News Column

NASCAR Nationwide Series Drivers to Watch This Season

Feb. 25, 2013

Randy Covitz, The Kansas City Star

Here are five NASCAR drivers who put to boom in the vroom.

Kyle Larson, No. 32 Chevrolet

A Japanese-American from Elk Grove, Calif., Larson, 20, is a product of the NASCAR Drive for Diversity program and won the 2012 NASCAR K&N Pro Series and led 91 laps in four NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races. He finished second in the ARCA race at Daytona.

Austin Dillon, No. 3 Chevrolet

Dillon claimed Nationwide Rookie of the Year honors in 2012 driving for his grandfather, Richard Childress. Dillon swept both Kentucky races and never dropped below fourth in points all season. He was the youngest Camping World Truck Series champion at age 22 in 2011.

Nelson Piquet Jr., No. 30 Chevrolet

Piquet, a one-time Formula 1 driver from Brazil, enjoyed a breakthrough season in 2012, winning in both the Nationwide and Camping World Truck series. Piquet, 27, became the first Brazilian to win in NASCAR when he won the Nationwide race at Road America in only his third career start, and he won two truck races with three poles while winning the series' Most Popular Driver award.

Elliott Sadler, No. 11 Toyota

Sadler, 37, has finished second in each of the past two seasons to Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., who moved on to the Sprint Cup racing. Sadler, who won four Nationwide races last season, led the standings for all but eight of the 33 weeks of the season and could win his elusive first NASCAR title in his first season driving for Joe Gibbs Racing.

Trevor Bayne, No. 6 Ford

Bayne, the 2010 Daytona 500 champion, also could take advantage of Roush-Fenway Racing teammate Stenhouse's move to the Sprint Cup series. Bayne, 22, made just six starts last year -- with three top 10s -- because of lack of sponsorship, but he'll step into Stenhouse's vacated car for a full schedule.

Source: (c)2013 The Kansas City Star (Kansas City, Mo.) Distributed by MCT Information Services

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