Tag Archives: National






Salt Lake City, UT – April 2, 2018 – Dan Reynolds, lead singer of Imagine Dragons today
announced the second annual LOVELOUD Festival (http://loveloudfest.com) designed to
ignite the vital conversation about what it means to unconditionally love, understand,
accept, and support LGBTQ+ youth in our communities. The 2018 LOVELOUD Festival
will be powered by AT&T.

AT&T supports various initiatives that promote safety and inclusion for LGBTQ youth, including The Trevor Project’s suicide prevention and crisis intervention service. Together, through music and an inspiring message, LOVELOUD and AT&T can share our vision of a future where LGBTQ youth are connected to love and acceptance.

LGBTQ+ teen suicide, often caused by a lack of communication or an absence of
acceptance, is one of the most troubling issues in the community. The numbers are
• Suicide is the second leading cause of death in the US for youth (teenagers) according to
the Center for Disease Control.
• LGBTQ+ youth that come from a home or community where they are not accepted are
eight times more likely to commit suicide.

“We at LOVELOUD are determined to help create a more loving and accepting environment for them, while also hoping to raise more than $1 million dollars for local and national LGBTQ+ charities” said founder and Imagine Dragons front-man Dan Reynolds. “We look forward to a day dedicated to celebrating their diversity while listening to great music and inspiring speakers.”

LOVELOUD Festival will take place Saturday, July 28, 2018 in Salt Lake City, UT at the
Eccles Stadium and feature performances by Grammy® Award-winning artists Imagine
Dragons, Zedd and Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda along with Grace Vanderwaal, Neon
Trees’ Tyler Glenn and A.W. Stand-up comedian, actor and writer Cameron Esposito will also perform and emcee the day’s festivities. More performers and speakers will be
announced in the coming weeks.

LOVELOUD tickets will go on sale Friday, April 6 at 10AM MST. Festival goers can
purchase tickets HERE. Doors open for the LOVELOUD Festival at 2pm and the music
begins at 3:30pm. The festival will feature food, beverages and a number of other
activities for fans of all ages and interests. The LOVELOUD Foundation will donate
proceeds from this year’s event to benefit LGBTQ+ organizations including Encircle, the Tegan and Sara Foundation and the Trevor Project.

“LOVELOUD’s inspiring goal is to raise $1 million dollars for LGBTQ+ organizations in
one day, and we know that this amazing program of music and speakers will entertain,
educate and inspire everyone who comes out in support on July 28th," said Tegan and Sara. “We started the Tegan and Sara Foundation to bring resources and attention to
issues affecting the LGBTQ community, and we are proud to work with the LOVELOUD
team to amplify their urgent message of acceptance and unconditional love.”

As part of this quest, Dan Reynold’s created a documentary centered around
LOVELOUD, called Believer. The film received runner up for the “Festival Favorite Award” at Sundance Film Festival 2018 and will premiere on HBO in June.

LOVELOUD’s inaugural festival bowed August 26, 2017 in Orem, UT at Brent Brown
Ballpark. The event drew 17,000 concertgoers and featured live music from Imagine
Dragons, Neon Trees, Krewella, Nicholas Petricca of Walk the Moon (Acoustic), Joshua
James, and Aja Volkman. In 2017, LOVELOUD Foundation lent its support to various
charities such as Encircle and Stand4Kind, as well as national charities, The Trevor
Project and GLAAD.

The LOVELOUD Foundation is a catalyst to bring communities and families together to
help ignite the vital conversation about what it means to unconditionally love our LGBTQ+youth. LOVELOUD offers hope to young people, letting them know they’re not alone and encouraging acceptance in the home and community. It all begins with talking about, sharing and showing the realities of what LGBTQ+ teens face daily. The LOVELOUD Foundation is a 501c3.

AT&T’s commitment to equality and inclusion for the LGBTQ community began in 1975,
when the company became one of the first American corporations to adopt a policy
prohibiting discrimination against employees based on sexual orientation. AT&T also has a long-standing commitment to fostering an inclusive workplace. LEAGUE at AT&T
(Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Allies Employee Organizations of AT&T) is one of the oldest LGBTQ Employee Resource Groups (ERG) in the nation. In 1998, AT&T
adopted one of the first domestic partner benefits programs for LGBTQ employees. In
2006, AT&T was one of the first U.S. corporations to offer transgender-inclusive health
care benefits. At AT&T, diversity and inclusion will always be top priorities.

Christina Aguilera on The Voice: ‘It’s not about music, but good TV’

Christina Aguilera unleashed a brand new song and video yesterday, ‘Accelerate‘ featuring Ty Dolla $ign and 2 Chainz

The ‘Beautiful‘ star also announced that her upcoming album, ‘Liberation‘ will be out in June.

