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4 Controversial NASCAR Drivers to Watch in 2012

Updated December 5, 2014

The 2012 NASCAR season will probably reignite the rivalry between Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards, but fans may also want to watch other drivers. Although I plan on following all the races in 2012, I am watching four drivers closely. These drivers sparked the interest of many fans through controversy and could provide similar stories in 2012.

Kurt Busch The 2012 NASCAR season will give fans the opportunity to see Kurt Busch drive for Phoenix Racing for the first time. After being a part of Penske Racing, it will be a dramatic change for the driver. I think the smaller team and reduced funding could have a strong impact on his placement this year.Kurt Busch claims he has changed while getting treatment from a sports psychologist, so the new season will give fans the chance to see the truth.

Kyle Busch

Kyle Busch ended the 2011 NASCAR season in a similar fashion to his brother Kurt. Both of them were fined for inappropriate behavior and faced issues with sponsors. However, Kyle Busch has been able to maintain his ride with Joe Gibbs. I still think that the sponsors are watching him and will continue to evaluate their relationships. His behavior in 2012 could determine his future with Joe Gibbs and NASCAR.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished in seventh place in the 2011 Sprint Cup Series, and his last NASCAR win was in 2008 at the Lifelock 400. Despite having access to great equipment with ongoing support from Hendrick Motorsports, he is still struggling. I think he improved in 2011 because of his crew chief, Steve Letarte, but he still seems to lack the ambition that propels many drivers to win. I am wondering if Dale Earnhardt Jr. can actually win a race in 2012.

Danica Patrick

Danica Patrick’s controversial decision to leave IndyCar by joining the NASCAR Nationwide Series continues to get fan and media attention. Patrick, who will drive for Stewart-Haas Racing in the Sprint Cup Series, plans on participating in multiple races in 2012. Critics have been busy pointing out her shortcomings and potential issues in the Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series. I think NASCAR views Danica Patrick as an easy way to boost ratings. While NASCAR continues to struggle with sponsorships in a declining economy, Patrick is known for her strong marketing abilities. Will she be able to silence the critics next season? I will be watching how she performs on the track in 2012.

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Chris Riley
About Chris Riley

I have been wrecking cars for as long as I've been driving them but I keep coming back for more. Two wheels or four, I'm all in. GearHeads.org gives me a chance to give something back to the automobile community.

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