It is 13 days til the green flag drops for start of “The Great American Race”, the Daytona 500. The pundits are gathering to express their predictions for the 2009 season! As the season unfolds, there are numerous thoughts on this reporter’s mind that must be resolved.
First of all, Tony Stewart (The Smoker)(two time champion) and Ryan Newman (2008 Daytona 500 winner) have left their prospective teams and joined forces in the newly formed Stewart-Haas Racing with Hendrick motors. Will either one, or both of these drivers have any impact on the 2009 season??
Secondly, will any of the Hendrick drivers be a driving force in the 2009 season? Can Jimmie Johnson and the #48 Lowe’s team make it four championships in a row? That feat has NEVER been accompolished in the 60 year history of NASCAR! How ’bout Jeff Gordon’s “drive for 5”? Can he pull it off or is his prowess over? Can Dale Jr have a break through year and finally shut up all those “nay sayers” !!! Can Jr close the deal????? Now that Mark Martin is in the #5 car, can he finish his career at the top of the podium??
Next to be discussed is the Joe Gibbs boys. Kyle Busch (The Las Vegas Weasel) sputtered when the going got tough! Can he actually perform at the end of the season like he did up until the Chase started??? Can Denny Hamlin crank up the intesity and be more consistant throughout the entire season? And new kid on the block, Joey Logano (Sliced Bread) how will he fit in at JGR? Did they rush him into Cup too fast? Can this 18 year old phenom be really that good? Can Logano stand the pressure involved in this level of performance?
Richard Childress Racing started a fourth team for the 2009 season. But, because of sponsorship concerns Mears was put into the #06 Jack Daniels Chevy. General Mills was concerned that Mears wouldn’t fit into their profile, since last season he was driving the Kelloggs #5 HMS Chevy. So Mears tgets into the #07 with a top 35 points from 2008. That moved Clint Bowyer into the newly formed #33 General Mills Chevy with NO points to start the 2009 season. Bowyer must “race into the big show”!!! Can Jeff Burton finish in the top ten consistantly? Kevin Harvick needs to step up his game, at least one more notch, in order to put pressure on the other frontrunners in 2009.
Lastly, can the Roush/Fenway drivers keep the pressure up on thall the rest of the contenders? Carl Edwards is the franchise driver of the Roush/Fenway stable. It would appear that he has the hunger and the ability to “dethrone” the 3 time Champ, Jimmie Johnson! Greg Bifle really came alive in the early part of the Chase last season, is the fire still burning???? Matt Kenseth is probably the most consistant steady driver in that stable, but can he step it up??? David Ragan is the newest and youngest of the Roush/Fenway drivers and had some sparks of brilliance in 2008.
So my question to all of you is this. Having read this article and using all your worldly racing knowledge, consulting your psychic, reading your tea leaves, possibly picking straws, when the checkered flags falls at Homestead, who will reign as the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion?????
REMEMBER THERE IS ONE THING THAT YOU CAN COUNT ON:
I LOOKED IT UP SO THAT YOU WOULDN’T HAVE TO!!