One thing she won’t be announcing is a return to ‘The Voice‘.

Speaking to Billboard, the ‘Burlesque’ star said: “It became something that I didn’t feel was what I had signed up for in season one.

“You realize it’s not about music. It’s about making good TV moments and massaging a story.

“I didn’t get into this business to be a television show host and to be given all these [rules]. Especially as a female: You can’t wear this, can’t say that. I would find myself on that show desperately trying to express myself through clothing or makeup or hair. It was my only kind of outlet.”

Instead she’s keen to return to performing in front of her fans. The 37-year-old said: “When I’m onstage, there’s not a bigger high, when I’m in connection with my voice and my heart and my soul.

“But at the end, I want to wipe it all off, get in my sweatpants, make silly noises with my kids and have someone comfort and cuddle me.”

Liberation is out June 15. Accelerate feat. Ty Dolla $ign & 2 Chainz along with the stunning music video, directed by Zoey Grossman is out now (watch below).

Last week Aguilera took part in The Late Late Show with James Corden’s ‘Carpool Karaoke’ (watch below).

“Something Rotten” is Taking Over Atlanta!

Written By | Hunter Gilmore

Broadway’s Something Rotten! has officially made it’s way to Atlanta! It is playing at the Fabulous Fox Theatre. The play is set in the 1590’s and is about brothers Nick and Nigel Bottom who are desperate to write a hit play. Along the way they run into a local soothsayer who tells them that the next big thing in theatre are musicals. You know…singing, acting, and dancing all at the same time. They struggle to make this a reality and are constantly overshadowed by the Renaissance Rockstar, Shakespeare.

The play is very enjoyable. I wouldn’t suggest it for kids but for adults it would make the perfect night out with loved ones and/or friends.  This is definitely reflected in the audience dynamics. The set design is intricate and in my mind well appreciated. This is because it really helps with the movement of the storyline.  It’s safe to say that the costumes really take me back to the Renaissance era, kind of makes one feel as if they are  actually in the 1590’s.  I’ve seen many broadway plays before and the costumes in this play are some of the best. They were extravagant and some were even comedic as well. The funny antics and jokes that unfold in the play are well received by the audience. My favorite part of the play are the tap dancing numbers. There’s a few of them in the production and I enjoyed the next one even more than the last.

The timing of the play is just right. It goes for about 2 hours and 20 minutes with 1 intermission. I would definitely suggest going to see this hilarious play if you haven’t already. Something Rotten! has remaining show dates from April 18-21 so it isn’t too late. You can go to foxtheatre.org for more information and tickets!

VH1 Exclusive Interview: Tokyo Vanity Isn’t Sure Why Everyone’s Making a Big Deal About Her Virginity

“Don’t try to judge me or make it seem like what I’m doing is not normal because what y’all doing has been normalized.”

Written By | by Andrea Wurzburger

Photo By | Kiki Archer / @IMPRINT_ent

Before Tokyo Vanity even graced your television screen, the 23-year-old rapper was ready to show the world what it looked like to be a body positive, full-figured, no nonsense artist. She may be a newcomer to the Love & Hip Hop Atlanta scene, but she’s ready to make her mark.

As we saw on this week’s episode of Love & Hip Hop Atlanta, she’s currently dating Tabius, but she’s “not into playing house with [him]” while she’s in Atlanta. And aside from being an independent woman who doesn’t need a man, here’s why:

 Tokyo explained herself further saying, “I’m a virgin. It’s not a religious thing and I’m not saving myself ’til marriage.”

So why did Tokyo want to talk about her virginity on national television? Her pride in her choice has something to do with it, but it goes a bit deeper than that.

“It’s not what you hear in your everyday life and I feel like there’s so many other people out there like me, you know? I feel like there’s so many other people out there like me, but they don’t talk about what it is that they’re doing or they don’t talk about that because they feel like it’s embarrassing or maybe people are gonna make fun of them. But, I don’t give a f-ck about nobody making fun of me because, at the end of the day, I’m what was normal.”

What has the reaction been so far to her coming out and telling the world that she is a proud virgin at 23 years old? There’s “really more positive than negative,” but she doesn’t really understand the negative backlash or people who either say her decision to wait is wrong or that she is outright lying about being a virgin.

“Like, I just don’t understand why, like, everybody’s got such a big issue and stuff like that because there’s a lot of people that’s hitting me up like, ‘Oh, I’m so proud of you!’ or ‘I’m just like you!’ or ‘I go through the same thing.'”

