April 12 2011 by Mark Deyer
It's been 7 races into the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup season and already we've seen a little bit of everything. From a rookie winning the Daytona 500 (Trevor Bayne), to a near win for the sport's most popular driver (Dale Earnhardt Jr, Martinsville), to a return to winning ways for the sport's biggest love-to-hate-him driver (Kyle Busch), the 2011 season has been a mixed bag of headlines.
Here's what we can (hope) to expect in the remaining 30 races of the 2011 season:
- Complete domination by Kyle Busch. Seems like every year Kyle Busch wins more races than anyone else, but struggles to put the pieces together in the final stretch of the season. This year, with a new crew chief and one more year under this belt, we can expect to see another handful of wins for the 18 car.
- Top Ten Finishes for David Reutimann's 00 team. After a slow start to the 2011 season, we can expect to see the Michael Waltrip Racing veteran pick it up in the middle half of the season when the intermediate tracks start to make their way into the rotation more often. A short stint filling in for the injured Martin Truex Jr. in the Nationwide Series next week may be just want David needs to rejuvenate and turn the corner.
- Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s first win since 2008. Most of us are waiting with baited breath for NASCAR's favorite driver to return to his winning ways. We'll steal a line from the Chicago Cub's playbook and say 'This year is the year.' With a near with last week at Martinsville, and a 5 race streak of top 12 finishes, Jr. certainly seems poised for a victory in the near future.
- Fun, fun, fun from Michael Waltrip and the 15 car. Racing on a shortened, pressure free schedule, we're seeing how much fun Michael Waltrip can have behind the wheel of a racecar. In impressive win in the Camping World Truck series, wacky paint schemes for 2011, and a handpicked schedule of exciting racetracks have us believing that Michael is having more fun than anyone else right now.
- Closer racing, on the track and in the standings. We all loved the "Have at it boys!" mentality from NASCAR officials last year, and now the simplified scoring systems has the standings set as the next place for elbow grinding. The newly revamped scoring system should make way for a tight and exciting environment as we get closer to the Chase for the Spring Cup. Needless to say, we're excited to see drivers duking it out on the tracks and on paper each Sunday night.
With so many new changes and evolving storylines this year, we cannot wait to see what the rest of the 2011 NASCAR Season has in store for us. What are you looking forward to most?