If you read my 2009 NASCAR predictions, I said that I am all for smaller NASCAR teams in the literal downsizing sense. But also in the big Gibbs/Hendrick/Stewart Haas vs. Team Red Bull/Michael Waltrip Racing/Richard Petty Motorsports sense.
I suggested that teams should reduce from four to three teams, and so far, only RCR has taken my advice. Michael Waltrip Racing also did the next best thing going from thee to two cars, and their continued improvment will be seen on the track this year.
Through two races it has shown with all three RCR members getting top 11 finishes in the Daytona 500: Bowyer 4, Harvick 7, and Burton 11, followed by Harvick (2) and Burton (3) yesterday @ the joke that is Fontana, and Bowyer (8). Make no mistake, RCR is back and these first two races are only the beginning.
If Richard Petty Motorsports took this hint and reduced to Kahne and Allmendinger as I've suggested (dumping the aging Sadler and Daddy's Boy Menard) they might see similar improvement.
Sprint Cup Champ: Jimmie Johnson, until that SOB loses and quits getting lucky like Sunday, he'll continue to win and the sport and its tradition will die a little.
Nationwide Champ: Kyle Busch.
Truck: Who cares, this is a dying circuit.
Johnson-Hendrick Motorsports, Ms. Knaus, the Queen does it again.
Martin, Hendrick Motorsports, hard to cheer for this guy now that he drives for the enemy.
Truex-Michael Waltrip Racing, how many times do I have to tout this guy?
McMurray-Earnhardt-Ganassi, First the 500, then a pole. Get ready for more. Could he be Kyle Busch 2008?
Kurt Busch-Penske, with Addington expect many top 10s, a few top fives, and a few wins.
Stewart-so far so good as this prick hasnt' done much in two weeks, if he's out Burton's in.
Edwards Roush Fenway- the cream of the Roush crop carries the torch.
Hamlin Gibbs- 4 wins last year means something.
Harvick-RCR I think you get the idea, he's back. The wins will come later this year.
Gordon- Only because he's so damn consistent. But he's placed 26th at Daytona and 20th at Fontana. Is he done?
Keselowski- Penske, i- really just a Vickers like Wildcard here. If he makes the Chase, he won't be a threat. Just happy to be there.
So that's seven teams represented in the Chase, not bad but really at the end of the day its all about beating Diva Johnson.
Raybestos Rookie of the Year: N/A have you seen this list? Nothing but 30-year-old Northerners.
Wins for Jr. ZERO.
Wins for Jeff Gordon One.
Wins for Joey Logano ZERO.
Comeback driver of the year Kevin Harvick (3 wins) (same as my pick last year)
Wins for Kyle Busch 3.
1st career win for Ragan, Scott Speed, Ambrose (road course), Hornish.
Regan Smith impressive runs, Kurt Busch (aided by Addington, the Knaus of Penske)
Earnhardt finishes “only” 400 pts out of Chase.
Disappointing drivers- Kenseth, Earnhardt, Newman.
Top 3 NASCAR stories:
1. RCR's resurgence: Harvick, Burton both win, Harvick in Chase, etc. Bowyer consistent but is a bubble driver.
2. Jimmie and his tradition-killing dominance.
3. Scott Speed's improvement (19th at Daytona, 9th at Fontana) as TRB is now a complete team.
3a. Competitiveness of Penske as a whole.
Other BOLD Predictions:
Earnhardt-Ganassi Montoya, McMurray
RCR Burton, Harvick
Stewart Haas Stewart
Gibbs Busch, Hamlin
Roush Biffle, Edwards, Ragan
Penske Hornish, Busch, Keselowski
Richard Petty Motorsports Kahne
Last year we had 15 different winners so these 17 would be a nice start.
Biggest movers: RCR, Earnhardt Ganassi, MWR.
Biggest falls: SHR, (Newman), Logano.