The Biggest Goal for Top NASCAR Teams Entering 2014 Season
The 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup season is approaching fast, and NASCAR teams are beginning to set their goals for the New Year.
Winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship is at the top of the list for each team. It will be important to reach the small goals that lead to winning the title at the end of the year.
Here is a list of goals for the top NASCAR teams entering the 2014 season.
When you belong to the most dominant team in the NASCAR garage, what could your goals for the upcoming season possibly be?
The goal for Hendrick Motorsports is to repeat their 2013 season. Last season, all four drivers at Hendrick Motorsports made the Chase, and the team won nine races and seven poles. There is still room for improvement at Hendrick Motorsports.
Some of the goals on the list for Hendrick Motorsports include getting Jeff Gordon his fifth championship before his career is over, having Dale Earnhardt Jr. win his first championship of his career and helping Jimmie Johnson become the best driver in the sport by winning his seventh championship. The team would also like to see Kasey Kahne become a more consistent driver.
Anything less than a repeat of the 2013 season would be a disappointment for the Hendrick Motorsports team.
Joe Gibbs Racing
Joe Gibbs Racing has not won a championship since Tony Stewart won in 2005.
Last season, Joe Gibbs Racing won more races and poles than any other team in the garage. The team had 12 wins and 11 poles but could not find a way to win the championship.
The goal for Joe Gibbs Racing in 2014 is to have all three drivers make the Chase and finally bring home the championship. Winning races and poles is not enough at Joe Gibbs Racing anymore. The team has proven they could do that. Now, they must prove that they are better than Hendrick Motorsports and win a championship.
With so many changes taking place at Stewart-Haas Racing, the team has many goals for the 2014 season.
The first goal includes getting their team owner back on the race track. Tony Stewart is recovering from an injury he suffered last season. He has not raced since August of last season. It will be important for Stewart-Haas Racing to get Stewart back to the driver he has been in the past. He is the leader of the team, and if he struggles at the beginning of the season, it could affect the rest of the team.
The addition of Kurt Busch and Kevin Harvick to the Stewart-Haas Racing team should make them more competitive. The goal for Stewart-Haas Racing is to have Busch, Harvick and Stewart all make the Chase in 2014. If that were to happen, the season would be a success.
The last goal for the team is to have Danica Patrick become a more competitive driver. For once in her career, she will be overshadowed by her teammates. It will be important that Patrick does not become just another member of the Stewart-Haas Racing team.
Roush Fenway Racing
Roush Fenway Racing is one of the top teams in NASCAR, but they are not the team that they once were.
The goal for Roush Fenway Racing is to once again become a dominant team in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. In order to do this, Carl Edwards must compete for the championship, and Greg Biffle and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. must make the Chase.
Last season, Roush Fenway Racing only won three races and three poles. The team has the talent to be more competitive, but Ford must provide the equipment to help the team reach its goals.
It will be difficult for this team to get all three drivers in the Chase and for one to win the championship, but do not bet against the man in the hat. Jack Roush will have his team ready for the 2014 season.
Penske Racing came back to Earth after a championship season in 2012. The goal for the 2014 season is to be more consistent.
Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano have proved that they can win races and make the Chase. The problem with the team last season was their drivers were either red hot or ice cold. That is not the formula for winning a championship.
Both drivers will have a good chance at making the Chase in 2014, but if they want to win another championship for Penske Racing, these drivers cannot go into a slump during the 2014 season.
Richard Childress Racing
Richard Childress Racing made critical changes following the 2013 season. Kevin Harvick and Jeff Burton are out, and Ryan Newman and Austin Dillon are in. It may take a while for Richard Childress Racing to get back to near the top of the NASCAR Sprint Cup standings, but the team does have the talent to do so. It just may not be in 2014.
The goal for Richard Childress Racing in 2014 is to get Austin Dillon and his No. 3 car to Victory Lane and to get two of their drivers into the Chase.
It has been a controversial decision for Richard Childress Racing to bring back the No. 3 car. For the fans that will enjoy seeing the iconic number racing around the track, it may also bring tears to their eyes to see the car back in Victory Lane.
Richard Childress Racing expects Ryan Newman to make the Chase. He has made the Chase in three of the past five seasons. Having either Paul Menard or Dillon make the Chase as well would be a huge accomplishment for the team in 2014.
Michael Waltrip Racing
Michael Waltrip Racing got off to a good start in 2013. Clint Bowyer and Martin Truex Jr. looked like locks for the Chase. In the last race before the Chase, the team was involved in a scandal when Bowyer was accused of spinning out on purpose to let Truex gain spots to make the Chase. The team was never the same.
The goal for Michael Waltrip Racing for 2014 is to overcome the 2013 scandal and for both of their drivers to make the Chase.
The scandal last year led to the release of Martin Truex Jr. from the No. 56 car. The team decided not to fill the seat and will go with two full-time drivers in 2014. Clint Bowyer will have Brian Vickers as his teammate this year. Both drivers are more than capable of making the Chase.
Richard Petty Motorsports
Richard Petty Motorsports had a disappointing season last year. Aric Almirola and Marcos Ambrose failed to win a race, and neither driver finished in the top 15.
Richard Petty Motorsports has many goals for 2014. The team must win more races. That includes getting the No. 43 car back to Victory Lane. Ambrose proved he can win on road courses, but his goal is to win a race on an oval race track.
With the tough competition in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, it will be difficult for the team to reach their goals in 2014.
Earnhardt Ganassi Racing
Earnhardt Ganassi Racing made changes to their team, and the changes should pay off in the long run. Juan Pablo Montoya is out of the No. 42 car, and Kyle Larson is the new driver.
The goal for Earnhardt Ganassi Racing for 2014 is to have Larson win the Rookie of the Year Award and Jamie McMurray make the Chase.
Larson is a very talented young driver. Austin Dillon is the favorite to win the Rookie of the Year Award, but Larson has the talent to not only win a race in 2014, but also to steal the award away from Dillon.
McMurray finished 15th in the point standings last season. He was only two spots away from becoming a member of the Chase. It will be difficult for him to make the Chase in 2014 because of the tough competition, but if he can get on one of his hot streaks, anything is possible.
Furniture Row Racing
Furniture Row Racing exceeded expectations in 2013 with Kurt Busch making the Chase. Although the team was unable to win a race, Busch kept their car up front for most of the season.
With Kurt Busch moving to Stewart-Haas Racing and Martin Truex Jr. taking over as the new driver, the goal for the team is to win their first race since Regan Smith won in their car at the Southern 500 in 2011.
It will be a real surprise if Truex is able to have the same success as Busch in the No. 78 car, but winning a race should be an achievable goal for 2014.
Follow me on Twitter @MrFantasyNASCAR