FIVE DRIVERS WHO CAN’T WAIT FOR 2013

Is it me, or are you glad for the holidays to be over?

Don’t get me wrong. Spending time with friends and family is always a special experience, but after weeks of eating and travel and more eating and more travel, it’s nice to be back and refreshed for 2013. The same holds true for NASCAR. Here are five drivers who can’t wait for 2013.

Jamie McMurray

McMurray went from winning Daytona and Indi in the same season to being an afterthought with a lost sponsor. His team is switching to Hendrick engines, which handled the last car transition better than most. If Earnhardt Ganassi Racing has anything left in the tank, this is the season to show it.

Juan Pablo Montoya
See McMurray, but replace a near championship run with winning Daytona and Indi. His stumble is befuddling to me.

Kurt Busch

Busch had a great effort with limited resources in 2012. It’s crazy to predict if Busch will mellow in 2013, but he is driving with a team that can win races and consistently finish. Can Busch make the Chase? Maybe not. But a solid, consistent effort with some tactically sound races might look quite appealing when thinking about 2014. And yes, I can’t believe I’m writing about 2014 in a 2013 preview column. Ditto with using that picture.

Kevin Harvick

Every day is one day closer to Harvick’s new team. #LostSeason?

Jeff Gordon

Gordon’s 2012 had more twists and turns than a bad cop show. Gordon had terrible finishes that weren’t his fault, sped back to make the Chase, wrecked Clint Bowyer and won at Homestead.

But consider this: as much as Gordon has accomplished, he has the worst odds of any Hendrick driver to win the 2013 Sprint Cup. Jimmie Johnson is Jimmie Johnson. Kasey Kahne closed strong. Dale Earnhardt Jr. has the popularity card.

Gordon is running out of chances to add a title and probably will have the best equipment of any team in NASCAR. Add a chip on his shoulder and ticking clock to his career, and I think we will see a motivated man in 2013.

It’s time to get to work. Enjoy the start of 2013. Wait patiently for Daytona. Insert random catchphrase here.