It is a new year, and that means we have much to think about for the coming 12 months, one thought being who will be the breakout drivers in NASCAR during the 2015 season. Last season’s dramatic end left many of us wanting more, not being able to sit still until the drop of the next starting flag. If you are wondering who will be making a splash in the leaderboards this year, here are some drivers on my NASCAR watchlist.
This past year Carl won two races, finished in the top five, seven times and finished 9th overall after making it to the third round of the Chase. With this disappointing finish to the year, he still remains chasing the success he had in 2011 when he lost in a tiebreaker for the championship to Tony Stewart. Look for Edwards to be driving with a fire in his foot this coming season to make up for a down year.
A tumultuous season last year regarding a driver on the raceway and Stewarts car, left Tony shaken. To see if Stewart can rebound and regain his place at the top of the racing world will be very interesting this coming year. Keep in mind this man has already won three Cup championships.
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Dale Jr. has been named the sport’s most popular driver a dozen times in a row. This 40 year old has racing in his genes and had his best finish to a season since 2004. He won four races, making the Cup Chase but being eliminated in the second round. Recently his crew chief who has served him so well over the years has departed Hendrick Motorsports and is replaced by Greg Ives, a former engineer. To watch these two attempt a championship run this season will be fun to watch.
Kurt won a race, made the chase, but had an overall disappointing year as his numbers were sub-impressive. The experienced crew chief who took over the microphone late last season, Tony Gibson, will be an asset to Kurt who looks to be more consistent in 2015 on and off the track.
The champ will return to the drivers seat to protect his crown, but can he live up to the pressures of a repeat? A back to back title run has not been completed since Jeff Gordon in ‘97-’98 and with the new playoff set up, it may be close to impossible to do so. It will be interesting to see what trick Harvick has up his sleeve to retain the title.
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