Happy New Year! With the 2014 season just around the corner, it’s not too early to start looking ahead. For a variety of reasons, here are five drivers I will be watching with heightened interest…..
Denny Hamlin– After a season filled with calamity, Hambone finished the 2013 campaign with a win, signaling hope for the 11 team. Was it an omen? He’s been a winner throughout his career, here’s betting Hamlin will be right back in the mix of things this season.
Kyle Larson– It’s been some time since we’ve had a rookie class of the caliber that will be taking to the track in 2014, including this Sprint Car stud. He’s proven himself a quick study at each step of the way, but this next step will be his biggest. He sure seems up to it.
Austin Dillon– Kyle Larson won’t be the only not new phenom, the grandson of Richard Childress will also race full time in NASCAR’s top series in the season to come. Because of his heritage and the fact he will race with the iconic number three (made most famous by the beloved Dale Earnhardt) on his car, Dillon won’t be just any rookie. He will be expected to perform and carry himself in a certain way, whether it’s fair or not.
Dale Earnhardt Jr.– With steady, incremental steps, Junior has been getting better and better since his pairing with former Jeff Gordon crew chief Steve Letarte. The results have improved, but will this be the season Lil E starts reeling off multiple wins and a legitimate hot streak?
Jimmie Johnson– Will Jimmie Johnson reach the summit to join Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt as the only drivers in NASCAR Cup history to win seven championships? I’m not tipping my hand yet, as I will make a forecast later on for the 2014 season, but it will be interesting to see how well Jimmie Six Pack sustains his 2013 momentum.