The 2020 NASCAR season is just around the corner, with less than a month separating us from the 62nd Daytona 500 race, which will mark the beginning of the 72nd installment of NASCAR Cup Series.
The green flag is set to drop on Feb. 16, marking the last year of the NASCAR that we’ve known for the last two decades. Gen-7 cars are slated to make their debut in 2021, making the 2020 season that much more thrilling to watch, and, at the same time, far more important for the teams and players to win.
At this point of the season, it’s hard to predict which team will come out on top, and while there are many websites like this one, which can provide you with reliable resources that can make predicting the frontrunners significantly easier, it’s not hard to point at five teams that stand out from the rest and are seen as the alpha dogs heading into 2020 season.
Here we will look over the top five racing NASCAR teams for the 2020 season and give our take on what those teams can bring to the table.
Joe Gibbs Racing
Racers: Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr., Erik Jones
Joe Gibbs Racing finished 2019 as the most successful NASCAR team, picking up the championship with Kyle Busch and racking up 19 wins throughout the season. What’s more, is that the team led for over 4,000 laps throughout the season and had an average finish of 11.10 among its four drivers.
It’s worth noting that Joe Gibbs Racing had a hard time delivering when it came to qualifiers, and to be fair, we don’t believe they will ever break that stigma this year. That said, we have no right to hold that against them as they deliver when it matters.
Gibbs Racing drivers simply know how to step up when it matters, and the fact that they had three out of their four drivers fighting for the trophy in the final race of 2019 only goes to show how dominant the quartet can be.
What can we expect from the team in 2020 is more of the same as seen in 2019, and considering Busch and Truex Jr. are both priced as the main favorites to hoist the trophy, it’s hard to expect anything less than another title from Joe Gibbs Racing.
Racers: Chase Elliott, Jimmie Johnson, William Byron, Alex Bowman
Hendricks Motorsports seems set for a successful 2020 season, and while we can hardly expect the team to reach the heights it did in 2014, it’s hard not to be optimistic about the team and where it’s heading.
Last season Hendricks Motorsports won four races and saw its racers finish 15.44 on average. Furthermore, the team led 1,165 laps, which is a massive improvement compared to 2018 (497), and finished top five in 26 races.
Perhaps the most exciting numbers come from Hendricks Motorsports’ qualifying, seeing how the team reached 10 poles, and we can expect Elliott and co. to produce similar results in 2020.
What’s more, the team has a fairly young core, which is bound to improve as time goes by. Based on what Hendricks showed last season, we will make a bold statement and say the team can win more than six races and see at least two of its racers contest the championship.
Racers: Kevin Harvick, Aric Almirola, Clint Bowyer, Cole Custer, Chase Briscoe
Stewart-Haas Racing is coming off a four-win season, where the team led for a total of 1,437 laps and achieved nine poles, which is by no means something we should ignore nor underestimate.
Furthermore, Stewart-Haas claimed 29 top five and 67 top 10 finishes, continuing its trend of fielding one of the most consistently excellent drivers of our era.
That especially holds true for Kevin Harvick, who made it to the final four at Homestand, finishing the year with four wins and 953 maps led. Unfortunately, he came up short at claiming his second title.
Next season can really be hit-or-miss for this team. Harvick had a great season, yet it remains to be seen whether he will manage to repeat his successful run come the 2020 season. In all fairness, another season with four wins is highly plausible, while more than four is still possible.
Racers: Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, Ryan Blaney
There is no denying the quality of Team Penske, and while it failed to measure up to the likes of Joe Gibbs Racing, Penske won six races and ended the year with 2,406 laps led. That said, the 12.44 average finish of the three drivers was no pushover either, as it is still a very respectable record, to say the least.
What keeps Penske from dominating the scene is that it specializes on certain tracks and slightly underdelivers on others. That might harm its overall record, but there is no denying that when superspeedways, short tracks, and two-milers are on the schedule, Penske is the team to watch.
Looking back at the last five years, Penske has won seven, seven, four, seven and six races, which clearly shows a certain pattern that we can expect to continue into 2020. Anywhere between six and eight wins is something we can expect from Penske comes November.
What’s more, all of the drivers have the ability to contest the championship. Identifying which of the three that might be, however, is slightly harder.
Chip Ganassi Racing Team
Racers: Kurt Busch, Kyle Larson
Chip Ganassi Racing Team is entering 2020 having claimed two wins in 2019, which was a solid improvement following a zero-win 2018 season.
The biggest storyline on this team is Larson, who has been a very solid racer for the team, including his four-victory season of 2017. Furthermore, he has made it to the playoffs every season since 2016, and while he has not made it to the final four yet, it’s hard not to be impressed with the 27-year-old racer.
Another thing worth noting here is the return of 2004 Cup champion Kurt Busch, who has signed a multi-year extension.
Last season, Chip Ganassi Racing Team won two races, led for 741 laps, reached one pole and clinched 14 top-five finishes, which is miles from the numbers put up by the top dogs of the scene.
While we can hardly imagine the Chip Ganassi team to contest the title, we see potential in this team to improve and possibly even go for four wins this season.