(CHARLOTTE, N.C) — The NASCAR Sprint Cup season is set to begin on Sunday, February 26th with the running of the Daytona 500. Last year, Tony Stewart snapped Jimmie Johnson’s run of five consecutive Sprint Cup championships, winning NASCAR’s top title on a tiebreaker over Carl Edwards.
“I’m one of 42 guys that want to take that from him,” Johnson said of reclaiming his title from Stewart. “We’ll go out there and do what we can to beat Tony.”
Dale Earnhardt Junior finished seventh in the Sprint Cup standings last season, with four top-fives, and 12 top-ten finishes.
“The team is ready to put forth a good year,” Earnhardt said. “We had a good year last year and want to improve on that. We made some changes we needed to make. Every year you are going to make changes and improve things so, we feel good.”
Danica Patrick will be making the full-time transition this year from the world of open wheel racing to stock car racing. She will be running a full schedule on the Nationwide circuit for JR Motorsports, while running a limited number of races on the Sprint Cup circuit for Stewart-Haas Racing.
“I was never made to feel different or out of place by my parents,” Patrick said. “They always just empowered me to be as good as I can possible be and to keep working hard and not to be the best girl, but the best driver.”
Patrick will be making her Sprint Cup debut at the Daytona 500.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Jill Martin, CNN
Eliott C. McLaughlin, CNN Newswire