The 2018 NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series season is almost over and while fans are probably pretty bummed about that fact, they have a very interesting offseason to look forward to. In fact, between retirement announcements, seat changes and a whole host of other possibilities, it could be the most interesting off season in years.
Of course not every single day of the offseason is going to be of particular interest, especially once all the analysis of the season is finally done, but there are quite a few big decisions that need to be made before teams unload at Daytona in February With all that in mind, here are predictions for the upcoming off season.
As always, let us know your thoughts in the comments below and tell us which ones you agree with and which ones you don’t! Also, be sure to remember that these are only predictions and may or may not happen. Keep in mind that this isn’t an attempt to paint myself as an insider or an expert, but to give my take based off of a mix of opinions, facts and statistics.
5 NASCAR shortens segments
Its no secret that the current iteration of stage racing isn’t working out very well and will need to be tweaked a bit before the next season. With that in mind and NASCAR’s desire to make things as intense as possible, look for officials to either add segments more segments to each race in order to bunch up the field or just shorten specific races.
Not only will this allow for more exciting restarts that can keep fans entertained, it will also allow the sport another opportunity to bunch up the field when things aren’t competitive. Furthermore, this would raise the intensity level of each race and make the postseason even more electric then it was before.
In the end, NASCAR needs a change like this to bring the fans back and its one of the few rule changes that fans would agree with. Beyond that, it makes segments a whole different beast for NASCAR drivers and their teams to tackle, which is sure to be fun to watch unfold as the season progresses.
4 Jimmie Johnson announces 2019 will be his last season
Everyone has to hang up their racing helmet one day and Jimmie Johnson is no exception to that rule. Unfortunately for Johnson, he lost longtime sponsor, Lowe’s home improvement at the beginning of the season, , lost genius crew chief, Chad Knaus and has now been eliminated from the playoffs in the first round of the postseason.
If all that isn’t bad enough, Jimmie Johnson has so far gone winless in 2018 and there are only a couple of races to go before the season concludes. Maybe Johnson will be able to correct that with a timely win in the last couple of races of 2018, but its not going to be enough to save his floundering career.
With that being said, it makes perfect sense for Jimmie Johnson to announce 2019 as his last season. Beyond that, there is a pretty strong youth movement in NASCAR and Hendrick Motorsports would be foolish to keep the veteran in car for much longer. In the end, Johnson has nothing left to prove in NASCAR anymore and he is lying ot himself if he thinks otherwise.
2 Daniel Saurez goes to SHR
It is being reported that Daniel Saurez will be ousted from the #19 JGR Toyota at the end of the season and while there a few good options for the former Xfinity Series champion, one of the best has to be a chance to drive for SHR. In fact, with JGR announcing that they would like Christopher Bell to run another year in The Xfinity Series, the ride seems to be Saurez’s to lose.
With that being said, a run with SHR could be just what Suarez needs to revive his Cup Series career and maybe even help him nab his first ever Cup Series title. With that in mind, SHR has already revived the careers of Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch, Aric Almirola, Tony Stewart and Ryan Newman, so its very likely it could do the same for Saurez.
1 Martin Treux Jr goes to JGR
Going back to the vacated #19 Toyota, it looks like that will be become Martin Truex Jr’s ride for the forseeable future and could help give him the competitive edge he needs to win another championship. Of course there are some that believe SHR racing will snatch up Martin Truex Jr, more on that later, its probably not going to be enough to get him to leave Toyota.
In fact, Toyota has won two of the last four championships under the new playoff systems and could very easily keep that trend going if they keep Truex Jr. Compare that to the fact that a Ford hasn’t won a championship under the new playoff rules and you can see why the choice would be relatively easy to make.