The 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season isn’t that ancient of history, as the Sprint Cup Series Awards banquet was Friday night and the checkered flag waved on the season-finale at Homestead-Miami just a few short weeks ago. In the brief amount of time since, though, silly season has been in full effect, but not in terms of driver changes. Instead, crew chiefs have been on the move. While crew chief changes came at places such as Hendrick Motorsports and Chip Ganassi Racing, eyes remained on Joe Gibbs Racing for a highly-anticipated rendition of JGR crew chief musical chairs.
The 2015 driver/crew chief pairings at Joe Gibbs Racing were, finally, officially announced on Thursday. They are as follows: Denny Hamlin/Dave Rogers, Carl Edwards/Darian Grubb, Kyle Busch/Adam Stevens and Matt Kenseth/Jason Ratcliff.
Long story short — Kenseth kept his crew chief of the past two seasons, Busch was paired with his crew chief from the Nationwide Series, Hamlin got Busch’s previous crew chief, and Edwards’ welcoming gift from JGR was Hamlin’s previous crew chief.
Since Thursday, there have been arguements made for each of these pairings working out to be the cream of the JGR crop in 2015. And there are valid arguements for each of the four pairs.
Really, do any of these pairings look bad? I really don’t think so. No, I’m not just taking the easy way out. I really think all of these four pairings have the correct ingredients for immediate and substantial success.
If I were forced to pick a pair, though, I think maybe I’d go with Busch/Stevens. It’s hard to argue the success this duo has had at the Nationwide level, or I guess I should say Xfinity at this point.
Yeah, yeah, I realize Xfinity isn’t Sprint Cup and, perhaps, one of the reasons Busch dominates at the Xfinity and Camping World Truck series levels but not Sprint Cup is the obvious fact is the competition is stiffer at the Cup level. I would never deny that.
That being said, I keep hearing that the changes to the Sprint Cup cars for 2015 will make them more like Xfinity Series cars. Some drivers at the Cup level have never fared overly well at the Xfinity level, despite loads of success in Sprint Cup. Jimmie Johnson, anyone?
If the new Cup cars are, indeed, more like the Xfinity Series cars in 2015, that definitely would bode well for Busch, I would think. Then, pair him with the crew chief that has helped him dominate the Xfinity competition in 2014, and you have a combo that looks like a combo that can’t lose.
But, like I said before, all of the four driver/crew chief JGR Sprint Cup pairings look like real winners, so who knows for sure? Stay tuned. . . .
Which pair do you think will be most successful in 2015? Take an online poll, here.