Larry Mac: Stewart-Haas primed for revival after rough 2013

Tony Stewart (left) and Danica Patrick (right) both endured rough rides in 2013.

Jeff Zelevansky/Nascar via Getty Images

There were a lot of organizations that didn’t have the best 2013 season. It’s going to be interesting to see who out of that group made the most gains during this short offseason. Naturally, we really aren’t going to have a real good handle on that until we get a handful of races in 2014 in the books.

If I had just one organization to focus on, I am probably going to be watching Stewart-Haas Racing. Let’s face it: For their three cars, they had a pretty dismal 2013 season. They kicked off the season in fine form with rookie Danica Patrick winning the pole position at Daytona. That pretty much was the highlight of her season, however.

Then you had Ryan Newman who, despite winning the Brickyard 400, knew he wouldn’t be returning to Stewart-Haas Racing in 2014. If that wasn’t enough, then you had Tony Stewart getting a season-ending injury about two-thirds into the year. They had a couple substitute drivers get the team to the end of the season. They also had Tony’s crew chief who pretty much saw the writing on the wall that he wasn’t coming back this season, either. If all that wasn’t enough to make your head spin, then they make the announcement that they were adding a four car to the lineup in 2014.

So, there was a lot going on last year at Stewart-Haas Racing. Let me put it another way. Of their now four teams, the only driver/crew chief combo to remain intact was Danica Patrick and Tony Gibson. You have to believe that adding Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch to your organization plus a couple of top-notch crew chiefs over from Michael Waltrip Racing spells happier days for the SHR crowd.

Sure, the detractors are out there are already saying, "How can you add a fourth team when you have three others that aren’t that great?" I wouldn’t listen to that noise if I were you. I truly believe the lineup they have over at Stewart-Haas Racing is going to make some noise in 2014 and make a lot of skeptics take notice.