NASCAR Cup Series: 5 drivers who will regress in 2024

Multiple drivers will undoubtedly improve upon their performance from the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season, but there will inevitably be some who regress.

Christopher Bell, Ryan Blaney, NASCAR
Christopher Bell, Ryan Blaney, NASCAR / James Gilbert/GettyImages
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The 66th annual Daytona 500 is scheduled to get the 36-race 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season underway this afternoon, weather permitting.

While the playoffs are not scheduled to begin until September, there will already be at least a slight focus on the postseason at Daytona International Speedway, as the winner of the season opener, as long as he is a full-time driver, will presumably claim the first of 16 playoff spots.

Several drivers will undoubtedly improve upon their performance from the 2023 season, but there will inevitably be some who take a step back. Which drivers will regress in 2024? Here is a list of five possibilities.

No. 1 - Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

JTG Daugherty Racing's Ricky Stenhouse Jr. would not have qualified for the playoffs if he had not won the Daytona 500 last year.

But even ignoring the fact that he ended his six-year win drought, the 2023 season was arguably his best. At the very least, it was his best season since 2017, when he won the first two races of his career.

He finished the year with nine top 10 finishes, tied for his best ever and easily his best since 2017, and an average finish of 17.8, also his best since 2017.

Keeping up that pace in 2024 will be a challenge for Stenhouse and the one-car JTG Daugherty Racing program. Even if he does manage to score another upset win, it's hard to imagine that his overall performance won't take a step back.