As we count down to the 2013 Daytona 500, we're also counting down how we think the Chase will play out this season as predicted by Nick Bromberg, Jay Busbee, Jay Hart and Geoffrey Miller. So sit back, relax, and watch the 2013 Chase unfold before your very eyes. Though you should be warned, we picked Carl Edwards to win last year.
2012 Finish: 13th. One win (Richmond
Crew Chief: Dave Rogers
When we last saw Busch: He was having the best Chase performance of his career... only he wasn't in it. After winning at Richmond in the spring, Busch just needed to perform well again there in the fall to make the Chase. He finished 16th. Jeff Gordon made it in. To Busch and team's credit, his season didn't freefall after finishing 28th at New Hampshire the following week. Over the next nine races, Busch finished in the top seven eight times.
Big Question for 2013: Is this the year for Kyle Busch? At 28 years old this May, it seems that Busch has been carrying around the "Most talented driver to not win a Sprint Cup championship" forever. (Note: Mark Martin is president emeritus of this club) Until last season, Busch had always faltered over the season's last 10 races. And now he's got a Chase to build on. He just needs to be in it.
[Related: Play Fantasy Auto Racing 2013]
Track most likely to win at: Busch has more wins at Bristol (5 to 4), but is more consistent at Richmond with 13 top 10s in 16 races. Another reason why last year's regular season finale was so stunning.
Track most likely to require a miracle to win at: Busch's three worst tracks in terms of average finish are all in the Chase. The one at the bottom is Homestead, where Busch has finished in the top 10 just twice.
How Busch could win the Chase: We're banking on this being the year that the combination of team and talent come together for a championship. The talk around Busch's title hopes this season would be even stronger if it wasn't for one of those three consecutive engine issues in June or that out of character performance at Richmond in the fall. The blueprint here says that Busch wins a handful of regular season races, wins his first Chase race since 2005 and top fives his way to the title.
How Busch couldn't: Last year repeats and the Toyota engine gremlins haven't been eradicated or Busch and Rogers can't find a level of consistency with the new car until it's too late and Busch is sitting 15th in the standings with five races to go before the Chase again.
I'm going to get mine
Let's make room on the mantle
I'm gonna tie Kurt
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