Non-spoiler review

Binge-worthy: Dracula on Netflix

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So many of us are stuck with nothing to watch since the sports world is on pause. So I will drop on occasional non-spoiler review on shows that might keep you busy while we wait for the plague to end and give us our sports back. (Yes, we still have horse racing, which is keeping me busy, and it is worth checking out if you have nothing else to watch. An RTN subscription will get you all the tracks you need, or you can just watch TVG if you have that channel. Sam Houston shows its races live for free at shrp.com). Or you could just pick up a copy of Jesus Just Left Chicago, the greatest novel ever written, available in paperback, Kindle and audio book. For everyone else, here is a non-spoiler look at Dracula on Netflix:

What it is about

The name pretty much tells you, this is based on Bram Stoker's classic vampire novel. I was skeptical at first, because I have seen every iteration of the Dracula story and did not feel the need to see another. But it is the brainchild of Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, the creatives behind perhaps the greatest television series ever, Sherlock. While Moffat's work on Dr. Who is questionable, these two together are incredible. The writing is very much along the lines of Sherlock, with clever jokes, not-too-obvious plot twists and strong writing and characterizations. Minor spoiler: Gatiss, who is also a fine actor (he played Mycroft in Sherlock and also had a role in Game of Thrones), makes an appearance in episode three.

There are three episodes: The first two are classic horror stories, while the third puts a modern twist on the legend.

The positives

1) Only three episodes makes it an easy watch. They are each over an hour in length, which is a tendency in the really good BBC shows. (This was released by both BBC and Netflix). There may or may not be a season 2, but if not, it ends perfectly. It is not a major time commitment, and once you are done you find yourself wanting more.

2) The writing, acting and storytelling are off the charts.

3) Claes Bang, a relative unknown, plays Dracula, and he is brilliant in the role. Maybe it was just me, but you find yourself rooting for him. (Yeah, I know, I have issues).

4) There is a nice twist on Van Helsing, which only adds to the charm.

5) From a plot standpoint, it is very well done and unlike any Dracula iteration I have seen.

The negatives

1) It starts a little slow; it's really about halfway through episode 1 that it starts to take off, so you have to stick with it.

2) If you are squeamish, it might not be for you. This is a horror series at heart, after all. There are some pretty gross scenes (even for me), especially in episode 1.

Overall analysis

Time commitment: Minimal. It is one season with three mini-movie episodes so you can watch it in a day.

Kid friendly: Probably not, unless you are raising your kids like my parents did me.

Bottom line: If you like Dracula movies, vampire movies, horror movies or Sherlock, this is a must-watch. It has elements of all the classics, but like Sherlock puts a clever twist on it. If you don't like those things? Stay tuned for the next binge-worthy.

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THE LEFT TURN

NASCAR: Quaker State 400 preview

Photo via: WikiCommons.

This week, the NASCAR cup series heads to Kentucky Motor Speedway for the Quaker State 400. Built in 2001, this track is a 1.5 mile tri-oval with a dog-leg on the front stretch. The most dangerous part of the track has to be turn three as the corner is flat compared to the other three corners that are banked. This has been a major point of contingency for these drivers as most of the cautions end up being there. Look for turn three to be a hot spot come Sunday. Last year, both the Busch brothers finished 1-2 in one of the most exciting finishes of the season so there will be a lot of hype for this race to live up to.

Last week at Indy, as we all expected the race was a crazy one. Over the course of the race's 160 laps, we saw many horrific accidents including a scary pit road accident involving Corey Lajoe, Ryan Blaney, Justin Allgier, Ryan Preece and others. The wreck started when everyone got stacked up entering the pits and the calamity was on from there. During the wreck Brennan Poole struck Rear Tire Changer Zach Price as he was trying to avoid the wrecking cars in front of him. After the incident fans and media alike all held their breath as they awaited news on his condition. But when the camera panned to him being loaded into the ambulance, there was a huge sigh of relief as he gave everyone a thumbs up signifying he was okay. Another scary moment was both Erik Jones and Alex Bowman's vicious crashes. Both cars had tire failures that sent their cars directly into the wall. Fortunately both drivers were okay but their days were over.

In the end, tire wear would end up claiming one more victim as it took out Denny Hamlin as well. With seven laps to go, the four-time winner this season was in prime position to get his fifth victory until his right front tire blew out, sending him hard into the turn 2 wall. This mishap handed the win to his main rival in the championship, Kevin Harvick, as he went on to claim his third Brickyard 400 victory and fourth win of the year. When it was all over, many questioned why there were so many tire failures and if new owner Roger Penske would make an effort to possibly widen the pit-road after the massive accident on Sunday.

Needless to say, there are a lot of questions on what will be different at Indy in 2021. When I talked to spotter Freddie Kraft on Tuesday, he gave a lot of good insights on both topics. When it came to the tire failures, he talked about how the increasing corner speeds at the racetrack has put a lot of pressure on these Goodyear tires which eventually led to them coming apart. As far as Pit-Road and what they can do to fix that, he talked about how it is difficult to make changes to a track that is so historical. Which makes sense, but he followed this up by saying that maybe it would be wise to give up a little history and move the wall over and make it wider. It will be interesting to see what NASCAR does in the coming months.

On Friday, Associated Press journalist Jenna Fryer revealed a bombshell announcement that 7-time champion and NASCAR's biggest name Jimmie Johnson, had tested positive for coronavirus. As everyone knows, the world is going through the worst pandemic it's ever faced in this lifetime. With the sport coming back and racing again, it was only a matter of time until one of the drivers came down with it. Unfortunately it had to be NASCAR's most recognizable driver. Thankfully, Jimmie made a full recovery and was cleared to return this weekend at Kentucky. This was a big scare for everyone in the NASCAR world, but I have to give a lot of credit to Johnson for being as forthright as he was about his diagnosis with everyone who he works with. It will be good to have Jimmie back on Sunday.

The driver that I have winning this weekend is Kyle Busch. While this season has been a disappointment for the defending champion, Kentucky would be a great place for him to turn it around. Ever since the cup series has started going there, Kyle has always been in contention to win. In fact, he won the first cup series race that was run at this track back in 2011. In his nine starts there, Kyle has finished outside the top ten only once and even then he finished 12th, back in 2016. Last season it appeared that Kyle was on his way to a third victory at this track, but he came up one spot short to his brother Kurt in a fantastic last lap duel. After a late race restart this weekend though, I see Kyle redeeming himself and capturing his first victory of 2020. Look for Kyle to get back on track come Sunday.


All stats and information used in this article are brought to you by the good folks at driveraverages.com and Racing-Reference.com, the best websites for all NASCAR stats.

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