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  1. 2015 NASCAR Season Thread

    Figured we should at least have a separate thread for off-season news instead of having it collide with the 2014 season thread. Well, the first year of the New Chase is in the books. Congratulations to Kevin Harvick on his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series title. Shout-outs to Chase Elliott, the youngest ever to win one of NASCAR's top three series after winning the 2014 Nationwide Series title, and to Matt Crafton, the first driver in the Camping World Truck Series's 20 seasons to win consecutive titles. Now let's get down to business. Here are the top stories heading into the offseason: - Whether you liked the format or not, you can't deny that this was one of the most competitive and nerve-wracking Chases we've ever seen. Brian France spoke to the media before the season finale at Homestead and stated that he does not anticipate any changes to the Chase format for the 2015 season. However, this Chase was introduced only a few weeks before the opener at Daytona, so I guess we'll have to wait and see if France stays true to his word. - What will happen to Kurt Busch? Just before the finale at Homestead, news broke that Kurt was being investigated after being accused of beating his now-ex-girlfriend back in September at Dover. - Moving down the totem pole, Nationwide bids farewell, as they will no longer be the title sponsor for NASCAR's second-tier of racing. Instead, Comcast's XFINITY will sponsor the series, making it the NASCAR XFINITY Series. Nationwide is not completely gone, however, as they will become Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s Primary Sponsor in 2015. - As always, there is a driver change or two to report, but not as many as last season. They are: Carl Edwards finally jumps the ship from the #99 Roush/Fenway Racing Ford to a fourth car out of the Joe Gibbs Racing stable, as he will drive the #19 Stanley/DeWalt Toyota. The new deal also requires Edwards to drive in a handful of XFINITY races next season. Marcos Ambrose is making like a kangaroo and hopping back across the Pacific to Australia and is returning to the Australian V8 Cars to drive for Roger Penske. Ambrose will be replaced by Sam Hornish Jr., who is making his second stint in the Sprint Cup Series. Hornish will drive the #9 Ford, but a sponsor has yet to be announced.Trevor Bayne is taking his talents to the Sprint Cup Series level full-time for the first time in his career as he will drive the #6 Ford for Roush/Fenway Racing in 2015. AdvoCare is providing full-sponsorship for the season. It is likely that the 99 crew will simply become the 6, owners points and all.With the #21 car open, Ryan Blaney was announced shortly after Bayne's announcement to drive the #21 Wood Brothers Racing Ford part-time in 2015. The Wood Bros. have not had a full-time driver since 2006.Over in the XFINITY Series, Elliott Sadler announced that he will be moving over to Roush/Fenway Racing from Joe Gibbs Racing, taking his sponsor, OneMain Financial, with him. Sadler will drive the #1 car, leaving the #11 car open for JGR. Chances are that it may become a car similar to that of the #20, where they mainly use it to develop talent and have Kenseth/Hamlin/Edwards drive once in a while.So with that, I open it to discussion. Who will be the next break-out star in 2015? Will the likes of Ryan Blaney, Bubba Wallace, or Erik Jones continue to rise? Who will dominate next season? Way-to-early Chase predictions? Who will be the first to throw a punch? In NASCAR, anything can and will happen