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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Erik Jones, NASCAR
Erik Jones, Richard Petty Motorsports, NASCAR (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /

Drivers who should panic: #4 – Erik Jones

  • 28th in points with 34
  • 33 points behind the cut line

I fully understand that Richard Petty Motorsports are not up to par with teams such as Joe Gibbs Racing, Team Penske or Hendrick Motorsports. Still, I expected Erik Jones to be regularly putting up top 25, if not top 20, performances.

You’re probably thinking, “Why were you expecting that?” Easy, because Jones knows how to put a car in victory lane. Whether it be a 550-horsepower high downforce car or a 750-horsepower low downforce car, Jones knows how to win.

Plus, I believe that he is a better driver than the former driver of the #43 Chevrolet, Bubba Wallace, and not just stat-wise, but in his all-around driving abilities.

Wallace finished the 2020 season in Richard Petty’s machine in 22nd place in the point standings, a huge improvement over the previous two seasons when he finished in 28th. With what Jones has done, I had been expecting higher than 22nd, but right now, I do not see it.

The “Big One” on lap 15 of the Daytona 500 put him in 39th place, but he rebounded the following week with a 14th place finish at the Daytona International Speedway road course after getting through all the chaos.

But then he recorded a 27th place finish at Homestead-Miami Speedway. It wasn’t surprising to see him struggle there though, as he has only finished inside the top 20 once in five starts.

Speaking with Jones last month during Daytona 500 media availabilities, he said that Richard Petty Motorsports had done a lot to strengthen their organization and performance. He claimed that “the trend is going in the right direction.” Erik, I’m sorry to tell you, but that arrow is pointing down.

If they want to turn it around and do better than 22nd place, the time is now.