NASCAR: 5 drivers who should already panic in 2021

NASCAR (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
NASCAR (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /
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Ryan Blaney, NASCAR
Ryan Blaney, Team Penske, NASCAR (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /

Drivers who should panic: #2 – Ryan Blaney

  • 24th in points with 45
  • 22 points behind the cut line

Remember when I said during the 2020 playoffs that after his surprise exit in the round of 16, 2021 would be a put up or shut up year? Right now, Ryan Blaney is still not putting up good enough stats.

This is kind of similar to the misfortunate which Matt DiBenedetto has endured, as Blaney was also involved in the Daytona 500 “Big One” on lap 15.

Making contact with Aric Almirola at Homestead-Miami Speedway led to a 29th place finish there as well. He has had somewhat of a positive though, finishing in 15th at the Daytona International Speedway road course after his heartbreak there in the final lap of the Busch Clash.

While his cutoff gap isn’t really that big of a deal yet, Blaney could end up in a situation where it comes down to the final regular season race for him to get in.

While he isn’t in a contract year, this is a season in which I expect him to have a multi-win season. Not just a superspeedway win, but a “prove it” type of win on an intermediate track or a short track, something he hasn’t yet earned in his Cup Series career.

He’s in a Team Penske car, and at Team Penske, you’re expected to be “Penske Perfect”. He should be expected to make it far in the playoffs, especially since his teammates are former champions regulars in the Championship 4. Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski currently sit in third and 10th place in the point standings, respectively.