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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No. 2 - Christopher Bell

Christopher Bell is the only driver to have made it to the Championship 4 in both 2022 and 2023. Given how deep the NASCAR Cup Series field is, calling that tough to pull off would be an understatement. In fact, he was the only Joe Gibbs Racing driver to make it in either year. But it will be even tougher to pull off a third straight trip, especially given how the first two came about.

Bell needed clutch wins in both the round of 12 finale and the round of 8 finale to get to the 2022 Championship 4. In the history of the modern playoff format, which dates back to 2014, those wins are the largest two walk-off wins in terms of a driver's initial deficit to the cut line.

While his win may not have ended up being necessary in the round of 8 to get to the 2023 Championship 4, it was still a clutch victory that came at the right time. He had just one win to his name up until that point in the season.

Bell did finish the 2023 season in third place in total points scored, an improvement from sixth in 2022, so his consistency bodes relatively well for him moving forward. But at some point, you have to imagine that his overall lack of regular season wins -- and thus playoff points -- could keep him from advancing.

Three of Bell's six career wins have come in the last two postseasons, and he has never won more than a single race in a regular season. Is that a sustainable formula to making a third straight Championship 4 trip?