2010 Season Outlook and Predictions

Misan AkuyaCorrespondent IJanuary 5, 2010

I am gitty with excitement as the 2010 speedweeks is coming up very shortly!  Febuary 4th will be Budshootout practice less than a month away folks.  I am sat down and decided to write what I think could take place in 2010.  Care to read?

I would bet my farm that these 9 drivers will all make the chase in 2010.

Jimmie Johnson: Call him whatever you want I call him Vanilla boy, but he and the 48 team for the last 4 seasons have been unbeatable.  Ever since this team formed in 2002 they have been one of the top 3 teams in the sport.  Expect Johnson to be in relative ease and go for another record of 5 in a row.

Tony Stewart:Stewart had his doubters at the start of the 2009 season but after doing what he did in his first year as a driver/owner he has made everyone a believer.  If there is a driver and a crew chief that can dethrone Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knuas from the top it is Tony Stewart and Darian Grubb.  Wouldn't surprise me if they dominated the regular season once more.  If they can just be dominate when it counts in the last 10 races they 14 could be lethal.

Denny Hamlin:Hamlin guaranteed us all that he would win a cup in the next 2 years.  Well better start now huh?  Hamlin perhaps had one of the strongest teams in the chase but 3 dnfs left him with what might have been (if instead of dnfs had he had an average finish of 7th he would be the 2009 champion, not Johnson).  If Hamlin and co can be consistent in the chase they too could be dangerous.  I really think the only thing that Denny Hamlin and the number 11 Fedex team has to worry about is Denny Hamlin and the number 11 Fedex Team.

Ryan Newman:Newman was known as "the crazy guy" that decided to go join Stewart Haas in 2009 and experience one of his best seasons since 2005 that year.  I expect an even stronger 2010.  The team has had a year to grow and will be better.  They know they are not where their teammate car the 14 is competition wise and that drives Newman and co.  I would not overlook this team once they make the chase in 2010 they could be a serious threat.

Carl Edwards:Edwards had perhaps his worst season of his career stats wise with the exception of his points finishing position (12th is his worst he finished 11th in 2009).  After having the 2008 championship won but only to lose by 69 points to Jimmie Johnson, Edwards faced a rough 2009.  But have no fear I expect the 99 to be back better than ever.  After experiencing the highest of highs in 2008 by winning 9 races and finishing 2nd in points, and experiencing the lowest of lows in 2009 winning 0 races and finishing 11th in points, Edwards is a better driver and the 99 is a better team.  They will a serious factor for the championship this year.

Matt Kenseth:So what if Kenseth missed the chase in 2009?  Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon and Carl Edwards have all missed the chase and like them, it will be the only time that Kenseth will.  After winning a rain shortened Daytona 500 and the Auto Club 500 the first two races of the year, Kenseth struggled and for the first time in his career missed out on the chase.  I expect Kenseth and the 17 to be back in the game in 2010 and make the chase once more and contend for the cup.

Mark Martin:The age old wonder will continue to prove that experience pays.  Martin came for the 5th time his career so close to a Sprint cup championship, only to be so far away.  While I don't think Martin will be quite as strong as he was in 2009, he will be strong nonetheless and be in the chase in 2010.

Jeff Gordon:The former boy wonder is still going for 5 entering 2010 and even though I do think he will be still going for 5 after 2010, he will have a good season nonetheless.  Like Martin I think Gordon will not be as strong (in Gordon case thanks to just 1 win as consistent) as he was in 2009 but make the chase with relative ease.

Kurt Busch:Busch could have some new crew chief blues in 2010 but with Steve Addington as his crew chief not sure if that will be likely.  I don't expect Busch to be the strong title contender like he was 2009, but he and Addington will be successful together.

As for the other 3 spots, I am going to have to say that Kyle Busch and the two Earnhardt Ganassi cars of Jamie McMurray and Juan Pablo Montoya will fill those voids.  All with the potential of contending for the cup if they do make it.  From 13th to 17th will be 5 drivers just barely missing the cut will be Jeff Burton, Kevin Harvick, Clint Bowyer, Greg Biffle and Martin Truex Jr.

Dale Earnhardt Jr will improve but not enough to secure him a spot in the 2010 chase.  Though he might win a race and he will finish in the top 20 in points.

Brad Keselowski will surprise in 2010.  Though I don't see him doing much better than say 19th in points, Keselowski could very well become a true underdog story and run good enough to at least contend for be in the chase this season. 

Kasey Kahne and Brian Vickers will both struggle in 2010.  This will cause Kahne to leave to another team once this season is over and that team could be Stewart Haas racing or Joe Gibbs racing.

If Erilk Darnell can race fulltime in cup in 2010 he will be rookie of the year.  If not, congrats to Kevin Conway.

And the 2010 champion will be: Tony Stewart.

After getting 1 full season under his belt Stewart and Grubb are ready for another shot at a championship.  They will be Johnson's biggest threat I do believe and can get the job done.  There is no way that Johnson will win 5 in a row (most likely anyway) and someone is going to have to knock him off and Smoke is just the man to do so.