Tokyo says that the mixed reactions make it difficult because “[She] wants to be the voice for those women,” but she also has to read the negative comments.

No stranger to a clap back, Tokyo did respond on social media after getting mixed messages following the episode. In a strongly worded Instagram post she said, “It puzzles me how a grown woman can have something negative to say about me choosing to have sex.”

Why did she feel the need to respond? Well, to put it simply, it’s who she is and she’s not apologizing for it.

Even though she seems super comfortable with her sexuality and virginity being a topic of discussion, was she ever worried about what people would say about her decision to wait until it felt right to her? Well, yes and no.

“In life we all feel like we all go through those phases where, of course we care what people are gonna say and stuff…but I just feel like, boy, they talked about Jesus ’til the day he died! So, you know, what makes me think that they’re not gonna talk about me? The difference is, I’m very vocal so I’m gonna say something back.”

In an industry that is all about sex, does she ever feel pressured to lose her virginity or to change who she is because of that and because of the industry that she’s in?

“I don’t ever feel pressure to do anything because I’m such a strong person. Can’t nobody tell me to do nothing that I don’t want to do. Anything that I do in life is because Tokyo Vanity wanted to do it. I’m real big into owning up to whatever it is I do and, you know, I won’t say that anybody ever influenced me to do anything because I’m the influencer.”

She does admit that the industry has sexualized women, but she also knows that, at the end of the day, she’s not changing for anyone. She told VH1, “I do feel like that industry is hypersexualized and it feels like women, we have to prove ourselves more, we have to do degrading sh-t to make people take us seriously or get people to give us attention. Me? I’m not doing that. If I have to do something crazy for you to listen to me, then you’re not the person who I need to be working with.”

Part of the reason she doesn’t feel pressure to change has to do with the fact that she feels she is representing other women in her journey. “There’s so many girls out here that wanna be like me. So why would I let an industry or something make me want to be like everybody else? I feel like, in life, that should be our goal: To be different. To be set apart. So, you know, that’s definitely what I’m trying to be.”

And what would she say to girls who are in the same position as her and maybe are nervous to tell people that they’re virgins?

“You are a prize and you are a gift. Know your worth and know yourself. What’re you rushing for? You’re going through the same thing with men that a woman who’s having sex is going through.”

“I just feel like at all times you have to be you, and I feel like it’s very important for women to love themselves and love the skin that they’re in and, despite what anybody says about you, at the end of the day, regardless of when you leave the room if they’re saying something negative or positive, they’ll still talk about you while you’re not there to defend yourself. So, girl, just be the best you that you can be because people always gonna talk and have something to say, so just live your best life.”

You can catch Tokyo Vanity on Love & Hip Hop Atlanta, Mondays at 8/7c.

Tokyo Vanity is using her voice and no-nonsense attitude to make sure people respect beauty in all its forms on this season of Love & Hip Hop.


ATLANTA – The high-energy “Disney Junior Dance Party Tour” will bring its national tour to Atlanta’s Fox Theatre on Saturday, March 24 at 1 p.m. Inspired by favorite Disney Junior series, the interactive concert tour includes songs from Mickey and the Roadster Racers, Sofia the First, Elena of Avalor, Doc McStuffins, The Lion Guard, as well as newest hit series Vampirina and Puppy Dog Pals. The live concert will also include a brand-new interactive experience featuring Disney Junior’s highly-
anticipated series, Muppet Babies, launching in early 2018.

Tickets will go on sale Friday, Nov. 17 at 10 a.m. Tickets range from $32.50-$52.50, plus applicable fees, and will be available at FoxTheatre.org, by calling (855) 285-8499 or at the Fox Theatre Box Office.

Disney Visa Cardmember presale tickets, as well as VIP meet-and-greet packages, will be available starting Wednesday, Nov. 8 at 12 p.m. EST, with Disney Junior Facebook pre-sales starting Tuesday, Nov. 14 at 10 a.m. EST. Parents can go to disney.com/disneyjuniortour to get more information.

VIP package offers include an after-party and meet-and-greets following each performance. Kids and families will also have the opportunity to enjoy breakfast with characters including Mickey, Sofia and Doc on weekend show days. Performances during the week will include a special VIP offering, an afternoon tea featuring appearances by Princess Elena, Princess Sofia and Minnie Mouse.

Join hosts, Dee and Jay, and the DJ Dance squad as they welcome Mickey, Minnie and other Disney Junior characters on-stage to perform popular songs including “Hot Dog Dance” from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, “Time For Your Check Up” from Doc McStuffins, “Zuka Zama” from The Lion Guard and “Happy Helpers” from Mickey and the Roadster Racers. It’s going to be a dance party you won’t want to miss!

