Drivers start your engines! The 2015 NASCAR season is only 13 days away and the 56th running of the Daytona 500 is approaching In this article, the first edition of my Burnin’ Rubber series, I will break down the upcoming NASCAR season. The 2015 season is expected show plenty of young drivers continuing to prove themselves on the tracks. Rookie drivers ready to carve their name in NASCAR history, and veterans wanting to win a championship. Here at Analyzed Sports, I will provide your NASCAR coverage with post-race recaps, and things to look for in the next race. Check out the article below, and follow me on Twitter and Instagram, and let me know what you think of the article.
Burnin’ Rubber #1- 2015 NASCAR Preview
By Trent A. Brinkley February 9, 2015
2015 NASCAR Schedule
Young Drivers to Watch
Joey Logano- #22 Penske Racing Team Ford Fusion
– Joey Logano, really showed his talents on the racing circuit last year in 2014, coming in 4th Place in the Point Standings. He overall has finished better every year since 2012; 2012- 17th in Point Standings, 2013- 8th in Point Standings, and 2014- 4th in Point Standings. Joey Logano is confident in his pit crew this year and is crew chief Todd Gordon that they will do well this year with him. Logano, in 2014, had 16 Top 5 Finishes, and 22 Top 10 Finishes, and had 5 wins. Since becoming a full time driver in 2009, his number of laps led has dramatically increased: 2009- 36 laps led, 2010- 53 laps led, 2011- 58 laps led, 2012- 190 laps led, 2013- 323 laps led, and 2014- 993 laps led. I expect that Joey Logano will come out in 2015 like he did in 2014 and will be in the Chase for the Cup again, and even compete for the Championship.
Kyle Larson- #42 Chip Ganassi Racing Target Chevrolet SS Car
– Kyle Larson, was one of the most underrated drivers during the 2014 season, and lead to great results. Kyle Larson, was racing his first full-season racing schedule, and did really well. In fact, he finished 17th in the Point Standings, with 8 Top 5 Finishes, 17 Top 10 Finishes. He also had an average start of 16th, and an average finish of 14th. Entering his second year with Chip Ganassi Racing, I expect that Larson will continue to build off his success and consistent driving from 2014, and will be in the contention for the 2015 Chase for the Cup.
Prediction: 9th in Point Standings
Austin Dillon- #3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet SS Car
– Austin Dillon, like Kyle Larson, was racing on his first time on a full-season racing schedule in the Sprint Cup Series. In his rookie season, Austin Dillon, finished 20th in the Points Standings, with 1 Top 5 Finish, 4 Top 10 Finishes, an average starting position of 20th, and average finish of 18th. Dillon, the older brother of Ty Dillon, and grandson of Richard Childress, lived up to the expectations set for him in 2014. Coming off his rookie season, I expect more growth for Austin Dillon, and his grandfather, Richard Childress, will be there to give him advice and continue to develop his grandson on and off the track.
Prediction: 12th in Point Standings
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.- #17 Roush Fenway Racing Ford Fusion
– Ricky Stenhouse Jr., in his second season in the Sprint Cup Series, he had a lot of up and downs and never really got into a driver’s groove throughout the season. In his rookie season in 2013, he led 35 laps, had 1 Top 5, 3 Top 10 Finishes, and an average finish of 19th. In 2014, Stenhouse Jr., never led any laps, 1 Top 5, 5 Top 10 Finishes, but an average finish of 22nd. The Ups and Downs of Stenhouse Jr., were marked by a series of strong finishes, followed by a series of not so good finishes. For example, he came in 2nd place at Bristol (3/16), but in the following 7 races, he had an average finish of 27th– (34th at California, 40th at Martinsville, 26th at Texas, 20th at Darlington, 38th at Richmond, 10th at Talladega, and 22nd at Kansas) this was the pattern of Stenhouse Jr.’s season in 2014. If he wants to compete in 2015, he will need to become more consistent following a finish, and build on the success. I believe if Stenhouse Jr. can gain confidence and momentum, he could be a Top 15 Point Standings contender as the season progresses. I feel like 2015 will be a break out year for Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Prediction: 14th in Point Standings
Veteran Drivers to Watch
Jeff Gordon- #24 Hendrick Motosports- Chevrolet SS
The 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Season will be the final season for Jeff Gordon, after he has raced on the NASCAR Spring Cup Series for 23 seasons. In his career, Gordon has raced in 761 races with 92 Wins, 454 Top 10 Finishes, and 77 poles. He also has won 4 NASCAR Championships, won the Daytona 500 three times, the Brickyard 400 five times, and also has raced 284,832 miles in his career. Though the “Wonder Boy” is walking away at the end of the 2015 season, I don’t expect him to take his foot of the gas this season; Gordon still has some good driving left in the tank, and I believe he will be in the thick of getting his 5th NASCAR Championship this season, in his final season. It has been reported that Gordon will also be a NASCAR analyst on TV for Fox NASCAR for the NASCAR XFINITY Series, his expected finish in the Point Standings is at the end of this story. It has been reported that Chase Elliott, the son of the great NASCAR driver Bill Elliott, will drive the No. 24 car in 2016 for Hendrick Motorsports.
Carl Edwards- #19 Joe Gibbs Racing- Ford Fusion
After racing 11 years with Roush Fenway Racing, Carl Edwards will move to the #19 car for Joe Gibbs Racing this season. In his 11 years with Roush Fenway Racing, he had raced in 373 races, 23 Wins, 190 Top 10 Finishes, and 13 Pole Positions. The 35-year-old, is coming off a 9th place finish in the Point Standings, with 2 wins, 1 at Sonoma, his first career road course win, 7 Top 5 Finishes, and 14 Top 10 Finishes. 2015, should be a good season for Carl Edwards, because his crew chief, Darian Grubb, will be back at the helm for Carl Edwards, and he will be racing for Joe Gibbs Racing. I expect Edwards to make a strong push for a NASCAR Championship, his expected finish in the Point Standings is at the end of this story.
Aric Almirola has been one of the best developing driver on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series since 2012. Since 2012, Almirola, has improved in many ways on the circuit such as: 1) Improved his Point Standings Finish (2012: 20th Place, 2013: 18th Place, and 2014: 16th Place), 2) Average Finish (2012: 20th Place, 2013: 19th Place, and 2014: 21st Place), 3) Top 10 Finishes (2012: 4 Top 10’s , 2013: 6 Top 10’s , and 2014: 7 Top 10’s), and 4) Top 5 Finishes (2012: 1 Top 5, 2013: 1 Top 5, and 2014: 2 Top 5’s). I expect another great season from Aric Almirola with Richard Petty Motorsports that he has a great road course driver, and talent behind the wheel, Sam Hornish Jr., will give a great boost to Almirola’s confidence, and I believe the two will be in contention this year. I expect Almirola to have more Top 5 Finishes, Top 10 Finishes, and probably more trips to victory lane.
Rookie Drivers to Watch:
Jeb Burton- #26
Alex Bowman- #7 Tommy Baldwin Racing
Parker Kligermann- #30 Swan Racing Team
Who I believe will win the 2015 Championship:
Rest of the Point Standings:
2. Jeff Gordon
3. Jimmie Johnson
4. Joey Logano
5. Carl Edwards
Upcoming: Burnin’ Rubber #2: A Look at the Upcoming 2015 INDY Car Series Season
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