NASCAR is just like any other major professional sport in the fact that preseason expectations for the majority of its teams are usually way off the mark.
Some outfits greatly underachieve, falling out of Chase for the Sprint Cup contention, but some greatly raise the bar thanks to a series of strong performances.
We're here to talk about the latter group. There have been plenty of drivers in this year's Sprint Cup season who have put together seasons that nobody expected out of them or their teams, and have plenty of reasons to be smiling coming into this off weekend.
We're going to count off the seven drivers who have taken the biggest step up. So without further ado: