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Clint Bowyer #15 (Michael Waltrip Racing)
Eric: The biggest visual evidence of MWR’s fallout from the Richmond scandal will be on Bowyer this year. With having to scale back and not having the same resources in 2014, Bowyer will struggle. I think he’s a 15th-20th place car most weekends and will struggle to gain top 10′s.
They just don’t have the man power and equipment due to the hefty fine and having to lay off employees. Bowyer will struggle this season.
Luke: I’m not quite as pessimistic as Eric, but I agree that Bowyer and MWR as a whole will regress in a big way in 2014. I give Bowyer a one out of three chance of making the Chase and don’t expect him to reach Victory Lane.
Bowyer is no doubt hoping the organizational changes will have little effect, but I don’t think that will be the case. I wouldn’t be surprised to see former teammate Martin Truex Jr. outrunning Bowyer at his new job with Furniture Row Racing.
A.J. Allmendinger #47 (JTG Daugherty Racing)
Eric’s take: It’s a feel good story for Allmendinger to return to Cup racing full-time, but this team won’t give him contending results. He will be a midpack driver all year and never contend. He’s got a ton of talent but needs to run a year with JTG to open more doors for more competitive rides.
Luke’s take: I’ve always liked the ‘Dinger, but he’ll struggle to run top-10 or even top-15 at most tracks. Really what this is about is trying to restore his image and catch the eye of an upper-level team and convince them to take another chance with Allmendinger, kind of like Kurt Busch did the last two years. The problem is that Allmendinger doesn’t have half the talent of Busch, so unfortunately the odds are not in his favor.
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