Jimmie Johnson's drive for five is alive. He has won the last four straight championships with crew chief Chad Knaus on his pitbox. But here are some drivers that can stop Johnson from further making a mockery of the Sprint Cup series.
Kyle Busch is one of the most talented drivers that NASCAR has seen in a long time. He flat out dominated the Nationwide series this year, breaking and setting several different records.
The 24 year old driver from Las Vegas has the talent to dethrone Johnson, but he can connect with his new crew chief Dave Rogers, and keep it cool in his racecar when things are bad?
Can he not self destruct right before the chase? If he does he will be dangerous.
Mark Martin is like a fine wine, gets better with age. He will be 51 years old in 2010 and still looking for his first Sprint Cup championship.
Mark Martin has the talent, he and his team really hit it off in 2009 winning 5 races, and he is tired of being the bridesmaid but never the bride as he finished second in points for the fifth time in his career.
Look for Martin to contend once again that elusive championship.
Denny Hamlin has done a great job taking on the Senior role at Joe Gibbs Racing. He won four races last year and despite three DNF's in the Chase (two due to engine failures) he still finished fifth in points.
Hamlin is one of the most consistent drivers in cup. As long as he can avoid the mechanical failures and his arch nemesis Brad Keselowski, expect Hamlin to be a series championship contender in 2010.
Ignore Carl Edwards's 2009 season with an egg in the win column. You would be a fool to say this guy isn't as good or even better than he was in 2008. It is quite a simple cycle in the racing wolrd (something that Johnson will one day experience).
Roush Fenway is working with Ford on a new engine package, and with Richard Petty Motorsports merging with Yates, they will work closely with them. Look for Edwards to be back in his 2008 form in 2010.
Many people expected Tony Stewart to fail in his first season as a driver owner. He didn't listen.In 2009 Stewart had four wins, 15 top five's, 23 top ten's, an average finish of 10th, and finished sixth in points. He was the regular season champion, and he exceeded pretty much everyone's expectations of him.
With a season under his belt with his team, expect Stewart and co to work very hard during the off season and be Johnson's biggest threat in 2009.
Towards the end of the season they started to do a better job of coming off the truck fast and that will be key if Stewart is to claim his third championship and first as a driver/owner.