5. Jimmie Johnson
Jimmie Johnson is on the downward swing of his Monster Energy Cup Series career and that will become extremely evident when he fails to make the playoffs for the first time ever! In fact, don’t even expect Johnson to come anywhere close to making the postseason in 2019.
Of course, a lot of that has to do with him losing longtime crew chief, Chad Knaus and career-long sponsor, Lowes Home improvement, but his on-track performance has fallen off significantly as well. If nothing else, all these things together are the perfect formula for failure in 2019.
4. Darrel Wallace Jr
This one might sound obvious to a lot of people, but there are still those out there that believe Darrell Wallace Jr will learn from his mistakes and make big strides in 2019. Unfortunately for those fans, they fail to realize that Richard Petty Motorsports is no where near playoff ready.
Furthermore, Wallace Jr didn’t even come close to making the playoffs last season and his only decent finish of note was second place in the season opener at Daytona. Keep in mind that’s not saying he isn’t a talented driver that can make things happen, but it’s not going to happen at RPM.
3. Kurt Busch
Kurt Busch was let go by SHR at the end of the 2018 season and while he was picked up pretty quickly by Chip Gannasi Racing to take over Jamie McMurray’s ride, it is still a step down from where he was. In fact, it could be such a huge step down that the move keeps him out of the playoffs.
With that being said and Jamie McMurray struggling to even finish in the top-20 in 2018, it should be obvious that Kurt Busch will struggle as well. Beyond that, he is also moving from Ford to Chevy, which is going to cause some growing pains as he gets acquainted to his new ride.
2. Daniel Suarez
Although some might believe this is the fresh start Suarez needs after his disastrous run at JGR, his lack of poise proves otherwise. In fact, after his scathing remarks about his old team and crew, it was honestly pretty surprised to see Suarez picked up by SHR at all!
Of course, Suarez now has the chance to prove everyone wrong but he has quite a few obstacles to get over if he actually wants to do that. In the end, these obstacles, which includes going to a new ride, having a new manufactory and gelling with his new time, are going to impede his progress immensely. Beyond all that, they will keep him out of the playoffs
1. Martin Truex Jr
That’s the question that Martin Truex Jr will hope to answer as he takes a non playoff team and tries to put them back in contention, but he is most likely to fail in that quest. Not only is that evident by the constant changes that the #19 JGR Toyota has gone through in the past two years, but also by Truex Jr needing time to adjust to his new ride.
In the end, expect a lot of growing pains from Truex Jr and the #19 ride as they try to navigate the 2019 and also expect those pains to keep him out of the playoffs as well!