Would We Get Better Racing If Ricky and Danica Break Up?
So Danica Patrick and Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. are dating not too long after Danica divorces her husband?
Unless that changes the racing on the track, I really couldn’t care less. No to be catty, but if they have a nasty break up, then the racing between them could get even better. Then I might care.
I do care about Scott Pruett winning his 5th Rolex 24. Kudos to Pruett and the entire Ganassi team.
OK, onto more of the drivers to watch in 2013.
JPM won another Rolex 24 and that might be the only race he wins this year. Obviously there have been problems at EGR and they have switched engine manufacturers this year. Hendrick power might make up for some of the problems JPM and McMurray have had as of late. Montoya was once a serious threat on the road courses and he has not even been a serious threat there lately. Losing the Brickyard a couple of times seems to have taken the starch out of his sails. Maybe more power is what the doctor ordered.
Jamie McMurray is Montoya’s teammate at EGR and since his surprising run in 2010, he has been a nonfactor in just about every race. Again, power may help, but McMurray just flat out needs to run better. The G6 car may help level the playing field and maybe, just maybe, it will be the shot in the arm that team EGR needs.
Joey Logano heads to Penske Racing in 2013 making them him and Special K of the youngest tandems in NASCAR. Logano has never quite lived up to expectations, winning more in Nationwide than he has in Cup. Maybe Roger Penske can find that switch that no one else has been able to find and put Logano into contention if not Victory Lane. Logano will not make the Chase in 2013, but he might contend more often. A nice string of top 10 finishes would be a change in the right direction.
Jeff Burton has got to be on the hot seat at RCR. He signed a contract extension in 2011 but he has not made the Chase or finished better than 12th in points in the past 4 years. Entering his ninth year at RCR, he has finished in the top 10 in points only three times, with finishes outside the top 15 four times. RCR has been lacking power for a few years now and don’t even have EGR as an engine partner any more to share data. Burton needs to run better or he may wind up the next Bobby Labonte, except he has never won a title.
Tony Stewart and Ryan Newman are joined by Danica Patrick this year and possibly Kevin Harvick next year. Stewart-Hass Racing had a mediocre year in 2012 after Stewart winning the title in 2011. As an owner and driver, Stewart has his work cut out for him. But Smoke is one of those guys that can drive just about anything so maybe the new G6 car will be another great year for him. Newman has been the loyal teammate and has made the Chase 2 of his 4 years at SHR, but he only has a contract through 2013 and sponsorship has been tough to get. Newman has Matt Borland back as crew chief in 2013 so we’ll see if that helps. If Newman can’t get sponsorship for 2014, he may be the odd man out at SHR. Newman will need a stellar year to garner additional sponsorship. Stewart will probably make the Chase again and has to be one of the favorites going into the season. Newman will not only need to make the Chase, he will need to be a serious contender to keep his seat at SHR for 2014.
Greg Biffle came into Cup as a truck and Busch champion looking to be the first driver to win a title in all three series. He is still waiting. Biffle has the talent but for some reason can not seem to string together wins when it counts. His consistent inconsistency in Cup is legendary. Maybe the G6 car will be what it takes to put Biffle over the edge. But he will need to do what he has been unable to do his entire Cup career.
After Denny Hamlin nearly won the Cup title in 2010, he has never been the same. He can still win races and still make the Chase as evident in 2012 with 5 wins and a fifth place finish. Is Denny the new Mark Martin or is he about to break out and win his first title? He should make the 2013 Chase but he will really have to step it up when it counts in order to be a serious contender.
Martin Truex, Jr. had one of his best seasons ever in 2012, but went winless. He signed a 3 year extension with NAPA and MWR in 2012 so he should be comfortable with his contract. Now he needs to go out and prove that 2012 was not a fluke season. He has the talent, he just needs to be able to close the deal more often. I would not be surprised if he wins at least one race in 2013. If he does, he should be a lock for the Chase. If not, I am not sure if he can top 10 his way in again this year.
OK, that’s enough for now. More later. Thanks for reading and let me know your thoughts!!
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