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5 bold predictions for the upcoming 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR cup series season #5

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As NASCAR embarks on a new chapter in its storied 68 year history, an abundance of exciting possibilities await its loyal fan base come February.

Not only does the Cup series have an edgy new title sponsor in Monster Energy there will be tons of intriguing story lines that are sure to keep us all guessing until the final race at Homestead Miami in November. Well friends facts are stubborn things and there’s absolutely no way to know just what will transpire as the season rolls on.  But as always it’s amusing for the rest of us on the outside looking in to make our predictions before the season begins each year.

 

With that being said here are 5 bold predictions for the upcoming 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR cup series season.

 

  1. Roush Fenway Racing’s Ricky Stenhouse Jr & Trevor Bayne win races and make the chase.

 

Marred by a two year winless drought Roush Fenway Racing has elected to downsize its operation from three cars to two cars for the upcoming 2017 season.

 

Wiping the slate clean makes complete sense for the once proud organization as they embark on a quest for redemption.

Yes, I absolutely admire Jack Roush  for committing wholeheartedly to the method of less is more for the upcoming 2017 season.  Rumour has it Chris Buescher is set to rejoin his comrades back on the ranch in 2018 but that’s 2018 let’s focus on 2017.

Jack Roush has two of the sport’s most talented young veterans in his arsenal and finally deciding to build around them can only aid in chasing away the demons that have plagued them for the past couple of seasons.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr’s 2017 won’t be filled with flashes of brilliance like years past. Folks it’s time for the former Xfinity series champions coming out party in the cup series.

Fresh off a career best finish in the standings (21st) in 2016, Ricky Stenhouse Jr hovered around the chase picture right until the very end of the summer. Did we forget he was a few laps shy of passing Kevin Harvick for the win at Bristol in August?

Building on positive morale from last season certainly will propel the former Xfinity series champion into the winner circle for the first time in his young cup career. Working with a proven winner in crew chief Brian Pattie only elevates Stenhouse Jr’s chances of hitting all the high notes in 2017.

 

 

 

On the other end of the spectrum is the man who orchestrated an upset of gargantuan proportion at Daytona back in 2011, good ol Trevor Bayne.

 

After stunning the world six years ago it seemed as if Trevor Bayne was on the fast track to superstardom in the cup series.  However his star would fizzle out as fast as it ignited and Bayne would find himself lost in the Xfinity series shuffle all the while maintaining a mediocre part time schedule on the cup side with the famed Wood Brothers.

For what it’s worth Jack Roush would finally reward his once highly touted prospect Trevor Bayne with a full time gig on the cup side in 2015.   Focused on putting the past in the rear view mirror Bayne improved his position in the driver standings by seven spots in 2016.

Like his teammate Ricky Stenhouse Jr, Trevor Bayne remained solidly in the chase picture for a batter part of 2016.

 

Despite the growing pains Trevor Bayne gained valuable experience over the past two seasons as a cup series regular.

Now entering his third season behind the wheel of the famous #6 Ford, Bayne is primed for a breakout campaign in 2017 as he continues his march towards shedding the modern day Derrike Cope moniker.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christopher Sorbey is a member of the Mik Maq first nation, born and raised in the Maritime region of eastern Canada. Christopher is a lifelong sports aficionado. His interests include MLB, NFL, NBA, and NASCAR. Canadian literature, theater, podcasting Christopher is a graduate of Carleton University located in Ottawa Ontario Canada.Over the last four years Christopher has spent time covering NASCAR for Stock Car Spin & Auto Racing Daily, SportsRants . When he’s not writing Christopher enjoys walking his two dogs Booner & Aidan, reading novels, playing floor hockey, working out at the gym, and listening to the Rick Howe Show on News 95.7 Halifax.Currently Christopher is developing his own podcast, Green, White, Checkers set to launch in January 2018.

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NASCAR

Kyle Busch Wins Second NASCAR Cup Title

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Kyle Busch

Kylke Busch, who is arguably the most polarizing driver in NASCAR, won his second Cup title on Sunday and took the opportunity to celebrate the victory with fans, a big change from his first win back in 2015 when Busch ruined the massive championship banner by doing smoke-filled burnouts.

“It messed up the flag and everything, and I wanted to get a good shot with the flag everywhere, make sure everybody could get a good shot of the flag because we’re the 2019 champions,” Busch said (h/t ESPN/Associated Press). “There are always your doubters. There are always your haters. You know what? This one’s for ‘Rowdy Nation’ because you guys are the best. Thank you so much.”

Busch won the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway to snap a 21-race losing streak, doing so as teammates Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr. were slowed by pit-road issues.

Busch joined seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson as the only active drivers with multiple titles.

“You’ve got to be perfect. One mistake probably cost us the championship,” Truex said. “I’ve never had that happen. I don’t even know what to say. It doesn’t drive good with the left front on the right front, though, I can tell you that. It’s very tight.”

“I feel like I did all I could. I don’t feel I could have done a better job. I didn’t leave anything out there,” Hamlin said. “I was thinking we got a chance, and it just didn’t work out. We got a little aggressive there, and it cost us.”

“Everybody always says you never give up. We’re no different. We just do what we can do each and every week,” Busch said. “Sometimes we may not be the best. Sometimes we may not have the right track position. We had a really good car, and I could race around and move around. That’s what’s so special about Homestead Miami Speedway is the ability to put on a show.

“I felt like we did that there racing those guys. I know it kind of dulled out toward the end. It was exciting enough from my seat. It was a lot of fun to cap off such an amazing year.”

