Everyone else is doing season previews now that the Daytona 500 is just around the corner. Here are my picks for who the top 12 cars (The top 10 and 2 wildcards) will be once the chase begins next September. I don’t have enough guts to proclaim who the champion will be…because that really could be any of the 12 drivers that make the chase. It’s kinda like “Picks For The Win” but on a larger scale…and only once. “Picks For The Win” will return weekly as long as I remember to put them up.
So here it goes as for the drivers I believe will make the chase. (although maybe not in this order when it comes around)
1. #99 Carl Edwards Edwards is distraught over finishing second (technically tying Tony Stewart in points and then losing because he had less wins) so you know he’ll try and do better this season.
2. #2 Brad Keselowski Brad learned how to win last year…with a broken ankle and everything…He’ll be a repeat in the top 12.
3. #88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. This is a make or break deal for Dale Earnhardt Jr. Arguably the most popular driver, his fans have been waiting forever for him to get a win…let alone win a championship. He didn’t drive well last year and he still made the chase…so he’ll probably do it again.
4. #48 Jimmie Johnson His worst finish was fifth place in the standings last year…He’ll be back
5. #14 Tony Stewart He won a championship last year with a crew chief he was planning on firing. He’ll be a threat for sure now that he has the crew chief he wants on top of the box.
6. #29 Kevin Harvick He’s been a fixture in the Chase. With 4 wins last season he’ll be back for more.
7. #5 Kasey Kahne Now that he’s in a good car, Kasey might be able to make some things happen as he did in his first couple years on the Sprint Cup Circuit.
8. #18 Kyle Busch Since he’s not doing Nationwide or Trucks, he’ll be able to focus on Cup and hopefully improve his results.
9. #1 Jamie MacMurray With all the seat shifting, this guy just might make the chase this year.
10. #9 Marcos Amberose If he could finish as well as he runs this season, Marcos could pull off something special.
Wild Card #1 (11.) #51 Kurt Busch You could just count him out since he’s with Phoenix Racing. If he does as well at the other tracks as he has tested at Daytona so far this year, this team just might be the little team that could. Kurt has no huge sponsor pressure this year, so he can just go for it, win and win big!
Wild Card #2 (12.) #22 AJ Almendinger The man who took advantage of Kurt’s old ride. Who knows what this guy can do in a good car? He might surprise you.