Skirts and Scuffs predictions: Katy Lindamood chooses the champs

How do you pick a possible champion before the first competitive laps have been run? How do you figure out which driver/crew chief combinations will work when there have been so many changes in the offseason that your head is still spinning?

Obvious choices for contenders are easy. Some drivers perform well no matter what’s going on around them. They might not take home the Sprint Cup at the end of every season but you can bet they will be there in the closing weeks. Dark horses sometimes come from nowhere and shock everyone with a “where did he come from win,” but they aren’t exactly a sure bet in the perspective champion department. Then again, at this point who is? No one, and that’s what I both love and hate about this post. It’s a shot in the dark.

For the last several years Matt Crafton has been my pick for the Camping World Truck Series, but with only two career victories and heap of bad luck in 2011, I’m going with a somewhat risky choice and putting my marker on Ty Dillon. In only three career starts in the series the younger brother of the current title holder has shown a lot of promise and with Austin moving up Ty is just the guy to keep the No. 3 in victory lane.

Adding to the resources of Kevin Harvick Inc. to the already successful Childress organization can only help Dillon’s efforts as he tries to bring Pop-Pop his third Camping World Truck Series title. Like Austin said, “The little fart is good!”

If absorbing KHI will help RCR’s Truck Series program then it goes without saying that it should also help their Nationwide Series efforts this season. Based on that one might assume I’d pick Austin Dillon as the potential 2012 Champion, that assumption would be wrong. I think this might just be the year Sam Hornish Jr.surprises us all and proves that he does belong in NASCAR.

Hornish has caught a lot of flack in the past for lackluster performances in the Cup Series, but in 2011 he saw success in the Nationwide Series, earning two poles and a win at Phoenix. Roger Penske admitted during this year’s media tour that he, “might have have brought him [Hornish] in at the wrong level. He needed to maybe get some more experience because the testing rules, and that’s always been one of my complaints.”

If "The Captain" believes in Hornish that’s good enough for me.

Two years ago Penske saw something in Brad Keselowski that I didn’t see. I even went as far as calling him a “small fish in the big pond that is Penske Racing.” 2011 proved once and for all that Keselowski isn’t a small fish, he’s a shark and we’ve only just begun to see his future unfold. With a new teammate by his side and an extended partnership with Miller/Coors, Keselowski has a fire in him like never before. He’s said on multiple occasions that he wants to be the guy to get Penske Racing its first Sprint Cup and based on what we saw last season the drive and talent are there.

Few predicted that Keselowski would make the Chase in 2011, but he did. No one saw him winning three races, but he did despite the pain he was in. Maybe the pain made him a better driver. One thing I’m certain of is that 2012 will be the true test of his talent, because anyone can have a hot streak, it’s keeping that hot streak alive that proves to be difficult.
Skirts and Scuffs predictions: Katy Lindamood chooses the champs Skirts and Scuffs predictions: Katy Lindamood chooses the champs Reviewed by Katy Lindamood on Sunday, February 12, 2012 Rating: 5