2021 NASCAR Cup Series
The 2021 NASCAR Cup Series was the 73rd season for NASCAR professional stock car racing in the United States and the 50th season for the modern era Cup Series. The season started at Daytona International Speedway with the Busch Clash, where it was the first year that the non-points event was run on the track's road course layout instead of the oval. That race was followed by the Bluegreen Vacations Duel qualifying races, and the 63rd running of the Daytona 500, the first points race of the season. The regular season also ended at Daytona with the 2021 Coke Zero Sugar 400 on August 28, where Kyle Larson won the Regular Season Championship. Following the 2021 Xfinity 500 at Martinsville Speedway on October 31, Chevrolet claimed its 40th Manufacturer's Championship and its first since 2015. The NASCAR playoffs ended with the NASCAR Cup Series Championship Race at Phoenix Raceway on November 7 with Larson earning his first Cup Series championship after a 10-win season.
The 2021 season represented a new era as several mainstays of the sport were absent. This was the first season since 1997 without 2003 series Champion Matt Kenseth. This was also the first season since 2000 without seven-time Champion Jimmie Johnson. Finally, this was the first season without Clint Bowyer and Reed Sorenson since 2004, the former of which joined the NASCAR on Fox booth as a color commentator. This was also the first season for 23XI Racing, co-owned by Joe Gibbs Racing Cup Series driver Denny Hamlin and basketball legend Michael Jordan, and Trackhouse Racing Team, co-owned by former NASCAR and current sports car racing driver Justin Marks and musician Pitbull. It was also the last season for Chip Ganassi Racing, as Trackhouse purchased the entirety of CGR's NASCAR team for 2022, StarCom Racing, as they ceased operations after 2021, Team Penske crew chief Todd Gordon, who announced his retirement from crew chiefing following the 2021 season, and the Cup Series Generation 6 car, which will be replaced with the Next Gen car starting in 2022; by extension, it was also the final season for the Car of Tomorrow chassis, as the Next Gen car will have a completely-new chassis design. In addition, this was the final season to have races covered by NBCSN, which will shut down by the end of the year and have its coverage of NASCAR and all other sporting events taken over by USA Network.