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From the Marbles

2012 season in the rear view: Kyle Busch

Vitals: 13th in the points standings. 1 win, 13 top 5s, 20 top 10s. 4 DNFs.

Moment to remember: Busch's first and only win of the season came at Richmond in the spring, when he took the lead on pit road during the race's final caution and held off Dale Earnhardt Jr. for the win.

Moment to forget: The back-to-back engine failures that Busch suffered at Dover and Pocono on the first two weekends of June. Before Dover, Busch was eighth in the points standings. After Pocono, he was 12th. After those two races, Busch was never able to crack the top 10 in points again.

The wrap: It seems pretty hard to believe that a driver with 13 top fives and 20 top 10s didn't make the Chase, but that was Busch's season in 2012. Had Brad Keselowski not deftly pulled off a move to separate he and Busch on the final lap at Talladega, Busch might have made the Chase. Had Busch not crashed at the second Pocono race, he might have been in the Chase. It was just one of those years.

And, fittingly, in a semi-ironic sense, Busch had the best Chase of his career in 2012. Yes, he had issues at Loudon and crashed at Kansas, but in the other eight races, his lowest finish was seventh. Busch scored 359 points in the Chase. Yeah, Brad Keselowski scored 391, so Busch wouldn't have been in the championship discussion, but had he snuck in at Richmond, it would have been his best performance to date.

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