Three years ago no one would have thought that Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. would both be on the outside of the Chase in mid September, but they were.
Mid-summer 2008 no one thought Jeff Gordon and Matt Kenseth would both go winless all season and yet here we are.
Many may think Jeff Gordon is well into the final phase of his career me included. Coming off one of the worst seasons of his career, Jeff Gordon finished the season winless and with a fourteenth place average finish. Race after race Jeff and crew chief, Steve Letarte, argued and struggled with the car. The car was never perfect all season.
Matt Kenseth ran a great season when he wasn't wrecking. Wrecks in three consecutive races tainted the early part of his season. The summer was nearly flawless with the exception of the Indianapolis disaster. The Chase went according to plan with the exception of three DNFs at New Hampshire, Talladega, and Lowes.
Obviously Jeff Gordon will have to bounce back strong this season to make the end of his career somewhat memorable. A strong year this season will need to include a couple of wins and good runs. This new tire has seemed to throw the 4-time Sprint Cup champion for a loop.
Matt Kenseth doesn't have to do much except cut iut the wrecks. He is one driver that can win a championship without ever setting foot in victory lane.
Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kasey Kahne, and Kurt Busch are all drivers who had some kind of slump in 2008.
After all the hype Kasey Kahne brought in 2006 one might have thought Kasey Kahne would be a sure contender for the 2007 and 2008 Championships. 2007 brought great disappointment but a new, high dollar, high profile sponsor in Budweiser. And that took him nowhere in 2008. Despite two wins early on, the season ended with Kasey Kahne outside the Chase and basically unnoticed.
No testing in 2009 should at least help someone on this list. Perhaps Matt Kenseth and Kasey Kahne will benefit the most. All in all, I see this season going to, who else that, Jimmie Johnson. Maybe though some will find more light this season than last. Maybe Jeff Gordon and Matt Kenseth can add another trophy to the showcase.
The 2009 season is apon us and it looks to be even more exciting than anyone we have seen in recent past.