Five Most Interesting NASCAR Story Lines for 2013
New faces in new places will seem strange for long-time fans
There were several changes over the off-season and probably will continue to be that way for a few more weeks as things settle down. The biggest of changes came at Joe Gibbs Racing where the team dumped Joey Logano for a proven veteran leader in Matt Kenseth which the team desperately needs. Logano moves onto Penske Racing replacing Sam Hornish Jr. in the No. 22 car which will now be a Ford Fusion as Kenseth will take over his No. 20 Toyota. Besides adding Kenseth to their driver lineup, the team added two veterans in the Nationwide Series which should lock them up a championship in that series as well. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. will take over Kenseth's place at Roush-Fenway Racing in the No. 17 car. These changes should seem odd considering the amount of respect the teams and drivers have had for each other in the past.
Camping World Truck Series to run on dirt for the first time
The Camping World Truck Series will run on a dirt track for the first time since the series' inception in 1995. NASCAR alone hasn't ran a dirt race since 1970 which leads for a truly interesting race when the trucks hit the Eldora Speedway in 2013. Oh by the way, Ken Schrader will be in the race as well.
Brad Keselowski attempting to win back-to-back championships with the same team and two different manufacturers
The newest NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion will have plenty to prove in 2013. His team, Penske Racing will have a new manufacturer as they make the move from Dodge (who dropped out of the sport) to Ford with the use of Roush-Yates engines. If Keselowski wins the championship in 2014, he would be one of just a select amount of drivers to win a championship in back-to-back seasons with two or more manufacturers.
Welcome the sixth generation of NASCAR
There will be a new car on the racetrack in the 2013 season and it is beyond different than the fifth generation car. The last name of drivers will be seen on the top of the windshield and sponsors will have more space to show their logos including on the roof of the car behind the number.
New bodies will shape up manufacturer battle
With the addition of the new style cars for the 2013 season, Toyota, Ford and Chevrolet will be battling it out like always to see which of the three auto groups are the strongest on the race track, something that is highly questioned after the dominance Chevrolet has created over the past few decades.
2012 was one of the most exciting years in the recent history of NASCAR. Even though there were some races that were truly boring as can be (coming from someone that loves every race since April of 2004, even if it’s as boring as watching a cake bake), there were some great races this year that made fans love the sport even more than they already do.
Entering the 2013 season, NASCAR, which has been attempting to make the racing more competitive as well as safer, will have several headlines to begin the season which can be a make or break one for the sport. NASCAR will be celebrating its 65th anniversary in 2013 which should be just one of many milestones that the sport will encounter throughout the season.
The new season should bring about new conversations which wouldn’t have been brought about if the sanctioning body didn’t create the changes which they have now done. Most fans have heard about each of the changes which NASCAR will have in 2013 as they seem to be sparking interest from fans across the globe, something NASCAR has been trying to do for some time now. Making changes can be either good or bad for a sport that has been declining in ratings, but in this case, it should be good for a change, after all, change is a part of the way all sports are run.
Even though the 2013 season is still over two months away, it is safe to say that the intensity levels of teams is heating up already. Each team member, media member, race fan, etc. are all preparing for the start of the new NASCAR season with plenty to look forward to.
Joseph Wolkin can be followed on Twitter at @JosephNASCAR.