NASCAR

2012 season brought new Cup champ

Brad Keselowski (2) races Clint Bowyer (15) (Mandatory Credit: Douglas Jones-USA TODAY Sports)
Brad Keselowski (2) and Clint Bowyer found heightened success in 2012.
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Larry McReynolds

Larry McReynolds has more than 30 years of NASCAR experience as a mechanic, Daytona 500-winning crew chief and broadcaster. He earned 23 Sprint Cup wins as a crew chief, including two victories in the prestigious Daytona 500, as well as a pair of non-points victories in the annual all-star race. Follow him on Twitter.

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We’re right at 55 days until the first points race of the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup season. I know we call this the offseason, but it’s not going to be much of an offseason for anybody.

CELEBRATION TIME

NASCAR's top Sprint Cup drivers lit up Las Vegas.

Not for drivers, for teams, for anybody because there’s obviously a lot of work to do with this new car. There’s a shortage of parts so there’s going to be a lot of scrambling. I’d say you’re going to see lights on at the shop for a big part of the holidays.

I’d say except for a couple of three days around Christmas and New Year's, the lights are burning bright and long in some of these race shops.

I think Brad Keselowski is going to be a great champion for our sport. He’s going to be a different champion. He’s very outspoken, very outgoing. He’s the guy you visualize sitting and having a beer with. He’s just that type of a guy.

I’d like to think it will be him and Clint Bowyer and Jimmie Johnson again battling for the title in 2013, but I promise you it's hard to tell who we will be talking about as the 2013 Sprint Cup champion a year from now. Maybe it’s Jeff Gordon, maybe it’s Tony Stewart, maybe it’s somebody that didn’t even make the Chase for the Sprint Cup this year like Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch. That’s the great thing about this sport. It’s as unpredictable a form of motorsports or form of sports, period, as anything out there just because of all the layers and all the parts and pieces that are involved.

NASCAR Cup standings

WHAT A DAY!

Brad Keselowski won the title — but how did the rest of the Chase field end up? NASCAR Standings

You know, the storylines around Keselowski winning this championship are endless. Most notably, that team owner Roger Penske, after being around for close to 40-something years and full-time in NASCAR for well over 20 years, finally got to sit at that head table.

Then to have a 28-year-old champion - Keselowski is a blue-collar racer. He’s that guy that I think every Saturday night short-track racer can look at and go, “You know, if I take the right path, I can win a Sprint Cup Series championship.” If you think about five or six years ago, Brad Keselowski probably wasn’t even sure how he was going to pay his bills. And now, he's officially the champion.

And then there is Dodge. What a going-away present for the manufacturer. Roger Penske says it best: Yes our sport is about horsepower, it’s about aerodynamics, it’s about a driver’s ability, it’s about all those things but at the end of the day – no different than any stick-and-ball sport that exists – it’s about people.

That’s something that they did a good job with this year over there at Penske Racing this year to win this championship.

Now, though, it's time to focus on 2013.
 

Tagged: Brad Keselowski

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