NASCAR Sprint Cup Drivers Most in Need of a Hot Start in 2014

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NASCAR Sprint Cup Drivers Most in Need of a Hot Start in 2014
Steve Helber/Associated Press
Dale Earnhardt Jr. (left) and Tony Stewart both need to get off to hot starts in 2014.

There's an old belief in NASCAR that if a driver isn't in the top five in the Sprint Cup standings after the spring race at Bristol—just the fourth race on the 36-race schedule—his or her season is already just about over.

That's a brutal expectation indeed, but one that has been proven true numerous times.

As we prepare for the 2014 season-opening Daytona 500 in a little over two weeks from now, obviously every full-time driver on the Sprint Cup circuit wants to get off to a good start.

But there are five drivers in particular that not only want a good start, it's imperative that they get one as well.

Let's take a look at who needs to get hot right from the opening green flag at Daytona:

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