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2011 NASCAR Predictions

Posted by chadmusselman on February 6, 2011

There are still a couple of weeks until the NASCAR season gets under way, but why not take a stab at some predictions for the 2011 season.  Each year I take a guess at who will win the Championship, most races, etc. and this season will be no different.  Last year I got two of them right, was way off on two, and pretty close on one.  Maybe I can do better in 2011.

Champion: Jimmie Johnson
Five championships in a row; are you kidding me?  Until he gets beat, you simply can’t bet against Jimmie Johnson.  His championship in 2010 was easily the most difficult of the five, so I wouldn’t be surprised if Denny Hamlin, Carl Edwards, or someone else got hot at the right time and broke Johnson’s streak.  That alone isn’t enough to scare me away.  There’s no reason to think he can’t win a 6th championship in a row.

Most Disappointing: Clint Bowyer
I don’t say this thinking Clint will have an absolutely horrible season, but he is one of the 2010 Chasers that may not make it in 2011.  Bowyer has made the chase three of the last four seasons, but 2010 wasn’t anything special for him, finishing 12th in the standings, and having six finishes of 30th or worse.  Bowyer finishing 15th – 20th in the 2011 standings would be a big disappointment, which is where he may end up.     

Most Surprising: A.J. Allmendinger
Don’t ask me why, but I have a feeling that A.J. Allmendinger is on track to have a break-out year.  In his four seasons in Sprint Cup he’s made a steady improvement in the standings going from 44th place in 2007 to 19th place in 2010.  Now that Richard Petty has control over RPM again maybe it will be what’s needed to put Allmendinger over the hump and get him contending for a Chase spot.  He may not make the chase, but if he can finish 13th or even 14th in the standings, that would be a great season.

Rookie Of The Year: Trevor Bayne
Trevor gets this award by default since I haven’ t heard of any other rookies in 2011.  He did alright in one race last season, so maybe he’ll do well in his limited schedule this year.

Comeback Driver: Brian Vickers
Vickers had health issues in 2010 with blood clots in both lungs and his left leg.  He was forced to sit out a majority of the season, missing all races from May on (11th race).  Vickers made the chase in 2009, and even though he missed 25 races in 2010 he had enough points to finish 40th.  Brian has proved that he’s a good driver and can collect top ten finishes.  Now that he’s medically cleared to drive again he should be contending for top ten finishes on a weekly basis.

Most Wins: Tony Stewart
Denny Hamlin had the most wins in 2010, and Jimmie Johnson had the second most, but Stewart has the skill and equipment to win a lot of races and could compile more wins than both of them in 2011.  Stewart only won two races in 2010, which is a low number for him.  He’s averaging just over 3 wins per season with 39 in 12 years.  His high-water mark is 6 wins in the 2000 season when he finished 6th in the point standings.  2011 is his third year of being the owner/driver of the No. 14 Old Spice Chevrolet.  He should have all his ducks in a row and be ready for a great 2011.

Have predictions of your own?  Leave a comment and let everyone know.

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