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. Chase Carl!
We'll always remember that you made the Chase, Carl. We'll always have that danged Jeff Gordon and Brian France-sized asterisk to remind us.
This year started off well enough, right? A win in the second race of the season is a nice three-Chase-points to have in your pocket, especially because you couldn't buy an incident-free moment at Daytona. Following that, well, you might have had one of the quietest "always in the top three in the points standings" seasons in recent memory.
The consistency that you showed last year -- we appreciate that, by the way. We always knew what to expect -- jumped up a notch and that was the reason you hung near the top of the standings so much. Between that Phoenix race and Bristol in August, your lowest finish was 29th and you finished below 20th just twice.
But Bristol was a harbinger of things to come in the Chase, unfortunately. After losing an engine there, it was forgotten two weeks later with a Richmond win. However, hindsight being 20/20 and all, we were blinded by that shiny thing.
A 35th place finish at Dover dropped you to 11th in the standings and you never got back to being in the top 10 again. You were consistent again, but it wasn't the same type of consistency. Your highest finish the final six races of the year was a 10th and you blew another engine at Texas. That cemented your status as the ugly 13th.
We're interested to see how fruitful the Roush and Penske partnership is next season. No one doubts that you're still a championship level driver. It just feels that you were missing justthatmuch consistent speed. Because we're inclined to think that the majority of the season was more indicative than the final 10 races.
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Previous Reviews: 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