Bristol Under The Lights For Cutoff Race One In 2021

From a NASCAR Fan’s View

Bristol is a fast short track with high banks and speeds and a place where rubbing is racing. It is also a place where emotions run high and tempers can flare. With the way the standings are for making it to the next round, tonight could prove to be one of the more aggressive races we’ve seen this season. Bristol is known for the excitement and drama it generates and with it being the cutoff race for making the round of twelve, well… you know what that means. One thing is certain when this race at Bristol under the lights on a Saturday night is done, four of the sixteen competitors won’t be moving on to the Round of Twelve.

Looking back on the last two races, I guess it could be said things haven’t gone as many expected. The first two races have been filled with unexpected happenings and really poor performance from some that were expected to be in the final four. From my view, the JGR teams have shown up as they usually do for the playoffs. At least two of the JGR teams have shown they may have what it takes to make it to the final four. Of course, that final race of the season is still a long way off and a lot can go wrong for any of the ones vying for the 2021 Championship.

You may ask, “Why would you say that?”

Well, to be honest, it wasn’t really all that unexpected by me. After the strength they showed for much of the season, the Hendrick teams have completely underperformed in the first two races of the Round of Sixteen. Naturally, there are a couple of ways to look at their performance so far in this round and it could just be they are just going through a dry spell. On the other hand, it could be they showed all they had during the regular season and they just don’t have anything left to dominate with.

The other side of the coin is that these first two races have been with the 750 package and that has proven to be the weakness in the HMS camp for most of the season. It is unfortunate that they never did find how to improve their shortcomings with this package over the 550 but it is a fact, at least from my view, they haven’t.

I suppose there will be some disagreement with me in this but, honestly, I don’t mind that at all. It’s just the way I see it and you may see it differently. I mean really, two of HMS teams are about to be eliminated from advancing, unless something really unexpected happens tonight. Of course, you know the ones I’m talking about; Alex Bowman and William Byron. At this point, there is only one guaranteed to move on to the next round and that’s Kyle Larson. Even Chase Elliott isn’t completely safe.

While I’m at it, let me just mention that I think Kyle Larson has underperformed so far in this round and, as we move to and through the next round, I believe he is really going to have to step it up a notch or two. Otherwise, there may be no final four for him either.

At one time, it was thought that all four of the Hendrick teams might make up the total final four. At this point, unless something really, really unexpected and almost impossible  happens, that likely won’t be the case come November.

Now it appears the talk is about the four JGR teams making up the final four. I’m not one of those that thinks that and for good reason. The JGR teams are pretty much in the same boat as the HMS teams. Yeah, it’s true, they actually are sitting a little better position but the circumstances are about the same. Many expect Kyle Bush to be in the final four but I’m not so sure this is a year he will make the final four. When it comes to Christopher Bell, I just don’t know. He is an unknown in my opinion.

Probably the biggest surprise to me as the rounds progress are the questions surrounding the Penske and Stewart-Haas teams. Although neither has been performing all that bad, neither has looked like they have the performance to take control of the standings and move on all the way the final four in November.

Hey, I know there are a lot of races to go before we get to the final four but, the performance issues are well documented. The best performers have been the Hendrick teams and the Joe Gibbs teams. At this point, and I know it is still early, I just don’t see a Penske, Stewart-Haas, RCR or Ganassi team in the final four. Sure, I know I could be wrong but, then again, I could be right…

See ya next time…

All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer

© September 18, 2021 – all rights reserved

Rusty Norman, and

All audio productions by and PodCastNorm Productions

All music TwoBuckThemes from Mike Stewart unless otherwise stated