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Three Bold Predictions for the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series Season

The start of the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season is less than 60 days away with the Clash at the Colosseum. There, we will see drivers with new teams as well as new rookies in the Cup Series. 2024 is shaping up to be one of the most intense seasons thus far in the Cup Series. This is due to several schedule changes as well as changes that are being made to the Next-Gen car. With off-season testing taking place over the past few weeks, there are hopes of plenty of changes for the positive. Who knows what will happen in 2024? Let’s talk about three bold predictions that I have for the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series Season.

Zane Smith will win Rookie of the Year:

If you have paid attention to the Craftsman Trucks Series closely over the last three years or so, you will know that Zane Smith is a young man with a lot of talent. He earned his first career Truck Series win in 2020 and placed second in the Championship to Sheldon Creed that season. This made the desire for Smith to win all the much greater. In 2021, Smith would once again come up short of the Championship that season, to Ben Rhodes. Finally, in 2022, Smith had the year he was hoping for with four wins and the Truck Series Championship. Coming into 2023, Smith and Front Row Motorsports had high expectations for themselves. Unfortunately, they fell short of the Championship this season.

On September 16th, 2023, it was announced that Spire Motorsports had bought the charter of Live Fast Motorsports and would be using that charter as a third car for Zane Smith. This third car will also be in a partnership with Trackhouse Racing next season. If Smith is to win Rookie of the Year in 2024, he will have to overcome his Spire Motorsports teammate, Carson Hocevar. Hocevar had the season of his life in 2023 with four wins in the Truck Series in what looked to be a Championship winning season. Smith and Hocevar head the 2024 Cup Series Rookie field and will be the two drivers to beat for Rookie of the Year. But it will be Zane Smith coming out on top with Rookie of the Year honors in 2024.

Alex Bowman will be the Dominant Driver in 2024:

This one is easily the boldest out of the three predictions I have lined up for today. Alex Bowman has been what some would call the oddball over the years in his career at Hendrick Motorsports. Ever since his full-time Hendrick debut in 2018, his seasons have been pretty solid. Unfortunately, the 2023 season was Bowman’s worst season at Hendrick Motorsports to date. Early in the season, Bowman was the points leader for some races. After Talladega, the 10th event of the season, Bowman was sidelined due to a fractured vertebra in his back after a Sprint Car crash on April 26th, 2023. He was out until late May and returned to racing in the Coca-Cola 600. People expected Bowman to return to form before his injury, but that was not the case.

Bowman had a terrible second half of the season and failed to make the Playoffs for the first time since joining Hendrick Motorsports. Recently, fans and analysts have been calling for Bowman to be released from his Hendrick Motorsports seat after not living up to expectations the past few years. His most recent win was in Las Vegas in March of 2022. If Bowman is to keep his seat at Hendrick Motorsports, he needs a breakthrough year. In 2021 he earned four wins, but it wasn’t a dominating year. Alex Bowman has a chip on his shoulder. There are many drivers that are coming up through the ranks that could easily take his seat. But next season, Alex Bowman is going to have a dominating season. It will be interesting to see what Bowman can do next season.

Ross Chastain will be the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series Champion:

It has been well documented in the last few years that Ross Chastain is a driver with a never-back-down attitude. From the wall ride at Martinsville to defending himself against Noah Gragson at Kansas, Chastain is a driver not to mess with. From 2018 to 2020, Chastain has made a name for himself in the Trucks and Xfinity Series. He won several races in that time span and finally made his way up to the Cup Series in 2021 for Chip Ganassi Racing. In the summer of 2020, Leavine Family Racing announced the sale of its assets to former Cup Series driver, Justin Marks. This was the start of Trackhouse Racing. Eventually, on June 30th, 2021, Marks announced the purchase of the NASCAR operations of Chip Ganassi Racing. This expanded Trackhouse to a two-car team starting in 2022.

In March of 2022, Chastain earned his first Cup Series win at Circuit of the Americas. He and his teammate, Daniel Suarez, had great years in 2022. However, the same can’t be said for 2023. It was still a solid year for Chastain after winning two races, but it was inconsistent. Marks has said that this team is ready to win the Championship. Their time is eventually coming. That is why I predict Ross Chastain will be the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series Champion. Trackhouse has the speed to get Chastain to the Championship Four, but do they have the consistency to do so? Chastain can win the races to make it back to Phoenix. In 2022, Chastain reached the Championship Four after a video-game-like move at Martinsville on the final lap. If Chastain can make it back to Phoenix, he will be tough to beat.

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