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When you’re looking to be ranked among the best female streamers, or looking to get your cosplay ranked in the best cosplay directory, then Gamactica can help! Whether you’re looking for streaming equipment or to network, the community has it all.

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NASCAR

Tony Stewart Punches Heckler During Race Track Fight

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Tony Stewart

NASCAR superstar Tony Stewart, a three-time NASCAR Cup Series champion, got into a fight with a heckler at a Jackson, Minnesota racetrack on Friday night, which saw the 48-year old driver punch a heckler in the face.

Stewart, who was the center of attention as that Jackson Motorplex put on “Tony Stewart Night”, was driving in a spring car race when his engine apparently blew out after only one lap.

Following the race, Stewart was signing autographs for fans when a heckler approached Stewart and, according to eye witnesses, began cussing Stewart out for “quitting” only one lap into the race.

Stewart responded to the colorful tirade, which included calling Stewart a “piece of sh#t”, but saying that; “I blew out my engine, you f#cking asshole. Do you want to pay for it?”

The exchange continued and escalated further when Stewart hauled off and punched the heckler in the face, with it all caught on video, courtesy of TMZ Sports.

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Auto Racing

Grading 2018′s New Driver/ Team Pairings – Alex Bowman/ Hendrick Motorsports

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Undeniably the apple of an entire nation’s eye for over two decades, Dale Earnhardt Jr poignantly announced in the spring of 2017 he would step away from driving in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series at the end of the 2017 season.

 

Once the initial shock value wore off, reality set in. Who could possibly fill the shoes of the sport’s most popular driver? Dale Jr’s lasting impression on legions of fans young and old is unparalleled. Ultimately the conundrum of the century would centre around who might fill the gargantuan shoes little E would leave behind.

Dale Jr’s departure from Hendrick Motorsports left one the sport’s most coveted rides up for grabs. Immediately the rumour mill was set ablaze with potential candidates loyal Dale Jr supporters fancied.  Following three months of intense speculation, Rick Hendrick would reveal Dale Jr’s replacement in late July 2017.

 

Next man up for the #88 team a tall lanky fella from Tucson Arizona.  Chances are y’all probably remember him as the kid that subbed for Dale Jr while he recovered from concussion-like symptoms that kept him from the seat of the Nationwide Chevrolet in the fall of 2016.

 

Certainly no stranger to the Monster Energy Cup Series (Made 81 Career starts from 2014-2016), Alex Bowman makes his triumphed return as a full time driver on the circuit for the first time in nearly two years. Driving the #88 car for Hendrick Motorsports axiomatically elevates Bowman from enchanting underdog to proverbial impact player. No longer a low man on the totem pole expeditious results at HMS would give credence to an emerging young star hoping for a rebirth following past failures with BK Racing & Tommy Baldwin Racing.

 

Thrust into a precarious position at the age of 21, Alex Bowman exhibited incredible poise in the face of adversity. Visibly Alex was not equipped for the competitive environment that cup racing bestowed upon him back in 2014. One quality season (2013 – 2 top 5’s, 6 top 10’s 2 poles, 11th in the driver standings) in the Xfinity Series cannot enumerate impending success on the other side.

Instead of licking his wounds Bowman bided his time wisely eventually earning the opportunity to sub for Dale Jr in the fall of 2016.  What could have easily morphed into catastrophic gaffe #3 for Bowman positively altered his career saving him from infinite anonymity.

 

In the 10 races (2016) Alex piloted the #88 car he made quite an accounting for himself (3 top 10’s, 1 pole) earning the respect and confidence of both Mr. Hendrick and Dale Jr.

 

The simple formula for success in 2018 relies squarely on the shoulders of Alexander Bowman.

Bowman’s familiarity with crew chief Greg Ives and the entire #88 team perpetuates some of the chemistry established back in 2016.  A contingent of smart fans out there including myself firmly believe Alex Bowman was on his way to capturing the checked flag at his home track(Phoenix) in November of 2016. On this day Bowman dazzled, starting the race from the pole ultimately leading 194 laps on his way to a career best 6th place finish.

 

Even though the former self-proclaimed bad luck Bowman left the desert without the checked flag, indisputably he walked away a winner.  Bowman’s courageous showing converted the cynics into believers. Without this fine performance in the bag Bowman could have found himself easily lost in the shuffle never to be heard from again.

Perseverance spearheaded the rise of Bowman mania. The whimsical wave of momentum Bowman’s been on since that race at Phoenix spilled over into 2017. Bowman turned heads in February finishing third in the Clash at Daytona, once again piloting the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet. He would also capture his first career Xfinity Series victory at Charlotte in the fall of 2017 driving for Chip Ganassi.

 

Perceptibly this young buck is completely equipped for the fate that awaits him once the green flag drops on the 2018 Monster Energy Cup Series at Daytona in February.

Rick Hendrick has all the confidence in the world in Bowman’s capabilities. Mr. H could have taken the high road and hired an established veteran driver, instead trusting Bowman’s youthful exuberance lets the entire racing world know he’s committed for the long haul.

Alex Bowman has the credentials to resuscitate Rick Hendrick’s anaemic #88 team from the ashes. Fresh blood can unite an entire nation of fans that are starving for a breath of fresh air.

 

Don’t Be Dale Jr, Be Alex Bowman. That’s paramount.

 

Alex Bowman has an entire nation on his side. So watcha  gonna do when Bowmanmania runs wild on you?

 

Final grade – B

 

Photo courtesy of Autoweek

 

 

 

 

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