Power Ranking the NASCAR Sprint Cup Drivers Ahead of the 2016 Season

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Power Ranking the NASCAR Sprint Cup Drivers Ahead of the 2016 Season
Jerry Markland/Getty Images

As the green flag for the 58th Daytona 500 draws closer this Sunday at 1 p.m. ET, this has already started out as a season of significant change.

The Sprint Cup Series has a new low downforce aero package, along with a new measure to potentially make sure green-white-checker finishes end up under green flag conditions.

And then there’s the biggest change of all, arguably the biggest change in the sport’s history since its formation in 1948: the new charter system that provides a measure of tangible equity for team owners.

Thursday will be the Can-Am Duels, which will round out the qualifying lineup for the Great American Race.

Which leads to another change: For the first time in nearly two decades, the starting field for a Sprint Cup race will not be 43 cars. Rather, the new standard going forward will be only 40 cars, a byproduct of the new charter system.

While driver movement from one team to another over the offseason was fairly minimal, we also need to keep our eyes on the four big-name rookies in the series this season: Daytona 500 pole sitter Chase Elliott, Ryan Blaney, defending Xfinity champ Chris Buescher and Brian Scott.

Let’s take a look at how the drivers stack up for Sunday’s race and which 10 have the best shot of winning the sport’s Super Bowl.

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