Saturday, February 9, 2013

Jessica Tow chooses the champs for 2013

Credit: Debbie Ross / Skirts and Scuffs

Across the board, 2012 was a fantastic year for NASCAR’s three national touring series. From Daytona to Homestead-Miami, the season was filled with excitement and thrills from start to finish.

The predictions for this year were somewhat difficult given the circumstances of driver/crew member changes in all three series. The addition of the new Generation-6 stock car in the Sprint Cup Series also contributes some intangible variables. To say this season will be intriguing is definitely an understatement. As always, the championship titles could go to any driver in any series.

With Daytona festivities a mere week away, predictions must be made. Here are my selections of who I believe will be hoisting the Championship trophies at Homestead-Miami Speedway this November:

Sprint Cup Series: Jimmie Johnson Denny Hamlin
Credit: Debbie Ross / Skirts and Scuffs

Regardless of the changes that take place each year, Jimmie Johnson is always a top contender. However, I believe that 2013 is the year of Denny Hamlin. Hamlin, who drives the No. 11 Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing, finished the 2012 season with a sixth in points. He had 17 top-10 finishes, 14 top fives and five wins. With 2011 Champion Crew Chief Darian Grubb sitting atop his pit box, Hamlin has a competitive advantage. The duo has one season together under their belts and will surely bring some spice to the track in 2013. Look for Denny to be seated at the Champion’s table in Las Vegas this November.


Nationwide Series: Elliott Sadler
Credit: Charlotte Bray / Skirts and Scuffs
With a new team and car number in 2013, Elliott Sadler will no doubt be this year’s Nationwide Series Champion. Sadler, who now pilots the No. 11 Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing, has plenty of momentum going into this season. In 2012 he won four races and led 25 times.

After finishing second in points for two consecutive seasons, Sadler has a full advantage with Ricky Stenhouse Jr.’s choice to contend for a Sprint Cup Series Championship. Although Stenhouse Jr. has moved forward, Sadler will continue to face stiff competition from the likes of Austin Dillon and Regan Smith. However, combine his statistics with the powerhouse stable of Joe Gibbs Racing and the stars have aligned for Elliott Sadler. This will be his year to shine


Camping World Truck Series: Timothy Peters
Timothy Peters
Credit: Debbie Ross / Skirts and Scuffs

The Camping World Truck Series field is full of amazing talent and young guns that are looking to make a name for themselves. Ty Dillon, Parker Kligerman and Joey Coulter are all respectable choices and will no doubt be contenders this season.

However when it comes to this year’s Champion, I am choosing to go with a series veteran. With seven seasons under his belt, Timothy Peters, driver of the No. 17 Toyota Tundra for Red Horse Racing, will be this year’s Truck Series Champion. Peters had a fantastic 2012 season complete with two wins and a runner-up finish in the Championship point standings. His performance last year can be described with one word: consistency.

Throughout the course of the season, Peters achieved 16 top-10 finishes, 10 of which were top fives. With consistently strong finishes, Peters never found himself out of the top three in points. He accomplished an unbelievable feat when he led all 204 laps of the UNOH 200 at Bristol Motor Speedway last year, something that hasn’t been done since 1997. Peters has plenty of momentum coming into the 2013 season. Look for him to be at the front of the field this November.

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