5 hot takes ahead of the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season

The dawn of a new season is upon us. The 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season will officially kick off with Sunday’s 65th annual Daytona 500 (2:30 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN). Here are my 5 hot takes ahead of the year.

  • AJ Allmendinger will make the Round of 8 – For the first time since 2018, Allmendinger will run a full season in Cup. I feel like he honestly can be a championship contender. There are 5 road courses in the regular season and for a driver that has won both of his Cup races on them as well as 10 times in the Xfinity Series, Allmendinger can pick up a win in the regular season to make the playoffs. Then, if he can escape the first round, the Charlotte ROVAL looms in Round 2. Allmendinger has won each of the last 4 years on the ROVAL in the Xfinity Series as well as finishing fourth in Cup there last year. Plus, it’s not just the road courses either. 6 of his last 8 Cup starts last year he had a top 10 finish. If he can win the ROVAL, he’s into the Round of 8 and in that round, he finished 9th in Vegas and 3rd in Homestead in Cup even, just last year.
  • Bubba Wallace wins more than once – The question entering the 2021 season was when can Bubba Wallace win? He finally did so in Talladega. The question entering 2022 was, when can Wallace win outside of the annual trips to Daytona and Talladega. He did. At Kansas. Now, I feel like Wallace will win multiple times in 2023 and make a playoff run in the process.
  • Ross Chastain Misses The Playoffs – The driver to finish 2nd in the points the previous season made it back to the Championship 4 a year later in just 2 of the last 5 seasons. Three times however too, they missed the playoffs all together including Martin Truex Jr. just last year. Ross Chastain…enter upset alert.
  • Kevin Harvick Wins Championship In Final Season – Talk about a walkoff. Harvick hasn’t made the Championship 4 since the 2019 season. We kept talking about if Phoenix ever became the championship clinching race, watch out. Well, they have. This is the 4th year of doing so. However, Harvick has never made it to Phoenix with a shot. This year, he does. Harvick finished in the top 5 of both Phoenix races last season and parlay’s that to a win in the 2023 season finale with a walkoff title.
  • No Rookie Of 2nd Year Driver Wins A Race – Ty Gibbs and Noah Gragson are both vying for rookie of the year honors. While I can see a path for Gibbs winning, I just think there’s so much parity among the top and that too many others will find victory lane. Gragson has some more learning to do himself. The second year drivers of Austin Cindric, Harrison Burton and Todd Gilliland also go winless leaving the only winners being in Year 3 in Cup or above.

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