A new season of NASCAR is here and with that, comes new expectations, new rules and a new-look NASCAR. The writers at Motor Racing Digest try their best to have a little fun with preseason predictions for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series 2017.
Which driver will have the most wins at the end of the season?
Dave Thompson: Brad Keselowski
Sandy Terronez: Jimmie Johnson will have the most wins at the end of the season.
Matt Lovisa: Brad Keselowski
Steven Taranto: Kevin Harvick. I think with the amount of resources that Ford is injecting into their racing program, he’s primed to get back to the front every single week like he was when he first moved to SHR.
Which team will have the most wins at the end of the season?
Dave Thompson: Joe Gibbs Racing
Sandy Terronez: Hendrick Motorsports
Matt Lovisa: Team Penske
Steven Taranto: Joe Gibbs Racing. They’ve still got a driver lineup capable of running the table at most tracks and Toyota is as committed to their program as any manufacturer that’s ever been involved.
Which driver will lead the standings at the end of the regular season?
Dave Thompson: Brad Keselowski
Sandy Terronez: Jimmie Johnson
Matt Lovisa: Kevin Harvick
Steven Taranto: I’m leaning towards a Penske driver for this one. Either Keselowski or Logano.
Which driver(s) will win their first race in 2017?
Dave Thompson: Chase Elliott
Sandy Terronez: Daniel Suarez and Chase Elliott will both get their first Cup wins.
Matt Lovisa: Chase Elliott and Ryan Blaney
Steven Taranto: Chase Elliott is past due to get into the Winner’s Circle, I think he’s a lock. I have a ton of confidence in Daniel Suarez as well. He’s got an extremely good team behind him and I expect him to be a quick study behind the wheel of a Cup car.
Which one driver will surprise in a positive way this season? Which one driver will disappoint this season?
Dave Thompson: Clint Bowyer will surprise and Kasey Kahne will disappoint.
Sandy Terronez: Clint Bowyer will have a good season and surprise a lot of people. I think Danica Patrick is going to have a disappointing season. I feel Patrick’s last minute sponsorship problems are going to be a distraction.
Matt Lovisa: Clint Bowyer will surprise with SHR and Kasey Kahne will disappoint, once again.
Steven Taranto: Watch Chris Buescher. JTG-Daugherty puts good racecars together and he combines consistency with getting the absolute most out of anything he drives. I haven’t seen any evidence to the contrary to suggest that Kasey Kahne won’t continue to be firmly seated at the Kid’s Table at Hendrick.
Which four drivers will be in the final round of the playoffs at Homestead?
Dave Thompson: Brad Keselowski, Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and Jimmie Johnson
Sandy Terronez: Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin and Brad Keselowski.
Matt Lovisa: Joey Logano, Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr. and Jimmie Johnson.
Steven Taranto: Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, and Jimmie Johnson.
Which driver wins the inaugural Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship?
Dave Thompson: Kevin Harvick
Sandy Terronez: Jimmie Johnson will win the inaugural Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Championship and his 8th Championship.
Matt Lovisa: Joey Logano
Steven Taranto: I think this is Joey Logano’s year. He’s right on the precipice of being a champion and I believe this is the year he gets over the hump.