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. A Menard minute.
Paul, if every season has signature moments, yours had two. However, they were both explosions. That's not the best way to be remembered.
Much like the driver who finished just below you in the standings, you had a strong open to the season and it all came crashing down on you at Daytona. That was explosion number one.
Just 23 laps into the race, your engine bit the dust in a nice bit of fire and smoke. You entered that race 15th in the points standings. Because no one else had issues yet, you finished last. You left that race 20th in the standings. It was all over from there.
You did move back up to 16th, but by then the Chase was an afterthought. You needed a win or two.
The second explosion was that tire at Homestead. Rubber from a tire issue wrapped around your brake line, which started a fire in the right-rear hub of the car. And then when your crew went to change the tire and extinguish the fire, the tire on the car got so hot that it exploded. That might have been a bigger impact than the engine.
With Kevin Harvick's departure at Richard Childress Racing, you're now the longest-tenured Cup driver at the team. That takes a second to sink in, doesn't it? There were some giggles and jokes when you moved over to RCR before the 2011 season -- being sponsored by family does that to you. The Dillons can relate -- but in those three seasons, you've finished 17th, 16th and 17th. That's acceptable, isn't it?
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Previous Reviews: 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