Hendrick Motorsports at the end of this season.  Kahne snapped a 102-race winless streak on Sunday, and said he was glad his team’s hard work finally paid off.

“It just feels good to win,” Kahne said.  “For all these people that work so hard, it feels good to get them to victory lane.  Shows what we can do when things go our way.”

“With the history here…to win at Indy is unbelievable.”

Keselowski finished second after restarting first on the final restart.  He said he was surprised Kahne was able to hold the lead on the bottom of the track on the final restart.

“I thought we were in the right spot, I’d seen it all day,” Keselowski said.  “You’d get someone on your outside in the corner and they’d get real loose, but he drove in there and he just stuck.”

“Felt we had the car today; everyone was just on edge there and then some.  I guess I just guessed wrong on that last one.”

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

Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images