1. Jimmie Johnson- No major changes with the team, but yet another change to the car will make another year of chasing the the 48 guys. I do believe this will be the last year of dominance.
2. Denny Hamlin- Torn ACL and all, Hamlin is Johnson?s biggest threat. With his win at the high banking Homestead, this FedEx team finally showed some versatility and proved that flat banked tracks are not their only strength.
3. Kyle Busch- I expect big things for them this year with Dave Rogers as crew chief. Personally, I did not think Addington was the answer for Busch.
4. Tony Stewart- Tony surprised a lot of people last year, and I am unsure about him this year. I don?t have any reason to think he will finish higher, but I have no reason to think he can?t have top 5 points finish.
5. Carl Edwards- Carl will end his winless streak this year, but I still expect the Roush organization still struggle as a whole.
6. Jeff Gordon- Its hard to believe Jeff has only one win in the past two seasons. I bet he turns some of the second place finishes into wins this year, but will be more inconsistent.
7. Mark Martin- It seems lately whenever Martin has a good points finish, he struggles the following season. I wouldn?t call seventh place a struggle, but after nearly winning his first title in 2009, this year will be somewhat of a disappointment.
8. Clint Bowyer- Nearly missed the Chase last year with a new team. With two top five points finishes in the past three years, Bowyer shouldn?t be a surprise to anyone if he makes the Chase.
9. Greg Biffle- Like the whole Roush team, I expect it to be another mediocre season for Biffle. However, I would be shocked to see him get shut out of victory lane again.
10. Matt Kenseth- Kenseth missed the Chase for the first time last year after winning the season?s first two races. I think he is really hurting without Robbie Reiser calling the shots. Still, I think he barely manages a top ten points finish.
11. Brad Keselowski- Going out a limb on this one. But he really impressed me last season in both the Cup and Nationwide series. In the past, it seems like he has taken mediocre teams into competitive teams. His biggest challenge seems to be lack of respect from other drivers. Would you agree Denny?
12. Jeff Burton- Ended the season with two second place finishes. Hopefully for him the offseason won?t derail his momentum.
First Time Winners
Marcos Ambrose- Marcos will be our only first time winner this year, and?Surprise! Will come on a road course. Look for it to be at Sonoma.
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