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From the Marbles

It’s Your 2013 Exit Interview: No. 5 Dale Earnhardt Jr.

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(USA Today Sports Images)

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.

Junior, can we start off by saying that we love your selection of items on eBay? Really fits our tastes. We made sure to give you good feedback for your account.

Your Chase was over as soon as it began, so we never really had an opportunity to assess your championship credentials. Your third blown engine of the season came at the most inopportune time.

After that blown engine, it was a stellar Chase. You finished in the top 10 in eight of the final nine races and your lowest finish of that stretch was a 15th place finish. It was quite the run.

However, you can take consolation in the fact that you can't say that engine cost yourself the Chase. Over those nine races, you averaged just over 39 points a race. Extrapolate that to 10 races and you end up third behind Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth. In essence, it was a two-place penalty.

Wins before the Chase had started would have helped that, but even if you had won as many races as Kenseth did in the first 26 you wouldn't have caught Jimmie Johnson. And while you were ultimately winless in 2013, you have to be excited about the trendline of the season. Instead of fighting to make 12th and 10th place finishes higher in the top ten, you were taking those top 10s and pushing them up a couple places. Keep doing that and avoid an untimely mechanical failure, who knows what will happen.

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Nick Bromberg is the assistant editor of Dr. Saturday on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

Previous Reviews: No. 6 Jeff Gordon, No. 7 Clint Bowyer, No. 8, Joey Logano, No. 9 Greg Biffle, No. 10 Kurt Busch, No. 11 Ryan Newman, No. 12 Kasey Kahne, No. 13 Carl Edwards, No. 14, Brad Keselowski, No. 15 Jamie McMurray, No. 16 Martin Truex Jr., No. 17 Paul Menard, No. 18 Aric Almirola, No. 19 Ricky Stenhouse Jr., No. 20, Jeff Burton, No. 21 Juan Pablo Montoya, No. 22 Marcos Ambrose, No. 23 Denny Hamlin, No. 24 Casey Mears, No. 25 Mark Martin, No. 26 David Gilliland, No. 27 Danica Patrick, No. 28 David Ragan, No. 29 Tony Stewart, No. 30 Dave Blaney

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