As we finally start the 2012 NASCAR season, it’s time for my first ever Chase for the Sprint Cup predictions.  Here’s hoping that I don’t make too much of a fool out of myself. With that being said, here we go.  Please note that I have only picked who I think will be champion, Kevin Harvick. The rest of my predictions are in alphabetical order. 

Kevin Harvick- After starting strong and winning four times last year, Harvick fizzled during the Chase.  However, this year he won’t have the distraction of running a race team and one less teammate to worry about. But will the summer arrival of his and wife Delana’s first baby hinder his chances or will it make him that much more focused?

 

Kyle Busch – will having his brother drive for his race team in the Nationwide Series help or hinder him?  What about paring down his Truck and Nationwide schedule? This move especially is supposed to help him focus on winning his first Sprint Cup Championship. Does he learn from past mistakes or will those same issues keep from the prize once again?

 

Greg Biffle- after his down season last year where he missed the Chase and no wins; he will make it back to the Chase but will he contend or just take up a spot?

 

Dale Earnhardt Jr. – After last year’s career resurgence and seventh place finish in the Chase Dale Jr. has a renewed confidence entering this season.  This year, will he break that winless streak and find that elusive victory?

 

Carl Edwards- Will coming oh so close last year help or hurt Carl? In the past, runner up in the previous year’s championship battle haven’t usually fare too well the next year.  Can he buck the trend?

 

Jeff Gordon – He is eager to prove that his best racing days are still ahead of him. Will he be able to match and improve last year’s successes?

 

Denny Hamlin – After last year’s disappointing season, Hamlin is looking to bounce back. Will new crew chief Darian Grubb be the key?

 

Jimmie Johnson- Five time is looking for a six pack of championships. After his worst finish in five years, is the magic with him and Chad Knaus gone for good?

 

Kasey Kahne – Look for Kahne to make the Chase this year after missing last year.  He and Kenny Francis, his crew chief, have made the move to Hendrick Motorsports but will that be the catalyst for a championship run?

 

Matt Kenseth – Kenseth looks to improve on his three wins and fourth place finish from last season.  His one distraction from achieving that and more?  Lack of a full time sponsor.  Jack Roush, car owner, has vowed to run all races even if he has to use his own money to do it  but will that cause the usually steady driver to falter?

 

Ryan Newman – Newman wants to improve from last year’s tenth place finish and one win season.  Will the addition of Greg Zipadelli as competition director at Stewart –Haas Racing be what the Rocket man needs to soar to the top?

 

Tony Stewart – After winning a championship battle for the ages, will Stewart experience a hangover?  Or will new crew chief Steve Addington help Stewart avoid the blues and his notorious slow starts?

 

Well there you have it, folks.  Well have to wait for the Richmond night race to see if I’m a genius or a dork.  In the meantime sit back and enjoy what is surely going to be a fanatbulous season!!  LET’S GO RACING!!