THE LEFT TURN

NASCAR will be keeping it weird in Austin this weekend

NASCAR will be keeping it weird in Austin this weekend
Martin Truex Jr. is a good bet to make. Photo via: Wiki Commons.

The time has finally come, NASCAR makes its highly anticipated debut at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. This is one of the most unique tracks not just on the NASCAR schedule, but on the F1 schedule as well. There are two long straightaways and an incredible elevation change entering the first corner. This is also a very long racetrack as most laps take about two minutes to finish, we could very well see a lot of fuel conservation come into play as well. The biggest thing to watch out for this week is the weather with tons of rain in the forecast this week in Austin, so it is a real possibility that we see a rain tire race for the first time in NASCAR Cup Series history. If you thought the prospect of running on a brand-new racetrack was crazy, just wait until rain is added to the equation. This will be one race even a casual fan wouldn't want to miss.

Last week at Dover, it was all Hendrick Motorsports as Alex Bowman went on to his second victory of 2021. His teammates Kyle Larson, William Byron and Chase Elliott all followed as it was the first 1-2-3-4 finish for the team and the first since 2005 when Jack Roush's team did it. There had been much speculation about this team, many believed that they missed a step over the past few years but after winning the title last year with Chase Elliott, it looks like they have found their return to glory. Of the races four-hundred laps, THREE-HUNDRED AND EIGHTY TWO laps were led by a Hendrick car! That is 96 percent of the race! While this team has been good here, this was a whole new level of domination. The rest of the field will have a lot of work to do if they want to keep up throughout the season.

Last Tuesday, Adam Stern dropped a bombshell on Twitter regarding the 2022 plans of NASCAR champion Brad Keselowski. It has been reported that Keselowski has been offered a ride and an ownership role at Roush Fenway Racing. This sent shockwaves through the racing world. No one could have ever expected this. While yes, Roush Racing is pretty good and car owner Jack Roush has a great relationship with the Ford Motor Company, they aren't on the level of his current team, Penske Racing. One thing to remember is that this report is simply a rumor and has not been confirmed. So this is all subject to change, but this could be a huge first domino to fall. It will be interesting to see what car he will drive next season and if this ownership role allows him to return to potentially reopening his old Camping World Truck Series team.

There are a lot of unknowns going into this week considering this is the first race here and there isn't really any data to show who the favorites could be. But if I had to pick a winner this week, I would have to say Martin Truex Jr is a good bet to make. He has really excelled at road courses and is always a favorite, plus he also showed a lot of speed when he was testing here last month with Brad Keselowski and Chase Elliott. I look for him to capture his fourth victory of 2021.

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Jose Abreu is no longer an Astro. Composite Getty Image.

The Houston Astros released José Abreu on Friday, cutting ties with the former AL MVP less than halfway through a three-year, $58.5 million contract.

The 37-year-old Abreu was batting .124 (14 for 113) with two homers and seven RBIs this season, during which he spent time in the minors trying to fix his swing. The Astros still owe him $30.8 million from the deal he signed before last season.

A three-time All-Star during his nine years with the Chicago White Sox, Abreu was named MVP during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. He was the AL Rookie of the Year in 2014 after defecting from his native Cuba the previous year.

His production dropped off significantly with the Astros. He batted .237 last year, the lowest average of his career, with 18 homers and 90 RBIs.

Abreu is a career .283 hitter with 263 homers and 960 RBIs in 11 seasons.

Houston owes him $30,822,504, including $11,322,504 remaining from this year’s salary and $19.5 million for 2025. Any team can sign him for a prorated share of the $740,000 major league minimum, with the Astros responsible for the rest.

Be sure to watch the video above as Charlie Pallilo, Brandon Strange, and Josh Jordan of Stone Cold 'Stros react to the news.

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