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2014 NASCAR predictions: NASCAR.com staff gives picks

February 17, 2014, NASCAR.com

2014 NASCAR predictions: NASCAR.com staff gives picks
Predicting the final four drivers, Sprint Cup champion and more

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Ah, a new season. Last year's successes (or failures) are wiped clean, and everyone begins the Daytona 500 with exactly the same amount of points -- zero.

Last year saw a historic championship push from Jimmie Johnson, an unprecedented Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup field and multiple drivers (hello, Matt Kenseth) succeeding with a new team.

What's in store for 2014?

Well, we know the Chase field will be bigger, and that postseason eliminations are on tap. We know Johnson is gunning for his seventh Cup title, which would tie the all-time record, and that this year's rookie class is the most heralded in years.

With that in mind, we asked Zack Albert, Kenny Bruce, Holly Cain, David Caraviello and Alan Cavanna to give us their picks for 2014.

See their answers below (and bookmark to say who has earned bragging rights come November), and chime in with your own predictions in the comments section.

Zack Albert
Daytona 500 winner: Tony Stewart
Most likely to succeed with new team: Martin Truex Jr.
Top Chase seed: Jimmie Johnson
Biggest Chase surprise: Marcos Ambrose
Final four (post-Eliminator round): Jimmie Johnson, Tony Stewart, Matt Kenseth, Kyle Busch
Crew chief of the year: Darian Grubb
Rookie of the Year:  Austin Dillon
Sprint Cup Series champion: Jimmie Johnson

Kenny Bruce
Daytona 500 winner: Martin Truex Jr.
Most likely to succeed with new team: Kurt Busch
Top Chase seed: Matt Kenseth
Biggest Chase surprise: Ryan Newman
Final four (post-Eliminator round): Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth, Carl Edwards, Brad Keselowski
Crew chief of the year: Gil Martin
Rookie of the Year:  Austin Dillon
Sprint Cup Series champion: Matt Kenseth

Holly Cain
Daytona 500 winner: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Most likely to succeed with new team: Martin Truex Jr.
Top Chase seed: Jimmie Johnson
Biggest Chase surprise: Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Final four (post-Eliminator round): Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth, Tony Stewart
Crew chief of the year: Chad Knaus
Rookie of the Year: Kyle Larson
Sprint Cup Series champion: Jimmie Johnson

David Caraviello
Daytona 500 winner: Matt Kenseth
Most likely to succeed with new team: Kevin Harvick
Top Chase seed: Jimmie Johnson
Biggest Chase surprise: Marcos Ambrose
Final four (post-Eliminator round): Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Matt Kenseth, Kevin Harvick
Crew chief of the year: Rodney Childers
Rookie of the Year: Austin Dillon
Sprint Cup Series champion: Jimmie Johnson

Alan Cavanna
Daytona 500 winner: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Most likely to succeed with new team: Kevin Harvick
Top Chase seed: Kyle Busch
Biggest Chase surprise: Austin Dillon
Final four (post-Eliminator round): Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth, Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Crew chief of the year: Chad Knaus
Rookie of the Year: Kyle Larson
Sprint Cup Series champion: Kyle Busch