To the surprise of absolutely nobody, Jimmie Johnson won his sixth Sprint Cup. One of the first questions Johnson heard was what it would take to win a seventh title. So much for the celebration.
So let’s take a look back at the last race of 2013 to see who might be in the best place to challenge Jimmie Johnson in 2014…Bert Convy style.
Win: Denny Hamlin
If anyone deserved a win other than Mark Martin, it’s Denny Hamlin. What a miserable 35 races for Hamlin. Now, Hamlin at least has something positive to say when asked about the other 35 miserable races of his cursed 2013 Sprint Cup season. Plus, Hamlin wasn’t afraid of Johnson when those two raced for the title back in 2010. Add Joe Gibbs Racing, its newly found 1.5 mile mojo and Hamlin’s love of smaller tracks, there are crazier contenders out there.
Lose: Roush Fenway Racing
Most people look at the top of the standings at the end of the season. Often times, looking at the bottom of the standings is more telling. What happened to Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle? Both were complete non-factors. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was underwhelming in his rookie year. Even the 1.5 mile wheelhouse is more of a wheelshack. This will be an interesting offseason.
Draw: Brad Keselowski
How fitting is it to look at the bottom and at the top at the same time? Brad Keselowski was 34 points ahead of Jamie McMurray among those who didn’t make the Chase. Talk about crushing the field. The bad news is Brad Keselowski didn’t make the Chase. How did that happen?
Which Hamlin shows up in 2014? Which Roush Fenway Racing shows up in 2014? Which Keselowski shows up in 2014? And does any of it matter if Jimmie Johnson does what Jimmie Johnson does? 2014 can’t start soon enough.