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Posts Tagged ‘Predictions’

A Look Back At My 2011 Season Predictions

Posted by chadmusselman on November 28, 2011

Each year, before the season starts, I make my NASCAR predictions on who will win the championship, the most races, etc.  Sometimes the predictions come true and sometimes they are way off.  Let’s take a look at this year’s and see how they turned out.

Champion: Prediction: Jimmie Johnson   Actual: Tony Stewart
What can I say?  I went with the safe bet and was wrong.  Jimmie had his “worst” year ever in NASCAR with career lows in point standings (6th) and wins (2).  His average starting position of 12.9 was his worst since 2002.  To my defense, I did say that I wouldn’t be surprised if someone like Carl Edwards won the championship.  He tied for it, so I guess that doesn’t really count.  Congrats to Tony Stewart and his great run in the Chase.  Maybe we should have known he would break Jimmie Johnson’s streak since he was the driver that won the championship back in 2005, before Johnson’s amazing run began.

Most Disappointing: Prediction: Clint Bowyer
I was pretty close on this one.  Bowyer did not make the chase, and finished 13th in points.  I thought he may be further down in 15th – 20th, but overall it wasn’t a good year for Bowyer.  He had 16 top ten finishes in 2011.  The only time he had fewer in a full season was 2006, his first one as a full-time driver.  Bowyer will have to work hard to get back in the chase.

Most Surprising: Prediction: A.J. Allmendinger
I think my prediction of Allmendinger’s season was a darn good one.  He didn’t have to make the chase to be surprising, but he almost did it anyway.  Also, finishing 15th is a good accomplishment for Allmendinger.  He’s improved each season of his career, and should be a legitimate contender to make the chase next season.

Rookie Of The Year: Prediction: Trevor Bayne    Actual: Andy Lally
Winning the Daytona 500 is a great way to start off your career!  Officially, Bayne wasn’t a rookie in 2011, but how can you say he wasn’t the best first year driver out there?  NASCAR has recognized Andy Lally as the 2011 Rookie Of The Year.  He won by default since he was the only official rookie racing in the Sprint Cup Series.  Lally averaged a 30.8 place finish in 2011 while Bayne averaged a 25.8 place finish.  Both have a ways to go, but Bayne got the big win and shows a lot of promise.

Comeback Driver: Prediction: Brian Vickers    Actual: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
It can be hard to judge the comeback driver of the year, but it’s safe to say that , although Vickers does have a great story with his comeback, his performances on the track weren’t good enough.  Dale Earnhardt Jr. on the other hand, really stepped up in 2011 and proved that he is still a good driver and can contend with the elite.  Earnhardt made the chase and finished 7th, right in between his teammates Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon.

Most Wins: Prediction: Tony Stewart     Actual: Tony Stewart
Nailed it!  Five wins for Stewart gets him the award for most wins this season.  The amazing part is that he did this in the Chase, propelling himself to the championship.  Stewart really is a great driver, and I guess we can now call him a pretty good owner.


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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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2010 NASCAR Predictions

Posted by chadmusselman on February 7, 2010

PredictionWe’re a week away from the start of the NASCAR season, and every team thinks they have a chance to win the Sprint Cup championship. Daytona, NASCAR’s “Superbowl”, is the first step in achieving the goal but winning the 500 doesn’t guarantee a spot in the Chase. Just ask Matt Kenseth and Ryan Newman about that.

Here are some of my predictions for the season. We’ll see how well I do in nine months time.

Champion: Jimmie Johnson
How can you go against Jimmie right now? I didn’t think that Jimmie would win 3 championships in a row, and last year I didn’t think he’d win 4 in a row. I’m not going to doubt Jimmie again. I have to see someone dethrone him before I pick someone else to win the Championship.

Most Disappointing: Greg Biffle
I don’t think Greg will have an awful year, but of the drivers that made the chase last year he has a lot of expectations to do better. I feel that he’s one of the weaker drivers that did make the chase, and there are better drivers that will make it this year, possibly bumping him out of the chase.

