2005: NASCAR fast forward

Mark Martin: This is Mark Martin's last bullet. He's spent 20 years in the trenches with a inconsistent team while the Chevy's danced around him. Now, it's his final try with the best team he has had since 1998. This team is hell-bent on...

Mark Martin: This is Mark Martin's last bullet. He's spent 20 years in the trenches with a inconsistent team while the Chevy's danced around him. Now, it's his final try with the best team he has had since 1998.

This team is hell-bent on getting Martin a NEXTEL Cup before he retires at the end of this season.

2004 Stats: 1 win, 10 Top 5s

Jeff Gordon: Gordon will win races and make a run at winning his fifth championship. Stability will once again grace the No. 24 Chevy team as they land solidly in the top ten and vie for the title.

Gordon would have won his fifth title under the old point system - that can't be sitting well. He's got something to prove again.

The 'drive for five' will be alive in 2005.

2004 Stats: 6 poles, 5 wins, 16 Top 5s

Jimmie Johnson: There was no sophomore jinx for the No. 48 team in 2005. They lost the championship by a mere eight points and won a series high eight races. Team 48 will once again become formidable opponents in the chase for the championship.

2004 Stats: 1 pole, 8 wins, 20 Top 5s

Dale Earnhardt, Jr.: Earnhardt announced at the end of the season that veteran crew members The Eury's will not be returning to the No. 8 Chevy next season. Earnhardt will struggle under the tutelage of new crew chief Pete Rondeau.

He will win races but lack the steadfastness to make a run for his first title.

2004 Stats: 6 wins, 1 Top 5s

Kurt Busch: The reigning NEXTEL Cup champion may not have sold a lot of T-shirts or won over the NASCAR nation but he will thrive in 2005. The Roush No. 97 team will jump out of the box strong as they defend the title.

Expect Busch to win races and show his softer side.

2004 Stats: 1 pole, 3 wins, 10 Top 5s

Elliot Sadler: Sadler desperately needs to find what went wrong at the end of the season. After a spectacular year garnering him his career first top ten finish, Team 38 came apart at the seams in the closing races of the year.

This team needs to find the chemistry that got them into the chase for the championship if they expect to get there again in 2005.

2004 Stats: 2 wins, 8 Top 5s

Tony Stewart: An up-and-down season led to an up-and-down chase for the championship. The No. 20 team is another that needs to land on the right combination in 2005 if they expect to make the chase.

The Gibbs team has got to make a strong start in Daytona and not lose the momentum.

2004 Stats: 2 wins, 10 Top 5s

Ryan Newman: Rocket Ryan Newman had the ability to find the top spot in qualifying, but fell short in race results.

The Penske Dodge No. 12 team must translate qualifying results into race results if they want to survive another chase.

2004 Stats: 9 poles, 2 wins, 11 Top 5s

Matt Kenseth: Lacked the dogged consistency that this team is known for in 2004. Made the chase, but charted only one top ten in the last ten events.

Needs to find where the magic went.

2004 Stats: 2 wins, 8 Top 5s

Jeremy Mayfield: Raced his way into the chase but never made any noise afterwards. New crew chief may help team, but an unlikely bet that the No. 19 Dodge team will be so lucky in 2005.

2004 Stats: 2 poles, 1 win

Kasey Kahne: Will make chase in 2005 and finally wheel the No. 9 Dodge to Victory Lane - more than once.

The 2004 Rookie of the Year will be a strong contender for the 2005 title.

2004 Stats: 4 poles, 13 Top 5s

Jamie McMurray: Would have finished seventh under old point system, instead he didn't even make the chase.

He will easily make the top ten this season.

2004 Stats: 9 Top 5s

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Series NASCAR-CUP