For NASCAR’s most popular driver, Dale Earnhardt Jr. 2012 had to be a frustrating season. After starting the year strong with a second place finish in the season opening Daytona 500, Earnhardt began to amass a decent record. He looked to be more in contention for a title then he had in several years. After winning his first Sprint Cup point’s paying race in June and breaking a winless streak that dated back to 2008, Earnhardt found himself atop the standings for the first time since 2004.

When he entered NASCAR’s 10 race Chase for the Sprint Cup however, Earnhardt endured disaster after disaster including a concussion suffered during a test session. The injury would sideline him for two races and leave all hopes for his first Cup title gone.

As the attention now turns to 2013, Earnhardt is back and ready to go. As part of NASCAR’s preseason test at Daytona International Speedway last week, Earnhardt and the rest of the Sprint Cup field had a chance to check out the new Generation 6 racecars that will debut in competition in February. Earnhardt said he’s comfortable with the new car.