Hard to believe that it is just a little over a month until the Sprint Cup community loads up and heads south to Daytona to begin what can best be described as a marathon of a season that doesn’t end until it’s time to kill the turkey for Thanksgiving. It’s 10 pressurefilled months of racing followed by an off season of two months that may be even more stressful as teams scramble to get their programs together for the long schedule that begins with the Daytona 500.
After some careful consideration, I have decided not to put off my 2010 predictions any longer. If history repeats itself when it comes to my track record with predictions, there is no reason to wait another month before sharing them with you. Sit back and have a laugh or two when you read them and you might even want to put them away someplace safe so you can dust them off in November when you can really get a laugh out of them.
Most Improved Organization: Michael Waltrip Racing gets the nod here as the addition of Martin Truex Jr. to go along with David Reutimann makes this an operation that could win a couple of races and compete for one of the spots in the Chase.
Organization in Trouble: The combined efforts of Richard Petty Motorsports and Yates Racing could struggle early both on the track and in the hunt for sponsorship dollars. Kasey Kahne is the flag bearer for the newly formed team and even he has said that unless some things fall into place that he will be racing for another owner in 2011.
Comeback Organization: Richard Childress Racing knows both the highs and lows of this sport as well as anyone and no organization is better than coming back after a bad season than RCR. RCR put three teams into the Chase in 2008 only to find itself locked out of the elite dozen this season. Getting all three teams back into the playoff round of the schedule may be a stretch, but it isn’t hard to believe that Kevin Harvick, Jeff Burton or Clint Bowyer or a combination of these three will show up again battling for the title in September.
Driver Returning to Victory Lane: Carl Edwards made nine trips to victory lane in 2008 but the only time he made an appearance this past season was to congratulate another driver for winning. He also fell from second to 11th in the final standings, which isn’t acceptable when you were being mentioned as the one driver to stop Jimmie Johnson from winning a fourth consecutive championship. Carl should once again be flipping in 2010.
Most Popular Driver: Go ahead and engrave Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s name on the trophy for next season, but you better wait before you engrave his name on any winner’s trophy. There is no doubting his popularity with the fans as he once again led all drivers in amount of merchandise sold, but there is some doubt about whether or not he is going to be able to turn around a disappointing season that saw him finish 25th in the final point standings.
2010 Sprint Cup Champion: It might be good for the series if another driver could somehow take away the top spot from Jimmie Johnson, but the problem is there is no other team good enough at this point to do it.