“William Byron will continue his ascent to stardom by winning his fourth Rookie of the Year award in as many seasons, edging out Darrell Wallace, Jr. for the 2018 title in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series behind the wheel of his sleek new No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports ride,” Clark wrote.
3. All three Team Penske drivers find Victory Lane
“Each with at least one win every season since 2012, Penske is a perennial powerhouse among the top teams on the circuit, and it will only get better with the addition of Ryan Blaney as the team’s third full-time driver in 2018,” Clark wrote. “All three Penske drivers will find Victory Lane next season, as they continue to feed of each other’s on-track success.”
4. A top team announces Manufacturer Change for 2019
“I predict one top Cup Series team with a long-tenured manufacturer alliance will announce plans sometime in 2018 to move to a different OEM for the 2019 season,” Clark wrote.
5. More aggressive stage finishes
“Considering the way Martin Truex, Jr. racked up stage wins all season long to put himself in a favorable position all throughout the 2017 NASCAR Playoffs, a majority of race teams will adjust their in-race strategies in 2018 – especially early in the season – to focus more on collecting those highly valuable Playoff points,” Clark wrote.
6. Three drivers earn their first Cup Series victories
“Chase Elliott, Darrell Wallace, Jr., Alex Bowman, Erik Jones, Daniel Suarez and Ty Dillon are all likely candidates to find Victory Lane next season, and half of them will do it,” Clark wrote.
NASCAR racing returns to Atlanta Motor Speedway on Feb. 23-25, 2018.
The Rinnai 250 XFINITY Series and Active Pest Control 200 Camping World Truck Series doubleheader will be on Feb. 24 and the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race will be on Feb. 25.