SHR is home to three of the most diverse drivers, based on their success levels, in NASCAR. First, you have Tony Stewart who is a three time Cup champion. Then, you have Ryan Newman who usually has success throughout the season but not enough to compete for the championship. Finally, you have Danica Patrick who is the new girl around the Cup garage and will really need to prove herself this season. Three diverse drivers out of the SHR stable create unknown results each race but, could they run a little more evenly this season? Time will tell for sure.
The most talked about driver in NASCAR will be running full-time in the Cup Series this season and compete for the rookie of the year honors against her new boyfriend, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Patrick has yet to show consistent and good results in the few seasons she has raced in NASCAR. Many questioned Patrick’s jump to the Cup Series after only one full year in the Nationwide Series but, she will look to prove everyone wrong and compete for the championship in the upcoming season.
For a rookie, realistic results would be finishing around the top ten in most races and be in at least contention for a win during a few races. That is a high bar to set for a rookie and I believe Ricky Stenhouse Jr will get those results but, he has raced stock cars for much longer than Danica and that gives Stenhouse Jr an advantage. The bar for Danica will be set a tad bit lower due to her in-experience in a stock car. Realistic results this season for Danica would be averaging around a fifteenth place finish and have a good amount of top ten finishes. Those results are definitely attainable for Danica and it will be interesting to see her attempt to reach them this season.
My Prediction- Patrick has a decent season, much better than last year. Bad finishes will still haunt her but; there will be less of them. She will average around twentieth place finishes but, a top ten here and there will show up. Danica’s first season in Cup will surely be interesting.
Stewart had a fairly good 2012, but compared to 2011 it wasn’t as fine of a season. It started out in a winning way and finished pretty differently than 2011. Not being able to defend his title was difficult for Stewart last season but, Smoke will try to avenge his 2012 with an even better 2013.
Falling back into his old pattern will certainly help Stewart in 2013. His old pattern consisted of doing well in the beginning of the season but, really turning it on throughout the summer months and into the Chase. That was what we expected out of Stewart for years and that’s how he won his three championships. If Stewart can get back to that, I believe success will show up at his front door. Being an owner-driver has proven well for Stewart and 2013 should be no different but, 2013 could feature some more success.
My Prediction- Stewart will have a similar season to the ones where he had won championships and Stewart will prove he is a championship contender by having great fortune in the summer months. The Chase will fare well for Stewart but, he’ll not be able to keep up with the rest of the pack and miss an opportunity for a fourth championship.
Rocket-Man has really fallen off in the past few years. The “Rocket” didn’t even win a pole in 2012 but, in 2013 old success could easily return. The early to mid 2000s was when Newman had extraordinary success by winning many races and competing for championships. For the most part, he did that with crew chief Matt Borland and in 2013, Newman and Borland will be reunited. The winning duo will look to bring back their winning ways and have a successful season.
Newman hasn’t been all that successful with SHR expect for a few wins. The new Gen 6 car could be bringing back old racing ways from the mid-2000s and if Newman and Borland can bring back their success from the same time period, they’ll be golden. Newman missed out on the Chase last season but, the whole No.39 team will look to be back in the championship hunt this season.
My Prediction-Newman has a repeat of last season but, a few wins will come his way. Inconsistency will hurt Newman and make it impossible for him to make the Chase. Newman will finish the season strong though and be one of the highest finishing non-Chasers.
The diversity between these drivers is discussed above with what their seasons could be like. All three drivers have different forecasts for the upcoming season which just adds to how different the SHR stable is. All three drivers do have shots at success this season and they all have the ability to get to victory lane. An un-clear picture is painted for SHR going into the 2013 season but, the picture will appear clearer as the season progresses.
By Jason Schultz