“We are delighted to collaborate with Red Light Management to bring some of Disney Junior’s biggest hit series to the stage for kids and families nationwide to enjoy in a truly immersive concert experience, said Jennifer Rogers-Doyle, Vice President, Franchise Management, Disney Channels Worldwide.

The tour will make stops at marquis venues including Rosemont Theatre (Chicago), The Fox Theatre (Atlanta) and The Grand Ole Opry (Nashville).

“The ‘Disney Junior Dance Party On Tour’ is going to be the premiere family concert event of the year and for many years to come. The production is absolutely stunning and working alongside Disney and Amy Tinkham to create this show has been an incredible experience and an honor,” says executive tour producer Jonathan Shank. “Parents and children are going to truly love this show. There are new songs, greatest hits and some mashups, which are really fun!”

Follow “Disney Junior Dance Party On Tour” here:
Website: DisneyJuniorTour.com
Facebook: facebook.com/DisneyJuniorTour
Twitter: twitter.com/DisneyJunior
Instagram: instagram.com/DisneyJunior

WGC-Mexico, second round: Leaderboard, tee times, TV schedule

  • Louis Oosthuizen leads by 1 shot at Mexico Championship

It’s a very colorful leaderboard at the World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship with players from six different nations in the top 10. Here’s what you need to know ahead of Round 2.

Round 2 tee times

Round 2 leaderboard


TELEVISION: 2 — 7 p.m. (Golf Channel)

PGA TOUR LIVE: 12:15 — 7 p.m.

RADIO: 1 — 7 p.m. (PGA TOUR Radio on Sirius XM and PGATOUR.COM)


Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Jordan Spieth

11:39am off the 10th tee

Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson, Jon Rham

12:51pm off the 1st tee

Sergio Garcia, Alex Noren, Tommy Fleetwood

1:03pm off the 1st tee

Bubba Watson, Phil Mickelson, HaoTong Li

1:15pm off the 1st tee


Perhaps no other driver on NASCAR’s national touring series circuit has a closer connection to Atlanta Motor Speedway than David Ragan. There’s the phrase “home track,” and then there’s just “home.” And home is exactly what the 1.54-mile speedway, located 25 miles due south of downtown Atlanta, is and has been for the 32-year old Georgia driver almost from the very beginning.

Before he was turning laps in stock cars on NASCAR’s biggest stage, Ragan was quite literally growing up on and around – and you might even say with – AMS. He was even along for the ride when track was being redeveloped into its current iteration over two decades ago.

“Atlanta Motor Speedway has a special place in my heart,” said Ragan. “I lived in one of the condos there in 1996 when they were resurfacing the racetrack. Every morning I would sit there at the glass and see the bulldozers and grading equipment tearing down the track and repaving it.”

With Ragan’s father, Ken, stepping in to run Atlanta’s fledgling Legends racing program at the time of the track’s reconfiguration and installation of the quarter-mile “Thunder Ring” in the mid-1990s, living at the race track was one of several perks for the aspiring young driver.

Undoubtedly, though, the best perk of them all was one that forged an eternal bond between him and the track itself. Though completely unauthorized – and unbeknownst to anyone else at the time – Ragan unofficially became the first driver ever to take laps on what was then the newly configured layout.

“I made a bunch of laps there in my father’s El Camino one Saturday afternoon, just riding around the race track while it was being worked on before the security guards realized there was somebody on the track.”

That deep-seated bond with AMS will come full circle for Ragan this Sunday, when he makes his 400th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start in the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 on that very same asphalt. But it was the Thunder Ring where Ragan’s driving career began in earnest. Between 1998 and 2000, he ran more than 40 races in both Bandolero and Legends cars, cutting his teeth on what is still to this day one of the toughest quarter-mile asphalt tracks in the Southeast.

Both David and his father were cornerstones in the now 21-year-strong program that has graduated dozens of young drivers into professional racing’s upper-most levels.

Fast forward three years from Ragan’s Legends days, and he was already contending for wins in the ARCA Racing Series by 2003. He then got his first taste of NASCAR’s national-level competition when he ran a 10-race partial schedule in the Camping World Truck Series for owner Tom Eldredge a year later in 2004.

Another three years after that, Ragan arrived at the top as a fresh-faced 21-year-old, ready to take on the best of the best that stock car racing had to offer. He signed on with Jack Roush in 2007 to drive race cars in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, and he hasn’t looked back since. With a fifth-place finish in the 2007 season-opening Daytona 500, just his third career start at NASCAR’s top level, Ragan set off on a journey that quite literally hasn’t missed a beat in 11 years.

