Following the 2008 season, Journo and myself wrote a series of posts that covered all the major teams in the Cup Series. We looked at where they had been in 2008 and where they were going in 2009. The posts contained some predictions for the 2009 season, with some being more specific then others. I thought, since 2009 is in the books, that it would be fun to go back over the posts and see how we fared with our predictions. Listed below you will find all the teams we covered, our predictions, and what actually happened. Enjoy!
Prediction: All four drivers will be contenders for the 2009 title.
Actual:We were right, with one notable exception. Jimmie Johnson, Mark Martin, and Jeff Gordon finished 1-2-3 in the standings for HMS. But, Dale Earnhardt Jr. struggled all season and finished a disappointing 25th.
Earnhardt Ganassi Racing
Prediction:Martin Truex Jr. and Juan Pablo Montoya should win a few races each and both could make the Chase. The jury is still out though on Aric Almirola.
Actual: He never won a race, but Montoya did make the Chase and was a factor until late; we missed on Truex though. The Bass Pro Shops team only had one top five finish all season and they finished way down in 23rd in the standings. Almirola did struggle, and ended up only running eight races before the sponsorship money dried up.
Team Red Bull
Prediction:Expect Scott Speed to struggle in his rookie season, and a top 30 in points would be a victory. Brian Vickers will finish in the top 15 in points, but the Chase will still be out of reach for this team.
Actual: Speed did indeed struggle, and did not qualify for three races. He ended up 35th in driver standings and 36th in owner standings. He will be on the outside looking in for 2010. Vickers did a little better then we expected, with one win and a Chase appearance.
Joe Gibbs Racing
Prediction:Denny Hamlin will make the Chase, but isn’t good enough to really contend yet. Kyle Busch will continue being a force and will contend for the Cup. In his rookie season Joey Logano will finish top 25 in the points and show flashes of brilliance.
Actual: We were right about Hamlin and Logano, but we missed the call on Busch’s season. Hamlin finished fifth in the final standings, but too many DNFs in the Chase killed his chances at the Cup. Logano won at Loudon and finished 20th in the standings. Busch won four races, but struggled for much of the season and missed the Chase.
Richard Childress Racing
Prediction: Jeff Burton will win 1-3 races and make the Chase, but will not be a contender. Clint Bowyer will win 3-5 races and challenge for the Cup. Casey Mears will finish top 20 in points at best. Kevin Harvick will win a couple races, make the Chase, and have an outside shot at the Cup.
Actual: RCR was probably our biggest missed prediction. Bowyer, Burton, Harvick and Mears finished 15th, 17th, 19th, and 21st respectively. The whole organization struggled all season and didn’t win a single race.
Prediction: Tony Stewart and Ryan Newman will finish top 20 in points, we might see a couple wins between the two teams, but a Chase appearance and title contention are a few years away.
Actual:SHR was definitely a pleasant surprise this season. Stewart won four races and finished sixth in the standings. He led the points going into the Chase, but lost his momentum and slipped down the stretch. Newman never found victory lane, but did make the Chase on his consistency and finished ninth.
Prediction: The whole organization will struggle with the exception of maybe Kurt Busch.
Actual: Kurt Busch won two races and finished fourth in the Chase. Sam Hornish showed a little promise, but could only manage a 28th place points finish. David Stremme continued his history of lackluster performance and finished 32nd in the standings.
Gillett Evernham Motorsports/Richard Petty Motorsports
Prediction: The team won’t improve much over 2008, Kahne and Allmendinger are their greatest hopes.
Actual:Kahne won two races and did make the Chase, finishing 10th, but that was the bulk of their success. Allmendinger, Reed Sorenson, and Elliott Sadler all failed to finish inside the top 20 in points.
Roush Fenway Racing
Prediction: Carl Edwards will be dominant and could be the leading contender for the championship. Matt Kenseth will win 1-2 races and make the Chase. Greg Biffle will also win a race or two and make the Chase, but will not be a serious contender for the title. David Ragan and Jamie McMurray should improve over 2008 but neither will contend or make the Chase.
Actual: Edwards was a miss, as he failed to win a race and was never really a factor in the Chase. Kenseth did win two races, but just missed making the Chase. Biffle also went winless, but did make the Chase, finishing seventh. Ragan and McMurray had disappointing seasons, but McMurray did find victory lane at Talladega.
Prediction: Travis Kvapil and Paul Menard will continue to struggle. Bobby Labonte could surprise, but past history doesn’t bode well for him.
Actual: Kvapil ended up only running the first five races before his team was shut down due to lack of funding. Menard didn’t earn a top five or top ten all season and finished 31st in the points. Labonte did manage one top five finish, but ended up 30th in the driver standings and was replaced in the #96 late in the season by Erik Darnell.
Michael Waltrip Racing
Prediction: David Reutimann should continue to improve, but expect Michael Waltrip to hang up his driving gloves after 2009.
Actual: Reutimann did indeed improve in 2009, and collected a win, five top five, and ten top ten finishes. His team nearly made the Chase, but they faded late in the season and finished 16th in the standings. Waltrip’s struggles continued and a 33rd place points finish will see him run only a part time schedule in 2010.
Robby Gordon Motorsports
Prediction: Expect more of the same from Robby Gordon, a good finish here and there is the best he’ll do.
Actual: Gordon struggled most of the season, and only mustered a 34th place points finish. He did finish third in the rain shortened Coke 600 though.