On the background of interesting storylines such as Tony Stewart’s retirement at season’s end, an interesting NASCAR racing field that constitutes a perfect blend of old and new faces, and changes in the racing modules (such as the new inclusion of the low downforce package); the 2016 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup has the potential of becoming one of the most memorable speed-racing events in over a decade. To get you prepped up for this racing event, let’s get our engines cracking with the following five bold predictions and picks for the 2016 Sprint Cup title odds, while also highlighting some top racers to watch out for in the competition.
2016 NASCAR Sprint Unlimited Betting Predictions and Picks
1- Roush Fenway Racing Due for a Rebounding Year
After a super-disappointing performance last year and another under par show in 2014, Roush Fenway Racing is likely to witness an improved campaign this year, featuring better in terms of competitiveness. The company won’t do as well as it used to do in its old glory days of old, but it will definitely do better than it has done in the last two season.
2- Kurt Busch Will be 2016’s Cinderella Driver
In 2014, Ryan Newman was NASCAR’s Cinderella driver and, in 2015, Martin Truex Jr. was the Cinderella driver, both of them reaching the champion round. For 2016, we feel Kurt Busch will be the Cinderella driver. Not only is Busch in one of the best places in his life in a long time, but he is also coming off a strong performance in the second half of the 2015 season. In fact, had the older of the Busch brothers not finished 34th in the Chase race at Martinsville Speedway, he could have very possibly reached the championship round and even gone ahead to win a second Chase championship (his first Chase title came in 2004). With all that considered, Busch should be able to at least reach the championship round in 2016, if not win the title.
3- Chase Elliott Will Win Rookie Honors
This year’s rookie class is arguably the deepest and most talented in history of the Sprint Cup Series, meaning several racers have a chance to impress. In addition, succeeding Jeff Gordon in the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet won’t be easy for Chase Elliot, given the Sprint Cup Series is an entirely different animal. That said, we are leaning on Elliot, who’s the son of NASCAR Hall of Famer and former champ Bill Elliott, to win the rookie honors. Outside the pedigree brought by being the son of a proven racer, the rookie brags of having won the Xfinity championship in 2014 and finishing second in 2015. Added to the advantage of driving for a proven organization in Hendrick Motorsports, Elliot has the necessary ingredients to clinch the rookie honors.
Top Racers to Watch in the 2016 Sprint Cup
Apart from Busch (whom we’ve already talked about above) and Joey Logano (who will be talking about at the end of this article), here are other top racers to watch out for in the 2016 Sprint Cup.
- Dale Earnhardt Jr.: This year will mark Earnhardt’s 17th full-time season in Sprint Cup racing, and he will be turning 42 years old on October 10 and reportedly get married when the racing season ends. This sets up a good storybook tale for the ace rider to finally win that elusive first Sprint Cup championship that has eluded him and his loyal diehard fans. And after seeing Peyton Manning and his Denver fans get a similar wish granted in Super Bowl 50, it would be ill-advised to write off such a possibility here.
- Kevin Harvick: If you watched how Harvick impressed last year, you’d agree that he is worth some solid value in this year’s competition. Harvick’s dominance at key Chase tracks gives him an advantage that can only be compared to Jimmie Johnson. In addition, Harvick is a proven racer when it comes to getting points and his crew consistency is a near-sure bet for success, something that could see him hoist a second title in November.
- Carl Edwards: Despite making it to the Final Eights last year, he never really felt like a legitimate finals contender, probably because of nerves of questionable experience. This year, he looks different; not only is he smooth on 1.5 mile tracks, but he is also upped his game in terms of avoiding track trouble. This is something your top favorites like Matt Kenseth and Denny Hamlin don’t seem to have. So although Kenseth and/or Hamlin could look the part of being able to reach the Championship round along with Edwards, it is Edwards that looks solid enough for me to point his way to Homestead in 2016.
4- We Will Have a New Champion
Over the past five seasons, the Chase format has produced five different champions and we have a feeling that the same trend will hold true this year, meaning we will have a new champion in the 2016 season.
5- Joey Logano Will be The Champion
The likes of Hamlin, Kenseth, Edwards, Harvick and Earnhardt Jr. bring a lot of pedigree and it would not be a surprise if any of them ended up claiming the championship. Our bet, however, is on Joey Logano, based on the following key reasons. For starters, Logano had the best team and hadn’t it been for Matt Kenseth’s recklessness, he would have won the Championship. This year, Logano comes with more experience and a better team, but more importantly, he’ll be wise enough to want to avoid another wreck by staying devoid of last year’s mistakes. In addition, the pit crew performed quite well, meaning there is continuity in the program, and Logano knows what it takes to get to the homestead, going by his great pedigree at key tracks. If he can use his experience and talent to his advantage, he should be a hot pick to hold the title at Homestead.