Both Alex Bowman and William Byron didn’t have a good start to the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series playoffs.
Hendrick Motorsports didn’t start the 2021 playoffs well, with only Kyle Larson finishing in the top-10. Bowman finished 26th, Elliott 31st and Byron even further on 34th position.
Due to the finish, the team meeting at Hendrick Motorsportsdidn’t have “a great mood” to it, says Bowman.
Having finished one race in a bad position, Bowman knows that the coming two races will be crucial if he harbours to go further in the playoffs.
“But I feel like everybody is focused forward and working hard to be the best we can be at Richmond,” Bowman said. “It was one race. It’s one week. The playoffs, the way it goes, you have two bad weeks in one round, and you are kind of done. So, we know we have to be strong the next two weeks. But at the same time, we’ve been strong all year. I think there is a lot of confidence going forward that we can continue to do that.
“I think I’m probably the most frustrated of anybody, and that’s just because it was like blatantly my fault, right? I drove the car into the outside wall. I’m frustrated with myself that I did that and that I made that mistake, but I’m also frustrated that I hurt the 24’s [William Byron] day like it did. But the 24 and the 9 [Chase Elliott] kind of had things going outside of their own control. And then the 5 [Kyle Larson] had a good day. I think we all just know we need to be strong at Richmond.”
Due to a bad race, both Bowman and Byron find themselves below the cut line. In the next track of the playoffs, Richmond, Bowman managed to win there in the Cup Series race. So this gives him hope that he can spring him up in the standings.
As for Byron, he too had a good outing when he raced there last time. So, he will be hoping to better his results from the last time when he finished seventh.
“When I look at the playoffs for myself, it’s all about eliminating the big numbers,” said Byron. “Unfortunately, we had a big number this past weekend and not really of our making at all. Even the tire issue was just a one-in-a-thousand chance that a lug nut or something hits the inside of the valve stem on the inside of the tire and cuts down the inner liner. So, just a very freak kind of incident that we can’t really control. The guys did a good job bringing a fast car, number one; (then) fixing the car to make it still fast after the damage with the 48 (Bowman).
“I feel like for us, just going into Richmond, we just have to have a smooth race. We have the speed, and we have the ability. We were top three or four in points all season long. A lot of the reason for that was because of our consistency and speed. Those two things are things that are going to get you through each round. We’ve just got to focus on the next two races. We’re only nine points out of the cutline, and I feel like if we just do our jobs, we’re going to be plenty good. So, it is a lot different than last year.”
One more bad race and the drivers could find themselves well below the cut line. So, having a good race at Richmond will be very crucial for their chances of going further in the playoffs.