5 NASCAR Sprint Cup Drivers Most Likely to Flop in 2013

Michael Guadalupe@The_GuadaFeatured ColumnistDecember 7, 2012

5 NASCAR Sprint Cup Drivers Most Likely to Flop in 2013

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    With the 2012 Sprint Cup Series over and NASCAR already into its offseason, drivers are getting set to start the 2013 year with a bang.

    Unfortunately, some drivers seem more likely to flop than to succeed in the 2103 season.

    Some drivers have a lot to deal with on and off the track heading into the New Year, and it might impact how well they perform in 2013. Other drivers are making their first full-time Sprint Cup Series debut and might not have enough experience to succeed in the series just yet.

    Then there are those who will be with a brand new team and may still need time to fully adjust to the new setting.

    The 2013 season will be filled with ups and downs for some drivers.

    These five are the most likely to flop next season.

5. Kevin Harvick

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    Kevin Harvick managed to win one race at the end of the 2012 season, but he was relatively quiet for the majority of the year.

    The Closer couldn't manage to close out a race in first.  He did make it into the Chase (barely), but was basically off the map before winning at Phoenix.

    Moving into the 2013 season, Harvick is going to have his mind on other things. He become a father during the 2012 season, and it's already been rumored by ESPN that he will be racing for Stewart-Haas racing in 2014.

    Winning at Phoenix may seem like a solid way to end the 2012 season, but as Harvick gets set to exit Childress Racing, it's hard to see how he won’t flop in 2013.

4. Kurt Busch

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    In 2012, Kurt Busch needed to prove he was over his old antics (like giving the finger to someone while being interviewed by ESPN). Instead, Busch ended up getting himself suspended for a race in 2012, and he failed to listen to racing officials during one of the later races of the season.

    Busch isn't a bad driver, but these antics played a part in getting him removed from Penske Racing.

    Although his current contract with Furniture Row Racing might be a step up from Phoenix Racing, it's still nowhere near the level of the Penske team.  Busch struggled in 2012 with Phoenix Racing because of a lack of solid equipment, and his struggles will continue in 2013.

    Don't be surprised to see Busch continue acting like a child in 2013 and continues to struggle in NASCAR.  Even with a fresh new start on a new team, Busch will flop next season.

3. Denny Hamlin

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    Denny Hamlin is a driver who can win races, but he has flopped in the Chase.

    He lost to Jimmie Johnson a few years ago, and even when paired with Darian Grubb, who won the title with Tony Stewart in 2011, Hamlin couldn't pull it together.

    After a master control switch failed in his car at Martinsville—a track where he's known to be dominant—he was quiet for the rest of the Chase.

    Now, entering the offseason, Hamlin will have more to deal with than just racing.  He will eventually become a father, and while having kids doesn't seem to affect some drivers, Hamlin's focus might be somewhere else during the 2013 season.

2. Matt Kenseth

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    Matt Kenseth drove for Roush-Fenway Racing for 13 full Sprint Cup Series seasons. But in 2013, Kenseth is leaving the organization and joining Joe Gibbs Racing. 

    Kenseth is easily one of the top drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, but that doesn't mean his 2013 season won’t be a flop.

    Kenseth was quoted over at ESPN as saying: “I felt like and I feel like (Gibbs) was the right place for me. I know without a doubt at all it's the right place for me to be.”

    Joe Gibbs Racing could be the place for Kenseth, but there's a chance he might struggle in his starting years. 

    After racing for the same organization throughout his NASCAR career, it won’t be easy to adjust to a new pit crew and crew chief, or to adjust to others inside the garage and organization.

    He'll also need to get used to driving a Toyota after driving a Ford for Roush-Fenway.

    All these adjustments are the reasons why Kenseth is going to be a flop in 2013.

1. Danica Patrick

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    With all of the hype surrounding her, Danica Patrick will likely flop in 2013.

    After only spending one full year in the Nationwide Series and running a limited schedule in the Sprint Cup Series, Danica Patrick has shown little proof that she is ready to run full-time in the Sprint Cup.

    She will be racing for Stewart-Haas and will have access to the best equipment available.

    But even with these optimal circumstances, Patrick wasn't able to get anything done in the Nationwide Series. How will she succeed in the Sprint Cup series when she struggled in Nationwide?

    The competition is much tougher than in Nationwide, and Danica still has a lot of improvement to make in her NASCAR career.

    Overall, as a driver, Danica has struggled.  It seems like she is always focused on trying to not get picked on and has let her temper get the better of her several times.

    Trying to dump Landon Cassill last season at Kansas, for example, shows Patrick's inexperience.

    Why bother putting yourself and the car at risk while racing so far in the back?

    If Patrick plans on racing full-time in the Sprint Cup series, other drivers will test her. Until she gains more experience in handling them on the track, she is going to have a rough 2013 season.