Thanks, or extra like NO THANKS to COVID-19, race followers missed a lot in 2020. The racing gods owe us a make-good yr in 2021.
And whereas we patiently look ahead to our flip in line for the vaccine, this is 21 issues we will not wait to see and some needs for the 2021 yr in motorsports:
Return of the Power
John Power pulled his John Power Racing crew out of the NHRA Tenting World Drag Racing Collection early final yr after COVID-19 began wiping occasions from the 2020 schedule.
Misplaced occasions and restricted attendance on the occasions that did come off resulted in misplaced income and led the NHRA to reduce its prize fund by a reported 70%. You may wager Power did the maths.
Power did say final summer time that he’ll be again in 2021, however he is been awfully quiet this offseason. Is the 16-time Humorous Automotive champ actually returning, and can he deliver teammates Robert Hight, Brittany Power and Austin Prock alongside for the full-season trip?
Memo to John: Race weekends simply aren’t the identical with out JFR giving everybody a run for his or her cash.
Racing’s Greatest Day(s) of the Yr
The Sunday of Memorial Day weekend, with the Monaco Grand Prix, Indianapolis 500 and NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600, was a shell of its traditional self in 2020.
Solely the NASCAR occasion got here off on the scheduled Might 24 date. Monaco by no means occurred, and Indy was postpone till August and held with out followers within the stands and earlier than record-low TV viewers.
Nope, the Memorial Day weekend grilled sizzling canines simply did not style nearly as good final yr.
In 2021, COVID-19 keen, Monaco will race on Might 23, whereas Indy and NASCAR jewels go on Might 30.
it will not be the identical because the one-day tripleheader all of us love, but it surely certain will beat 2020.
Flushing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Final yr, Roger Penske took the keys as the brand new proprietor of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the NTT IndyCar Collection and different IMS holdings.
One factor that Penske promised was to transform restrooms and improve the concession stands as a part of a number of fan-friendly initiatives at IMS.
Effectively, the pandemic stored us out of these re-tooled IMS restrooms in 2020. Hopefully, we can’t have to attend for much longer.
No. 8 for Lewis Hamilton
The 2020 season netted extra Formulation 1 data for Lewis Hamilton. He handed Michael Schumacher atop the all-time F1 wins checklist and tied Schumacher along with his seventh world championship.
With no main modifications within the rules or to the vehicles in 2021, there is not any motive to assume that Hamilton cannot take over sole place of the highest spot with F1 title No. 8.
Racing followers have been salivating for years on the considered one other Schumacher gathering race wins in Formulation 1.
It is solely becoming that Mick Schumacher, 21-year-old son of seven-time F1 champion Michael Schumacher, is making his debut within the collection in the identical yr that Lewis Hamilton is anticipated to eclipse Michael’s document seven championships.
Search for Mick, the 2020 Formulation 2 champion, in a Haas F1 Group automobile in 2021.
It’s going to seemingly be a brief pit cease earlier than he strikes on to Ferrari.
Extra Air Time for W Collection
The W Collection, which was parked in 2020 attributable to schedule issues attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic, returns in 2021 and on an even bigger stage.
This time round, the second-year open-wheel collection for girls is being run as a support race on eight Formula 1 weekends. One of many F1/W Collection weekends will embrace an Oct. 23 W Collection race at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.
Jamie Chadwick is the collection defending champion. She’s one to observe, as she’s additionally a part of the Williams Academy and no less than on the F1 crew’s radar.
As for Individuals within the collection, there’s one—Sabre Prepare dinner, a 26-year-old mechanical engineer from Grand Junction, Colo. She completed twelfth within the 2019 factors standings to earn her place on the grid in 2021.
W Collection shall be a enjoyable addition to the F1 weekend.
Willy T. Rubbing Fenders with Helio
We’re rooting for Tony Stewart and Ray Evernham’s Superstar Racing Experience—a made-for-TV short-track racing collection that includes racing all-stars, previous and current that can go to a number of historic venues in 2021.
It’s going to conjure up visions of the previous Worldwide Race of Champions collection that featured drivers from completely different disciplines racing in equally arrange inventory vehicles.
