@nascarcasm: 2021 season from A to Z
By @nascarcasm | Friday, November 19, 2021
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An alphabetical look back at the year in NASCAR that was.
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It was Aric Almirola that gave Stewart-Haas Racing its only victory of the season — a gutsy performance at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The No. 10 team had a rough season up until that point, so it was great to see it find Victory Lane. OK TBH we didn’t actually see it – it was way too dark.
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Farewell, “Bad Luck Bowman.” Since joining Hendrick Motorsports, Alex has improved every year. In 2021, he had a career-high four wins in the Cup Series, clinched a playoff spot, and cornered the market on self-deprecating T-shirts.
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NASCAR made its maiden voyage to this magnificent Austin, Texas road course in May. Chase Elliott won, and whatever you wore to the race is probably still not dry.
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As in Daniel Hemric – he who finally broke through for his first Xfinity Series win and Xfinity Series championship simultaneously. And he absolutely stuck the landing.
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THE BRISTOL-BORNE FEUD THAT CAPTIVATED A NATION. Harvick’s glasses barely made it out alive.
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Tate Fogleman won his first Camping World Truck Series race – a thriller at Talladega Superspeedway. And you should see the trucks that didn’t win.
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Ty Gibbs, AKA The Designated Driver At His Own Victory Parties, scored four victories in the Xfinity Series this season. And mind you, he was running a part-time schedule. I swear, he must have racing in his blood or something.
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Denny is many things. Smart. Incredibly talented. Polarizing. Blunt. But “boring” is not among them. From Domino’s commercials to hitting his stride in the playoffs to turning heel at Martinsville, Denny always brought the goods. And the T-shirt ideas for Alew Bowman also.
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The Cup Series raced on the road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the first time. ‘Twas quite the humdinger. It ended with Denny Hamlin and Chase Briscoe becoming very good friends.
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2021 was the Year of the Xfinity Series Part-Time Driver. Josh Berry scored a pair of wins for JR Motorsports at Martinsville and Las Vegas. I tell you what, somebody should give this guy a full-time ride next year.
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2021 was Brad’s final season with Team Penske. He announced earlier in the season that he’ll be transitioning to a driver/owner role at Roush Fenway Racing, taking over the No. 6 car from Ryan Newman. Why they’re not calling this partnership “Keseroushki” Racing is beyond me.
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As in Kyle Larson. You know, the guy who decimated the competition week in and week out, won 10 races, the All-Star Race, multiple dirt races, etc. Yeah, that guy. Yung Money had a banner year, and at age 29, just in time before we have to start calling him Middle-Aged Money or something like that.
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Is it that surprising that Michael McDowell won the season-opening Daytona 500? Not really. McDowell has had superspeedway chops for years. The bigger surprise is that we finished the race, following a rain delay that still might not be over yet.
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NASHVILLE, WE ARE BACK. NASCAR returned to Nashville Superspeedway in 2021, and the sweet sound of roaring engines was music to our ears. Oh, Kyle Larson won the race. He did that a lot.
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This young man hopes that yours is merry.
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The doubleheader at Pocono Raceway gave us a pair of completely unexpected winners. In the first race, Kyle Larson blew a tire on the final turn, allowing teammate Alex Bowman to steal the win. The next day, Kyle Busch somehow won the race in a race car that was basically half-broken. AFB and KFB, I guess.
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He’s literally the only current driver with a first or last name that starts with a Q, so here he is. Quin Houff, everyone.
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It could not have been a more picture-perfect July 4 weekend in the green, rolling hills of Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. Chase Elliott won, as he is known to do on the road courses, and likely won himself a lot of cheddar. As in money. It’s Wisconsin – they make cheese there. And “cheddar” is slang for…know what, nevermind.
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Which after Ben Rhodes’ press conference, should be a new requirement for all championship drivers before entering the media center to answer questions.
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Martin Truex Jr. was nearly eliminated in Martinsville. But here’s something we never used to say about Martin – “fortune favored him.” He earned a spot in the Championship 4, albeit barely. Unfortunately at Phoenix Raceway in the championship race, cautions gave and cautions took away. Truex finished in the runner-up spot yet again, but it was still a good year for one of the most consistent drivers in the garage.
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The suggested warning that should come with Kyle Busch’s Instagram story.
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If you attended the spring race at Bristol Motor Speedway, then this was probably you. Noted dirt expert Joey Logano won the race.
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Sometimes, history is made on a Monday.
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The Xfinity Series had one of its most jaw-droppingly awesome seasons to date. Let’s put it this way – the image above IS HOW THE CARS CROSSED THE START/FINISH LINE AT BRISTOL MOTOR SPEEDWAY. And this is just exhibit A.
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It’s what AJ Allmendinger does when he wins a race, which is something he and Kaulig Racing did a lot of in 2021. For as much as it looks like he’s stepping barefoot on a Lego, we assure you he is happy.
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Young Zane Smith gutted his way to a win at Martinsville to earn the final spot in the Camping World Truck Series Championship 4, where he finished runner-up. Not bad a for a kid that looks like an adolescent singing sensation that was discovered on YouTube.