Preseason NASCAR Power Rankings No. 15-11
No. 15 Aric Almirola
Aric Almirola will win a race or two in 2013 and he'll do it behind the wheel of the famous No. 43, automatically becoming a fan favorite. Almirola will have a shot to make the Chase for the Sprint Cup, but that's unlikely because of his team's inconsistency.
No. 14 Martin Truex Jr.
Martin Truex Jr. may finally break through to win a race for the first time since June of 2007, but don't be surprised if he doesn't. For some reason, the guy just can't seem to lock up the win whenever he's in position to do so. After the terrible end to the season he had in 2012, don't expect too much from him in 2013 as he may miss the chase with a few teams upgrading their equipment over the off-season
No. 13 Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Sorry race fans. Dale Earnhardt Jr. isn't the talented race car driver everyone wishes he was. The guy is in arguably the best equipment the sport has to offer, and he's only won one race over three years. He's missing 13 races of sponsorship too, but that's nothing because his popularity will just make companies realize they have to sponsor him. He gets TV time for running outside of the top-20. Expect him to be consistent in 2013 with a similar run to 2012, but he won't win which will evidently ruin his season.
No. 12 Ryan Newman
Ryan Newman didn't make the Chase for the Sprint Cup in 2012 and was highly disappointed. Though he was able to luck into a win at Martinsville, his overall efforts just weren't near the amount to be in the Chase. However, he ended the season with back-to-back top-five's which could be a sign that Newman's luck is turning around.
No. 11 Kevin Harvick
He's leaving the team that gave him a chance. Kevin Harvick's going to have the same problem Matt Kenseth had in 2012. Kenseth won three races, but fell apart at the end of the season because he was leaving the team. It's going to happen to Harvick too. Though he and team owner Richard Childress say they're committed to each other, it's unlikely that Harvick will have a good season in 2012. He may be able to win a race or two, but don't get your hopes up.
The 2013 NASCAR season is nearly here. Man, that what quick. It seems like Brad Keselowski was just raising the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship trophy above his head at the Homestead-Miami Speedway.
2012 was a crazy year for NASCAR. Fighting, suspensions, penalties, you name, it happened in NASCAR. This year, the sport is making several upgrades that will hopefully boost the competition to be stronger than ever. Though most races saw 20-30 cars on the lead lap, there were some races that just flat out stunk and were definitely too spread out. NASCAR realized this and decided that they needed to do something about it.
The Generation Six car will likely make the competition stronger at most tracks, especially 2.5 mile speedways such as Michigan and Auto Club where the racing hasn’t been to the liking of race fans over the past few years. However, the Super Speedway races were outstanding in 2012 and hopefully will be similar in 2013. Though the new body style doesn’t align with other cars, basically eliminating the ‘two-car-tango,’ the new car will likely be able to stay in traffic just like racing was before the Car of Tomorrow.
NASCAR drivers are gearing up for what could be the best season for the sport in quite some time. The “Next Nine” is starting to move up towards the top-three NASCAR series with some of them making their debuts this season while others are returning to the Home Track series to gain some experience before taking that next step up to the toughest racing in the world.
It should be a great 2013 season as there will definitely be some underdog’s up towards the top of the rankings for the first time in quite sometime. With that, here’s the 2013 NASCAR preseason power rankings beginning with drivers ranked from 15th-11th.
Joseph Wolkin can be followed on Twitter at @JosephNASCAR.