Andy Petree: ‘I think it’s going to be a challenging year for Hendrick Motorsports.’

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Andy Petree visits the 'NASCAR Race Hub' Chevy Preview Show to talk about the possible challenges for Hendrick Motorsports in 2018

- All right, so we look at Hendrick Motorsports. Gone is Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Gone is Kasey Kahne. And along with that, gone a lot of experience between those two guys, and in come some of the younger guys. How do you think that that's going to affect the dynamic over there?

- Well, I think it's going to be a challenging year for Hendrick Motorsports. You know, they do have a proven winner in Jimmie Johnson, obviously, and a guy we expect to win a lot of races in Chase Elliott. But they got two guys over there that are kind of unknown, one's just brand-new.

I mean, with William Byron-- has, you know, probably pretty high expectations for him, too. But it's still his first year. And then Alex Bowman, we got just a sneak preview of what he was able to do in that 88. So we'll see what they're able to bring. But I think it's going to be one of those kind of challenging years for Hendrick.

- Are there more questions than answers right now, when you look at their lineup and how they finished 2017?

- Yeah, I think so. Absolutely, because the season did not end well. I mean, you know, Jimmie Johnson won kind of in the beginning of the season, and didn't get a top five finish. But one-- he got one top five finish since he won it.

- From June on. One top-five finish.

- I mean, that whole big time frame, and didn't make the final four. There's no Chevys did. So I think it's one of those-- this is one of those years that Hendrick's got, you know, some turning around to do. And they have a lot of new talent and young guys to do it.

- And you say the way that we saw the 7-- uh, the 48 go last season, that's reason for concern this year?

ANDY PETREE: I think so. Yes, because, you know, when you have a 48 car that's competitive, he's, you know, winning the championship, you got a lot to build on. You go in with new guys, you don't feel too bad.

But when you have kind of an off year, and you go into some-- a lot of more unknowns. We got a new car. That's going to be a good thing for them. I believe this is probably going to be a bright spot. But it's still a lot of unanswered questions as we go into '18.

- Three drivers made the playoffs for Hendrick in 2017. Jimmy with three victories, Kasey Kahne getting to victory lane. And in the Brickyard 400, Chase Elliott made the postseason on points. How many drivers do they put in the postseason this year?

- Well, obviously, Jimmie Johnson and Chase Elliott are going to make the playoffs. To me, that's a no-brainer. The other two guys, I believe one of the two will. I don't know which one it'll be yet.

We'll have to see as we get going through the season. I think three of them will make the playoffs. And then by the time we get there, we'll have maybe a little more history on how they've run in the beginning part of the year, on what to expect once they make the playoff.

- A lot of eyes on Chase Elliott to get that first victory, and you're confident it will happen this season.

- Absolutely it has to happen this year.

- Past year.

- I think there's a lot of pressure on Chase to get that done.