Sunday, October 15, 2017

Keselowski Survives Wild Talladega Finish

Originally written for CLNS Media.

Brad Keselowski won the Alabama 500 from Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday afternoon in his 300th Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start.

Keselowski had to survive a wild finish, one that saw three major accidents collect most of the field in the final 17 laps.  With the field cut to about only 10 cars, Keselowski was able to pass Ryan Newman on the final lap to pick up his fifth victory at Talladega.

Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images
Keselowski said he was excited to survive and move on to the next round of the Playoffs.

“What a special day…I survived,” Keselowski said.  “We haven’t been as good as we’ve needed to be on the [1.5 mile tracks], so we knew we had to come to Talladega and get it done.”

Keselowski said a late block on his teammate Joey Logano helped propel him past Newman on the final lap.

“I just had to make all the right moves…right at the end I put the block on my teammate…and it was just enough to get the momentum to win at the start/finish line,” Keselowski said.  “You’ve got to have a little bit of luck to win these races…we got through some big wrecks there.”

“To be able to win and get to the next round of the Playoffs and not have to deal with any of that…this is one we really needed.”

Newman finished second, but said he was disappointed he couldn’t close out a victory while leading late in the race.

“When there’s only that many cars left running, you want to be the guy…I’m really disappointed we didn’t win,” Newman said.  “I don’t think there was a car out there that didn’t have any damage.”

“We’ll take it for what it’s worth and we’ll keep digging.  Wish we were still in the Playoffs, but we’re not.  We’ll keep moving our way up if we can.”

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

Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Weekly Pull List: 10/11/2017

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

Back to the Future #23

Amazing Spider-Man #789
Amazing Spider-Man Renew Your Vows #12
Despicable Deadpool #287
Gwenpool the Unbelievable #21
Rocket #6
Star Wars Doctor Aphra #13

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Truex Continues to Dominate, Wins at Charlotte

Originally written for CLNS Media.

Martin Truex Jr. won the Bank of America 500 from Charlotte Motor Speedway on Sunday afternoon for his sixth victory of the season.

Truex led 91 laps on Sunday on his way to victory lane, but had to hold off Chase Elliott and Kevin Harvick in the closing laps after two late cautions set up an overtime finish.

Truex said his team came through in the clutch with fast pit stops at the end of the race.

Mike Comer/Getty Images
“Everybody on this team is amazing,” Truex said.  “The pit crew was flawless; got us track position and we were able to keep it.”

Final practice was cancelled on Saturday due to rain, so teams had very little on-track time to prepare for Sunday’s race.  After qualifying 17th, Truex and crew chief Cole Pearn had no following track time to work on their car.

Truex said he and his crew chief did a good job working on the car to prepare it for Sunday.

“It’s one of those weekends with a lot of pressure,” Truex said.  “We qualified poorly, and I was mad about it and Cole was mad about it.”

“This time of year you want to click on all cylinders, and today we did.  We just did everything right with no mistakes.  We just never gave up on it, and we just kept digging.”

Harvick finished third after challenging late for the lead, but he couldn’t catch Truex on the final restart.

Harvick said his car was good, but that he couldn’t compete with how fast Truex was.

“It’s about where we were going to run, second or third,” Harvick said.  “I would get close and then I would get loose…kind of lost what I had at the beginning of the race.”

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

Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Weekly Pull List: 10/4/2017

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 #11
Astonishing X-Men #4
Journey to Star Wars the Last Jedi Captain Phasma #3
Spider-Man #21
Spider-Man Deadpool #22
Star Wars #37
Venom #155
Venomverse #5

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Busch Wins at Dover in Round 1 Finale

Originally written for CLNS Media.

Kyle Busch won the Apache Warrior 400 from Dover International Speedway on Sunday afternoon.

Busch capped off the first round of the Playoffs with his second victory of the round, after passing Chase Elliott for the lead with two laps to go.
Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images

Busch said he gave his everything in the final run to try and run down Elliott.

“That was hard fought…that was everything I had,” Busch said.  “I was trying to get there, and I got stuck for a few laps.  I wasn’t sure if I would make it all the way, and then I had to try the top.”

Elliott, who is still looking for his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, dominated the final stage of the race, but lost the lead after getting slowed down by lapped traffic.

Busch said he could understand Elliott’s frustration with the runner-up finish.

“I know Chase is hungry…he’s been trying a couple years to get his first Cup Series win,” Busch said.  “Fortunately we had a little bit fresher tires than he did and it drug us right to him.”

“I saw that carrot hanging out there, and I wanted to go get it.”

Elliott led a race-high 138 laps, but he was visibly disappointed after coming so close to his first victory.  Elliott said it was his fault that he couldn’t get to victory lane.

