Five drivers with a shot to win for the first time in 2015
The 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season begins in less than three weeks and by the time it ends, it's likely to produce several first-time winners. Here are five drivers who could break through to get the first Sprint Cup victories of their respective careers:
1. KYLE LARSON -- This is practically a no-brainer. Larson had eight top-five finishes as a rookie, including three runner-up finishes. When you run consistently in the top five, you'll eventually win. And how about this: In the first five races of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, Larson's average finish was 3.8.
2. AUSTIN DILLON -- Last year, when Dillon was a rookie, his Richard Childress Chevrolets didn't have race-winning speed in them, as the entire team was shut out of Victory Lane. Presumably, that will be rectified this year. Dillon took the pole for the 2014 Daytona 500 and scored a top-five finish in the July Daytona race.
3. RYAN BLANEY -- Winning with a part-time team is always hard, but Blaney has a chance to do some good things in the No. 21 Wood Brothers Ford. Blaney has great talent, an excellent crew chief in Jeremy Bullins and, thanks to a technical alliance with Team Penske, the Wood Brothers ought to have fast Fords.
4. RICKY STENHOUSE JR. -- Yeah, Stenhouse and all of Roush Fenway Racing had a dismal 2014 season. But he finished second and sixth in the two Bristol races. If the team can find some speed in its cars, Stenhouse could win. And he'll be motivated, as this is pretty much a make-or-break season.
5. SAM HORNISH JR. -- After a rocky start to his NASCAR career, Hornish has shown great improvement racing in the NASCAR Xfinity Series the past couple of seasons. And he does have three career Sprint Cup top fives to his credit, unlike Danica Patrick, another driver looking for that elusive first career Sprint Cup victory.