As I write this, we are 37 days away from the Sprint Unlimited. Only 37 days - a little over a month! It seems as if there have been more changes than usual this year - more new drivers in Cup, more crew chief switches, more different paint schemes and sponsors and manufacturers, another last year for an icon. It's NASCAR's version of musical chairs. It is always a challenge to remember who and where everyone is at the start of the season. But it is a challenge I'm up for! Bring it on!
Let's see - Front Row will be in Toyotas this year. I wonder what they think they'll get from that? Seems to me they were pretty successful with Chevy but I admit to being a little biased in favor of the Bow Ties.
It will be strange seeing Chase Elliott in the 24 car. Will he be as intimidated following in the tire tracks of a legend as Joey Logano seemed to be when he took over Tony Stewart's seat or will he come out strong? Chase doesn't appear to be very easily intimidated to me.
Will he, Kyle Larson or Austen Dillon be the first to get their first Sprint Cup win?
I can only root for half of Richard Petty Motorsports this coming year - the Aric Almirola half. I do not like Brian Scott. Don't ask me why, I just don't.
Meanwhile, poor old Sam Hornish, Jr. wasn't able to capitalize on his opportunity and was left without a chair when the music stopped.
I'm glad to see Justin Allgaier is going to be with Junior Motorsports. I think he's a good little driver and I'm curious to see how he does in top notch equipment.
I'm also happy to see the Wood Brothers are going to run a full season with Ryan Blaney. He will be competing for Rookie of the Year along with Chase Elliott, Chris Buescher and Brian Scott so we have another good rookie field to watch this year. I'll put my money on Chase but I won't give you very high odds.
Clint Bowyer will be driving for HScott Motorsports in 2016 but that just a temporary slot until the following year when he'll join Stewart-Haas.
I can't even keep track of all the crew chief switches, there are just too many and so many new names. I hope Danica's new CC is a good fit for her. Ditto, Tony Stewart's new guy. I'd love to see him have a great last year like Jeff did. Nice to see Darian Grubb back at Hendrick. He had a good run as a crew chief but Hendrick seems like coming home. JGR, again, has had their own, smaller version of musical crew chiefs.
Speaking of Danica, I saw so many stories about her and Ricky during this off-season. They have just never seemed like a couple I would have matched up. I picture her with someone more, I don't know, manly, I guess. Ricky strikes me as such a kid. Of course, he may not be that way at all in real life and it's none of my business anyway.
One driver who might be in some danger if he doesn't step it up is Kasey Kahne. This could be a make or break year for him. Why does Hendrick always seem to have that one car that doesn't perform as well as the others?
And an entire team that is in somewhat the same position is Roush. They have been in a pit for the last few years. It would be great to see them pull themselves out of it.
If I could make a NASCAR wish, it would be for Jimmie to win his seventh Cup....but short of that, I'll be satisfied if he makes the Chase and goes past Dale Earnhardt Senior in the wins column.