Nascar: My Top 5 Picks To Win A Sprint Cup Title In 2013
5 Time Sprint Cup Champion Jimmie Johnson
With the start of the 2013 NASCAR season just around the corner, it's time to make some picks and projections for the record. The New Gen 6 car has made it through Preseason Thunder last week at Daytona International Speedway, and testing will continue this week at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
My picks for the 2013 campaign are tied to some assumptions that I have made based on what I have seen on the track, and the ability of teams to get a handle on the new cars, as well as, teams who I think are committed to wining a championship. Winning a championship is as much about total owner, team, driver dedication as it is the raw talent of the driver.
For instance, is Richard Childress Racing fully invested at the Sprint Cup level to win a Cup title? I think Kevin Harvick has the talent to win a championship, and wanted to include him in my top five picks, but didn't because Mr Childress is so vested in the Truck and Nationwide series' in an effort to get his grandsons to the Cup level, he has not been paying attention to his top drivers. Maybe Kevin win a title at his next stop, but not this year.
Sorry Jr Nation, I love what Dale Earnhardt Jr got accomplished in 2012, but until I see some more trips to Victory Lane, I'm not down with him winning a championship. He languished around the top all last season, but because he couldn't muster another win or two, faded after the Chase started because of it. He is with the best team in racing, with the best equipment, and a really good crew chief in Steve Letarte, who won a title with Jeff Gordon, and maybe can get it done, but not this year.
I think the switch to Ford for the reigning champ is a hill that will too big to climb in their first season with the Oval. Brad Keselowski has the talent, as we saw last year, but realistically he is a year or two away from his second title.
So without further adieu, here are My Top 5 Picks To Win A Sprint Cup Championship this year.
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How can you put a top five list together and not include a guy who has five Cup trophies on his mantle. Jimmie Johnson, along with his crew chief, had a formula to win another cup in 2012, and I think had he not encountered engine problems at Homestead, would very well have gotten his sixth last year. Never count out the Lowes Chevrolet.
Number 4 Kasey Kahne
Kasey Kahne had a great season last year even though he had to dig himself out of some early season problems. He knew what he had to do, and put the work in to make the chase, and be very competitive down the stretch. Just not enough to get it done. Kasey ended 2012 in fourth place only 55 points out, and with a good start in 2013, he can be there to get yet another Sprint Cup for Mr. Hendrick.
Number 3 Denny Hamlin
Denny Hamlin bounced back in 2012 after a disappointing 2011 season to finish in fifth place. He runs strong at the Chase tracks, and with the New Gen 6 Car, I think Toyota will be a player this year, and get that first title for Joe Gibbs in a Toyota. Denny has a crew chief who has won a title with Tony Stewart, and in my opinion is the second best in NASCAR behind Chad Knaus.
Number 2 Clint Bowyer
I love what Michael Waltrip Racing is doing, and I am convinced Clint Bowyer is the man to get Michael his first Cup title in 2013. I wan't on the bandwagon for the 5 Hour Energy Toyota until he picked up that third win at The Bank of America 500 in Charlotte. I think had he not been wrecked in Phoenix because Jeff Gordon wanted to settle a dispute, Bowyer had a real shot at the Title in 2012. He finished second.
Number 1 Matt Kenseth
I liked what I saw with Matt Kenseth at Preseason Thunder, and am convinced that he is now in a Toyota, and has a real chance to get his second title in 2013. Matt hung around all year close to the top, even knowing it was his last season in the Roush/Fenway Ford. Matt is a hard worker, and a great driver with tons of raw talent, and will be the man in 2013.