Joe Gibbs Racing is the one team that seems to keep getting better and better. Whether it’s climbing farther up the leader board or adding speed to their already fast cars, this team never seems to stop improving. All of which is due to the dedication this team has. They are determined to win and be the best. With that mentality, there really isn’t a way to stop them. As great as Matt Kenseth was in 2013, he will be better in 2014. Why? The team behind him will make him that way. JGR never settles for good enough. They strive for perfection and won’t give up until they are confident it is in hand.
Out of JGR’s three teams, Hamlin’s will be the easiest to see improvement from. A very difficult 2013 has given Hamlin new motivation to perform well. He realizes how low the team was last season and never wants to dip back down to that level. His back is healed up and ready to chase the championship Hamlin has been so close to in the past. Some drivers may seem ready to get the new season underway, but they cannot be as eager as Denny Hamlin is. 2014 means a clean slate and a chance for him to show everyone just how good he is once again.
My Prediction: 2014 will be much nicer to Hamlin than 2013. He will compete for two to three wins and be in a great position to make the Chase. He will survive for a majority of the playoffs, but he may not make it to the final four.
2013 needed to be a bounce back year for Kyle Busch. And what a comeback Rowdy had. Four wins, many strong performances, and being one of the top title contenders highlighted one of Busch’s best seasons to date. Now he will look to build off of that for 2014. Busch knows how to win and move people out of the way to do so, so seeing him do that more often wouldn’t be a surprise.
He has also been accumulating the knowledge necessary to compete with the top driver’s in the garage on a week-to-week basis. With what he has learned, a breakthrough year may soon be forthcoming for the No.18 team. Could it come in 2014? The possibility is there. With the exception of Kansas, look for Busch to be a threat throughout the season.
My Prediction: Busch has stellar year in which he picks up three to four wins. He will also make it far in the Chase and is a safe bet to make the final four.
No one could have predicted the success Matt Kenseth found in 2013. He wasn’t a favorite going into the season, but he quickly turned into one. Kenseth blindsided us with his performance last season, so anything is possible for the No.20 team in 2014. Winning is almost a sure bet for this team. They won’t forget how to win over one off-season, so expect Kenseth in victory lane on numerous occasions.
With putting together half the puzzle last season, he will look to complete it this season as staying consistent is something the team needs to improve on. They especially will need to use it in the Chase as that could be their key to the championship.
My Prediction: Another rocking season is ahead for Kenseth. He won’t score as many wins, but three to four will come his way. He will be a threat in the Chase and likely join teammate Kyle Busch in the season finale at Homestead-Miami with a shot at the title once again.
There is nothing Joe Gibbs Racing shouldn’t look forward to in 2014. They have everything in place for the team’s greatest season yet. All three drivers are safe bets to win and win a lot, so if JGR becomes a regular in victory lane, it wouldn’t come as a surprise. In racing, nothing is guaranteed though. A season’s worth of twists awaits JGR. They could either twist them closer to the title or off the track all together. It’s one big unknown which way their season will actually go, but indications point to them being in the winner’s circle sometime soon.
By Jason Schultz
Follow him on twitter @NASCARJason