Drivers anticipated to be within the fold for the new-look IROC-style racing collection embrace Stewart, Helio Castroneves, Bobby Labonte, Paul Tracy, Tony Kanaan, Willy T. Ribbs (pictured), Mark Webber, Ernie Francis Jr. and Invoice Elliott.
Michael Jordan’s New Dream Group
NASCAR, and numerous followers, shall be rooting for Bubba Wallace (pictured) to strike gold along with his new 23XI Racing alliance with NBA nice Michael Jordan and Denny Hamlin.
It’s going to even be price watching to see if Hamlin’s curiosity within the new racing operation takes away from his personal on-track efficiency within the Cup Collection.
Wallace’s automobile will basically be a fifth Joe Gibbs Racing entry, so he must be aggressive proper out of the field.
Hailie Deegan on the Quick Observe
Will this be the yr that Hailie Deegan begins making her mark on the large stage?
After ending third within the ARCA Menards collection standings (zero wins, however 4 top-five finishes) in 2020, Deegan, 19, makes the transfer to the NASCAR Tenting World Truck Collection with co-owner David Gilliland’s DGR-Crosley race crew and Ford.
Many followers have been ready for the subsequent Danica ever since, effectively, ever because the previous Danica left the NASCAR Cup Collection after crashing out midway by way of the 2018 Daytona 500.
Don’t be concerned, Hailie. No strain!
Can Anyone Beat Don Schumacher Racing?
Don Schumacher Racing comes into the 2021 NHRA Tenting World Drag Racing Collection season on an unprecedented 14-event successful streak in Humorous Automotive, courting again to 2019.
DSR’s Matt Hagan was king of that hill in final yr’s abbreviated 11-race schedule and took residence a Humorous Automotive championship.
The crew, nonetheless, enters 2021 with loads of questions, none larger than the place is the funding? Two of the 2021 Humorous Automobiles—these pushed by Tommy Johnson Jr., and Jack Beckman—are at the moment unfunded and should not make it to opening day March 12-14 at Gainesville, Fla.
Tony Stewart’s Subsequent Act?
Phrase is that NASCAR Hall of Famer Tony Stewart now has a drag-racing license. How cool would it not be to see Smoke in a NHRA Tenting World Drag Racing Collection Prime Gas Dragster? We might watch.
This yr’s NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville marks the tenth anniversary of NASCAR champ Kurt Busch’s NHRA Professional Inventory debut. And something Kurt can do, Tony can definitely do.
Getting Soiled at Bristol
The NASCAR Cup Collection will take to the grime at Bristol Motor Speedway on March 28.
This can mark the primary Cup Collection race on grime since a race on the North Carolina State Fairgrounds at Raleigh, N.C., in 1970.
One notable dissenter to this newest NASCAR experiment is none aside from the 1970 Raleigh dirt-race winner, Richard Petty. Petty isn’t any fan of NASCAR’s back-to-the-future transfer, saying that NASCAR worked hard to shed that small-venue, dirt-track image.
We’re keen to present this new, old-school, enterprise an opportunity.
Kyle Larson’s Return
NASCAR Cup veteran Kyle Larson let a racial slur slip throughout a digital race final yr early within the pandemic. and it cost him his real ride and real sponsors sooner than you possibly can say ‘two all-beef patties, particular sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun.’
NASCAR has since lifted the suspension, and Hendrick Motorsports is giving Larson a contemporary begin in 2021.
If nothing else, prerace introductions is perhaps fascinating for some time. We’ll watch.
NASCAR’s Subsequent Technology
We have seen glimpses of NASCAR’s next-generation automobile over the course of a half dozen take a look at periods.
Extra testing and a completed product are on the horizon. We’re anxious to see that completed product later this yr and searching ahead to debating NASCAR’s closing guidelines package deal forward of the brand new automobile’s race debut at Daytona in 2022.
New Collection Guarantees a Lot of Electrical energy
If collection crew homeowners Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg, Chip Ganassi and Michael Andretti are shopping for into this new off-road SUV motorsports enterprise, it is in all probability price giving it a glance.
