2012 NASCAR Speculations: Newbies vs. Veterans and Surprises

Posted by imelda sovzky on Sunday, February 12, 2012

Harley J. Earl Trophy
What Every Daytona 500 driver wants
(photo - NASCAR .com)
While at work the other night, a co-worker and I had a discussion about our predictions for the 2012 NASCAR season. His speculations were not a complete surprise to me as he thinks Dale Earnhardt Jr. will finish in the top-two at Daytona and ultimately go on to contend in the Chase, finishing the season within the top-five. How about it Dale Jr. fans do you agree?


In continuing his thoughts about the season-opener at Daytona, he'd love to see a spoiler again - someone unexpected - winning at the finish. Agreed, the 2012 Daytona finish with Trevor Bayne was electrifying and it would be fun to see a repeat surprise winner for 2012. So, when I gave that some thought, the person coming to my mind was Elliott Sadler. Although he is more seasoned than Bayne, he could be a more sentimental fan favorite to win the Great American Race. Is that true? Would you rather see someone new or a sentimental favorite in victory lane at Daytona? 


My other thought about whoever wins at Daytona, is that I'd love to see that winner go on to win the next biggest race of the season at Indianapolis. It was a treat for fans when Jamie McMurray did that a few years ago and would be fun to see that repeated this season. Taking this a bit further, this could be another year of Chevy dominance with the manufacturer winning at Daytona also picking up an Indy win, the two biggest races of the year. Your turn...which manufacturer will dominate this year? And will the Daytona 500 winner go on to win at the famed Brickyard? 


JJ Yeley Daytona 500 Contender?
(Photo - JJ's Twitter page)
After last year’s season where we saw several thrilling first-time Sprint Cup winners, with Brad Keselowski, David Ragan, and Regan Smith, this season we could see a few more newbies edging out the veterans. Landon Cassill or JJ Yeley would be my favorites in speculating this category. Though technically Yeley is a veteran in the sport, he has yet to get his first win. 


And speaking of veterans, there are a few that would love to be among the surprises for 2012. Besides the ones I root for, I would love to see Martin Truex Jr. in Victory Lane this year. Who are your newbie vs. veteran picks? 


After an amazing Chase season in 2011, I also think this year’s chase could be another exciting one. Considering the Chase, here’s who I think will make it in alphabetical order: Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Carl Edwards, Jeff Gordon, Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne, Brad Keselowski, Matt Kenseth, Ryan Newman, and Tony Stewart. Although there are some reservations with a couple drivers due to recent past performance, I think these are the 12 Chasers for the championship, beginning with the close of the fall Richmond race. Who are your Chase picks to contend for the 2012 title? 


What every Sprint Cup Driver
wants at the end of the season
(Photo - Tiffany & Co.)


Personally, even with a different crew chief, I think Tony Stewart will have a good showing again this year and as much as I would love to see him repeat as champion, that may not happen. This year, I think we could see a first-time champion and in my mind, it is a three-way competition between Harvick, Hamlin, and Edwards. Your thoughts? 


Could someone pull off a feat like Tony did last year by going winless in the regular season and then fire off five wins in the Chase to win the Championship? Have at it fans...Give us your 2012 predictions?

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