Five NASCAR Nationwide Series Drivers To Watch In 2013

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Elliott Sadler Looks To Win A Championship On His Third Try

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The new 2013 season will be redemption for Elliott Sadler as he hopes to capture a Nationwide Series championship in his third straight season.

After finishing the 2012 season in the runner-up position and in his second season Sadler fell short to wining the championship. All season long Sadler was going head-to-head in the point standings with now two-time Nationwide Series champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Heading into the final races of the 2012 season Sadler had an opportunity to possibly win or make it a much closer race for the title until trouble at Phoenix.

At the season’s end Sadler ended second in the point standings after capturing four wins, 15 top-fives and 24 top-10 finishes.

In the upcoming season for Sadler there is the possibility that the “third time is a charm” in his quest for the Nationwide championship. This time around Sadler will be with a new with Joe Gibbs Racing.

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Austin Dillon Looks To Continue Success From His Rookie Year

Michael Hickey-USA TODAY Sports

Upon completing his rookie season in the NASCAR Nationwide Series Austin Dillon learned that he has potential to be a title contender.

The 2011 Trucks Series champion made his way into the Nationwide Series and found success as he maintained himself within the top-10 in the point standings all season. Not only did he keep himself within the top drivers in the series but Dillon took over the top spot within the rookie class.

As the winner of Rookie of the Year honors, Dillon also ended the year in third place within the point standings. At the year’s end Dillon finished with two wins, 16 top-five and 27 top-10 finishes.

Dillon will be looking to continue his success from his rookie year in his quest for a championship.

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Sam Hornish Jr.'s Focus Shifts Into The Nationwide Series

Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Upon completing his stint in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series after an unsuspecting event, Sam Hornish Jr. will now get to put all his focus in his hunt for a Nationwide championship.

Throughout the 2012 season Hornish maintained himself within the top-10 in the point standings despite competing in the Cup Series in the No.22 car after filling in for a suspended AJ Allmendinger. Not only was Hornish racing in two series at the same time, it was also his first full season in the No.12 car in the Nationwide Series.

Hornish ended the season fourth in the points. Throughout the summer months Hornish had consistent results but towards the end of the season he came up with a few bumps on the way to compete for a title.

Going into the new season Hornish hopes to capture the title in the Nationwide Series after he was passed over for the No.22 Cup car after racing in the reminder of 2012 in that car. The new season and opportunity in the Nationwide Series should be the motivation for Hornish to perform at his best and race to win a championship.

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Michael Annett Looks To Continue His Improvement

Michael Hickey-USA TODAY Sports

The 2013 NASCAR Nationwide season will be the chance Michael Annett will have to continue his improvement.

Following his best performance in the Nationwide Series with a fifth place finish in the point standings, Annett could attempt to translate his latest success into wins. Throughout the 2012 season Annett captured six top-five and 17 top-10 finishes. Within the summer races Annett became one of the Dash 4 Cash winners.

The 2012 season was his best season to date with his previous best pints finish being ninth in 2011.

Since his move to Richard Petty Motorsports his statistics have improved and has a chance to continue in 2013, even a championship contender.

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Regan Smith Is Ready For His New Opportunity

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It will be a whole new opportunity for Regan Smith in 2013, as he will be getting a fresh start to his career.

Upon competing in the Cup Series within the last four seasons with Furniture Row Racing, Smith gets a new shot at a championship in a different series, the NASCAR Nationwide Series. With a whole new opportunity in his career, Smith has a shot to perform well and contend for the title based on his first race with his new team.

In his debut with JR Motorsports, the former Darlington Southern 500 winner went into the race with expectations of hoping to adjust to his new ride for the following season. By the end of the race not only did he adjust but also won the race and took the team to Victory Lane, which had not occurred in years. Both parties got off to a great start to their new relationship.

Going into the new season Smith has a great shot to contend for the championship and to finish within the top-10 in the points.

Kevin Liles-USA TODAY Sports

The first green flag for the NASCAR Nationwide Series is just days away to be waved at Daytona International Speedway and all drivers will be ready to have their opportunity at the championship.

It’s a whole new season in the Nationwide Series and within the new season familiar faces are back, new faces have arrived and some drivers have gone on to other projects. The upcoming season also features the return of former Nationwide drivers as well as iconic cars from the series.

The upcoming 2013 season will feature many changes, one of those changes will concern with qualifying into the races but another change will be seen as the year goes on. The reigning two-time Nationwide Series champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr. has gone onto the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and it means that there will be a brand new champion in 2013.

With an opportunity for all drivers to become champion, many will step up to the occasion. As the season progresses following the season opener at Daytona, the list of potential championship contenders will begin to narrow down.

In the 2013 season, many drivers will look for their shot to be the best of the best, but there will be five drivers to watch throughout the season. Within these five drivers some of them will look for another shot at the championship they were close to winning last season, others will continue their improvement, and others look to compete in a new series.  For Elliott Sadler, Austin Dillon, Sam Hornish Jr., Michael Annett and Regan Smith, the 2013 season will be their time.