Remember some of these bold predictions? “David Ragan is going to break out this season.” “Jimmie Johnson? Look out! Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch are comin’ after ya.” “Earnhardt- Ganassi Racing is a relic. There won’t be any driver over there who will accomplish a doggone thing.”
When it comes to prognosticating, sometimes you’re the windshield, somtimes your the bug. It doesn’t matter if you’re a bona fide NASCAR “insider,” or a “noob” fan, some predictions make you look prescient, other make you look like a fool.
Before this season began, the Bump Drafts panel of former NASCAR mechanic Patrick Reynolds, uber-old school fan Jeremy T. Sellers, the lovely and talented Miss “Mustang” Jackie Smith and yours truly made our predictions on how the 2009 would play out. I thought it high time to do a report card on how we scored.
Patrick correctly predicted 7 of the 12 drivers who made the Chase. He, like many of us, was a bit thrown by Kyle Busch’s and Dale Earnhardt Jr’s inability to make the Chase. He also missed on David Ragan, RCR drivers Jeff Burton and Kevin Harvick and Matt Kenseth as well.
Busch’s missteps also caused Reynolds to misfire on picking “Shrub” to win it all. Patrick also missed on the selection of Carl Edwards as Nationwide Series champion. To the plus side, Reynolds- like the rest of us on the panel- was money on forecasting Ron Hornaday Jr. as CWTS champion. He also hit on Joey Logano as Cup Rookie Of The Year. As a former mechanic for a Nationwide Series team, Patrick elected to forecast Michael Annett as Rookie Of The Year.
He looked especially smart saying that a lesser known most likely to make splash would be Marcos Ambrose. While a number of drivers made strides, there’s little doubt the “Tasmanian Devil” made the biggest. As far as teams go, HMS let Reynolds down as not all teams did not have multi-win seasons. It’s also safe to say by his remarks on the merging teams that the success of Juan Pablo Montoya was a mild revelation as well. By the same token, he said that basically, the big teams would dominate, and certainly that was right on when it comes to Hendrick, and to a lesser extent, Joe Gibbs.
Not bad. So how Mustang Jackie do?
Jackie correctly predicted 7 of 12 Chase drivers. While some did not believe there would be an immediate payoff for the moves of Tony Stewart and Mark Martin, she believed. Many of the others that let her down were quite similar of the drivers on which Patrick and half of the known NASCAR nation missed.
Sentimentality (she’s a Roush Fenway and Ford fan, as you may have guessed by her nickname) did her in as she went for broke and picked Mark Martin as Cup champion. Jackie came close, give her credit for that. Like Reynolds, Carl Edwards failed to come through in the Nationwide Series, BUT she did hit on Hornaday as truck champ.
Smith also hit the jackpot on Logano as Rookie Of The Year in Cup, and she was on to something by going with Ryan Newman as a dark horse. It is evident that Jackie felt that Stewart- Haas would hit the ground running. Her prediction that Jeff Gordon would NOT pass Cale Yarborough in wins, but he’d get one was right on the money!
Would Junior and Shrub get together again? Well, is one sense, Jackie was right when Busch got collected in the Earnhardt- Vickers affair at Daytona.
I’d say Jackie did pretty fair and really hit well on a couple of points.
Now, any of you who know Jeremy Sellers knows he’d not one to shy away from standing boldly. Here’s how the big man fared…
Sellers was 6 for 12 on Chase drivers. As an old Earnhardt fan, it’s understandable that his enthusiastic selection of Junior as Chase champion ended up a big time miss. To say that it was a long year for Junior Nation is like saying Ol’ D.W. likes to talk a little bit.
On the matter of a Nationwide Series champion, like Patrick and Jackie, Jeremy didn’t miss by a ton on his selection of Brad Keselowski. Again- Sellers did hit paydirt on Hornaday on the CWTS titlist. Sellers had hoped for more in the way of the “Nationwide’s own” winning in the NNS this year, unfortunately, there wasn’t as much of that as I had hoped for either.
Jeremy also saw promise in Ryan Newman, and you might say he was one for two. Newman didn’t pick up the “W’s” that he forecasted, but Newman did even better than a top 15 by making the Chase. Sellers also correctly Joey Logano’s early demise at Daytona. He also hoped for better racing in the CoT in 2009, and said there’d be a much greater fan unrest if it didn’t. I think most of you would agree it hasn’t, and there’s a lot of unhappy campers out there.
Jeremy admitted he went more from “the gut” (or the heart), than the mind, and some seasons, that can get you in trouble. Nonetheless, if you look in further depth at the predictions made on that February 4, 2009 post, you can see he did have some good insights.
So- how did I do? Let’s look at the score.
I hit on 8 out of 12 drivers. Jamie Mc Murray, Kevin Harvick, Junior and Kyle failed to come through, but Tony Stewart and Kasey Kahne did not disappoint. I also correctly forecasted Jimmie Johnson as champion, but that may qualify me more for a keen sense of the obvious than a prophet.
I did blow it big time on Clint Bowyer as Nationwide champion, because the guy hardly raced. Hornaday save my bacon on the truck series side.
While I was money on Kahne being a driver on a merging who’d succeed, I missed on the promise for EGR that was to be Montoya.
I did say David Reutimann would be a pleasant surprise in 2009. Whether that was accurate or not is dependent on how high your standards.
I joined Jeremy in saying that Joey Logano would figure in the first caution of 2009, where I blew it was forecasting that Logano would be beaten by Scott Speed in the Rookie Of The Year race. Oops. Looks like somebody just leveled the playing field.
While I was right about the success of SHR, I will admit I didn’t expect as much as Rocket and Smoke would achieve. I also said I thought the racing in the CoT would improve. While SOME races were better than last year, overall, I’d concede it’s not all sunshine and roses and something should be done.
Well, there you have it. Though there were varying degrees of success, we’d all still be stoned outside the city gates if we were in Bible times. With that said, there’s a high probability of the unknown that any season brings, and it’s always interesting to see how things play out.
In spite of the outcome, it won’t keep us all from trying it again in 2010. I think part of what keeps us all hanging around is to see what happens next.
It could be interesting.