NASCAR News Makers for 2013

Written by  Mike Trwin
Published in Sprint Cup Series News
Wednesday, 16 January 2013 10:28
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I am back again this week with another look at some drivers I expect to make news in 2013.

First of all, I hope you got a chance to watch some of the Daytona testing on SPEED. I had to watch it all online since Comcast has unexpectedly pulled the plug on my SPEED channel – unless I cough up more money. I fear I will lose this battle.

The cars look to be very fast in testing and the draft and pack racing will be very interesting. The new cars do not line up bumper-to-bumper the way the previous car did. With the new designs, the bumper height changes between manufacturers now, so I expect to see some wrecks until the drivers get it figured out. Look for some Daytona-sized wrecks early on with some of the less skilled drafting drivers, a period of quiet as they ride around and then we could see another melee at the end as the leaders dash for the win in the final laps. So in other words, pretty much your usual Daytona 500.

Now let’s dish.

One of the more visible drivers that will be making news in 2013 is Carl Edwards. Edwards went from almost winning the title in 2011 to being a non-factor last year. Not winning a race could not have set well with Carl and he gets a new crew chief this year. I think Carl will make the Chase in 2013 if he settles in with the new car. He has a master crew chief in Fennig and that combination could prove to be a winning package. Carl is one of the most talented drivers in the garage and if you don’t believe me, just ask him.

Kyle Busch went form being able to win in nearly anything he drove to, well, not winning much at all in 2013 and missing the Chase. Busch is a supremely talented driver who, because he is a Busch Boy, has his temperament issues. He has signed a new deal with JGR, he has a new teammate in Matt Kenseth and he is hungry to prove to everyone that even if he is the reigning bad boy of the garage, he is still the same driver that can win anytime he gets into a car. If JGR can keep the mechanical gremlins at bay, look for Busch to make the Chase.

Dale Earnhardt, Jr. has a lot to prove in 2013. He needs to prove he has overcome the late season concussion that sidelined him for two races and hurt his chances for a run at the title. He needs to prove he can win races in back-to-back seasons again and that making the Chase was no fluke. Jr. supposedly likes the new car and that should bode well for doing all of the above. Hendrick rarely has mechanical issues, although they do pop up occasionally. Even so, the most popular driver in NASCAR has his work cut out for him Edwards and Busch are gunning to make the Chase so someone will have to drop out to allow them in. Having Jr. in the hunt is not only good for Jr., it is good for NASCAR.

Danica Patrick makes her full season debut with SHR this year. All Danica needs to prove is that she is not a detriment to herself and those around her. If she can keep her nose clean, which has not been easy for her, she should be just fine this year. Danica seemed to get caught up in a lot of wrecks that were not of her making in 2012 and she will need to avoid that if she expects to have even a moderately successful year. Otherwise, this will be an expensive year for SHR.

Kevin Harvick made the Chase but other than that, had a pretty unspectacular year. And the worst kept rumor in Sprint Cup is that he is taking Budweiser to SHR next year making him a lame duck driver for RCR in 2013. RCR has been lacking power for years and unless they fix that, Harvick may make the Chase again but he may not win a lot of races. That is, if he even finishes the season with RCR.

OK, that’s enough for now. More later. Thanks for reading and let me know your thoughts!!

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