nascar sprint cup series
the season’s started, and it’s
already intriguing…but we believe
it’s going to become gripping.
think about it: teams grappling
with the Gen- 6 cars and drivers
learning (at different rates) what
does and doesn’t work on these
machines. and how about the
driver battles Will a wily old
vet upstage young king Brad
Keselowski Will Jimmie
Johnson decide two years
without a championship is long
enough? Don’t leave your sofa.
SEASON STARTS FEB. 24
CARL EDWARDS SEEKS TO RECAPTURE HIS 2011 FORM TIME FOR A ROUSH REBOOT
TV COVERAGE FOX, then TNT, then
an ESPN / ABC combo.
In particular listen to Jeff Hammond
and Larry McReynolds – wise old owls!
Roush Fenway Racing has a mountain to climb in 2013. Last year was character- building: a total of five Sprint Cup wins and fifth, seventh and 15th in the championship standings wasn’t terrible, but consistency was lacking, especially in the No. 99 car. Carl Edwards, who finished 2011 on a tie-break with champion Tony Stewart, went winless in 2012 and only finished in the top five in three races.
Now, Matt Kenseth, who no one
expected to leave, has left, to be replaced
by Ricky Stenhouse Jr., the Nationwide
Series champ, but a rookie at Cup level.
And then there’s a new direct point of
comparison: Penske Racing, the
using Roush-Yates engines, of course. In
other words, should there be anything
lacking at RFR, it will be starkly on show.
Greg Biffle has gone on record as saying
he doesn’t expect much in the way of
data-sharing between the teams.
tom pennington/Getty images
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
(LEFT) has more than
earned his spot in
Roush Fenway’s Cup
team having won the
last two Nationwide
Series titles. Replacing
Matt Kenseth, who
departed for Joe
Gibbs Racing, is a
daunting task though.
But there are plenty of positives as well.
Having a Penske-caliber team using the
same power source can be a boost, too,
with the engine shop gaining vital info in
its titanic scrap with Chevrolet and Toyota.
On the personnel side, Edwards has
been joined by Jimmy Fennig, formerly
Kenseth’s crew chief, and Carl himself is
excited by their united sense of purpose.
“I’ve got a gut feeling this is going to be
a great year,” he said. “Jimmy and I are on
the same page in that we don’t care if we
like each other or talk or whatever. As long
as we have success, we’re happy. He told me
he’s doing this to win and not for any other
reason. I’m in the same boat. I think that is
the way we are going to both go do this.”
KESELOWSKI DEFENDS HIS CROWN WITH A DIFFERENT CAR AND AN OPEN MIND
SPECIAL K: THE SERIAL
Matthew t. thacker/Lat
Brad Keselowski took just 125 races to
clinch his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
crown and won Roger Penske his first
NASCAR title in four decades of trying.
For 2013, he has a new car, new engine
(Penske Racing has switched from Dodge
to Ford) and new teammate in Joey Logano.
In the 28-year-old champ’s favor, though,
is the continuity of a team with no growing
pains (Penske runs just two Cup cars) and
a relationship with crew chief Paul Wolfe
(LEFT) that’s yielded two titles in three
years (2010 Nationwide being the other).
80 sprinG 2013