Most Surprising: David Ragan
2007 was David’s first full season in Sprint Cup and he finished 23rd in points. 2008 was a strong sophomore season and he finished 13th. He regressed in 2009 finishing 27th with only 2 top tens. I don’t think David will make the chase, but he should finish in the top 15 this season. With the resources of Roush Fenway Racing behind him there’s no reason David can’t have a bounce back season. If he doesn’t, I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets let go.

Rookie Of The Year: Terry Cook
To be honest I think there’s only one other guy officially entered for Rookie Of The Year considerations (Kevin Conway). I’m not too familiar with either driver. The only reason I’m picking Terry Cook is he’ll be at Daytona and Kevin won’t. If he can make the race it’ll be an advantage for Terry.

Comeback Driver: Kevin Harvick
Kevin had a poor 2009, finishing 19th in points with only 9 top ten finishes. This was his worst showing since 2002 when he finished 21st with 8 top tens. He came back to finish 5th in 2003, and I expect him to do something similar for 2010. He hasn’t won a race since the Daytona 500 in 2007. I expect him to break the winless streak, get a couple wins, and make the chase.

Most Wins: Jimmie Johnson
He’s the champ, and he led the series with 7 wins last season. Like I said earlier, until someone can prove they’re better than Jimmie, I’m going to pick him.

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

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Driver Recommendations for the 2009 Chevy Rock & Roll 400 at Richmond

Posted by chadmusselman on September 8, 2009

The picks last week were horrible. There’s no way this week can be as bad, so here we go. Richmond gets the final race before the chase starts. Kyle Busch and Brian Vickers are just outside of the top 12, and should be driving pretty aggressive Saturday night to get in. Look for Kyle to really cause some excitement and make a few other drivers mad.

Recommendations this week:

Chaser: Tony Stewart
Tony has 4 consecutive top fives at Richmond and 5 consecutive top tens. His 3 wins at the track are tied for best among active drivers, and his average finish of 10th is 3rd best. Overall he has 9 top fives and 15 top tens in 21 career races. Obviously Tony is in the Chase, and his only motivation on Saturday night will be to win and get 10 more bonus points.

Alternate Chaser: Kyle Busch
Kyle has the best average finish (6.1) among active drivers at Richmond, with 7 top fives and a win in 9 career races. He sits 14th in points and needs gain two spots to make the chase. Look for Kyle to be driving like a mad man and causing havoc. If he doesn’t wreck, or get wrecked, he should be in the top five contending for the win.

Mark Martin
Mark has finished in the top five in the last 3 races here. In his 47 career races at the track he has 26 top tens, 16 top fives, and 1 win. Mark should make the chase, but being in 10th spot by only 49 points doesn’t make it a sure thing. He will have to drive hard and get a good finish to ensure his spot.

Ryan Newman
Ryan does well at Richmond with an 11.7 average finish and has done well in his last 5 races with an average finish of 13th. Putting those two things together makes me believe that he should do well Saturday night. In 15 career races he has 9 top tens, so Ryan should be up front and driving easy all night.

Darkhorse: Marcos Ambrose
The spring race was Marcos’ first at Richmond, but he did finish 11th. Over the past 5 races he has finished 34th, 2nd, 35th, 3rd, and 23rd. If that trend continues he should be on pace to have another top five finish. Let’s hope that is what happens.

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Driver Recommendations for the Lenox Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire

Posted by chadmusselman on June 22, 2009

We’re almost half way through the season and this is the first trip to New Hampshire. Lots of chasers have good records here with eight in the top 10 for best average finishes at the track. The only two non-chasers in the top 10 for average finishes here are Martin Truex Jr. and Mark Martin. The racing has been getting better and more exciting to watch and hopefully continues at the 1-mile oval on Sunday.

Recommendations this week:

Chaser: Jimmie Johnson
Jimmie has registered top 10 finishes in the last 4 races here and 6 of the last 7. His 9.9 average finish is 3rd best among active drivers. He also has two career wins and nine top 10s in 14 career races. Add to this the fact that he’s averaging a 9.4 place finish over the past 5 races this season and he’s an easy pick to put on your team. Jimmie should be the man on Sunday.

