NASCAR.com reporters make national series predictions – Nascar

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NASCAR.com’s Kenny Bruce, Holly Cain, Zack Albert and Jonathan Merryman make their predictions for the 2017 NASCAR season:


KENNY BRUCE


NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion: Timothy Peters. Rebounds from winless ’16 to ride the Red Horse to the title.


NASCAR XFINITY Series champion: Elliott Sadler. So close a year ago; his JRM team is rock solid.


Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Rookie of the Year: Daniel Suarez. Stepping into a title-contending car; just needs seat time to become a challenger.


Surprise playoffs qualifier: Daniel Suarez. There will be hurdles for last year’s XFINITY Series champ, but he’s proven to be a quick study.


Daytona 500 pick: Kyle Busch. It’s one of the few accomplishments left for one of NASCAR’s best.


Championship 4:

Kevin Harvick: Switch to Ford proves to be a non-issue for 2014 champion.

Joey Logano: Simple game plan: Get to the front and stay there.

Kyle Busch: Bad-fast car. Extremely talented driver and team.

Martin Truex Jr.: Team makes silly speed; gotta be there at the end, though.


2017 Monster Energy Series champion: Joey Logano. Can win a slew of races or be crazy consistent. This year he could do both.


HOLLY CAIN


NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion: John Hunter Nemechek. My repeat pick from 2016, but hoping the right (generous) sponsor sees this young talent and he gets the backing to match his potential.


NASCAR XFINITY Series champion: Elliott Sadler — The veteran has been oh-so-close and this is the year it all comes together for him. 


Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Rookie of the Year: Erik Jones. The Furniture Row Racing‘s newest team member is super-talented, highly motivated and knows how to shine even among such fantastic first-year talent.


Surprise playoffs qualifier: Kasey Kahne. This will be a resurgent year for the talented 17-time Cup winner who is ready to remind people of his place in the sport. Out front.


Daytona 500 pick: Denny Hamlin. Daytona has been Hamlin’s playground and he’s poised to be the first back-to-back 500 winner since Sterling Marlin in 1994-95.


Championship 4: Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch and Joey Logano will decide the Cup after hugely competitive playoffs that ends in a history-making moment.


2017 Monster Energy Series champion: Jimmie Johnson. Reigning champ makes history with his eighth title. 


ZACK ALBERT


NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion: Christopher Bell. The 22-year-old standout bookends a season that started with a Chili Bowl victory with his first national series crown.


NASCAR XFINITY Series champion: William Byron. A hotshot rookie for the title? Gobs of talent and JR Motorsports resources go a long way.


Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Rookie of the Year: Daniel Suarez. First-year driver steps into a well-established team that contends for victories.


Surprise playoffs qualifier: AJ Allmendinger. Planets align for the No. 47 team at one of the series’ two road-course visits.


Daytona 500 pick: Brad Keselowski. Team Penske‘s strength shows, with one of the best in the restrictor-plate biz leading the charge in the “Great American Race.”


Championship 4: Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, Jimmie Johnson, Brad Keselowski. The cream rises, with four organizations and all three manufacturers represented in the final bracket.


2017 Monster Energy Series champion: Denny Hamlin. He’s been on the podium three times before. In 2017, Hamlin should make it to the top step.


JONATHAN MERRYMAN


NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion: Matt Crafton. Great, consistent racer. That style will fit the new format.


NASCAR XFINITY Series champion: Elliott Sadler. Coming off of a solid 2016, the No. 1 JRM team should be in position to win it all.


Monster Energy NASCAR Cup NASCAR Series Rookie of the Year: Erik Jones. Seat time in a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series car in 2015 should help the rookie seal the deal.


Surprise playoffs qualifier: Erik Jones. I think the rookie wins a race in 2017 clinching a playoff berth.


Daytona 500 pick: Brad Keselowski, with four wins at Talladega and one win at Daytona in the summer of 2016, Keselowski has quickly become one of the best plate-racers in NASCAR.


Championship 4: Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch. All four consistently finish races and have multiple win seasons.  


2017 Monster Energy Series champion: Kevin Harvick. Mr. “Where did he come from?” has turned in to Mr. Consistency over the past few seasons. Consistency combined with the new points format should complement Harvick well.

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