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Motorsports 101 Debate: 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Year in Review Awards

December 18th, 2013 at 10:30 AM
By Mark Eddinger

The holiday season is fast approaching and soon the calendar will switch to 2014. Before it does Motorsports 101 takes a look back at the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season with its year in review awards.

BIGGEST STORY:

Mark Eddinger - Jimmie Johnson winning his sixth NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship to pull within one of tying Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt for the most all time in NASCAR's top series.

'' photo (c) 2013, Parker Anderson - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

Clayton Caldwell - Spingate at Richmond. We all know the story now of Clint Bowyer's spin and the fallout from the incident but when the penalty came down to Michael Waltrip Racing it was headline news on ESPN. The impact of Spingate will be felt for many seasons to come and there are many people who still believe that Michael Waltrip Racing may never completely recover from the incident.

BEST MOMENT:

Mark Eddinger – David Ragan's underdog win in the Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway on May 5th. A perfectly timed tandem draft from his Front Row Motorsports teammate David Gilliland powered the small organization past the powers in the sport and to victory lane for the first time. Brian Vickers gets an honorable mention for his win at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 14th.

Clayton Caldwell – When Jeff Gordon won at Martinsville in October. Gordon hadn’t won in just about a year and Gordon was looking for a milestone 88th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory. It was a flashback to the 1990’s as Gordon became just the third driver ever to win 88 races.

BEST RACE:

Mark Eddinger – Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond International Raceway or better known as the last race before the Chase. Numerous drivers were in contention to grab a wild card berth into the Chase or a top ten points position which led to all heck breaking loose when Clint Bowyer spun kicking off a chain of events that took a win away from Ryan Newman and handed it to Carl Edwards and knocked Newman out of the Chase along with Jeff Gordon. Then NASCAR ruled that Martin Truex Jr would be docked points and out of the Chase and Newman would be back in. Later in the week NASCAR also added Jeff Gordon to make a 13-driver Chase for the Sprint Cup for the first time ever.

Clayton Caldwell – While there could be a lot of candidates for this I would have to go with the Talladega race in April when David Ragan won the Aaron’s 499. Ragan, who was a long shot coming into the race, got a late race push from teammate David Gilliland to pass the goliaths and win the best race of the 2013 season.
 
'2013_09_01_amsrace_138s' photo (c) 2013, Georgia Peanut Commission - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

MOST SURPRISING DRIVER:

Mark EddingerKurt Busch gets the nod for having a great season with the single car team of Furniture Row Racing. No he did not win a race but he did make the Chase for the team and was a contender up front on a regular basis. Most surprising was his attitude on and off the track. Busch has left the team for Stewart-Haas Racing in 2014 but his one year at FRR was impressive and surprising that it worked so well.

Clayton CaldwellMatt Kenseth. There was no doubt that Kenseth was a championship caliber racecar driver when he was at Roush Fenway Racing but I don’t think anyone saw him winning seven races in 2013 and going toe to toe with Jimmie Johnson for the championship. Kenseth went from a very good driver to a great driver in 2013, which was very surprising.

MOST DISAPPOINTING DRIVER:

Mark Eddinger - Plenty of drivers had rough seasons. Kasey Kahne and Carl Edwards expected to be title contenders in the Chase but had a miserable last 10 races. Denny Hamlin was injured but when he returned was not a front runner until late in the season. Juan Pablo Montoya missed out on a few oval wins that were within grasp and then lost his NASCAR career. But the most disappointing driver was the defending champ Brad Keselowski for not even making the Chase to defend his crown.

Clayton CaldwellDanica Patrick. The expectations for Patrick were not very high coming in however, I don’t think anyone expected a mere one top ten finish in 36 races and a disappointing 27th in the series standings. She was with a great team and had a great crew chief and had all the things to run pretty well but Casey Mears, driving for Germain Racing, was higher in points than Danica Patrick and that was something no one saw coming into 2013.
Tags: Brad Keselowski, Brian Vickers, Clayton Caldwell, Clint Bowyer, Danica Patrick, david ragan, Front Row Motorsports, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Kurt Busch, Mark Eddinger, matt kenseth, Michael Waltrip Racing, Motorsports, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series

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