MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES 2017
Jimmie Johnson’s target remains
almost the same as it did last year -
the only difference is that he’s now
thinking about an eighth title instead
of a seventh. This year is the third
time that the rules have been shaken
up immediately after he won a
championship, but history suggests
that he doesn’t need much time to
adapt to a new format. If anything,
the challenge of adding No. 8 under
new regs might serve as additional
motivation. Bad news for his rivals...
“Should we lead the points early, or
charge at the end?” Johnson and Chad
Knaus have a deep playbook to draw from.
Joe Gibbs Racing
SEVEN TO STOP JIMMIE?
They’re lining up to take Jimmie Johnson’s crown. Here are seven leading contenders...
It goes without saying that the Monster
Energy NASCAR Cup championship battle
will be close – under the current playoff
format, it’s literally impossible for it not to
be. But the question of who will still be in
the hunt for the four-way, winner-takes-all
finale at Homestead is far more open.
For strength in numbers, it’s hard to look
past the Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas. The
team’s hand has been weakened somewhat
by Carl Edwards’ unexpected retirement –
quick as he is, rookie replacement Daniel
Suarez will need time to grow – but Kyle
Busch and Denny Hamlin are still more
than capable of leading the team to glory.
Busch was denied back-to-back titles
by a poorly-handling car at Homestead
last year, but still chalked up four wins
during the season and a field-high
average finishing position of 9. 3. Hamlin,
meanwhile, fell out of the reckoning
before the final race, but still strung
together three wins in a consistent
campaign that should serve as a solid
foundation for 2017.
JGR is strong enough not to need an
ace up its sleeve, but it has one anyway:
Logano fired the
opening salvo of
the 2017 season
by winning the
non-points Clash at
Daytona. Expect him
to be a strong
the regular season.
Joe Gibbs Racing