5. Jimmie Johnson
Jimmie Johnson might be a seven-time champion and a grizzled Cup Series veteran at this point in his career, but that doesn’t mean he can’t have his off years. In fact, Johnson had a spectacular off year in 2018 when he went winless for the first time in his career and was eliminated after the first round of the playoffs.
Even worse was the fact that he was leading during the final laps of the eliminator race at The Charlotte Roval, but made a mistake and spun in the final turn of the new road course. If nothing else, it was the exclamation point on his horrible season and absolute proof that NASCAR had been unfairly hyping him all season long.
4. Ryan Blaney
New ride new year. Everything was right there for Ryan Blaney in 2018, but he never seemed to have the dominance that people said he would. Beyond that, his lone victory in 2018, a last lap fluke pass at The Charlotte Roval, wasn’t indicative of a future champion, but a guy that just got lucky
And while some might try to defend Blaney and say that he made the playoffs this year, keep in mind that so did both of his teammates. Furthermore, one has to remember that both of his teammates finished higher than him in the final standings and one won the championship.
As if that wasn’t enough to show how overhyped Blaney was this season, why not look at the fact that last year he almost made the final four, but in 2018, didn’t even make it to The round of eight. If nothing else, that’s a sign of a driver going
3. Darrell Wallace Jr
Its no secret that NASCAR and its media have a nasty habit of hyping up their drive for diversity drivers, but things went way to far in 2018. Not only was that evident by Darrell Wallace Jr’s abysmal season after his second place finish in The Daytona 500, but also by how non competitive he was as well.
In the end, Darrell Wallace Jr is much better than what he showed fans during the 2018 season and I personally can’t wait to see the young man flourish, but that doesn’t excuse the fact that he was way too overhyped his rookie year.
2. Kyle Larson
Kyle Larson was supposed to set The Cup Series on fire in 2018. Unfortunately for The Chip Gannassi superstar, he often found himself playing catch up with the rest of the pack and even failed to win a race in 2018. Beyond that, he was knocked out of the playoffs pretty early on as well
With that being said and NASCAR media repeatedly hyping up the struggling driver, he really deserves the moniker of overrated this year. Think about it! This is a guy who has won multiple races last season, almost made it to the final eight and then suddenly drops off the next year.
Whether its due to the mounting pressure to be the champion that others see him as or Chevrolet’s general woes in 2018 remains to be seen, but he should have done so much better than 12 top-fives and 19 top-tens in a 36 race season.
1. Chase Elliott
Like it or not, Chase Elliott is on this list for two reasons. The first reason is that although he won three times in 2018, he failed to win when it actually mattered. The second reason that Elliott is on this list is because of all the hype that he was the answer to the big three.
If nothing else, the media was out of their mind’s and didn’t see the writing on the wall that Chase Elliott wasn’t ready yet. Of course that doesn’t mean he didn’t make an immense amount of progress and isn’t continuing to do so, it just means he was not the answer to the big three.
And for that reason alone, Chase Elliott deserves the number one spot on this list. In fact, between comparing him to the big three on almost a weekly basis to trying to shove him down fans throats as the next big thing, there is no denying that Chase Elliott belongs here. At least for now!