Welcome to From the Marbles’ 2013 driver reviews. Here, we’re going to critique, praise and bloviate about the top 30 drivers in the 2013 NASCAR season.
OK, are you ready to start now? Your tormenting of Johnson at Texas and Homestead when you got quite close to him was cute. That’s sarcasm. It was odd, befuddling, and kind of funny. We’re pretty sure that he knew you were around, it’s not like you had to announce your presence. And if you wanted to crash him, crash him! That would have made for an even more entertaining Chase.
Alas, you didn’t crash him. Perhaps your “hey, I’m here!” moments were quite the metaphor for your season. You had the big one at Michigan where you got a win in June for some Wild Card cushion. But you didn’t need it, as you were in the top 10 and granted an automatic berth into the Chase.
You were there thanks to great consistency, though it wasn’t outright performance. That’s probably why this was one of the quietest top 10 seasons in memory. You finished the season with 13 top 10s, which was fewer than anyone else in the top 14, and even 16th place Martin Truex Jr. had more. Like Jamie McMurray, you were very good at securing finishes in the teens. That’s one way to pile up points, but it’s not a recipe for a title.
Will the recipe change? Well, we’re guessing next year will include an additional win — you’ve won two races in 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2012. And you’ll probably be in the top 10 again.