2013 NASCAR Chase Predictions – Positions 6 – 12

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No. 10 Tony Stewart

No. 10 Tony Stewart
Kevin Liles-USA TODAY Sports

Tony Stewart won the Championship in 2011. Even though he won, he made changes to his team in order to improve. I will admit that because he was willing to change a successful team in order to get even better I picked him to win the Championship in 2012. He didn’t. Teams that have a lot of change do not perform well in the next season. Stewart Haas Racing has a lot of change going on. The boss will be the only one to make the Chase but the best he will do is tenth.

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No. 9 Matt Kenseth

No. 9 Matt Kenseth
Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Kenseth has moved from a successful 17 year run at Roush Fenway Racing to Joe Gibbs Racing. He not only has a new team but a new manufacture. Add in the new car and Matt will not be able to challenge for the Sprint Cup.

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No. 8 Greg Biffle

No. 8 Greg Biffle
Michael Hickey-USA TODAY Sports

Greg Biffle is a driver a lot like Kyle Busch with the exception that he has a little of that finesse that Kyle lacks. Greg lacks enough finesse such that he will have a great year like last year but enough 15 to 20th place finishes in the Chase to relegate him to eight place.

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No. 7 Clint Bowyer

No. 7 Clint Bowyer
Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Clint Bowyer had an It’s our first year and we have nothing to lose seasons. Now that the bar has been set it will be difficult to get there. The new Generation six car will impact the Michael Waltrip teams more than any of the other teams.

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No. 6 Brad Keselowski

No. 6 Brad Keselowski
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Brad Keselowski won the championship in 2012. His team is intact but he gets a new team mate in Joey Logano, a new manufacturer of car and a new car in and of itself. All of these changes will make it impossible for Brad to have the consistency and race wins he had this past season.

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Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

This is the time of the year when attempts are made at predicting who will make the NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup.  It is also time to make predictions of who will win the Championship when the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup season is over.

Every team in the NASCAR garage predicts that they will make the Chase and win the Championship but realistically there are only twelve spots and one Champion.

There are many factors that go into predicting the Chase and who will be Champion.  The first is simple, how did that driver and team perform the year before.  This is the number one indication of the strength of a team.

Strength the year before is good but what if that team no longer exists in its same form?  That diminishes that statistic from consideration.

If a team was not performing well the last season but made obvious changes in order to improve.  That can also be a determining factor.

One of the key factors in a team’s future success is the sheer number of changes that have occurred during the off season.  Very few teams who have had wholesale changes in the off season were able to win a championship.  Some find it difficult to even make the Chase.

This year there is an extra determining factor.  NASCAR has a new Generation 6 car.  This car is very different than the old car.  It will race much differently at the restrictor plate tracks of Daytona and Talladega.  How will this car impact those teams that have had few other changes and were at the top of their game last season?

Taking all these factors into account here are my 2013 NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup predictions.

No. 12 Kyle Busch - There is no doubt.  Kyle Busch is one of the best drivers in NASCAR right now.  He is capable of winning races and having lots of top five finishes.  He also is known to overdrive his car or put himself in situations where he has very pour finishes.  It takes a delicate balance of race wins and consistency to win the Chase.  Kyle does not have the finesse yet to achieve that goal.

No. 11 Jeff Gordon - Jeff Gordon struggled last year to make it into the Chase.  It seemed like every race he either was a different driver or driving for a different team.  Although he won the last race of the season the two prior races matched the rest of his season.  Jeff Gordon will make the Chase but will not be able to win multiple races to earn the prize.