Who will lead JGR in Xfinity next year?
What was the takeaway from testing the Next Gen NASCAR Cup Series cars this week?
A big takeaway from last week’s NASCAR Cup Series news is that the days of small racing teams may well be coming to an end.
Of course, there will always be big teams and small teams, and big teams will always have the upper hand. But over the past week it was announced that Rick Ware Racing, the display team for cars lined up every 20 minutes in green flag conditions, has entered into a technical alliance with Stewart-Haas Racing and will receive Roush Yates engines. Next year.
Earlier this week, Team Hezeberg, a new part-time Cup operation that was announced over the weekend, joined established racing teams in the high-profile Next Gen testing. Even though not many people knew the team existed a few days before, they were still able to post fairly decent lap times compared to the rest of the cars on the track. The Ware car was also quite competitive, having lost a few seconds on each lap that Sunday in the Cup race.
The main reason these small teams are competitive is the number of common car parts that all teams use. All the cars for next season in the Cup will use the same chassis, the same gearbox, the same parts and parts. All engines will be able to produce exactly the same power. The only big differences will be the set-up that the team leaders bring to the track, the efficiency of that engine to produce that power, and the actual bodies of the cars.
Again, the big teams will still end the day by holding the trophy. But times are changing, and it’s unlikely that after the championship race at Phoenix Raceway next month, there will ever be a situation where a team regularly completes multiple laps without mechanical issues or damage from an accident.
What’s next for Elliott and Harvick?
This week, NASCAR caught up with Chase Elliott and Kevin Harvick.
The ongoing rivalry between the two has been a big topic of discussion this week. NASCAR doesn’t want it to continue beyond that point and allow this rivalry to get more out of hand at this point. Just ignore the tweet below this paragraph.
Was today the last time we saw this rivalry in 2021? pic.twitter.com/9DNigqP4zu
– NASCAR (@NASCAR) October 11, 2021
Seriously, it was the right thing to have this meeting. Harvick was kind of pushed into doing something after looking like a clown on national television, but NASCAR and its partners clearly don’t want that to turn into another Joey Logano-Matt Kenseth situation. Again, please ignore the tweet under this paragraph.
– NASCAR on NBC (@NASCARonNBC) October 29, 2020
While it might have been the right decision, the ball is clearly in Harvick’s court here. NASCAR won’t punish him more than a suspended race or two if he eliminates Elliott from the playoffs. I don’t think he will, but say he does. Is this really going to matter in the long term, aside from NBC tweeting about it five years after the incident?
Could NASCAR have threatened the death penalty, meaning a suspension could be postponed until next year? May be. But frankly, NASCAR wouldn’t have the guts to do that to Harvick or really any other big-name driver in practice. Everyone would lose income in this situation. The emperor simply has no clothes in this situation.
Who will get the green light to drive for Joe Gibbs Racing in the NASCAR Xfinity Series next year?
John Hunter Nemechek will return to Kyle Busch Motorsports in the Camping World Truck series next year, it was announced on October 14.
The 24-year-old has had a resurgent season with KBM after a largely disappointing one-year stint with Front Row Motorsports in the Cup Series. It’s hard to imagine that Nemechek, who already has so much experience for someone so young, will stay in Trucks forever, but he could well end up in that role if he doesn’t come back in 2023.
JGR still has a few seats to fill next season in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Brandon Jones and Ty Gibbs are expected to race full time next year for the outfit. One of those seats will likely remain the All-Star car, even if Kyle Busch supposedly retires from the series and Gibbs gets promoted. With qualifying back, going back to a part-time car is actually doable if it can’t fill the slot for certain races.
With Nemechek engaged in KBM, there are still a number of options for this final JGR seat. If the sponsorship money works, the best pilot for this location is Ben Rhodes. He already has a relationship with Toyota since this year and has had a very successful season so far in the Truck series.
Who can survive at Texas Motor Speedway?
Texas Motor Speedway looks a lot more exciting this tour, and I just can’t put my finger on what has changed. Social media seems so much less cringe this year compared to almost every previous race on this track for some inexplicable reason.
The Fort Worth Cup 500 mile race is a very long endurance event, although thankfully it doesn’t take place a few months before its current date in the fall. The driver to watch out for in a race like this is Martin Truex Jr., who always seems to have an advantage over the hard race.
His JGR teammate Kyle Busch returns to the track that housed one of his few bright spots in the 2020 campaign. The end of last year’s cane race at the end of a green flag race from 118 laps and 177 miles – the longest to close a race of all of last season. With non-playoff drivers largely driving with an egg on the accelerator around the playoff drivers, it just might end the same way as last year’s race.
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