NASCAR: Did The Groundhog See Racing Just Around The Corner?

The 20 pound rodent known as ‘Punxsutawney Phil’, who is just that, a rodent, not a meteorologist did not see his shadow on Saturday, and is predicting an early spring. Not sure what an “early spring” is either, looks to me like that would be a variable based on where you live, or your perception of the word spring. The good news is, it’s always pretty close to spring in Daytona Beach, Florida, and as a race fan that has trouble making it through the off season, it means racing is just around the corner.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Preseason Thunder Testing

Jan 11, 2013; Daytona Beach, FL, USA; NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers exit turn four during Preseason Thunder testing at Daytona International Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Douglas Jones-USA TODAY Sports

I wonder if the over-sized rat can predict who will be winning the “Great American Race” this year, or the 2013 Sprint Cup Championship. Probably not, but with the 2013 racing season less than two weeks away, I know I have some favorites that we can put up for discussion.

I don’t mean to get too busy rehashing old facts, but the Budweiser Shootout..oops..The Sprint Unlimited will provide race teams, crew chiefs, and drivers with a head start on the new Gen 6 Race car. It will provide an opportunity for drivers that are in the field to actually get race data in the books, these days everything is probably on the computer, and they should have a leg up when the green flag drops on the Daytona 500 the following Sunday.

All of the guarded practice sessions, both single car, and drafting practice do not compare to having 22 drivers that are trying to win something, even if it’s just a trophy and some money, on the track with something to prove. This race will gives us a preview for the season. Come on.Daytona is always fun, no matter what kind of cars they are driving, and won’t provide a lot of data that can be used at the more boring tracks, but it will help.

Because of the extra seat time, I’m going out on a limb here, and because I didn’t see my shadow on Saturday, am going to predict the Daytona 500 winner will come out of the Shootout drivers..there I go again, Unlimited drivers.

I really liked what I saw out of 2012 Daytona 500 Champ Matt Kenseth during the test sessions. I am going to pick him to win the Sprint Unimited. Matt doesn’t have to worry about old data from his Roush/Fenway days, because he has moved to the Toyota Camry, and it is an entirely different beast than the Ovals. He knows how to drive the racetrack, and with the new Home Depot Camry strapped to his backside, will take the Checkered Flag on opening night.

Hang in there Race Fans, it’s almost time for the words  we have waited all winter to hear, “Gentlemen…Start..Your…Engines”!!  I know it will come right on time, the Ground Hog told me so.

Follow Me on Twitter @Spin_47

 

 

Tags: Matt Kenseth NASCAR Sprint Cup Series

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