2014 NASCAR SEASON PREVIEW

brian-france-state-of-nascar-2014

Welcome back race fans! The new season is less than a month away, so it’s time to start thinking about fantasy NASCAR once again.

JOIN MY YAHOO! FANTASY LEAGUE

That also means that I will be running my Yahoo Fantasy Auto Racing league once again this year and am inviting all of you to join me and see which of you can beat me in this league. Click on the link to get started. Yahoo Fantasy Auto Racing. The Group ID is 1360 and the password in kenseth (all small letters). Make sure you get the appropriate number and word in the right box. I look forward to competing against all of this sites readers!

CHANGES AND PREDICTIONS FOR THE 2014 NASCAR SEASON

Now for some of the new things we will see on the track this year and some of my predictions for the upcoming season.

NEW QUALIFYING FORMAT

First off there is going to be a new qualifying format in all three of the top series. It will be very similar to the way NASCAR ran qualifying at the road courses last season with all of the cars or trucks on the track at the same time for a certain duration determined by the track length. There will be either two or three rounds and drivers will be eliminated by speed in each round. The number of rounds once again is decided by the length of the track. The only race that will not have this type of format is the Daytona 500, which will continue to use its’ very own unique qualifying with the top two spots determined by speed and the remainder of the field set by two separate races on the Thursday before the season begins.

THE #3 RETURNS

The second thing that is happening is the return of the #3 car with Austin Dillon as the full-time driver. This will be the first time the #3 car has been run in the Sprint Cup series since the death of Dale Earnhardt. I for one thought the number should have been retired, but it isn’t up to me.

DRIVER CHANGES

There are so many driver changes this year that I will only tell you about some of the more prominent names in the sport. Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch both move to Stewart-Haas Racing and will pilot the #4 and #41 cars respectively. I think it is kind of funny that Kurt will be driving the same numbered car as his arch enemy on the track, Jimmy Spencer, used to drive.

Ryan Newman moves to Richard Childress Racing and will replace Jeff Burton in the #31 car. Brian Vickers takes over the full-time ride of the #55 car for Michael Waltrip Racing if he is healthy and Martin Truex Jr. moves to Furniture Row Racing and takes over the ride of Kurt Busch from last season.

There will be eight Rookie of the Year candidates this season, which is an unprecedented number. These include #51-Justin Allgaier, #7-Michael Annett, #23-Alex Bowman, #3-Austin Dillon, #30-Parker Kligerman, #42-Kyle Larson, #83-Ryan Truex, and #26-Cole Whitt. I predict that Austin Dillon wins the award with Justin Allgaier coming in a close second.

CAN’T STOP JIMMIE JOHNSON

Once again I have to believe that Jimmie Johnson is going to win another championship and will continue to pile them up unless NASCAR can come up with a better way to run the Chase, which I also believe will happen in the near future. I also think that Matt Kenseth will close the gap on Jimmie this season, but he will still come up short.

I also predict that Brad Keselowski, Carl Edwards, and Denny Hamlin will all make the Chase this season, while Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon, and Greg Biffle will be on the outside looking in.

Once again, I want to thank all of you for coming back to the site and encourage you all to sign up for the Yahoo Fantasy Racing League. Come back after the Budweiser Duel races are over on February 20th and I will have all of my predictions for the Daytona 500 posted for all of you to read!

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