In 399 Cup Series starts entering the Atlanta Race Weekend, including that first Daytona 500 back in 2007, Ragan has seen it all – two wins, two poles, several team changes and even a fill-in stint for Kyle Busch at Joe Gibbs Racing in the eventual championship-winning No. 18 car in 2015.

With all the places he’s been and all the things he’s accomplished behind the wheel of a race car, it’s fitting that his 400th Cup Series start will come at his home, Atlanta Motor Speedway.

“It’s very special just to have made it to 400 starts. I think that’s a huge accomplishment,” Ragan said. But “for it to happen at Atlanta Motor Speedway is pretty neat. I couldn’t have scripted it any better. Atlanta Motor Speedway is where I got my start racing in my Bandolero car. It’s a special place to me and my family, and it’s pretty cool that I’m going to run my 400th race there.”

Ever gracious and humble almost to a fault, it’s not lost on Ragan how rare a feat 11 consecutive years without missing a single race at the elite level of stock car racing really is.

“As a young kid, I dreamed of being able to race at some of these large tracks and to get my NASCAR license,” he said. “I remember being so happy when I got my first NASCAR license when I was an 18-year-old going to race in late-model stock cars.

“So to be able to have raced at all these different tracks and to have met a lot of great people and to have done all of that consecutively and to have been fortunate enough not to be injured and to be able to continue racing and have team-owners that would let me drive their cars, that’s something really special.”

Through it all, he credits his father for setting him up for success from the very beginning. A former stock car racer himself at the top level of NASCAR competition, Ken Ragan has been a key player in the world of motorsports both near his longtime home in Middle Georgia and on the national stage itself.

Without his father’s guidance, know-how and unwavering support from his Legends days at Atlanta in the late ’90s all the way through to that first Daytona 500 in 2007, the younger Ragan knows a lot of what he’s been able to accomplish would not have been possible.

“My dad’s involvement in the sport really paved the road for me to make a career in motorsports,” said Ragan. “I wouldn’t necessarily say just his driving – my dad started 50 Cup races and some Grand National and ARCA races – but he owned race tracks and race teams. He owned engine shops. He is an employee of Speedway Motorsports today. I think the relationships he made along the way and my family members made along the way helped a lot.

“We didn’t have a huge checkbook and unlimited funds when I was young and trying to hone my skills and get established as a young kid that wants to race. The relationships my father made over the years helped me get that engine from someone or go test somewhere or get some free passes when we needed to bring a sponsor to a race.

“That helped a lot to get a few doors opened for me. I had to work hard to keep those doors open, but without my father being involved in the sport in the 1980s, it would have been hard for me to break into the sport.”

Now in his 12th straight year of Cup-level competition and on the second year of his second stint with Front Row Motorsports, Ragan’s focus is on finding consistent success to go along with his consistent streak of races. With two wins under his belt with the team, one each in 2011 and 2013, he doesn’t see the team’s relatively small size as a disadvantage.

Instead, he considers their collective history and the camaraderie built over time in the shop as a foundation on which they’ll build success in the still-young 2018 season.

“2018 is looking on paper to be an exciting year for myself personally and for Front Row Motorsports,” he said. “I feel like Front Row is one of those teams that, we’re a close-knit family and everybody in the shop and the mechanics on the road, we’re good friends. We get along, and it’s a small team, and we all have a pretty big impact on the program itself.”

As far as his 400th start at Atlanta Motor Speedway in the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500, it’s certainly not out of the question for his milestone homecoming race to be a winning one.

“I have had a little success there in all three series,” Ragan said. “I have been in contention for some wins and have a few top-fives and top-10s, but it would be really cool and special to win at Atlanta or to just have a really good day. Atlanta Motor Speedway is a cool track and I like going there.”

Whether or not he’s victorious in his 400th career start on Sunday, Ragan’s legacy as among the most celebrated Georgia drivers in the history of the sport will be preserved long after the checkered flags fly, as he works ever-diligently towards his next career milestone.


Atlanta Motor Speedway presented Chase Elliott with one final lucky charm Friday.

Elliott, back in the No. 9 car his father, Bill, made famous, was handed a University of Georgia football jersey with his name and number on the back.

The 22-year-old driver, an avowed Bulldogs fan, broke into a wide grin in the moment.

AMS recreated a 1983 campaign that brought good luck to Chase’s Hall-of-Fame dad. Bill Elliott finished second eight times before a similar campaign and notched his first career NASCAR Cup Series victory soon after it.

The public was invited to send in anything that would bring luck to the Dawsonville native.

