American Racing

NASCAR Cup Series Review: The Best Season Ever

A season like no other…

The 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season was dubbed “The Best Season Ever”. The moniker was adopted by the series itself and then used by FOX Sports even before the start of the season back in February, some of us remained skeptical, it was NASCAR’s responsibility to make us swallow each and every one of our words. The question is: Did they? This ladies and gentlemen, is a review like no other, for a season like no other. 

The Daytona 500

We should start by the very beginning, of course, the 2021 Daytona 500, coincidentally, this was the worst part of the season. After watching it for 20 or so times, the result is very clear cut: Brad Keselowski pushed Joey Logano off the draft for the lead, both drivers spun out in a “Big one” leaving fourth-place Michael McDowell alone for the win. 

Don’t get me wrong, the McDowell win was well received by those in the stands and the ones watching at home. Nonetheless, wrecking the guy at the front is a trend we’ve seen for at least the last five years, this is not only unsportsmanlike racing, but it is also dangerous and it should not happen. 

This was a crazy finish to the start of the season although not as crushing and worrying as the 2020 500 when Ryan Newman made everyone hold their breath as they feared for his life. And yet, the greatest oval series in the world was quick to move on from their bumpy start into a flowing fun season to watch.

New Tracks

Daytona International Speedway was the first track to take part in the radical schedule changes for 2021 as the drivers stayed in Florida for the first three weeks of the season with the exhibition Clash at Daytona, the 500, and then a date at the Road Course which saw another underdog at Victory Lane with Christopher Bell’s win. 

Workers at Bristol Motor Speedway dropped over six tons of dirt over “The Last Great Coliseum” for the first-ever Cup Race in the dirt since 1970. Indianapolis also showed up to mix things up as the traditional Brickyard 400 at the oval was scrapped in favor of the internal “road course”. Big bumps and disintegrating cars thanks to big curbs sure revitalized a race in need of desperate help. 

One of the record-breaking seven road courses was quite noticeable, arguably for the wrong reasons: The Texas Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas. 

Chaos at COTA

The second blunder of the year came at Circuit of the Americas. A race that would’ve gone down perfectly fine until Texas-sized raindrops began to fall on the track. Water was too much for NASCAR’s small windshields and Goodyear’s rain tires were virtually none existent. 

It all resulted in a very scary affair with no visibility for everyone but the leader. The only thing rescued out of the mess was Chase Elliott’s win and a scary postal from a fiery crash when Cole Custer smashed into the back of Martin Truex Jr. 

 If there’s one thing NASCAR still needs to work on is getting better under heavy rain. Even more so now as the sport pushes more and more towards road course racing. 

The Race at Martinsville

You can line up the Brazilian GP, the Monte Carlo Rally, and F1’s season finale in Abu Dhabi and none of them would come close to the penultimate race of the season at Martinsville Raceway when it comes to excitement.

Put it simply, Alex Bowman got tired of running 2nd for most of the race and took matters into his own hands shoving Denny Hamlin out of the way for the win. Hamlin and his FedEx car got up close and personal with Bowman in what looked very much like a bullfight in the main straight. 

Bowman had nothing to lose, hence why he went for the move in the first place, nonetheless, Hamlin was in the Final Four for the championship the week after, and thankfully for him, he had the right spotter. Chris Lambert kept his cool and simply said: “Big picture Denny, big picture “, that was all it took for the 11 car to back off and live to fight another day. 

The final race of the season, however, didn’t see him take the win, but rather, the culmination of one of the greatest comebacks in motorsport history.

Kyle the King of Comebacks

Kyle Larson was crowned Series Champion on the final weekend of the season at Phoenix, and frankly, there was no one more deserving: 10 wins, 20 top 5s, and 26 top 10s. Let’s put that first number into context, with a 36 race season, Larson won almost one-third of it on his own. 

We rarely see drivers cry in public. This was not the case for Larson that afternoon in the desert. He cried in his car, out of it, during the post-race interviews, on his way to Victory Lane and lifting up his trophy. Behind those tears were the ones we never saw, the ones of regret after shooting his career in the foot by one single moment of stupidity during the heat of the pandemic, one not worth mentioning anymore. 

Larson has to be one of the biggest stories of the season and to be honest, he’s also a walking life lesson. He’s not only a prime example of how not to screw it up, he’s also one of how to own up to your mistakes and come back better than ever. 

And yet, next to Kyle’s epic return, is the story of the new NASCAR. The one that was promised to everyone for years and actually showed in 2021. 

The Best Season Ever

Yes, the 2021 Cup Series was indeed was the best season ever. Not because of the tracks, or the on-track battles such as Chase Elliot’s and Kevin Harvick’s. It was because everything behind the scenes, behind the checkered flag, everything that never really quite worked and made the series look goofy, and Murican are gone, gone for good. 

Confederate Flags are gone, so is Donald Trump, who at one point was like kerosene thrown into the fire after the Bubba Wallace’s noose incident. When you get rid of all that, you’re left with a brand new generation of fans who are more inclusive and open to new ideas than ever before. More importantly, you get a set of drivers that show they’re actually human beings instead of robots racing cars. 

It was refreshing, exciting, new, and truly something we had never seen before. It was the best season ever. Allow me to paraphrase The Who to close out this review.

Meet the new boss, it is no way, shape, or form the same as the old boss.

Featured Image: Autoweek

code Copy and paste this code on your eligible site
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

I accept the Privacy Policy

Most Popular

To Top