After an interesting stretch of 26 races, the NASCAR Cup series switches from the "regular season" to the Chase for the Sprint Cup. At this moment, the field is set with a stable of competitive drivers hungry to win the ultimate prize.

It would be hard for NASCAR fans to come to a consensus on who will win the Chase as many, if not all, drivers have a legitimate shot to become the 2013 Champion. One thing they can know for certain, 2012 Cup Champ Brad Keselowski won't repeat this year after missing out on making the Chase.

There are so many storylines and interesting angles for this year's postseason. Below are five I'm following:


New Team. New Manufacturer. New Champion?

Matt Kenseth currently sits atop the Chase standings with an impressive five victories to date. Many wouldn't raise an eyebrow at the 2003 Champ's on-track performance if they didn't follow an off-season switch in teams and manufacturer.

Time To Crack Open A Six-Pack?

Hendrick Motorsports driver Jimmie Johnson, a.k.a Five-Time, checks in at second entering the Chase. Johnson started 2013 with strong performances, convincing many he would be the favorite to win the Championship. A recent string of uncharacteristically poor finishes has shown chinks in the armor of the #48 team but can you really doubt Johnson won't be there at the end?

"Lame Ducks" Look To Soar In The Chase

Chase contenders Kevin Harvick (Richard Childress Racing) and Kurt Busch (Furniture Row Racing) both will drive for new teams in 2014 but still look to finish strong in their current rides. Happy and The Outlaw join the Stewart-Haas Racing stable next year but each have some unfinished business in the 2013 Chase. No driver changing teams in the off-season has won the Chase since its 2004 inception. Will either driver make that statistic irrelevant?

Time For Little E To Step Up?

To say that Junior Nation is excited to see the No. 88 Hendrick machine make the Chase would be a massive understatement. Although it isn't the first time Dale Earnhardt Jr. has made the cut, many fans believe this year might be his best shot at winning the title. Junior entered 2013 with added focus on and off the track. Will it pay dividends when the Chase dust settles?

Rowdy Looks To Make Some Noise

Kyle Busch earns a spot in this year's Chase after missing the cut last year. Rowdy is one of the most talented drivers on the circuit, but his finishes don't always support that statement. Will Kyle be able to consistently crank out solid finishes in an attempt to earn his first Cup Championship?

 

The 2013 version of the NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup sets up to be one of the most anticipated postseasons in recent memory. There are so many drivers who have a legitimate shot at winning this year's championship.

Which storylines are you following this year? Who do you think will emerge as the winner of the Chase for the Sprint Cup? Only time will tell so you better buckle up your seatbelt!