“It was a nice gesture more than anything,” Elliott said. “Man, there were a lot of teddy bears I felt like sent in. A lot of St. Patrick’s Day charm items sent in.
“I appreciate everyone’s support for jumping on board and being willing to support something like that. It’s pretty cool.”

Elliott has two top-10 finishes in his two Monster Energy Cup Series starts at Atlanta. He was eighth in 2016 and fifth last year.

He has 78 starts in NASCAR’s top series, fewer than his dad had before notching a win (115).

Elliott is among the Chevy drivers debuting the Camaro ZL1 at Atlanta. Chevy is the most successful manufacturer at AMS with 40 wins.

“I mean I hope it goes really well,” Elliott said. “First off, I don’t think it is really fair for us to show up here at Atlanta and everybody get a judgment on where we stack up here. This is our first go at it as well as everybody else’s. We saw other manufacturers come here last year being their first week and didn’t necessarily fire off the best, but were the best before it was over with. I think you have to give it a little bit of time.”

The body changes mean differences in the wind tunnel and computer simulations.

“I hope we hit it this weekend, don’t get me wrong,” Elliott said. “I’m not making an excuse. Either it will be good or it won’t, but I think we have to work through some of the differences. We have seen some of those differences today. No reason why we can’t fix it, though, and try to get it as good as we can and hopefully better than the rest.”

But AMS is always a track Elliott where has enjoyed racing.

“This is a track where you can have your car driving good and you might be able to make up a deficit that you might be fighting somewhere else or somebody have an advantage over you,” he said. “I just think having the ability to go out and practice and your feedback is worth a little more here. I think that a lot of guys feel that way.

“As you run a race, how you drive your car at the first half of the run can affect how your performance is going to be in the second half of the run. In a lot of places, that’s not the case either. So, it’s just a fun place to come. I think anywhere that you run three or four laps and the lap times have fallen off significantly like they are here all the time, I think that makes it fun. It makes it fun from a strategy standpoint, it makes it fun for the racers.”

Truex settles in for title defense Martin Truex, the defending Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion, is one of the best at 1.5-mile tracks like AMS. Seven of his eight wins came at such tracks, although Atlanta was not one of those. Truex was eighth at last year’s Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500.

“This is a good first chance for us to see where we stack up against the competition and how we feel as compared to years past,” Truex said. “This is a great race track. It’s a lot of fun to race here. I always look forward to it.”

The track was set to be repaved last year, but officials responded to a collective outcry from drivers to reconsider. After reevaluating the surface, AMS opted to patch the 1.54-mile oval and delay a full resurfacing.

“There’s not a driver in the garage that wants this track to get repaved,” Truex said. “As far as racing goes and being a driver, this place is so fun and so challenging, I don’t think there’s anyone that doesn’t love it.”

Truex and his Denver-based team aren’t taking anything for granted despite the title and the success at 1.5-mile tracks.

“We’re trying to be open-minded, not get caught by surprise,” he said. “A lot of things have changed in the offseason. The inspection process is one of them.

“But it’s a new year. Everybody has worked all winter to try to come back and go after a championship. So you’ve got to be driven. You’ve got to work hard. You can’t take any of it for granted — because it slip right out from under you.”

Fastest in first practice Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. put down the fastest lap in the first Monster Energy Cup Series practice Friday with a time of 29.745 seconds and a speed of 186.384 mph.

Rookie Christopher Bell led the first Xfinity Series practice. The No. 20 went around in 31.086 (178.447 mph).

Justin Haley had the top time (31.141) and speed (178.02) for the Camping World Truck Series first practice session Friday.

Times were slower than in 2017, primarily for the Xfinity cars, but temperatures were much higher, which Atlanta native Brandon Jones said could have played a part in the disparity.

“It could be for sure,” Jones said. “Obviously there are a lot of factors that affect that. We’ve got a little bit less downforce and things like that. We’ve got our composite body as well so maybe that could be a lot of the slower speeds. But as far as driving, it’s been total opposite of what I’ve been used to in the past so I’m still trying to adapt and learn these cars a little bit.”

Lug nuts
Sunday will be David Ragan’s 400th start in NASCAR’s top series. The 32-year-old Georgia native grew up racing at AMS and hasn’t missed a race at the elite level of stock car racing in 11 consecutive years.
It’s the first time in 15 years that an Elliott is driving the iconic No. 9 in the Cup Series at Atlanta.
AMS has held more 500-mile races than any NASCAR track. Sunday’s Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 is the 103rd and 96th consecutive for the Hampton venue.
Four of the five top finishers in last week’s Daytona 500 — Austin Dillon, Darrell Wallace Jr., Joey Logano and Chris Buescher — are alumni of Atlanta Motor Speedway’s Thursday Thunder.

