The 2020 season was like no other. Many changes were needed to be made on and off the track. Back in March NASCAR went on pause for weeks due to the pandemic. No fans made it tough for fans and drivers. NASCAR also showed how it has evolved for the better.
NASCAR has taken action on the war on social-injustice. When this all occurred NASCAR announced they would ban Confederate flags at all racetracks. Drivers also rallied behind their driver Bubba Wallace Jr when an alleged noose was found in the garage. Even though it wasn’t a noose all drivers still sent a powerful message by rallying behind Bubba Wallace.
Then as the season went on NASCAR’s most popular driver Chase Elliott won his first NASCAR Cup Series championship. 2020 was a memorable year and 2021 maybe the best season yet.
A New Schedule
NASCAR went all out by shaking up the schedule for the 2021 season. There will be new racetracks and a return to the dirt. NASCAR added Circuit of the Americas, Road America, Nashville, the Indianapolis road course, and the return to dirt when NASCAR’s spring race at Bristol will be run on dirt. The new schedule has brought a new variety of mile and a half road courses, and short tracks. The new schedule will surely live to the hype in 2021
Elliott Chasing A Second Title
Chase Elliott had a 2020 season to remember. The season was filled with plenty of highs and lows. At the start of the 2020 season, Elliott was having a difficult time winning races with many controversial endings from Kyle Busch wrecking him to Elliott pitting in the final laps of the Coca-Cola 600 and overdriving the corner at Bristol.
While his regular season was tough, Chase Elliott had a strong playoff run. Elliott won three of the last five playoff races with a huge win at Martinsville to advance to Championship 4. The next week the People’s Champ won his first NASCAR Cup Series Championship.
The 2021 schedule is very favorable for Chase Elliott. The new schedule will have seven road courses on schedule. These races can add some pressure for Chase Elliott as he currently holds a four race-winning streak at the road courses dating back to 2019.
The most favorable road course will return to the schedule when NASCAR returns to Watkins Glen, NY, which has arguably turned into Elliott country. 2020 was a magical year for Chase Elliott and now he will look to be the first champion to repeat since 2010 when Jimmie Johnson won five in a row dating back to 2006.
Kyle Larson Returns
2020 was a rough year for Kyle Larson. During a Twitch stream, Larson used a racial slur. This led to Kyle being fired by Chip Ganassi Racing and suspended indefinitely by NASCAR. He was required to attend sensitivity training in order to be eligible to return to NASCAR. In October, Kyle Larson was officially reinstated by NASCAR. Not too long after, Kyle Larson was signed by Hendrick Motorsports and the number 5 car will officially return in February. This entire situation was a teachable lesson for Kyle Larson and he has been gifted a second chance.
Prior to his suspension Kyle Larson ran four races in 2020. He had 0 wins, one top-five finish, and three top-ten finishes. It is uncertain how Larson will perform on the track, but if there is one race Kyle Larson will be heavily favored in, it’s the Bristol Dirt Race. Kyle Larson has been very successful on the dirt tracks and he has the best odds to win at Bristol.
A New Team Emerges
Following the 2020 season, Bubba Wallace’s contract expired at Richard Petty Motorsports. This left him without a ride in the 2021 season. This all changed when NASCAR announced a new team would emerge. Denny Hamlin and NBA legend Michael Jordan announced they will create a new team called “23X1 Racing”. Bubba Wallace signed with 23X1 Racing and he will ride the 23 Toyota machine. This is a huge positive for NASCAR as they continue to expand in popularity. Michael Jordan’s fanbase can bring in many new fans to watch NASCAR. This can also include the new fans brought in last season.
When Bubba Wallace spoke out in support of “Black Lives Matter”, this made national news. This also brought in plenty of new fans in support of NASCAR’s only African-American driver. 23X1 Racing just may be the team to put NASCAR over the top with popularity with new fans. Whether you are a new or old fan, this will be the team to watch come February.
So Many Questions to be Answered in 2021
After a crazy 2020, NASCAR fans have a lot to keep an eye of in 2021.
- Can Chase Elliott repeat in 2021?
- Can Kyle Busch return to form after a tough 2020 season?
- Will Kevin Harvick get his revenge after a tough round of eight in 2020?
- How will Kyle Larson look in his return?
All the question will be all the more reason to watch this upcoming season. As stated in Fox’s new commercial “This will be NASCAR’s best season yet”.