Five races in… Five winners…
Martin Truex Jr. made his first mark for 2021 by winning the Instacart 500 at Phoenix. Joey Logano had the edge on the last restart with 29 laps remaining but Truex got around on the outside and led to the finish. Logano seemed to have the car to win with leading laps and a stage 2 checker but the #19 Bass Pro Shop team managed to set up Truex for the final run.
Atlanta is up next as NASCAR rolls back to the eastern tracks. Bristol follows with a much anticipated dirt race. The technical aspect of dumping all of that dirt on top of the pavement is astounding. Now they will run 500 laps on it… There is a race test on the surface with a late model event, with the “Bristol Dirt Nationals” set for the weekend of March 19-20. That should give an indication how the track holds up in race conditions.
For Atlanta, it’s just the pavement with points race number 6. Racing with covid conditions is still on with no practice or qualifying. It makes for interesting racing as teams use the opening laps for feedback on changes in the cars. This also seems to be making the drivers work a little more which, in turn, is puttng a bit of an edge on the racing on the track.
Will we get a sixth winner in Atlanta…? Chances are good. There are too many drivers in the “expected to win” bunch that haven’t scored yet. The season really is just off the blocks but with names like McDowell and Bell getting early wins the points are turning into a “who’s next” instead of a “who’s who”.