Broadway’s Tony Award®-Winning Best Musical A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder to play the Fox Theatre from March 13-18, 2018

The Tony® Award winner for Best Musical, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder, will play the Fox Theatre in Atlanta from March 13-18, 2018 in its first national tour.

Tickets are limited and are on sale now. Tickets start at $33.50 and are available by visiting FoxTheatre.org by calling 1-855-285-8499 or visiting the Fox Theatre Box Office (660 Peachtree St NE, Atlanta, GA 30308). Group orders of 10 or more may be placed by calling 404-881-2000. Performance schedule, prices and cast are subject to change without notice. For more information, please visit AGentlemansGuideBroadway.com or BroadwayInAtlanta.comTicket inventory is limited.

Gentleman’s Guide will play at Atlanta’s Fox Theatre March 13-18, 2018. The performance schedule is as follows:

Tuesday-Thursday                             7:30 p.m.
Friday                                               8 p.m.
Saturday                                           2 p.m., 8 p.m.
Sunday                                             1 p.m., 6:30 p.m.

Gentleman’s Guide tells the uproarious story of Monty Navarro, a distant heir to a family fortune who sets out to jump the line of succession, by any means necessary. All the while, he’s got to juggle his mistress (she’s after more than just love), his fiancée (she’s his cousin but who’s keeping track?), and the constant threat of landing behind bars! Of course, it will all be worth it if he can slay his way to his inheritance… and be done in time for tea.

One of Broadway’s most celebrated musicals, Gentleman’s Guide received ten 2014 Tony® Award nominations, winning four awards: Best Musical, Direction of a Musical, Book of a Musical, and Best Costume Design. In addition, it won the Best Musical prizes from the Drama League, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle, and received a 2015 Grammy® Award nomination for Best Musical Show Album.

A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder features a book and lyrics by Robert L. Freedman and music and lyrics by Steven Lutvak. The creative team for this production includes direction and choreography by Peggy Hickey (Anastasia), based on Broadway’s original Tony Award-winning direction by Darko Tresnjak (Anastasia) and her own original choreographyThe design and production team is comprised of two-time Tony Award nominee Alexander Dodge, scenic design (AnastasiaThe Hunchback of Notre Dame); Tony Award-winning Linda Cho, costume design (Anastasia); Adam Cates, Associate Director and Choreographer (Anastasia); Philip S. Rosenberg, lighting design (The Elephant ManIt’s Only a Play); four-time Tony Award-nominated Dan Moses Schreier, sound Design (Into the Woods, American Psycho); Aaron Rhyne, projection design; and Jason Styres, CSA, casting. Original orchestrations are by Jonathan Tunick and Vocal Arrangements are by Dianne Adams McDowell and Steven LutvakPaul Staroba serves as Music Supervisor.

Gentleman’s Guide received critical acclaim on Broadway, where The New York Times raved “GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE will LIFT THE HEARTS of all those who’ve been pining for what sometimes seems A LOST ART FORM.” The Hollywood Reporter enthused Gentleman’s Guide “Restores our faith in musical comedy!” and Time Magazine said “Just as I was about to give up on musicals, along comes A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE & MURDER!”

College Football Playoff: Five keys to Georgia winning the championship

Written By | Barrett Sallee

ATLANTA — The No. 3 Georgia Bulldogs have a chance to win their first national championship since 1980 on Monday night in Mercedes-Benz Stadium, when they take on No. 4 Alabama in the College Football Playoff National Championship.

Led by second-year coach Kirby Smart and a punishing running game featuring seniors Nick Chubb and Sony Michel, the Bulldogs topped No. 2 Oklahoma 52-48 in double overtime in the Rose Bowl last Monday to earn a trip to their home state to take on the Crimson Tide for all the marbles.

What are the five keys for the Bulldogs?

1. Dominate along the defensive front. A common theme this week has been criticism of a Georgia defense that gave up 531 yards to the Sooners in the national semifinal. Sure, that’s a big number, but that number doesn’t tell the whole story. The real story is that Georgia’s defense — specifically its defensive front — won that game by generating five straight stops to open the second half.

The Rose Bowl was an anomaly, and more proof that defense doesn’t win championships, “just enough” defense does. “Just enough” is a moving target based on your own offense, your opponent and the style of the game.

Georgia needs to find just enough against the Tide to get it done, and it starts with Julien Rochester, Trenton Thompson, Roquan Smith, Lorenzo Carter and that fast and physical defensive front seven.

