We are just under two months until we drop the flag at Daytona and there is still quite a bit of work to do before the drivers can start competing for a championship. From drivers and teams coming to the cup series to new tracks on the schedule, what should we expect for the NASCAR 2021 season?
New Drivers and Teams
Two drivers are making the move up to Cup from the Xfinity series. Ross Chastain will be running with Chip Ganassi in the 42 car. Chase Briscoe will be the only rookie in Cup, taking over the 14 from Clint Bowyer for Stewart-Haas.
Erik Jones will be piloting the number 43 for Richard Petty Motorsports. Spire Motorsports signed Corey LaJoie for the number 7 Camaro. Christopher Bell, to no one’s surprise, will be in the 20 for Joe Gibbs Racing. Daniel Suarez and Bubba Wallace will be driving for two new teams to the sport. Suarez will be in the number 99 for Trackhouse Racing and Wallace in the 23 for 23XI.
Hendrick Motorsports is replacing the 88 with the 5 next season. Alex Bowman will be leaving the 88 team to take over the iconic 48 Camaro. Kyle Larson will return to NASCAR after losing his ride last season to drive the number 5.
The 2021 season will bring more road course races to the Cup series. The Clash at Daytona road course will kick the race week off and followed by the Duels. Then, after the 500, they will return to the Daytona International road course for the second official race of the season. The series will also be making its first appearance at the Circuit of the Americas in late May. The track is known for hosting Formula 1, MotoGP, and IndyCar, so seeing how stock cars compete on the track will be very different from what fans of the course are used to.
Road America is hosting a Cup and Xfinity race on the Fourth of July weekend. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course is replacing the popular brickyard race NASCAR typically runs. Along with these new races, Sonoma and Watkins Glenn will be returning. Bristol Motor Speedway will be hosting a dirt race for the Cup series on March 28th; marking the first time NASCAR has had their top series race on dirt since 1970.
HOLY INSANE.— Dirty Mo Media (@DirtyMoMedia) October 8, 2020
The Door Bumper Clear gang weighs in on just how crazy the dirt race at @BMSUpdates could be in 2021.
Google: https://t.co/igIoJP4tWi pic.twitter.com/LEKmSDWF5K
What to Expect
The 2021 season is going to bring many changes for both drivers and fans. The road course races have brought many surprise victories over the years. Think of Marcos Ambrose’s luck at Watkins Glenn in 2011 and 2012. In more recent memory, Ryan Blaney when he managed to get through a wreck on the last turn at the Charlotte Roval to win the inaugural race in 2018. No one is out of the picture when it comes to road course racing. With that, the dirt race at Bristol could give drivers who started on dirt an advantage. Drivers like Kyle Larson and Christopher Bell come to mind.
These additions could spice up the playoff picture come September. Pair this new schedule with the next generation car coming in 2022 and I think NASCAR will be well on its way to becoming the fast-paced, fun to watch racing it was before.