Sunday, January 31, 2010

Predictions: RaceDriven.com picks Mark Martin to win the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. will be a contender every week for victories and for the championship in 2010.

Once again, another season of NASCAR racing approaches and there is no preseason testing at Daytona and while I’m alright with it not at Daytona, I would like to see NASCAR put preseason testing out west at Phoenix, Las Vegas or even California Speedway to get all teams up to speed especially with new rule changes. The preseason testing also gets the fans attention, getting them revived up for the approaching season and that’s a good thing.

So with the 2010 Budweiser Shootout, the Duels at Daytona, the of course the approaching Daytona 500 coming in a week or two, today I’m rapping up my three-part series on predictions for 2010. In this edition, I predict who will win the championship and some key drivers who will make the Chase for the Sprint Cup in 2010.

First and for most, I realize that Jimmie Johnson is the four-time defending champion, but I want to be a little more bolder and simply say Mark Martin will win the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship after a tight championship battle between Martin, Jimmie Johnson and Tony Stewart.

The reason why I say Mark Martin and not Jimmie Johnson or Tony Stewart is simply experience, time to gel, a change in pace, logic and numbers. Mark Martin had 2009 to gel with his new team and they were championships contenders in the chase last year, so I have no doubt they will be contenders in 2010. Besides what is fun in predicting Jimmie Johnson for the second year in a row anyway.

Note, one year I predicted Kasey Kahne would win the championship after a strong regular season showing and the article received a lot of talk and comments online.

But I would like to say one thing, Jimmie Johnson is a true champion, he and the entire #48 team is the best in NASCAR hands down. There should be no doubt that this team will be contenders again in 2010 and I wouldn’t be surprised if Jimmie Johnson wins the championship, but I’m still for Mark Martin, it’s his time.

Second, who will make the 2010 Chase for the Sprint Cup? In no particular order, Mark Martin, Jimmie Johnson, Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon, Clint Bowyer, Carl Edwards, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, and Juan Montoya.

Most of the drivers on the list above are from last season’s chase and are the odds on favorites to make the chase again in 2010, however I have chosen once again chosen all six Hendrick Motorsports drivers, which including both Tony Stewart and Ryan Newman over at Stewart-Haas Racing, Tony Stewart is given, I don’t see him missing this, Ryan Newman is in the same equipment and Tony Stewart and he ran well in 2010. Besides, I’m not going to beat against Hendrick Motorsports. When it comes to Dale Earnhardt Jr., it’s a wait and see, but I have faith.

On the other hand, I left off Matt Kenseth, Kenseth just doesn’t have any luck right now, second, I normally would put Harvick in, however after last year and the fact that this is Kevin Harvick’s last year on his contract with RCR, I’m not feeling it. But I did put Bowyer in, I believe one RCR car will make the chase.

Wild Card drivers to watch that most likely will not make the chase, but will contend hard for it, first, Kasey Kahne. Kahne seems to be the odd man out of most lists, he will win in 2010 for the newly merged Richard Petty Motorsports (with former Yates Racing) with Roush-Fenway Racing, but I’m not sure what to think beyond that.

Will Jeff Gordon win in 2010? I have seen this question on some racing sites and heard it in the media, personally while I am not a Jeff Gordon fan, he is a champion and he will win again in 2010, but not the championship.

Finally, considering the ROY battle isn’t much, I’m going to skip that and say Joey Logano is a one to watch in 2010 and so is Michael Waltrip racing. Having a three-car headed up by Martin Truex Jr. will be huge in 2010.

Related articles:
1. Part 2 -- Predictions: Top 6 biggest NASCAR storylines to watch in 2010.
2. Part 1 -- Predictions: Who's going to be 2010's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series breakout star?
3. Top 3 most memorable NASCAR experiences