Ralph Freso/Associated Press
Ryan Newman was NASCAR’s Cinderella driver in 2014. Even though he didn’t win a race, he reached the championship round. Had eventual champ Kevin Harvick faltered, Newman could very likely have won the championship that season.
Martin Truex Jr. was 2015’s Cinderella driver, reaching the championship round. Even though he came up short and finished fourth, Truex was the little engine that could, advancing further in the 12-year history of the Chase than any other driver for a single-car team.
In 2016, I predict Kurt Busch will be the next Cinderella driver. The older Busch brother is in the best place in his life in a long time. Kyle Busch had an outstanding second half of the 2015 season.
Had he not finished 34th in the Chase race at Martinsville Speedway, Kurt Busch very possibly could have reached the championship round and perhaps earned his second Chase championship (he won the first Chase title in 2004).
I anticipate Busch will make that step all the way to the championship round in 2016—and potentially win the title as well.