The release of NASCAR '21 gets closer by the day. While no official release date has been confirmed, fans should expect a release within the next two months. One topic that tends to spark some debate among the fanbase is the athlete who will grace the cover of the next game. Being a sport's game cover athlete has long been an achievement for an athlete. A cover athlete is typically viewed as someone who is the face of a sport, or at least a key player. NASCAR's top stars, such as Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, and Tony Stewart, have all been on the cover of a game. Even current champions such as Kevin Harvick, Chase Elliott, and Kyle Busch have been cover athletes of NASCAR games. This leads me to the question: Who should be the next cover athlete?
NASCAR '21 will be a new era for NASCAR gaming. The cover athlete should represent this as well. I believe there are two routes that Motorsport Games should go with the cover athlete. I'd like to remind everyone that this is strictly my opinion, but I believe these drivers would be the best fit for bringing in the next series of NASCAR games.
The first athlete I would consider is Brad Keselowski. The 2012 NASCAR Cup Series champion is a veteran of the sport. He is also one of the few champions that have not been on the cover of a game. What makes Keselowski such a great option, though, is his new partnership with Roush Fenway Racing. While this partnership does not go into effect until after 2021, it shows Keselowski's interest in being an owner in NASCAR. Assuming Motorsport Games will continue and expand the ownership side of career mode, Keselowski is the perfect athlete to hold the cover.
The second route Motorsport Games could go would be to have two drivers grace the cover. These two drivers would be Denny Hamlin and Bubba Wallace. Bubba Wallace is a young driver in NASCAR, but he has brought in a new audience into NASCAR. One thing Bubba does not bring to the table that Keselowski does is results. That's where his owner, Denny Hamlin, comes in. While not being a champion of the sport, Denny Hamlin does have over 40 wins at NASCAR's highest level of competition. The duo of Hamlin and Wallace have also recently appeared in other media outlets with projects such as "Motley Crue" by Post Malone. Like Keselowski, Hamlin has an interest in ownership in NASCAR. The pairing would be a great duo to put on the cover of NASCAR's next game.
I am not sure if either of these routes will be the way Motorsport Games chooses to go, but I believe that either of these choices for the NASCAR '21 cover athlete would be great choices. However, only time will tell who will carry NASCAR into it's newest era of video games.