NASCAR’s decision to shift its yearly race from Indianapolis’ iconic oval to the road course in 2021, although initially met with criticism, turned out to be an entertaining spectacle, surpassing the previous year’s wreck-heavy race.
Michael McDowell, the winner of the 2021 Daytona 500, clinched victory at Indianapolis, joining an elite group of drivers to win both events. This triumph was fueled by McDowell’s determination to respond to Denny Hamlin’s online jibes.
On Hamlin’s podcast, “Actions Detrimental,” he acknowledged McDowell’s talent, admitting that the win had placed his team, 23XI Racing, in a financial quandary.
“Now, Talladega, I’m gonna give you the nod on that one, I mean Daytona. In my mind, you’re a top-5 superspeedway racer. You’re just, you’re really good. It’s not by happenstance that you always put yourself in the right position at the right time. I try to put myself in the statistically the best, make the best decision to say which two guys would make it,” said Hamlin.
McDowell’s victory affected the team’s standing in the owner’s playoffs, with potential financial implications given the connection between owner’s points and earnings. This could potentially see Michael Jordan’s 23XI Racing team missing out on significant revenue.
“However, however, this is why people defy the odds,” Hamlin continued. “Michael McDowell defied the odds and put himself in the playoff picture. What people don’t know is that knocked my #23 car out of the owner’s playoffs. Now Bubba’s [Wallace] in it but we’re not in 23XI [Racing]…Bubba is in on drivers, currently out on owners.“
Denny Hamlin, a supporter of Chase Elliott, also expressed confidence in Elliott’s ability to make up the 40-point gap with Michael McDowell over the next four races.
However, Elliott finished second at the Verizon 200 at Indy, prompting Hamlin to tweet his acceptance of two setbacks that day. As NASCAR prepares for Watkins Glen, fans are keen to see if Elliott can snap his winless streak or if McDowell will clinch another victory.
What do you expect to happen? Let us know in the comments below and across social media.