NASCAR: Who has the most to prove in 2013?
Jr. is now at the shop with the rest of the crew, brainstorming and testing to see what can be done to make car and driver dominant.
Sure, Jr. still has other irons in the fire, including Hammerhead Entertainment, his recently opened car dealerships and Whiskey River, but his focus is the race car. He has a significant other in his life, and they seem happy together. In short, Dale Jr. seems to be comfortable in his skin. Even his actions with regard to the concussion show his maturity. He made the decision to put his health first and stepped out of the car, even though he was in the Chase, still competing for a championship. I think that comfort and that maturity take the pressure off and allow Jr. to relax and concentrate on what he needs to do, and enjoy the time he spends in the race car.
Finally, we look to the 2012 Champion, Brad Keselowski. "Bad Brad" won the Championship, and did so with just a little help of luck. That is, bad luck, for Jimmie Johnson. If Jimmie Johnson hadn't had that bad luck, would Brad have won that Championship?
The fans of Jimmie Johnson say definitely not, while anti-Jimmies say yes, without a doubt. I think the answer is somewhere in between. Brad definitely performed like a champion in 2012 and Jimmie definitely had some bad luck. I, along with many others, would have loved to have seen the final Championship competition come down to the last lap of the last race, much as the 2011 Championship did between Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards.
The pressure will be on Brad to perform again this season but I think he is up to the challenge. Make no mistake, Bad Brad is here to stay.
Next week we'll have a look at the new Sprint Cup car, the G6 a little closer, and we'll look at the Nationwide and Camping World Truck series.