Sprint Cup 2013: Drivers with Best Shot to Win 1st Title

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistFebruary 18, 2013

DAYTONA BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 17:  Kevin Harvick, driver of the #29 Budweiser Chevrolet, walks on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 17, 2013 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images

There are plenty of drivers on the Sprint Cup Series who could pull a Brad Keselowski and win their first-ever titles.

As great as it was to see Jimmie Johnson win five Sprint Cup championships in a row, it got a bit monotonous. Fans can get a bit bored watching the same guy win over and over again, even if Johnson's run was spectacular.

It would great to see somebody climb to the top of the mountain for the first time. It's the kind of moment drivers wait their entire lives for.

Here are three drivers who could finally break their ducks and pick up a Sprint Cup title.

Clint Bowyer

Clint Bowyer came close to securing the first Sprint Cup title of his career. He had a good run to end the season, but his 28th-place finish in the AdvoCare 500 really hurt Bowyer down the stretch. It dug him into a big hole with the Ford EcoBoost 400 as the only race left.

It might be hard for him to repeat the performances he had last year. Bowyer was scary consistent bar a few poor results. His 10 top-five and 23 top-10 finishes were the biggest reason he found himself in second place.

At the very least, after getting that close, Bowyer now knows what it takes to finish atop the Sprint Cup standings.

Kevin Harvick

Two years in a row—2010 and 2011—Kevin Harvick managed to finish third in the standings at the end of the year. That's as close as he's gotten to winning the points title. 2012 was a bit of a drop-off for Harvick as he only managed to finish eighth.

He started off 2013 with a bang by winning the Sprint Unlimited 2013. It was a nice win, but even more impressive was the way in which he won. Harvick dominated much of the proceedings.

This is Harvick's last year with Richard Childress Racing, so he's going to do everything he can to ensure he goes out on top.

Denny Hamlin

For six of the last seven seasons, Denny Hamlin has managed to finish in the top 10 of the points standings. He's been extremely consistent over his career, save 2005 and 2007. There was also the heartbreaking finish of 2010, when Hamlin lost the title on the final race of the season to Johnson.

In order for Hamlin to succeed in 2013, he'll need to get some of the mechanical issues sorted out. Some of the problems were unavoidable, but others from last season have to be addressed.

If Hamlin can have a more reliable car this year, he could have a very good chance of getting to the top of the standings and actually hold on to the lead this time.