from a NASCAR Fan’s View
It’s that time again… the 2021 NASCAR Cup season has begun in the usual place and Daytona is that place. The Clash is done… Kyle Bush won. The two Duels have been run… Aric Almirola and Austin Dillon won those and everyone appears to be ready for the Daytona 500 and it all has happened in one week. With all of that happening in one week instead of two, that’s just a little different than the way the NASCAR season usually starts. But that’s okay, the first three regular races of this 2021 season take place in Florida, two straight weekends in Daytona and one in Homestead. That makes three plus weeks in Florida and that’s just in the first month of the season.
I’m not so sure this fan agrees with the Fox Sports take on what this season will be but, it is good to see some things getting back to a semi normal state. Most of last season there was no practice and no qualifying, but this year, it appears there is going to be a return to that part of the program. In some ways, I guess that’s a good thing and will probably have some impact on how the teams perform. From the crew chief’s perspective, that gives them a chance to tweak their cars before the first laps of the actual races. From the driver’s point of view, it should give them a chance to “feel” better about entering into that first turn of a race every weekend. For some, it will likely help them have better performance in a race, if for no other reason than they “need” whatever bit of time on the track to make their cars more what they want “before” the race starts.
Judging from the way things have started, the Ford, Chevy and Toyota teams appear to have done their homework in getting ready for this years Daytona 500. All of them have shown their strengths at one time or another during this past week and, as far as Super Speedway racing, they all appear to be very competitive. That’s not to say all three don’t have some weaknesses but, they all do appear to have figured out some of the things that caused them difficulty last season.
Once again the Chevys, especially the Hendrick Chevys, appear to have become more competitive and, even though they had some problems in the Duels, they did lock up the front row with Alex Bowman winning the pole and William Byron, second fastest, taking the outside pole. Of course, after the Duels, it is still a question mark as to whether one or both will be starting in the rear. It is a shame they had their problems but, everyone knows in Super Speedway racing it doesn’t matter so much where you start, it’s where you finish.
It will definitely be a different year as we begin the 2021 season. Jimmie Johnson has retired from full-time Cup racing and won’t be in the #48 Hendrick Chevy. That’s not new news to anyone but it is a difference and a noticeable one. Alex Bowman will represent that number well but, as a fan, I will miss Jimmie Johnson being there.
Another one missing from the driver lineup is Clint Bowyer. As a fan I am happy with the fact he is now in the broadcast booth along with Mike Joy and Jeff Gordon. Though I will miss him in a car, I am very happy he is still quite visible and vocal on the broadcasts.
So, rather than spend a lot of time talking about stuff that really doesn’t matter too much about the 500 this weekend, I would like to say a few words of what I think might happen by the time the race is over.
There are several strong favorites to win this weekend. To mention a few, Denny Hamlin, Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano and Ryan Blaney. Others would be Kevin Harvick, Austin Dillon, William Byron, Alex Bowman and, of course, Chase Elliott. Just looking at those names could have a lot to say about how intense the race will be.
Do I think it will be intense every minute and every lap of the race? No, I don’t. Do I think there are going to be some intense moments as any number of them jockey for position? Yes, I do. Are there times during the competition someone is going to do something stupid? Yeah, we know it’s awfully hard to go door handle to door handle or bumper to bumper during a race like this and not have someone, or several someones make a mistake or even a stupid mistake, that causes a lot of carnage. One or more of those could take out a lot of possible contenders or winners and shake up the entire field.
So, if things go the way they usually do in a Super Speedway race, the likelihood of one or more “Big One” happening at some point in the competition is more than likely. Those that avoid or survive the “Big One or Big Ones” will have a chance to win the biggest race in NASCAR Cup. In this new season with some new rules and plenty of younger drivers, the likelihood of something happening that could take out one, or some, of the favorites is a very real thing. In the end, it will be the one that makes the least mistakes, avoids trouble and plays the chess game the best. Of course, it won’t hurt to make the right move at the right time. That probably won’t happen until the last straightaway coming off of turn four but, we’ll all have to watch, or at least pay attention to, the whole thing until somebody ends up in Victory Lane…
See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© February 13, 2021 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, Nascarfansview.com and Justafansview.com
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