In spite of everything, these are SUVs and quite a bit nearer to merchandise within the showroom than that different all-electric collection (Formulation E) delivers. May even discover the household’s subsequent grocery-getter.
Simply make sure that to put on inexperienced if you’re watching, because the collection guarantees to hammer residence local weather consciousness messages.
No occasions within the U.S., so test your native listings, as they are saying.
Austin Cindric is Well worth the Watch
It is a good wager that nobody will come into the NASCAR Cup collection in 2022 with extra hype than Austin Cindric.
All defending Xfinity Collection champion Cindric has finished the final two years is win eight races and place within the top-five 33 occasions in 66 races. He has nothing left to show in that collection, however Group Penske is sticking to its sport plan. And that sport plan requires the 22-year-old Cindric to race yet one more yr in Xfinity earlier than transferring to the Cup Collection to race full-time with the Wooden Brothers in 2022.
Penske and the Wooden Brothers have a technical alliance. And technically talking, this child is price watching.
Fernando Alonso is again!?
Do not look now, however Fernando Alonso is making a Formulation 1 comeback.
Perhaps the two-time F1 champion wasn’t pleased with how he went out with McLaren in 2018. He completed eleventh within the standings that yr. Perhaps he was simply uninterested in the restricted schedule afforded to him in his Toyota Gazoo trip within the WEC.
Or perhaps he simply lastly bumped into somebody keen to satisfy his price ticket.
Alonso’s F1 heroics are barely a reminiscence to many followers. He hasn’t reached the rostrum since 2014 or completed contained in the top-five within the season drivers’ standings since 2013.
This yr, Alonso returns to race at Renault, a mid-pack crew (Renault completed fifth within the F1 Constructors’ Championship in 2020) that hasn’t spent a lot time working the leaders lately.
And it isn’t like Alonso is utilizing Renault as some sort of stepping stone to one of many massive groups. He turns 40 in July.
It is a comeback with extra questions that solutions.
This may very well be fascinating. Or a prepare wreck.
99 and Holding For the Wooden Brothers
Wooden Brothers Racing has been caught on 99 NASCAR Cup wins since Ryan Blaney’s win at Pocono in 2017.
Matt DiBenedetto got here near victory lane for Wooden Brothers in 2020, ending third at Kentucky and runner-up at Las Vegas. It might be a feel-good story of the yr if he might make it to victory lane in 2021.
A win would additionally give the Wooden Brothers wins in eight completely different a long time.
We have got a hunch that it simply may occur.
Chase Elliott’s Encore Efficiency
In 2020, Chase Elliott lived as much as the hype of being NASCAR’s Most Standard Driver and the son of a former Cup Collection champion as he gained his first Cup Championship.
And at 25, Chase completed the feat whereas eight years youthful than dad Invoice Eiliott was when he gained the title on the age of 33 in 1988. Even seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson did not win his first Cup championship till he was 31. Richard Petty gained his first title at 27.
We is perhaps watching one thing actually particular right here.
Jimmie Johnson’s New Rides
Speak about leaping out of the frying pan and into the fireplace.
Seven-time NASCAR Cup champion Jimmie Johnson walked away from NASCAR after the 2020 season and is strolling right into a Chip Ganassi Racing IndyCar trip for 2021.
As a part of a two-year deal, Johnson will race a 13-race schedule of road and street circuits within the NTT IndyCar Collection for Ganassi in 2021. Johnson can be in line to race a Cadillac DPi within the Rolex 24 at Daytona. It will likely be Johnson’s eighth Rolex look, however first since 2011.
A lot for retiring to that rocking chair on the entrance porch.
Full Grandstands, No Masks Required
And eventually, we are able to dream cannot we?
It looks like solely yesterday (0r perhaps a decade in the past, if we’re being sincere), that we might go away the home with out worrying about the place we left our face masks.
Going to a race and sitting in a packed grandstand and never having to put on a masks sounds so good proper now. We cannot even complain about getting caught in post-race site visitors.
Now, the place can I get that vaccine? Hurry, the season begins quickly!
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