2009 NASCAR Season: A Review and a Look Ahead

Marc OlsonContributor IMarch 12, 2009

With the first four races down and many more to go until the chase, there are many drivers that have been consistent over the years that have had a shift in bad luck.  Mr. Consistent himself, Mark Martin, will be turning his misfortune around from the previous four races to bring home a couple of top-five/top-10 finishes to start his rise in the standings. 

Bristol may not be considerably nice to any driver, but with two wins, 15 top-five finishes, and 21 top-10 finishes (nascar.com), look for Mark Martin to start returning to form and gaining momentum over the next couple of weeks.

Hendrick Motorsports tends to dominate the next four races.  Bristol, Martinsville, Texas, and Phoenix are hotspots for this organization.  Jimmie, Jeff, Mark, and Dale Jr. have a combined record at short tracks of 34 wins, 137 top-five, and 200 top-10 finishes (nascar.com).  Their record at intermediate tracks is also dominate.

Despite having a 13th finish at Daytona, Jeff Gordon's stats this year include two runner-up spots and a third. Look for him to keep his momentum up and continue on through to some of the tracks he shines the most at, Bristol and Martinsville. 

At short tracks alone through his historical years, he has 15 wins, 49 top-fives, and 70 top-ten finishes (nascar.com).  His intermediate track record also includes big numbers: 40 wins, 149 top-five, and 202 top-ten finishes (nascar.com).  At the upcoming four tracks, look for him to end his race win drought (regular season) and remain atop the standings.

Arguably one of the best brother combinations in the series, the Busch brothers, look for older Kurt to continue his latest win momentum into Bristol. He has five wins and swept the spring and fall races in 2003. As for Kyle “Wild Thing” Busch, it could be an up and down ride for him over the next four races.  He only has one win between both short tracks.

Let’s not forget about cousin Carl Edwards.  It seems that year after year he proves to be a big contender throughout the regular season and in the chase.  Although short tracks seem to be par for him, he has an excellent intermediate track minded driving style. 

Denny Hamlin could also come through considering he has an average finish of 10.6 (nascar.com) at short tracks.  However, I think there might be some sleepers coming with maybe a surprise win in the next four races.  It seems like Kevin Harvick and Jeff Burton are sneaking up through the standings as are Kasey Kahne and Brian Vickers. 

After winning the first two races of the season, Matt Kenseth has experienced engine difficulites as of late and looks to return to his winning ways.

The season has been crazy season so far, I’m sure we’re all in for some wild surprises over the upcoming weeks.  This season could go down as one etched in NASCAR history 

Whether it’s Jimmie Johnson, winning his fourth championship or Jeff Gordon walking away with his fifth championship edging himself ever so close to Dale Earnhardt Sr. and the King, Richard Petty, it will be a good year.

Maybe a first time champion with the likes for Dale Earnhardt Jr., Carl Edwards, or Kyle “Wild Thing” Busch either way, this will be a season that will be remembered forever. 

As for a side note, even with the economy the way yhat it is, I still don’t think that will stop underfunded teams from competing in the series.  Who knows maybe one of the go big or go home teams might etch in a first win.