NASCAR Preseason Power Rankings, Places 10-6
No. 10 Matt Kenseth
Matt Kenseth's transition over to Joe Gibbs Racing appears to be smooth as silk. However, Kenseth's probably going to have a problem adjusting to the new team later in the year at tracks other than Daytona and Charlotte. Expect Kenseth to win some races but become very inconsistent throughout the year. inconsistent throughout the year.
No. 9 Jeff Gordon
Jeff Gordon is determined to revamp his career this year. His career is winding down to its final years and he could probably win another championship or two with the new car. However, with as much talent as Gordon has, it's likely that he won't perform at championship standards once again but will improve slightly from last season.
No. 8 Tony Stewart
Good ol' Smoke is rising up from his hibernation. Tony Stewart started off 2012 with a hot start, but slowed down considerably during the Chase for the Sprint Cup. Expect Stewart to have a more traditional Tony Stewart year and could possibly break into the top-five with a strong run during the Summer months which include some of his best tracks.
No. 7 Kyle Busch
Kyle Busch is going to be a contender in 2013. He and his Joe Gibbs Racing team are prepared to get back to winning races left and right just like they did a few years back. Though Busch won the first race with the COT at Bristol, don't expect for Busch to have the same type of luck to begin with this season.
No. 6 Kasey Kahne
Kasey Kahne isn't going to adapt to the new car the way Hendrick Motorsports hopes he will do. At this point in his career, Kahne's confidence is at the highest level it can go which is going to hurt him if he ends up struggling just like he did last year where he almost fell outside of the top-35 in points which was beyond embarrassing with the amount of expectations that he had on his sleeves.
The 2013 NASCAR season is just days away from its unofficial start. How quick did that fly by? It seems like it was just yesterday that Brad Keselowski was crowned champion for the first time in his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career. However, can he return to that form entering the 2013 season?
With the new Generation Six body among the numerous changes which the sanctioning body has implemented over the off-season, NASCAR teams are gearing up for what could be a make or break season for many drivers and teams. The new body comes with concerns for some teams, but for others, it’s just another way to prove how dominant they can be.
The teams which seem to be most prepared for the new body style include Joe Gibbs Racing, Roush-Fenway Racing, Hendrick Motorsports, Michael Waltrip Racing and the rest of the top tier teams that fans expect to be competitive. It could be a chance for the small teams to have the breakout season they’ve been looking for throughout their time in the sport.
The new body comes with new rules including the new qualifying rule. It’s basically the same as what it was during the NASCAR Winston Cup Series era, but it could change things up if someone that has a terrible run in qualifying, intends to run a full race and ends up missing it because a start-and-park team out-qualified them. Brian France and the rest of the top guns at the NASCAR offices will probably make a rule to prevent this from happening too frequently.
Joseph Wolkin can be followed on Twitter at @JosephNASCAR.