American Racing

NASCAR: Footnotes to the 2021 Regular Season

Ryan Blaney got the win as the entire field wrecked behind him.

Blaney Ends the Regular Season with a “W”

Ryan Blaney got the final win of the regular season at the same where all started: Daytona. These were not the 500 of course, rather the 400 under the Florida lights. The number 12 driver went back-to-back after winning in Michigan last week.

The star of the night was NASCAR’s new aero package for superspeedways, aimed to prevent accidents such as Joey Logano’s at Talladega four months ago. The new package allowed for closer and more aggressive racing with a slightly less powerful engine. Not everyone was a fan of it though, Kyle Busch for instance, called his car “A turd” halfway through the race.

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It prevented flips but it didn’t prevent “The Big One”. Daniel Suarez got turned into Kevin Harvick, wiping most of the front pack as Blaney pulled away with the win. Suarez needed to win to get into the Playoffs and his big gamble did not pay off.

With the season over, we bring you some quick notes on the Postseason that looms ahead.

Win and You’re In

The NASCAR Cup Playoffs are quite simple: You win and you’re in. 16 drivers got in and only two drivers (Kevin Harvick and Tyer Reddick) got it in via regular season points. The format is quite simple too. 4 of the 16 drivers will be eliminated after four races in the Round of 16. Then, another four will be gone over another period of four races before the Round of 8. Eight will turn into the “Final Four” in a fight for the championship at Phoenix.

You win and you’re automatically into the next round. The highest finisher among the final four wins it all the desert. Technically, everyone has a chance to win. That is until you see these two drivers.

The Longshots

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Michael McDowell won the first race of his Cup Series career at the biggest race of all. He rose to glory that February night. Nonetheless, the rest of his season has been as down on the ground as it gets. Look no further than this last race. He blew an engine short of the first twenty laps of the race and his night ended quite early. Expect him to get into the top 20 during the round of 16 but, he won’t make the first cut of the Playoffs.

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Aric Almirola is not only a longshot but, he has also been a magnet for crashes all season long. Again, look no further than the Coke Zero Sugar 400. Almirola was the first car to get wrecked by an early crash on the first stage. Furthermore, chassis, body panels, and engines take a hit with every wreck. You got to believe his equipment is not at  He might pull an upset as he did in New Hampshire, but he won’t make it past the Round of 12.

Let the Playoffs Begin

The NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs start Sunday, September 5th at Darlington Raceway

Feature Image: Getty Images

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