Most of the talk and speculation surrounding the new rules for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series cars for 2015 have the cars running and handling more like the cars of the NASCAR Nationwide/Xfinity Series. The cars in that series will not undergo any changes for the upcoming season.
Anytime there are changes to the race cars, it’s obviously an advantage for some and a disadvantage to others, as driving styles across the complete field of drivers differ and certain handling packages compliment some drivers’ driving styles while clashing with others.
That being said, the changes to the Sprint Cup cars for 2015 are going to be changes that will benefit some right off the bat, while others will struggle, at least at first. If the cars are going to be more like Nationwide/Xfinity cars, it’s only reasonable to assume that drivers with experience also racing in Nationwide/Xfinity — make that experience winning regularly in the Nationwide/Xfinity Series — in recent years would benefit from the new changes at the Cup level.
I touched on that speculation in my last post, here, when I pondered the new driver/crew chief pairings at Joe Gibbs Racing where I discussed the pairing of Kyle Busch and Adam Stevens at the Sprint Cup level, given their success together in the Nationwide Series.
If I continue on this tangent, it seems the two teams that stand to benefit the most from the Cup changes would be Team Penske and Joe Gibbs Racing. Of course, if you consider JR Motorsports’ alliance with Hendrick Motorsports, you could throw Hendrick Motorsports into the mix. But I’d still give the nod to JGR and/or Penske. Still, I’d be hesitant to include HMS in that mix, as its Sprint Cup driver stable, overall, hasn’t run a significant number of Nationwide races for quite a number of years, i.e. since the current Nationwide car came to be.
Then, consider the drivers who should benefit, including recently crowned Sprint Cup champion Kevin Harvick. He successfully ran several Nationwide races for JR Motorsports in 2014, so look for Harvick to, possibly, make a seemless transition.
That being said, I think I’m going to circle the wagons back around to JGR and Team Penske, specifically Busch at JGR and Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano at Penske.
Who do you think will benefit the most from the changes? Who’ll hit the ground running? Who’ll struggle, at least at the start of the season? Talk to us on Twitter @AutoRacingDaily or on Facebook (facebook.com/autorcngdaily). Amanda’s also on Twitter @NASCARexaminer and has a fan/like page on Facebook: NASCAR Examiner