It seems like just yesterday that Ryan Blaney became the new NASCAR Cup Series champion at Phoenix Raceway, but a new season and a new pile of storylines await as we barrel toward the season-opening points race at Daytona International Speedway, which just so happens to be the biggest race in the world of NASCAR -- the Daytona 500.
Just like with every passing season anymore, it feels like there is so much that is new in the NASCAR Cup Series. New faces in new places. New sponsorships and paint schemes. New everything.
With that being said, it's time for me to make my predictions for the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season. Will they age like wine or milk? That remains to be seen, but I have seven bold predictions that I feel will come to fruition this season.
Brad Keselowski will win multiple races this season, including the Daytona 500
At first, I was going to say Brad Keselowski would win a race this season, but that wouldn't be a super bold prediction. I think he wins at least two races this year.
The 39-year-old racer was knocking on the door of victory lane for essentially the duration of the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season, and he was especially strong in the superspeedway-style races.
Keselowski led 42 laps in the Daytona 500 but came up empty in the Great American Race yet again after a crash ended his race. He then led 47 laps and finished second at Atlanta, was fifth at Talladega in the spring, sixth at Atlanta in the summer, and second at Daytona in the summer.
While he couldn't quite find the key to victory lane in 2023, Keselowski will flat-out break the door down this season as he will score multiple wins, the first being a win in the Daytona 500 in his 15th attempt.
Chase Elliott returns to form
It was a rough 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season for Chase Elliott, the sport's most popular driver. Elliott missed a total of seven races, six due to injury and one due to suspension, and failed to make it into the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs for the first time in his career.
Elliott also failed to win a race for the first time since 2017.
While Elliott had the odds stacked very high against him in 2023, he still performed admirably and found a way to finish 17th in the NASCAR Cup Series championship standings.
Elliott will win multiple races and will have a sustained Playoff run in 2024.
Stewart-Haas Racing gets two drivers in the Playoffs
Sure, Stewart-Haas Racing changed its branding and team logos following a dismal 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season, but there is a lot more going on at the shop in Kannapolis, North Carolina than putting lipstick on a pig. The frustrating 2023 campaign and the social media backlash that came with it caused the team to look good, and hard at itself in the mirror.
Every bit of social media messaging this offseason has been Stewart-Haas Racing saying that they will not give up, that they are a team filled with true racers, and that they will stop at nothing to get back to the mountaintop.
I believe them. Will they win a championship this year? No. But I do believe Stewart-Haas Racing locks two drivers into the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs in the first season of the post-Kevin Harvick era.
Which two? While Josh Berry is a rookie in the NASCAR Cup Series, having Rodney Childers on the pit box could serve as a cheat code for the rookie, and I believe he makes the Playoffs alongside Chase Briscoe.
Justin Haley gets Rick Ware Racing's first Win
You wanted bold predictions, this is probably the boldest of them that I have for this column. However, when you look at where Haley performs well, it isn't that bold of a prediction in my mind.
Haley has always performed well at superspeedways (all four of his NASCAR Xfinity Series wins and his lone Cup win have come at superspeedways), and he has emerged as a legit road racer. There is a reason that Rick Ware Racing lured Haley, who finished second in the Chicago Street Race, from Kaulig Racing for the 2024 season.
The decision to hire Haley is going to pay massive dividends to Rick Ware Racing as Haley will score a win for the organization this year.
Corey LaJoie scores first career win
It's time for Corey LaJoie to win a race. Sure, it's felt like the time was right in the past, but he has found himself hovering closer and closer to the sun with each passing season, and 2024 is the year when he finally breaks through for his first career NASCAR Cup Series win.
He signed with Spire Motorsports back when the team was a fledgling organization back in 2021. The growth that LaJoie and Spire have shown in their three seasons together has been immense.
Not only that, but Spire, which used to be the punchline of a lot of jokes on social media, has begun turning itself into a juggernaut in the sport. The team acquired one of the most successful NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series teams in history -- Kyle Busch Motorsports.
Spire has become a true player in the sport of NASCAR and in 2024 they get their first non-rain-shortened win in the NASCAR Cup Series and LaJoie gets his first win overall.
Bubba Wallace makes it to the Championship 4
Bubba Wallace didn't win a race in 2023, but the 23XI Racing driver had his best points finish of his NASCAR Cup Series career as he finished 10th in the championship standings.
In 2024, Wallace will check both of those boxes as he will be a race winner, and he will show the consistency needed down the stretch to move into the Championship 4 field.
Wallace has always had speed since moving to 23XI Racing. It's all about minimizing mistakes. Will he win the championship at Phoenix? No. But he will open up some eyes and become a name that people will feel can someday win a NASCAR Cup Series championship.
Kyle Larson wins the championship
Okay, okay, yeah I know. I saved the least bold prediction for last. Larson, who finished runner-up in the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series championship race, will score his second career NASCAR Cup Series title in 2024.
A season ago, Larson scored four wins and led over 1,100 laps and that all came while suffering eight DNFs. Larson will clean up his mistakes, and he will avoid reigniting his feud with Denny Hamlin this year, and he will have the best season any driver has had since the start of the Next Gen era (2022).
Larson will win six races and will win at Phoenix Raceway to secure the title.