“I’m so disappointed in myself; couldn’t have had it any easier,” Elliott said.  “Appreciate our team and their efforts today; our pit stops were great and it kept us in the ballgame, and I didn’t.”

“When you look back, I obviously would have done something different, but I didn’t.”

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

Sean Gardner/Getty Images

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Weekly Pull List: 9/27/2017

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

BOOM! Studios
Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers #19

Justice League Power Rangers #6

Ben Reilly the Scarlet Spider #8
Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe Again #5
Generations Miles Morales Spider-Man and Peter Parker Spider-Man #1
I Am Groot #5
Spider-Gwen #24
Star Wars Jedi of the Republic Mace Windu #2
Thanos #11
Venomverse #4

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Busch Dominates in New Hampshire

Originally written for CLNS Media.

Kyle Busch won the ISM Connect 300 from New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Sunday afternoon.
Busch had a dominant car throughout the race, and led 187 of 300 laps on Sunday. 

Busch raced with Martin Truex Jr. throughout the first two stages, but it almost ended with a wreck on the final lap of Stage 2.  Truex was leading when an accident blocked most of the track.  Truex was involved in the accident, but Busch was able to squeeze by on the outside.

Sean Gardner/Getty Images
Busch drove through a thick wall of smoke to avoid the wreck, and he said it was like a scene out of the movie Days of Thunder.

“You couldn’t see anything, it was just a wall of smoke over there off Turn 2,” Busch said.  “That was some Days of Thunder stuff right there.  Just checked up…trying not to get run into from behind.”

Busch said his dominance was a testament to how hard his team worked all week to help them advance to the next round of the Playoffs.

“It was just a great day for our team; we were able to execute all day long,” Busch said.  “We did everything right and everything we were supposed to do.”

“It’s a testament to this team and everybody at Joe Gibbs Racing…they’ve been fast and it’s a great opportunity for us to put them in victory lane when we can.”

Kyle Larson challenged Busch on the final restart of the race, but he ended up with a second-place finish.  Larson said his car just didn’t have the speed to compete with Busch on the short run.

“I felt like on fairly long runs I was pretty equal to those guys, but on the short run I…couldn’t get the throttle down and we’d get loose,” Larson said.  “He was just really good.”

“Solid effort for us.  We got a fifth last week and a second today; that was pretty much the day that we needed.  Obviously a win would have been great, but second is just as good.”

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

Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Weekly Pull List: 9/20/2017

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 #3

All-New Guardians of the Galaxy #10
Amazing Spider-Man Renew Your Vows #11
Journey to Star Wars The Last Jedi Captain Phasma #2
Peter Parker the Spectacular Spider-Man #4
Spider-Men II #3
Star Wars Annual #3
Star Wars Poe Dameron #19
Venom #154
Venomverse #3

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Truex Begins Playoffs with a Victory

Originally written for CLNS Media.

Martin Truex Jr. won the Tale of the Turtles 400 from Chicagoland Speedway on Sunday, the first race of NASCAR’s playoffs.

Truex took the lead in the final stage on Sunday, and he was able to pull away from Chase Elliott over the final run to pick up his fifth victory of the season.  Truex already had the most playoff points going into Round 1, but this victory automatically puts him into the next round.

Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images
Truex said he was excited he and his team could get to victory lane to kick off the playoffs.

“This is the playoffs, this is what it’s all about,” Truex said.  “I’m so excited…my team’s unbelievable.  We’re just having fun…proud of this group.”

Truex did not start the day off well, with multiple pit road problems costing him spots in the first segment.  Truex was able to battle back, and he finally took the lead in the final segment.

Truex said his team never gave up when they fell back early.

“We got the speeding penalty…after last year having to come from the back,” Truex said.  “We just kept our heads down and kept fighting…just did what we always do.”

“It’s important to come here and not let the pressure get to you, and I think we did a good job of that.  On to the next round.”

Elliott entered the playoffs without a victory, and he had a strong showing on Sunday.  Elliott fell short of beating Truex, but Elliott said this was the kind of race his team needed to kick off their playoff run.

“We had a solid day all around…our car was fast and we had good pit stops on pit road,” Elliott said.  “Without some luck I wasn’t going to beat the 78 [of Truex]…I didn’t have anything for Martin.”

“This is the time to go and we gave it our all today.  I think it’s a testament to our team and the lack of quit that everybody has.”

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

Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Weekly Pull List: 9/13/2017

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

Amazing Spider-Man #32
Ben Reilly Scarlet Spider #7
Deadpool #36
Gwenpool #20
Rocket #5
Secret Empire Omega #1
Star Wars #36
Star Wars Doctor Aphra #12
Venomverse #2

Monday, September 11, 2017

NASCAR Heat 2 Now Available

NASCAR Heat 2, the newest NASCAR video game, is now available for PS4, Xbox One and PC.

