No. 5 - Jeb Burton was impressive during his rookie season with his victory at Texas Motor Speedway and an astonishing seven poles. The speed shown during the opening portions of the race never transferred into putting Jeb in position to win again following his victory at Texas. He showed that the speed and talent is there to win races, but Burton will need to focus on getting those consistent Top 5 finishes and contending for victories in 2014. That is the only thing holding Burton back from being higher on the list.
No. 4 - It really seemed to be Johnny Sauter’s year in 2013 following victories at the first two races at Daytona and Martinsville. The chance to win his first championship would vanish following his crew chief being suspended in March and resigning in July. Johnny should bounce back in 2014 with a more stable crew chief situation putting the No. 98 ThorSport Racing team back on target of winning a championship.
No. 3 - Darrell Wallace Jr. is coming off a history making season in 2013. In October, Darrell became only the second African-American to win a race in the top three NASCAR touring series with his victory at Martinsville Speedway. He also managed a solid average finish of 12.6 in his rookie season. Darrell’s return to the seat of the No. 54 Toyota Care Tundra for Kyle Busch Motorsports will put him in a solid position to win his first championship in NASCAR.
No. 2 - Ryan Blaney will return to the seat of the No. 29 Cooper Standard Ford for Brad Keselowski in 2014. A very successful 2013 with one victory and the Rookie of the Year award sets Blaney up for a promising 2014. He’s losing the rookie stripes and will be seeing tracks for the second or third time instead of the first. The numbers that Blaney has amassed in his 31 career starts - (2 wins, 10 Top 5s) - puts Blaney on the short list of championship contenders in 2014.
No. 1 - Matt Crafton will begin 2014 with momentum on his side following winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Championship in 2014. He’ll also be looking to successfully defend his championship which has never been done before in the history of the series. Matt won the championship following a consistent season which included a win early in the season at Kansas. The consistency of Crafton and the momentum of 2013 catapults Crafton to the top of the list.