Alternate Chaser: Denny Hamlin
No active driver has a better average finish at New Hampshire than Denny. His 7.2 average finish is more than 2.5 spots better than the next guy. He has a win and five top 10s in six career races. Denny is a very good driver and likes this track. There’s no reason to believe he won’t be in the front on Sunday.

Ryan Newman
Not long ago Ryan was in the middle of a great run with 6 consecutive top ten finishes. His luck has changed a bit in the last two races finishing 23rd and 17th. I don’t think that streak of bad finishes will continue. New Hampshire is a track he has a pretty good record at with 2 wins, 5 top fives, and 9 top tens in 14 career races. Good enough numbers to keep him on your team and ride out that little rough patch.

Mark Martin
Whether it’s bad luck, lack of focus/concentration, or what, Mark hasn’t done will in the race after a win this season. In those races he’s averaging a 31.7 place finish. Two races later he has a 5th and 10th place finish. This is the 2nd race after his last win. Is another top 5 or 10 run in store for Mark? I think so. He hasn’t raced here since 2006, but in 24 career races he has 13 top tens and an average finish of 11th, good enough for 4th among
active drivers.

Dark Horse: Martin Truex Jr.
First the bad: Martin has the 9th worst average finish over the last 5 races, at 24.6 with his best finish being 18th over that span. His confidence may be shaken a bit by that, but nothing can get him going again more than racing at a track you have success at. Now the good: Martin has performed very well at New Hampshire. His average finish of 9.8 is 2nd best among active drivers, and he’s recorded his 4 top ten finishes here over the past two seasons. With that, I say Martin is the perfect dark horse for New Hampshire and should finish in or close to the top ten.

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2009 NASCAR Predictions

Posted by chadmusselman on February 9, 2009

We’re less than a week away from the start of the NASCAR season, and everyone thinks they have a chance to win the Sprint Cup championship. Daytona is the first step in achieving the goal, but as Ryan Newman learned last year, winning the 500 doesn’t guarantee a good season.

Here are some of my predictions for the season. We’ll see how well I do in nine months time.

Champion: Carl Edwards
Carl won the most races last year and had streaks where he flat out dominated. To say It’ll be tough for Jimmie to win four in a row in an understatement. I like him, but it’s time for someone else to win. Carl is that someone.

Most disappointing: Kyle Busch
Now let me explain myself… Sure Kyle won a thousand races last year, but that’s the problem. He’s going to run about 100 races this season between Cup, Nationwide, and Trucks. I don’t care how he dominates inferior talent in the lower divisions. He’ll wear down again in the chase, not keep his focus, and fail. Until his ADD attitude can be honed in on the one task that should matter (Winning the Cup championship) he’ll never be as good as Jimmie Johnson or Jeff Gordon.

Most surprising: Brian Vickers
Brian did pretty good last year and had some good runs. I think with some of the mid-level teams contracting/merging it makes Brian’s team look better. There are now less teams with better equipment than him, and I think that’ll help him make the chase this season and even finish in the top 6 in points.

Rookie of the year: Joey Logano
Scott Speed is the only other option for this, and I think he’ll do fine, but he doesn’t have Joe Gibbs Racing and the resources that come with it behind him. Joey has superior people around him and should win the rookie of the year award fairly easily.

Comeback driver: Kurt Busch
Remember when Kurt was relevant? Remember when he won a championship, and actually won races? I think he’ll be back to similar form this season. He can’t let little brother show him up on the track again this season; he’s just too good of a driver. Isn’t he?

Most wins: Carl Edwards
Along with the championship for Carl comes the most wins. He’ll be a tough one to beat.

The almost guy: Martin Truex Jr.
This seemed to be Kasey Kahne a couple years ago. This is the poor driver that gets caught up in other drivers’ wrecks, or runs out of gas while leading the race with two laps to go. Martin seems to be a good driver, but I think this season he’ll be just a tick off and will miss the chase.

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

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