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Motorsports 101 Debate: 2013 NASCAR Nationwide Series Champion

February 6th, 2013 at 11:04 AM
By Mark Eddinger

Motorsports 101’s writers agree that the 2013 NASCAR Nationwide Series will be more entertaining than it has been in years due to the depth of drivers running for the championship. With two and a half weeks left until the green flag is dropped on the much anticipated season, Motorsports 101 makes its picks for the series champion.

Important Season for Brian Vickers Will End With Title – By Clayton Caldwell
 
It’s the most competitive the NASCAR Nationwide Series has been in 10 years. There are several teams and drivers who will be competing for wins in the series due to the pick a series rule which is working as teams and sponsors want to win a Nationwide Series championship.
 
Several young drivers will have a shot at winning the championship. Austin Dillon, Justin Allgaier, Trevor Bayne, Parker Kligerman and Nelson Piquet Jr are young guns who will have a shot at it.
 
 'IMG_5455' photo (c) 2011, Parker Anderson - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/Then there are the veterans in the series. They include Elliott Sadler, Regan Smith, Sam Hornish Jr, and my pick to win the Nationwide Series championship, Brian Vickers.
 
Vickers, who has won the Nationwide Series championship in 2003, will run a full season for Joe Gibbs Racing. JGR is the most elite Nationwide team in the business and Vickers certainly has the talent to run well in the series.

This may be the biggest season in Vickers career. Last season he only ran eight races in the Cup Series after his previous team Red Bull Racing closed its doors after the 2011 season. Vickers had missed most of the 2010 season due to blood clots and had a rough 2011 season including several run ins on the racetrack.

Vickers ran those eight races for Michael Waltrip Racing and rebounded his career. He ran well recording five top ten finishes in his eight starts. That success has led to this ride at Joe Gibbs Racing. Vickers will run nine Cup races in Michael Waltrip Racing’s #55 car this year, a ride that is open for a full time driver in 2014. Vickers has been mentioned as the frontrunner to replace Mark Martin in that car.
 
A great 2013 season in the Nationwide Series will all but cement Vickers in that ride. If he struggles in the #20 car this season, Vickers may not get that ride and MWR may look to other free agents such as Juan Pablo Montoya or Ryan Newman.
 
I think with his future in the balance this season, Vickers will have even more incentive to run good. He will be in top notch equipment and will be with a team that really ran good in 2012. He will have Elliott Sadler as his teammate and the two veterans could help each other run really good in 2013.
 
Brian Vickers is my pick to win the championship, but for the first time in ten years the Nationwide Series championship run will be wide open and that’s the thing I am most excited about.
 
Brian Vickers Will Prove to be Championship Caliber Once Again – By Mark Eddinger
 
I am more excited for the 2013 NASCAR Nationwide Series season than I can ever remember being for a season of the secondary series to Cup. That is because of the quality of teams and drivers that will be competing full time in top of the line equipment.
 
As the season is only two and a half weeks away I count 14 drivers that are going to be in equipment that could be championship caliber. The competition will be stiff but in the end Brian Vickers will stand above the rest and win his second Nationwide Series title 10 years after his first.
 
'1-IMG_4826' photo (c) 2012, Terri  Hickox - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/
 
Vickers won the 2003 title driving for Hendrick Motorsports at the age of 20 and his story since then has been well documented by us at Motorsports 101 as well as other news sources. Ten years later he is back for only his second full time try in the series with another powerhouse team in Joe Gibbs Racing. He will pilot the No. 20 Toyota with sponsorship coming from Dollar General.
 
I have always been under the impression that Vickers is one of the most talented drivers in all of NASCAR. He was out at Hendrick in the Cup Series after three years before he really could show what he could do and still was only 23-years old. He then led Red Bull Racing from the ground up and in his third season in the car he made the Chase with the team and was a threat to win almost weekly. Things fell apart from there with his life threatening blood clots and then Red Bull Racing shutting down but now Vickers is back and ready to keep proving he is a top talent.
 
Vickers will have to be on the top of his game to defeat his stiff Nationwide Series competition that starts with his JGR teammate Elliott Sadler in the No. 11. Trevor Bayne will drive the car that won the last two championships for Roush-Fenway Racing. Austin Dillon will be stronger than he already was in 2012 in his No. 3 Richard Childress Racing ride. Regan Smith will have JR Motorsports on the rise and in title contention. Sam Hornish Jr hung around until late last season in the championship picture for Penske Racing and could do the same this year.
 
While those five drivers pose the biggest threat to Vickers in my mind, there are eight other drivers that will also have their say if things can go their way because of the great equipment they will be driving. Brian Scott with RCR, Nelson Piquet Jr and Justin Allgaier with Turner Scott Motorsports, Parker Kligerman with Kyle Busch Motorsports, Michael Annett with Richard Petty Motorsports, Travis Pastrana with RFR, Alex Bowman with RAB Racing, and Kyle Larson driving a full season TSM with backing from Earnhardt-Gannasi Racing will be a threat too.
 
Vickers will have a lot to contend with but I think he is driven to prove what he can do and think 2013 will be a statement season for him that ends with a championship.
Tags: Alex Bowman, Austin Dillon, Brian Scott, Brian Vickers, Elliott Sadler, Justin Allgaier, Kyle Larson, Michael Annett, Motorsports, Nelson Piquet Jr., Parker Kligerman, Regan Smith, sam hornish jr, Trevor Bayne, Turner Scott Motorsports

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