The game, a sequel to 2016's NASCAR Heat Evolution, was developed by Monster Games and released by 704Games.  704Games, previously known as Dusenberry-Martin Racing, is the same studio that released the last game in 2016.

Photo courtesy 704Games
The new game features all three national touring series, bringing the Xfinity Series and Camping World Truck Series back into a NASCAR video game for the first time since EA published NASCAR 09.  With the addition of these series, new tracks have been added, including the dirt track Eldora Speedway for the Truck Series.

This year, local split-screen multiplayer was included with the game.  Split-screen was a notable omission from last year's release, so it is a welcomed addition to this year's game.  Another addition that 704Games has included is the ability to customize your car in career mode.

As with last year's release, the player will have the option to complete 29 challenges, one for every track.  More challenges should be added in later via downloadable content.  Along with the single-player career mode, there will be an enhanced online multiplayer component, featuring 40-player lobbies.

The game is available now for $49.99 from most major retailers, as well as the Playstation Store, Xbox Live Marketplace and Steam.  Included with a physical copy of the game is a $50 coupon for race tickets at any SMI track in 2018.  A season pass will also be available for $29.99, which should be about half the price of all the DLC that will be released.

Check back in the coming weeks to see my review of NASCAR Heat 2.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Larson Wins Regular Season Finale

Originally written for CLNS Media.

Kyle Larson ended the regular season with a victory in Saturday night’s Federated Auto Parts 400 from Richmond Raceway.

Sean Gardner/Getty Images
Larson led 53 laps on Saturday, but he needed to use a late-race pit stop to take the lead for the final time.  His pit crew got him out front heading into overtime, and he was able to pull away from the field to head to victory lane.

Larson said he was excited his team was able to get him his first victory at a track shorter than 2 miles.

“This is amazing,” Larson said.  “My whole team, especially my pit crew tonight, were awesome.  The best pit crew showed up tonight…they were money all night long.”

Martin Truex Jr. dominated the race again, but Larson was able to get ahead on the final restart.  Larson said he knew he’d need a caution to catch Truex in the closing laps.

“The Target Chevy was great all night, but [Truex] was definitely the best,” Larson said.  “That was such a long run there at the end, I knew I needed a caution if I wanted a shot.”

“I’m really pumped for the playoffs; we’ve got a great shot at the championship.”

Truex led a race-high 198 laps, but wrecked in the closing laps for the second week in a row and finished 20th. 

Truex said he was unhappy with the final caution for Derrike Cope with four laps to go.

“Tonight sucked, plain and simple,” Truex said.  “Caution for a guy that shouldn’t even be out there is kind of ridiculous.  I don’t really know what to say about all that.”

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

Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Weekly Pull List: 8/6/2017

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 #9
Astonishing X-Men #3
Journey to Star Wars the Last Jedi: Captain Phasma #1
Spider-Man #20
Spider-Man Deadpool #21
Star Wars Darth Vader #5
Venomverse #1
Venomverse War Stories #1

Monday, September 4, 2017

Hamlin Dominates to Win at Darlington

Originally written for CLNS Media.

Denny Hamlin won the Bojangles’ Southern 500 from Darlington Raceway on Sunday night.

Hamlin had a strong car all night, but a pit miscue on the final pit stop almost cost him the victory.  Hamlin missed pit road under green, and had to come back around before he could complete his pit stop.
Sarah Crabill/Getty Images

Hamlin said he thought his night was over when he missed pit road and gave up 10 seconds to Martin Truex Jr.

“To get through the adversity we did right there, I knew I had to drive my tail off to get it back,” Hamlin said.

The victory was Hamlin’s second Southern 500 victory, and his second victory of the weekend following a win in Saturday’s Xfinity race.  Hamlin said this victory was more special than his first victory at the track in 2010.

“So proud to be back here in victory lane in the Southern 500,” Hamlin said.  “To have the family around…it means so much more.”

“This track is just amazing; I love this racetrack.  It means everything to me, as far as I’m concerned.”

Truex Jr. led 76 laps on Sunday and looked as though he would wrap up another victory.  But a flat tire with two laps remaining allowed Hamlin to take the lead, and Truex wound up eighth.

Truex said losing the race with such a fast car was a disappointment.

“Sometimes these things just don’t go your way, and tonight not much did,” Truex said.  “We had a fast car…just a phenomenal racecar on the long runs, and it was just two laps too long.”

“I think I could have held him off if the tire didn’t pop.  I wish we could have got it tonight, but that’s the way it goes sometimes.”

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

Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images