That looks like more of a challenge this week than it did over the holiday season, because Alabama’s offensive line flat-out owned Clemson in its Sugar Bowl win.

“Once we got beat by Auburn, we were ‘the worst offensive line in the nation,’ yada, yada, yada, and all this crap,” center Bradley Bozeman said. “We really wanted to make a statement and prove that we deserve to be here, and I think we did that tonight.”

Was that the anomaly, or a sign that “old school” Alabama football is back?

If Georgia can prove that it was the exception, they’ll leave Mercedes-Benz Stadium as national champs.

2. Come right at Jalen Hurts. It’s one thing to win the battle in the trenches. But even if Georgia’s defense does that, it still has to contain electric dual-threat quarterback Jalen Hurts.

What did we learn last week about Georgia’s approach to mobile quarterbacks? They need to come right at them. That’s exactly what happened in the second half when the Bulldogs abandoned their quest to contain Sooner quarterback Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield, and came right at the Heisman Trophy winner. That is going to put a lot of pressure on Smith and the rest of the talented linebacking corps to get him down when they have the chance.

“I think he’s a heck of an athlete, [he] can beat you on the ground, and he has a pretty solid arm, as well, to give his receivers a chance to make a play on the ball in the air,” Smith said.

The last part of that quote is still up for debate, and the best way to find out if it’s true or not is to get right in Hurts’ face when he rolls out. Don’t give him time to look downfield. Make sure he has to make quick decisions in the passing game.

Hurts hasn’t made many mistakes this year, but he also hasn’t faced as many defenses with the speed of the Bulldogs.

3. Stay calm on offense. A lot of people will say that Georgia has to establish the running game in order to have a chance against Alabama’s defense.

That’s just not true.

Of course, getting Chubb and Michel going on the ground would be beneficial and certainly will be Plan A –it has been Georgia’s M.O. all year. But we saw true freshman quarterback Jake Fromm lead his team to the win in the Rose Bowl — a game in which he led the game-tying drive at the end of regulation with clutch throw after clutch throw.

You can’t script a bigger moment, and Fromm thrived in it.

No, it isn’t the running game that needs to get going. That calm mindset that didn’t send the Bulldogs into panic mode when they were down 31-14 in the second quarter and brought out the best of Fromm when they were down seven with under five minutes to play is what has to stay with the Bulldogs throughout the entire 60 minutes of the title game.

And I do mean “entire.”

Alabama’s defense saw an inch when it forced Clemson quarterback Kelly Bryant to throw a pick to defensive lineman to Da’Ron Payne, and it took a mile. That mile included a pass from Hurts to Payne and a pick six by linebacker Mack Wilson on the very next play from scrimmage.

Blood was in the water, the the Tide swarmed like sharks.

Georgia is the more complete team. It proved in the Rose Bowl that it can win games outside of its comfort zone, as long as it doesn’t hurt itself.

Don’t get cut.

4. If the chance comes to turn the game sideways, make sure it happens: We saw Georgia play and beat Oklahoma playing the Sooners’ brand of point-per-minute football. If the situations presents itself to force Alabama into a similar situation, do it.

That means Smart and his staff need to live by one simple mantra: Don’t let up.

It can be argued — I think rather successfully — that Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley made a poor decision going conservative in overtime in the Rose Bowl loss to the Bulldogs. Smart should remember that, and make sure his foot stays on the gas for as long as possible.

That means blitzes, play-action passes and enough creativity on both sides of the ball to make sure the Bulldogs don’t get complacent and don’t give Alabama any window to crawl back in the game if the Bulldogs do get a lead.

After all, we saw Alabama dominate Clemson playing Alabama football. We saw Georgia top Oklahoma playing Oklahoma football.

Smart and the Bulldogs want to play old-school, smash-mouth football too. That has been and always will be Plan A. But they also know that their Plan B works better than Alabama’s.

5. Tempo, tempo, tempo: Alabama lost linebacker Anferenee Jennings late in the Sugar Bowl to a knee injury, after Jennings had a monster day against Clemson. That’s the latest in a long line of linebacker injuries for the Crimson Tide that also includes middle linebackers Dylan Moses and Shaun Dion Hamilton.

Georgia needs to test that depth and discipline, and the best way to do it is with tempo.

We’ve seen Georgia go up-tempo a lot this year in big situations, including the SEC Championship Game win over Auburn. They don’t always snap it quickly, but they do get to the line in a hurry, often to prevent defenses from substituting. Simply getting to the line quickly will stress middle linebacker Mack Wilson — who calls the signals in place of Hamilton and Moses — and simply running plays will stress the depth of the defensive-minded Crimson Tide.

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