Thursday, 08 December 2022

Kill the yellow line rule; DiBenedetto deserve the 21 ride; 2021 Cup schedule is a welcome change; Congrats to Bubba for Jordan-Hamlin ride Featured

Posted On Tuesday, 06 October 2020 00:54 Written by
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Matt DiBenedetto is fighting for his career right now, and the Wood Brothers would be wise to keep him in the 21 car for 2021. Matt DiBenedetto is fighting for his career right now, and the Wood Brothers would be wise to keep him in the 21 car for 2021. Chris Graythen/Getty Images

 

There’s so much going on in the sport of NASCAR right now, it’s hard to keep up. 

Silly Season is in full effect, with rides being announced. The playoffs are in full swing, with no shortage of controversy, and we got the 2021 schedule announced with more changes that we’ve seen in many years — perhaps ever.

Before anything else pushes these issues off the front page, here are my takes on the hot issues of the day:

Yellow-line rule

This one is easy: Get rid of it, at least on the last lap. The simple fact that NASCAR had to revise its ruling against Chase Elliott after initially ruling against him is proof that it’s too complicated and subjective. It’s deciding too many finishes and that’s not what we need happening in the sport. Let them race to the end.


DiBenedetto’s future

This one is simple too … Sign him up for another year, at least. This guy is driving the wheels off that 21 car, they’re getting more attention than they’ve had in years at Wood Brothers Racing, and there’s literally ZERO reason he shouldn’t keep that ride.

But then, of course, we have Austin Cindric waiting in the wings. This young man has a lot of talent and a long, successful future in the sport. And some people may be wanting him to take DiBenedettos’s spot in the 21, since the 3 Penske Cup rides are all accounted for.

But that would be a wrong move. Bringing a young rookie, even a talented one like Cindric, up to Cup over a veteran like DiBenedetto would lead to disappointing results for the Woods when they are currently riding a wave of success. No need to go back down just because you’ll likely come back up later.

Instead, wait a year, and put Cindric in a Penske car, a fourth car if needed. And let Matty D flourish in the Woods’ car for years to come.

In other open ride news, I anticipate Kyle Larson returning to get the 48 car, with Erik Jones as my dark horse for that ride. For the 43 car being vacated by Bubba Wallace, I could see  Jones getting that ride, too, with Daniel Suarez as a dark horse.

Corey Lajoie, meanwhile, will likely need to look to Xfinity series for a ride, as the number of seats just don’t add up.

Schedule mayhem

I’m not sold on some of the changes (the dirt race at Bristol seems a bit gimmicky), but for the most part I love the direction they’re going. The Cup schedule was so static for so long, that to see multiple new tracks added in one year is refreshing, and I love all the road courses, and removal of some less-interesting intermediate tracks. The merger of NASCAR and ISC made this level of change possible, and I’m looking forward to enjoying the ride next year.

Some of the changes may work out well, and others less so. But the good thing is: They can always change it again. So we’re not locked into it forever.

Bubba finds a home

I’m happy for Bubba Wallace, who finally has a home in 2021 where he can really compete on a regular basis. Yes, the new Jordan/Hamlin team (likely #23 car) will feature Bubba behind the wheel, and likely be a Toyota and affiliated with Joe Gibbs Racing. They may even draft a crew chief from the Gibbs stable. And Jordan’s name will attract tons of sponsorship, so count on Bubba having essentially a fifth Gibbs car (like Truex had at Furniture Row), and the best equipment of his career.

I fully expect him to do well in 2021 and beyond, and contend for checkered flags. Don’t be surprised if he makes it to Victory Lane, which would be a great capper after the tumultuous 2020 he’s had. 

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Matt Myftiu can be reached on Twitter @MattMyftiu, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

Matt M. Myftiu

Matt Myftiu has been a journalist for two decades with a focus on technology, NASCAR and autos.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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