If there’s one thing sport fans love to do on the build up to the season opener of their favourite discipline, it’s making wild predictions and we’re no different here at L&T Motorsport. Daniel Brown and I sat down to discuss the upcoming season.
Rookie of the year:
Daniel’s money is on the the super talented Darrell ‘Bubba’ Wallace Jr. Hopefully a change up from Ford to the new Chevrolet Camaro and a tie up with RCR will give the rookie and Richard Petty Motorsports a much needed boost up the field. Having filled in for an injured Aric Almirola for a few races last season and getting to know the team will certainly help boost Bubba’s confidence as he starts his rookie campaign.
Personally, I’m rooting for William Byron. Picking up four wins in his rookie Xfinity season, Byron seemed unflappable and in control come the playoffs. There’s a very calm and mature head on his young shoulders and like Daniel Suarez last season, I think Byron will be a reliable and consistent driver that won’t let the pressure of NASCAR’s premier series force rookie mistakes. I can see a win for the 24 and a place in the playoffs for William Byron this season.
First Time Winners
Daniel and I both agree on this one; Chase Elliott, it has to happen, right? He came so close on so many occasions last season, that surely it’s just a matter of time and what a story it will be if having his father’s number 9 on the side of his car is enough to knock down any psychological barriers and bring out the killer instinct to seal the deal! Daniel would even go as far as the say that Chase will emerge victorious at the Daytona 500 on Sunday.
Aside from Chase, who I’m sure most people are backing to claim his first victory, I’d also wager a win for Eric Jones, William Byron and Alex Bowman this year. Three young drivers in race winning machines. Eric Jones came so close to a win at Bristol last season and scored 5 top 5s, proving he has what it takes to run side by side with the big boys.
Playoff Drivers and Championship 4
Below, our 16 drivers who will fight for the title, the top four drivers are who we are backing to duke it out at Homestead in November. We agree on 75% on the championship four… It varies slightly there after!
|Shane’s Picks||Daniel’s Picks|
|Martin Truex Jr||Martin Truex Jr|
|Kyle Busch||Kyle Busch|
|Kevin Harvick||Kevin Harvick|
|Kyle Larson||Chase Elliott|
|Chase Elliott||Kyle Larson|
|Jimmie Johnson||Jimmie Johnson|
|Ryan Blaney||Ryan Blaney|
|Brad Keselowski||Brad Keselowski|
|Joey Logano||Joey Logano|
|William Byron||Clint Bowyer|
|Alex Bowman||Denny Hamlin|
|Austin Dillon||Bubba Wallace Jr|
|Erik Jones||Erik Jones|
|Kurt Busch||Kurt Busch|
|Daniel Suarez||Daniel Suarez|
|Ricky Stenhouse Jr||Jamie McMurray|
2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Champion
Daniel and I are once again able to agree on this. We think this driver and his team can learn from their early 2017 struggles and get into winning ways early in 2018 to race their way to the title. Our pick is…
#18in18 – Kyle Busch. We both feel that the safe bet here is for Rowdy to get it done. Toyota will still probably be the manufacturer to beat while the Camaros get dialled in and Ford are planning their new models for next season and beyond.
What’re your picks? Let us know @ltmsport !
Search NASCAR Fans UK on Facebook to join the UK's Largest NASCAR Fan Page! Images courtesy of Kevin Gravenell of Nascar Fans UK and Nascar.com