New Talent Headlines the Nationwide Series in 2013By Jason Schultz
There is more talent than ever ready to take to the track at Daytona to kick off the Nationwide Series season. 2013 will be a huge season for the Nationwide Series since there are so many drivers that are in great rides that will be competing for the championship. The Nationwide Series is stacked up in 2013 and the battle on track will be insane in each and every race.
Many drivers return to the Nationwide Series this season that have been here awhile and they all look to prove experience matters and take the championship opportunity away from the new drivers. Most notable, Elliot Sadler returns to the Nationwide Series after two straight seasons of finishing second in the points standings to Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Sadler has failed to beat Stenhouse Jr over the past few seasons but, with Stenhouse Jr now out, Sadler has a better shot at winning the championship. The only difference between 2013 and the last few seasons for Sadler is that he will compete for Joe Gibbs Racing and not Richard Childress Racing. Sadler will look to win the championship with a JGR car this season and beat the new talents that have entered the series.
Other drivers back include Austin Dillon, Sam Hornish Jr, Justin Allgaier, Michael Annett and Brian Scott (Who is now with RCR instead of JGR). These drivers have been around the Nationwide Series for a year or two and they will look to take their experience from the past few seasons and put it towards a championship run.
Who’s Moved Around
A few drivers have switched rides heading into the 2013 season and they hope their new ride brings them more success. Like I said earlier, Elliot Sadler will be with JGR this year instead of with RCR and Sadler hopes the move will bring him more success. Sadler will be behind the wheel of the No.11 One Main Financial Toyota Camry. One Main Financial followed Sadler over from RCR and they hope Sadler keeps up his winning ways in 2013.
The other notable driver move involved Brian Scott who did the opposite of Sadler and went to RCR from JGR. Scott has a family sponsor so he can just essentially switch to any team he wants and race, even if he isn’t that good because a sponsor is everything in NASCAR these days. Scott hopes this ride at RCR in the No.2 car will bring him better times than his time at JGR did. Scott hasn’t been all the competitive in the Nationwide Series during the past couple of years and he looks to change that as we head into 2013.
2013 will feature the best Nationwide Series field in years and that is all thanks to the new group of drivers who have came to the Nationwide Series for the upcoming season. Brian Vickers is likely the most notable new guy in the Nationwide garage this season due to the fact that he’s a former Nationwide Series champion (won the Bush Series, Now Nationwide, championship in 2003) and because he’s a great talent. 2012 was an odd year for Vickers because he didn’t have an exact home but, JGR is his home for 2013.
Other new faces competing full-time for the Nationwide Series championship this season include Kyle Larson, Parker Kligerman, Travis Pastrana, Trevor Bayne, Regan Smith and Nelson Piquet Jr. Kyle Larson had tremendous success in the K&N East Series last season, which included a championship. In the few times Larson raced in one of the top NASCAR series’, he’s fared well and he’ll be competing for the Nationwide championship this season with Earnhardt-Ganassi-Racing. Parker Kligerman is another new name in the Nationwide Series this year and he’ll be racing for Kyle Busch Motorsports in the No.77 car. Kligerman had a strong year in the Trucks last season and he made the jump to the Nationwide Series for 2013.
Travis Pastrana and Trevor Bayne are going to be the two drivers competing out of the Roush-Fenway stable this season and they will both be looking for enough success to win the championship. Both Pastrana and Bayne have raced in the Nationwide Series before but, 2013 will be their first full-time season. Regan Smith is another new face in the Nationwide Series this season and he’ll be competing for the championship in the No.7 car for JR Motorsports. Smith was essentially kicked out of his No.78 Cup ride in the middle of the Chase last season so he went looking for a new ride and ended up at JR Motorsports in the Nationwide Series for 2013.
Nelson Piquet Jr is the final new guy in the Nationwide Series this season that will be looking for the championship. Piquet Jr is coming off a good year in the Trucks where he won two races but, Piquet Jr thought the Nationwide Series was calling for him in 2013. Piquet Jr won at Road America last season in his only Nationwide Series start prior to 2013 but, Piquet Jr wants more success in the Nationwide Series this season.
A few drivers departed from the Nationwide Series after 2012 and both are headed up to the Cup Series. Defending champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr is headed to the Cup Series in 2013 after having a boat load of success in the Nationwide Series over the past few seasons. Stenhouse Jr will be competing for the Cup championship in the No.17 car for RFR.
The other driver who is leaving the Nationwide Series for the Cup Series is Danica Patrick. Patrick finished tenth in the Nationwide Series standings last season and followed her NASCAR plan to move up to the Cup Series in 2013 and race for Stewart-Hass Racing. Patrick and Stenhouse Jr are dating, yes, but they will both be competing for the rookie of the year honors in the Cup Series this season.
What New Tracks Have Been Added to the Schedule
One new track will be on the Nationwide Series schedule this season and that track replaced one that was taken off the schedule after 2012. Mid-Ohio will feature a Nationwide Series event this season after Montreal was taken off the schedule following the 2012 season. This will be Mid-Ohio’s first NASCAR event after they have hosted the Indy Car Series for the past few seasons. Montreal was a very popular stop on the schedule but, some wild demands from the track forced the race off the schedule. The Mid-Ohio race will take place on August 17th.
All the new talent in the Nationwide Series this season will create much more excitement in each and every race. The Cup drivers will become less of factors in the Nationwide Series due to the stacked Nationwide regular field and that will be much more exciting. Below, I give my guess at the top ten in points for once the season concludes.
- Austin Dillon
- Elliot Sadler
- Brian Vickers
- Regan Smith
- Sam Hornish Jr
- Trevor Bayne
- Justin Allgaier
- Michael Annett
- Parker Kligerman
- Nelson Piquet Jr
Talent. That’s basically what we have found in the Nationwide Series over the past few years and in 2013, even more talent will be found within the series. The Nationwide Series features many drivers and all have a different goal. Some driver’s goal is to revive their career while others have a goal of making their name known in the NASCAR world. 2013 will be super exciting for the Nationwide Series and each lap of every race should bring excitement. It is so hard to predict who will do well in the Nationwide Series this season because almost every driver could do well. Going into 2013, we can all agree on one thing, the Nationwide Series competition this season will be better than ever.