Johnson Finally Gets His Due In Preseason Media Poll Print Page Press: The Dynasty Will Continue DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 4, 2010) -- It only took an unprecedented fourth consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship, but the media...
Johnson Finally Gets His Due In Preseason Media Poll Print Page
Press: The Dynasty Will Continue
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 4, 2010) -- It only took an unprecedented fourth consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship, but the media finally thinks Jimmie Johnson will defend his crown, according to a NASCARMedia.com preseason media poll.
Incredibly, this isn't a typical outcome. Only once in the previous five preseason polls has Johnson been tapped as the favorite -- in 2005, the last season he didn't win the championship.
In 2006 and 2008, the media picked Jeff Gordon to win it all, in 2007 it picked Tony Stewart, and last year, the press picked Carl Edwards. But at long last, Johnson, the 2009 Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year, is the favorite to continue his dynasty.
"I'm glad the media thinks we are the team to beat this season," Johnson said. "This is the first time in the last four years. ... it might not necessarily turn out to be a good thing, though. Everyone seems to be asking if we can do it again this year and my standard answer is that we are going to try our hardest. It sure would be great to prove the media right this time."
Rounding out the top 12: Gordon in second, Stewart in third, Kyle Busch in fourth, Edwards in fifth, Denny Hamlin in sixth, Mark Martin in seventh, Kurt Busch in eighth, Juan Pablo Montoya in ninth, Matt Kenseth in 10th, Greg Biffle in 11th and Ryan Newman in 12th.
Drivers who made the 2009 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, but were left out of the 2010 preseason media top 12 poll are Kasey Kahne and Brian Vickers. Kahne ranked 14th; Vickers 20th.
Predictors think Dale Earnhardt Jr. will again miss the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, but barely. He ranked 13th in the poll.
In the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Raybestos Rookie of the Year poll, the media thinks Kevin Conway will take home the trophy over Terry Cook.
NASCAR Nationwide Series: Media Predicts Title to Edwards, Rookie Award to Braun
Carl Edwards, the 2007 NASCAR Nationwide Series champion, should become the eighth driver in NASCAR Nationwide Series history to win multiple titles, according to the media.
In the 2010 preseason poll on NASCARMedia.com, Edwards was the runaway favorite, outdistancing Brad Keselowski.
"It's wonderful that the media picked me as the top contender, but that doesn't mean anything with the competition out there," Edwards said. "There are so many up-and-coming drivers like Brad Keselowski, or the breakthrough guy of this year. We don't know who it's going to be.
"In a way it's fun to go in as a favorite and a veteran of the series, but it's a little nerve-wracking, too. I'm putting myself out there to get beat by someone that no one expects. I think that's pretty exciting and fun for the fans, too."
Justin Allgaier was forecast to finish third in the final standings, followed by Jason Leffler in fourth. Colin Braun, one of five Raybestos Rookie contenders this season, was fifth.
The rest of the top 10: Kelly Bires in sixth, Brendan Gaughan in seventh, Steve Wallace in eighth, Paul Menard in ninth and first-year full-time driver Trevor Bayne in 10th.
Braun was chosen to capture the 2010 Raybestos Rookie honor over Roush Fenway Racing teammate Ricky Stenhouse Jr., followed by Brian Scott, James Buescher and Parker Kligerman.
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series: Hornaday To Win 5th Championship
Ron Hornaday Jr. made history in 2009 as NASCAR's oldest national champion at age 51. Members of the media voting in this year's NASCAR Camping World Truck Series pre-season poll expect him to make even more history in 2010.
Hornaday, who captured a record fourth series championship a year ago, is the overwhelming pick to join Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt as NASCAR national series competitors with five titles.
And in doing so, Hornaday would become the first driver in the 16 years of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series to win back-to-back championships. He finished first, second and first in his past three seasons driving the No. 33 Longhorn/Georgia Boot Chevrolet for Kevin Harvick Inc.
Hornaday also was chosen to win the title in last year's poll -- the first conducted.
Following Hornaday in the poll was 2009 runner-up Matt Crafton, former champions Mike Skinner and Todd Bodine, and 2009 Raybestos Rookie of the Year Johnny Sauter.
"I'm very honored they (the media) chose me to repeat as champion but there (will be) 35 other trucks out there for us to compete against," said Hornaday, a 45-time winner in the series. "We are not going to go out there and race for second, that's for sure, but I'm honored that they've chose me out of the other competitive teams in the series. We are going to do what we have to do to keep their prediction true."
Voters said that 19-year-old Austin Dillon is slated to become the series' second-youngest Raybestos Rookie of the Year. Dillon, a North Carolina college student, will drive the historic No. 3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet for his grandfather, Richard Childress. The team, with Skinner behind the wheel, won the series' first championship in 1995, and returns to full-time NASCAR Camping World Truck competition after a decade-long absence.
Runner-up in the rookie balloting was 2009 Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA) champion Justin Lofton, followed by Jennifer Jo Cobb and Dillon Oliver.