Ryan L. Fox
Well with the final seconds ticked off during the Super Bowl last week brought the 2020 NFL Season to a close. But with the closing of one sport’s season last week, another sport will be kicking off their 2021 Season this upcoming Sunday. The sport that I am referring to is NASCAR.
And what a way to kick off the beginning of the 2021 NASCAR Season than with its own version of the Super Bowl. Yup, you read that right folks. Unlike other sports where the big game concludes a season, NASCAR opens up their season with the biggest and famous race in American Motorsports: The Daytona 500.
Now to casual sports fan, the Daytona 500 just some sports event that might not register on their ‘I’m Gonna Tune In’ radar. But for car enthusiasts and motorsports fans, they’ve marked the race down at the conclusion of the 2020 NASCAR season and will be glued to the screen on Sunday watching.
There are many things to look forward to in the Daytona 500 this year but yours truly has a few things going into the Great American Race you definitely should be paying attention to.
5. Which Car Manufacturer Will Win the 2021 Daytona 500
For all you car nuts out there (paging the Car Grumps), this could tickle your fender. Since the first Daytona 500 race back in 1959, a Chevrolet vehicle has won the Daytona 500 24 times, a Ford vehicle has won 15 times, and then there's a huge drop off with multiple manufacturers winning 4 (Dodge & Plymouth) or 3 (Mercury, Oldsmobile, Pontiac, Buick, Toyota). But since 2010, both a Chevrolet vehicle and a Ford vehicle have each taken the checkered flag 4 times while a Toyota vehicle has claimed victory 3 times, including two consecutive Daytona 500s (2019 & 2020).
4. A Champ’s Continuing Success
In last year’s NASCAR cup Series, Chase Elliot of the 9 Car was able to win his first NASCAR Cup champion crown. Now in going into the 2021 NASCAR season, Elliot looks to build off that momentum. Already at 10-1 odds (2nd best behind Danny Hamlin’s 8-1) to win, let’s see if he can bring home a Daytona 500 victory to go with that NASCAR Cup Champion trophy.
3. 23XI Racing Debut
The NASCAR world was turned on its head last year when it was announced back on September 21, 2020, that NBA legend Michael Jordan (majority owner) and Danny Hamlin (minority owner) were forming their own racing team called 23XI Racing with Bubba Wallace (formerly of Petty Motorsports) being their flagship driver. It’ll be interesting to see how 23XI Racing fares in its season debut at Daytona 500. Could this be the beginning of a new wave of NASCAR fans and drivers? We could find out.
2. The Big One
There’s nothing more terrifying in Daytona 500 than the crash known as “The Big One”. The Big One doesn’t discriminate on who it’s victim or victims are. Whether it be a driver in 1st place or 40th, The Big One claims all. It quashes dreams of glory, it crushes spirits, it ruins seasons, but the worst part is that it can happen at any given point during the race. As much as people like to poo-poo on NASCAR, they all tune in to see whether or not The Big One will happen.
1. The First Ever ‘Three-peater’ in Daytona 500 History
Denny Hamlin has already won the Daytona 500 in consecutive years (2019 & 2020), joining a very exclusive group of drivers that have won consecutive Daytona 500s (Richard Petty 1973 &1974, Cale Yarborough 1983 & 1984, Sterling Marlin 1994 & 1995). Should he win this Daytona 500, Hamlin would become the very ever first NASCAR racer to ever pull that feat and pretty much ensure him a spot among NASCAR Legends like Richard Petty, Cale Yarborough, Dale Earnhardt Sr., Jeff Gordon, and Jimmie Johnson.
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