The competition in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series has never been tougher.
With smaller teams buying and renting equipment from the top-tier teams, it has expanded the roster of drivers who can win races and who can make the Chase.
There is also the fact that there are teams shutting down, making the pool of rides shrink, and that allows the smaller teams get the chance to have talented drivers driver their equipment.
This year's Chase could have a major shake up. Veteran drivers who had rough years last season can easily turn it around in 2012, and drivers on the rise who can shock the top teams and take a slot in the Chase, especially the wild card slots.
These are five drivers who were not in the Chase last year that are strong contenders to make the Chase this season.