2014 NASCAR predictions: Official Nascar Daytona 500 starting lineup

 See how drivers will officially line up in Sunday’s Daytona 500 at 1 p.m. ET

 NASCAR.com staff gives picks

Predicting the final four drivers, Sprint Cup champion and more

Ah, a new season. Last year’s successes (or failures) are wiped clean, and everyone begins the Daytona 500 with exactly the same amount of points — zero.

original_small 2014 NASCAR predictions: Official Nascar Daytona 500 starting lineup

Last year saw a historic championship push from Jimmie Johnson, an unprecedented Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup field and multiple drivers (hello, Matt Kenseth) succeeding with a new team.

What’s in store for 2014?

Well, we know the Chase field will be bigger, and that postseason eliminations are on tap. We know Johnson is gunning for his seventh Cup title, which would tie the all-time record, and that this year’s rookie class is the most heralded in years.

With that in mind, we asked Zack Albert, Kenny Bruce, Holly Cain, David Caraviello and Alan Cavanna to give us their picks for 2014.

See their answers below (and bookmark to say who has earned bragging rights come November), and chime in with your own predictions in the comments section.

Zack Albert
Daytona 500 winner: Tony Stewart
Most likely to succeed with new team: Martin Truex Jr.
Top Chase seed: Jimmie Johnson
Biggest Chase surprise: Marcos Ambrose
Final four (post-Eliminator round): Jimmie Johnson, Tony Stewart, Matt Kenseth, Kyle Busch
Crew chief of the year: Darian Grubb
Rookie of the Year:  Austin Dillon
Sprint Cup Series champion: Jimmie Johnson

Kenny Bruce
Daytona 500 winner: Martin Truex Jr.
Most likely to succeed with new team: Kurt Busch
Top Chase seed: Matt Kenseth
Biggest Chase surprise: Ryan Newman
Final four (post-Eliminator round): Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth, Carl Edwards, Brad Keselowski
Crew chief of the year: Gil Martin
Rookie of the Year:  Austin Dillon
Sprint Cup Series champion: Matt Kenseth

Holly Cain
Daytona 500 winner: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Most likely to succeed with new team: Martin Truex Jr.
Top Chase seed: Jimmie Johnson
Biggest Chase surprise: Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Final four (post-Eliminator round): Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth, Tony Stewart
Crew chief of the year: Chad Knaus
Rookie of the Year: Kyle Larson
Sprint Cup Series champion: Jimmie Johnson

David Caraviello
Daytona 500 winner: Matt Kenseth
Most likely to succeed with new team: Kevin Harvick
Top Chase seed: Jimmie Johnson
Biggest Chase surprise: Marcos Ambrose
Final four (post-Eliminator round): Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Matt Kenseth, Kevin Harvick
Crew chief of the year: Rodney Childers
Rookie of the Year: Austin Dillon
Sprint Cup Series champion: Jimmie Johnson

Alan Cavanna
Daytona 500 winner: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Most likely to succeed with new team: Kevin Harvick
Top Chase seed: Kyle Busch
Biggest Chase surprise: Austin Dillon
Final four (post-Eliminator round): Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth, Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Crew chief of the year: Chad Knaus
Rookie of the Year: Kyle Larson
Sprint Cup Series champion: Kyle Busch

Editor’s note: Drivers marked with “#” signifies a rookie; a “(i)” signifies a driver is not eligible to earn points

Pos No. Driver Sponsor
1 3 Austin Dillon # DOW Chevrolet
2 78 Martin Truex. Jr. Furniture Row Chevrolet
3 20 Matt Kenseth Dollar General Toyota
4 11 Denny Hamlin FedEx Express Toyota
5 5 Kasey Kahne Farmers Insurance Chevrolet
6 24 Jeff Gordon Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet
7 9 Marcos Ambrose Stanley Ford 
8 41 Kurt Busch Haas Automation Chevrolet
9 88  Dale Earnhardt Jr.  National Guard Chevrolet
10 27 Paul Menard Peak/Menards Chevrolet
11 98 Josh Wise  Curb Records Ford
12 33 Brian Scott (i) Whitetail Chevrolet
13 43  Aric Almirola  Smithfield Ford
14 21 Trevor Bayne (i) Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford
15 47 AJ Allmendinger  Kroger/USO Chevrolet
16 42 Kyle Larson # Target Chevrolet
17 38 David Gilliland  Love’s Travel Stops Ford
18 40 Landon Cassill (i) Hillman Racing Chevrolet
19 31 Ryan Newman  Caterpillar Chevrolet
20 15 Clint Bowyer 5-hour Energy Toyota
21 14 Tony Stewart  Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet
22 1 Jamie McMurray McDonald’s Chevrolet
23 26   Cole Whitt # Speed Stick Gear Toyota
24 32 Terry Labonte C&J Energy Services Ford
25 16  Greg Biffle  3M Ford
26 52 Bobby Labonte Phoenix Construction Chevrolet
27 10 Danica Patrick  GoDaddy Chevrolet
28 13 Casey Mears GEICO Chevrolet
29 23  Alex Bowman # Dr. Pepper Toyota
30 99 Carl Edwards Fastenal Ford
31 55 Brian Vickers Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota
32 48 Jimmie Johnson Lowe’s Chevrolet
33 2 Brad Keselowski Miller Lite Ford
34 17  Ricky Stenhouse Jr.  Nationwide Insurance Ford
35 22 Joey Logano Shell Pennzoil Ford
36 7 Michael Annett # Pilot/Flying J Travel Centers Chevrolet
37 18 Kyle Busch M&M’s Toyota
38 4 Kevin Harvick Budweiser Chevrolet
39 36 Reed Sorenson Golden Corral Chevrolet
40 51 Justin Allgaier #  Brandt Professional Agriculture Chevrolet
41 30 Parker Kligerman #  Swan Energy Toyota
42 66 Michael Waltrip BlueDEF/AAA Toyota
43 34 David Ragan CSX – Play It Safe Ford

Failed to qualify: No. 35 Eric McClure, No. 83 Ryan Truex, No. 87 Joe Nemechek, No. 93 Morgan Shepherd, No. 95 Michael McDowell

Withdrew: No. 77 Dave Blaney