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.
Kurt! Merry Christmas. How's the fireplace and the tree?
We haven't given anyone letter grades yet throughout this process, but for some reason we started thinking of them when we were preparing for yours. Given all that's transpired over the 2013 season for you, there's no way that this season can be anything but an A, right?
It's not an A+ -- you didn't get a win and that seems to be the only thing missing -- though we could also say it was an A-. Many felt that you were a legitimate sleeper threat to win the title. But the final 10 races of the season went a lot like the first 26. You had a ton of speed, but sometimes that meant absolutely nothing. You all too often spun your wheel of destruction way too often and it landed on a bad space. You're not taking that thing to Stewart-Haas, are you?
Speaking of that, your department switch is a big reason for such a positive grade. This was year two of your exiled reclamation tour and your switch to Furniture Row paid off in a big way. After two one-year deals, you have contract stability again and are at another big team. Hopefully you've sorted out this fun you had with your new boss and it doesn't happen again. And we promise that if it isn't, we won't immediately react and bring up again that it wasn't his original idea to bring you over.
So that stability is in place on the Stewart-Haas side. Now it's your turn to reciprocate. You've done well in the underdog role that you've embraced fully, but you're not an Outlaw any longer in Hendrick equipment. You're firmly part of the establishment once again. Will that change anything?
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Previous Reviews: 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