By HEATHER WILLIAMS
4:35 PM CST, February 13, 2012
Today we continue our countdown with to the 2012 NASCAR season, with a look at the Nationwide Series. Unlike truck series, the defending champ is back in the Nationwide series as the third place finisher. Should make for an exciting season for sure. Here's how I see the top 10:
10. Reed Sorenson- Reed was running third in the Nationwide series standings last season, when he lost his ride at Turner Motorsports. He still managed to finish 5th in the points after hooking on with MacDonald Motorsports. Obviously that team doesn't have the money or equipment. But Reed can still wheel a race car.
9. Kenny Wallace- This might be close the the last horrah for the Herminator. And even thought he may not be the most talented guys in the garage area, or have the best equipment. Wallace is a race and he always finds away to get his car up in the mix a few times though out the season.
8. Cole Whitt- Young Cole makes the move from the trucks, where he finished ninth in the points last season, to the Nationwide series. He jumps into a very good car at JR Motorsports that finished forth in the standings last year with Aric Almirola behind the wheel.
7. Danica Patrick- Cole's teammate at JR Motorsports and obviously the most anticipated new full time member in NASCAR. Patrick has a knack for not putting her car in a position where she finds herself in trouble, but she is really going to have to learn how to push her equipment if she really wants to compete.
6. Austin Dillon- The former truck series champ makes the jump up to the Nationwide series. Obviously he has good equipment, but there will be a learning curve. Still don't be surprised if Dillon wins a race this season.
5.Sam Hornish Jr.- When Hornish was thrown into Penske's Cup car a few years back, it was probably too much to soon. But there is no doubt that the former Indy Car Champion can drive. This full time Nationwide ride is a second chance for Hornish and expect him to take full advantage.
4. Trevor Bayne- This ranking is assuming that Bayne can drive a full season in the car, which right now because of lack of sponsorship is still up in the air. But there is no doubt that the defensing Daytona 500 champ can wheel a race car.
3. Justin Allgaier- He finished third last season. And I see about the same kind of season this season for Allgaier this year. There is no doubt the kid can drive. He just doesn't quite have the car the top two teams do.
2. Ricky Stenhouse, Jr- Jimmie Johnson's run in the sport not with standing, it is really hard to repeat as champion. Especially when there is so much talent knocking on your door. But Stenhouse is talented for sure. And don't be surprised if he actually leads the series in wins.
1. Elliott Sadler- They say you have to lose a title to win one. And last years close call will just be fuel for this vet. He wants to prove that he deseres another chance in the cup series, and a Nationwide title would do that for sure.
The Nationwide series opens its season on February 25 with the Drive for COPD 300 at Daytona.
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