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Naughty or Nice for the 2013 NASCAR Season

December 25th, 2013 at 2:00 PM
By Mark Eddinger

Santa brought gifts today to those who have been nice over the past year. Those who were naughty have other things coming to them. The same is true in the NASCAR world.

Jimmie Johnson has been so nice that he was given his sixth NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship in the past eight years. Matt Kenseth and Joe Gibbs Racing helped gift wrap his present by having a car that was out to lunch in the second to last race in the Chase at Phoenix by finishing one lap down in 23rd. Johnson was able to go to Homestead-Miami without much pressure on him to win the title.

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

Kurt Busch was nice maybe for the first time in his Sprint Cup career and instead of losing a ride at the end of a season he has completed his journey back to a top NASCAR team by signing with Stewart-Haas Racing. Will he remain on the nice list in 2014 or will he revert to his old ways and get back on Santa's naughty list?

Also making Santa's nice list in 2013 was Austin Dillon. Through top notch performance in the Camping World Truck Series and Nationwide Series he has been granted the distinction to drive the No. 3 back into the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. 

Not everyone was on the nice list though. Michael Waltrip Racing was on the top of Santa's naughty list for Spin-Gate. The punishment was dished out in large amounts to the organization that was quickly becoming one of the best in the sport. Because of their naughty acts at Richmond Clint Bowyer has had to walk around with his tail between his legs, a promising performer in Martin Truex Jr left the team, one of only a few remaining big money full season sponsors in NAPA left the team, and a rebuilding downsized MWR will hit the track in 2014.

Also on the naughty list was Chase Elliott.

'Chase Elliott' photo (c) 2012, Mike Kalasnik - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Ty Dillon talked with the big man at the North Pole and made sure that Santa understood that Elliott had been naughty. On the final lap of the Chevy Silverado 250 at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park while battling for the win he took a run at Ty Dillon in the final corner that sent the championship contender spinning around. Ty Dillon and Santa certainly have long memories which have landed him on the naughty list and payback could still be in the future.

The final naughty list member for the 2013 NASCAR season is Kelly Heaphy. She of course is the girlfriend of Mike Skeen, who made his NASCAR debut also at the Camping World Truck Series race at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park. The last lap angst was high not only between Elliott and Dillon but also Skeen and Max Papis. After banging several times on the track and confronting each other face to face Heaphy interjected herself into the fray by slapping Papis across the face. The action landed her on not only Santa's naughty list but also NASCAR's. She drew an indefinite ban from all events.

Tags: Austin Dillon, Camping World Truck Series, Chase Elliott, Clint Bowyer, Jimmie Johnson, Kelly Heaphy, Kurt Busch, matt kenseth, Max Papis, Mike Skeen, Motorsports, NASCAR, Nationwide Series, Sprint Cup Series, Ty Dillon

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