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. 3 - Ryan Blaney

Ryan Blaney's 2023 championship run was a classic case of getting hot at the right time. He went 15 straight races without a top eight finish over the summer, but playoff wins in both the round of 12 and the round of 8 sent him to his first Championship 4.

He didn't even need to win the Championship 4 race at Phoenix Raceway to win the championship, even though the series champion had been the race winner in all nine previous editions of the Championship 4. He also didn't even finish the season in the top five in the overall point standings.

Overall, Ford and Team Penske struggled throughout the 2023 season. Team Penske were not even the top Ford team during the year, with RFK Racing emerging as the manufacturer's top threat. Blaney simply performed at the highest level when it mattered most.

That happening two years in a row is hard to imagine. Blaney leads all drivers with seven straight top 10 finishes in the point standings, so it's not like he isn't a regular threat -- though admittedly his 2022 playoff run to eighth place only happened because another driver withdrew from the postseason due to injury.

But his championship is his only finish better than seventh place. No driver has won back-to-back championships since seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson won five titles in a row from 2006 to 2010, so it's more likely than not that Blaney's 2024 finish will be somewhere in his usual range.