My First NASCAR Experience

It was over 100 degrees at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the South Point 400. The track staff was given some contradictory instructions for where certain areas were and where Cameron and I had access to. Despite these annoyances, going to my first NASCAR race was a fun and unforgettable experience which changed my perspective on the sport.

Before the race last weekend, I thought very lowly of NASCAR I will admit. I thought it was a “sport” that only involved cars going around a circle in and I did not understand how people could get into such a thing.

But covering the race completely changed my perspective on NASCAR, and it is now a sport I am invested in. I realize that there is a lot more strategy to NASCAR than that which meets the eye. Timing pit stops is challenging, figuring out how to pass while trying to hold off other cars while driving at 175 miles per hour is extremely challenging and that takes a lot of skill and strategy. It was thrilling to watch.

Hearing 38 engines rev up as the race starts is a lovely sound to listen to and to see in person cars accelerating at such a fast speed is incredible to witness. Also, restarts after cautions and stages are tense as it shuffles the deck of the order of the cars and changes up the race. For example, Joey Logano was dominating the race, but after restarts and getting his car damaged, he dropped dramatically.

Martin Truex Jr. won the race thanks to winning the second stage and passing Kevin Harvick later in the race after the final pit stops.

With the playoff season now in full swing as Vegas was the first playoff race, I am excited to see how it plays out.

To all of my sports-loving friends, go to a race and give NASCAR a chance. I had the same view you did so please, give it a chance. It’s a fun ride.

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‘Ad Astra’ Film Review

Photo via Francois Duhamel/Twentieth Century Fox

Coming off the stellar Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Brad Pitt once again stars in a masterpiece of cinema in 2019 with the new space drama, Ad Astra.

This movie takes place in a fictional world where space exploration has reached impressive feats, such as settlements on the moon, an underground base on Mars, and exploration into the outer Solar System is possible.

The premise of this film is that astronaut Roy McBride, played by Brad Pitt, is sent into space by the government to track down his father, played by Tommy Lee Jones, who is viewed as a threat to humanity’s existence.

This film is downright brilliant. First, the cinematography is beautiful to look at on the big screen. Hoyte van Hoytema did an excellent job portraying the vastness, the beauty and the awe of space. Seeing the planets and their rings on the big screen was breathtaking and made the theater experience memorable.

Another memorable aspect of this movie was the acting. Pitt is the star of the film and the story is told solely from his point of view. The character study of Roy McBride was excellent as it delved into his emotional state and what was on his mind during a situation or conflict. Pitt gave the character so much authentic emotion and depth that made him feel like a real person and not a fictional character. Even though it dealt with fictional science-fiction elements, the performance and the writing of McBride made it feel much more grounded than other sci-fi blockbusters such as Star Wars.

Last, the film thrived when it came to immersing the audience into their world. Not only did the cinematography help make the film look great, but also through great writing, it makes the world feel natural and authentic. They established on the moon how there are territories that are disputed, and this would come into play in the film. Also, the shot where they showed a strip of restaurants, such as Arby’s, on the moon made it feel like that was a real strip and not some fantastical concept.

The only complaint is the film took too long to get going and the beginning was very forgettable, but once the plot kicks in, the film is incredible.   

With great writing, acting, and cinematography, Ad Astra is a cinematic masterpiece that will leave viewers in deep thought after the film ends, and in awe of the beautiful and stunning world it set up.

Rating: 9.5/10

Post Week 2 Reflections

Photo via Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Week 2 of the NFL season brought about a lot of drama. There were wild finishes in Atlanta and Denver, catastrophic injuries for the Saints and Steelers, and plenty of other interesting results across the NFL. Here are some of my thoughts after Week 2’s action.

  • The San Francisco 49ers look very nice so far this season. Their young defense already looks impressive and on offense, this team has a lot of speed. Offensive mastermind Kyle Shanahan has a lot of impressive weapons to work with, including speedsters Matt Breida and Raheem Mostert. These two sliced through the Bengals’ defense and it will be intriguing to watch them going forward.
  • The Titans continue to be maddingly inconsistent. One week they dominate the Browns on the road and the next, they blow a game to Jacoby Brissett at home. They are putrid in following up big wins and that is going to prevent them from really becoming a factor in the championship chase.
  • I love the Buffalo Bills. This team is well-coached, especially defensively, and Josh Allen has elite quarterback potential. He has played solid so far this season and the Bills finally have a competent passing game. The receivers were open a bunch vs the Giants and with an easy schedule going forward, this team should be a Wild Card contender. I will discuss the Bills in more detail next week.
  • Russell Wilson is a phenomenal quarterback, but if Seattle is going anywhere, he always must be because the defense has struggled so far this season. They were torched by Andy Dalton two weeks ago and they let unproven Mason Rudolph have a big second half against them. Seattle is good but the defense must step up if Seattle is going to progress any further than the Wild Card round and take the next step from last season.
  • Kansas City is like a real-life Madden game. Throwing the ball downfield with ease at the hands of a quarterback who produced insane ratings. I can’t wait to see them compete against the new and improved Lamar Jackson next week.
  • I hate seeing bad football, but I hate seeing poor game management and undisciplined messes even more. Three examples stood out:
    • Marcus Mariota spiking the ball twice in four downs was a poor decision as it leaves very little margin for error and it backfired.
    • The Chargers losing to Detroit is inexcusable. Their ineptitude can be summed up in their drive early in the third quarter up 10-6. Two touchdowns getting called back due to penalties, then fumbling the ball at the one yard-line is a brutal way to blow a valuable seven points. These are the kind of losses that can be the difference between a playoff-berth and not making the playoffs.
    • Kirk Cousins chucking up the ball into triple coverage vs the Packers ended up costing Minnesota the game. Why are quarterbacks forcing passes into the endzone? This has already happened three times this season with Trubisky, Rivers, and Cousins all doing this. Quarterbacks need to be smarter and realize you cannot win games by forcing the issue like this.
  • Relax, the Eagles will be fine. They barely lost at a good Falcons team, and that was without their top two wide receivers.