Top Performances of 2013

Thirteen different drivers won races in 2013 n the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series led by Kyle Busch, who won five races in the series. Busch is now second on the all-time win list at 35. Ron Hornaday, Jr. holds that top spot with 51.

Top Drivers: Matt Crafton. Crafton only won once in the 2013 season, but consistency allowed for Crafton to claim the Championship – the first for ThorSport Racing. Ty Dillon and James Buescher were given honorable mention as they finished in a dead heat for the second spot in the season standings. Dillon finished ahead of Buescher by three points.

Comeback Driver of the Year: Johnny Sauter. Sauter had a slump where he finished ninth the standings in 2012 after three top championship finishes in 2010 and 2011. He had a late charge in the 2013 season to finish fourth in the overall standings.

Top Team: Kyle Busch Motorsports. The team’s six wins were enough to break a tie in the final standings with ThorSport Racing to capture the owner’s championship. ThorSport Racing received an Honorable Mention in this category as it led owner points in 21 races. The organization’s No. 88 team won the championship.

Top Breakthrough Performance: Darrell Wallace, Jr. He won a monumental race at Martinsville Speedway, becoming the second African-American driver to win a NASCAR race and winning his first race in his rookie season. Jeb Burton was an Honorable Mention in this category. Burton had seven poles and 11 starts in the top three positions. He had a win at Texas Motor Speedway and finished fifth in the overall standings.

Top Races: CarCash Mudsummer Classic Presented by CNBC Prime’s “The Profit” at Eldora Speedway on July 24. It was the first race on dirt in NASCAR since the 1970s. Austin Dillon was the winner of the inaugural event. The Chevrolet Silverado 250 at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park held on Sept. 1 was the first trip outside the United States for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and it was the first race on a road course for the truck series since 2000. Chase Elliott was the winner of the race.

Austin Dillon was named the Top Driver in the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) after winning the championship for Richard Childress Racing in the No. 3 Chevrolet Camaro. Kyle Busch and Sam Hornish, Jr. were Honorable Mentions. Busch visited Victory Lane 12 times in the season. Hornish finished second in the overall standings and had held the top spot for nearly the entire season.

Comeback Driver of the Year: Regan Smith. After returning to the NNS with JR Motorsports after running five years in the Sprint Cup Series, Smith had two wins, eight top fives and 19 top 10s. He finished third in the standings. Trevor Bayne was named Honorable Mention as he got into the seat of the No. 6 Roush Fenway machine and gathered seven top fives, 21 tops 10s and finished sixth in the standings.

Top Teams: Penske Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing (Honorable Mention). Penske Racing drivers won 14 races in the 2013 season with four different drivers in the No. 22 Ford – Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, Ryan Blaney, and AJ Allmendinger. Sam Hornish, Jr. also had one win in the No. 12 Ford and Keselowski won in the No. 48 at Homestead. Roger Penske won the owner’s championship. Joe Gibbs Racing came in the second spot in owners points while No. 54 driver Kyle Busch logged several wins and Matt Kenseth was a winner in two races in the No. 18 Toyota.

Top Breakthrough Performances: Kyle Larson and Brian Scott (Honorable Mention). Larson was crowned the Sunoco Rookie of the Year and was able to finish second at Homestead. He finished eighth in the overall standings. Larson became the first NASCAR Drive for Diversity graduate and the first Asian-American driver to receive the award in a national series. Brian Scott had impressive statistics in the 2013 and raced a memorable race at Richmond in September where he led the first 239 laps in the 250-lap race but finished a heart-breaking second to Brad Keselowski.

Top Race: Nationwide Children’s Hospital 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on Aug. 17. It was the first time the series had raced in Ohio and it was Penske Racing’s AJ Allmendinger with the win. The Jeff Foxworthy’s Grit Chips 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway on Mar. 16 featured a battle between Kyle Busch and Kyle Larson in the final laps where it was door-to-door at the finish line. Busch ended up edging out Larson for the win. The DuPont Pioneer 250 at Iowa Speedway was won by Trevor Bayne who had just gotten married five days prior to the race. Austin Dillon had dominated the race.

After winning his sixth career championship, Jimmie Johnson was named Top Driver in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Johnson posted an average finish of 5.0 in the 2013 Chase to edge out Matt Kenseth by 19 points. Johnson has won a championship in three of NASCAR’s generations of cars. Matt Kenseth was named Honorable Mention finished second in points and was dominate in the first part of the Chase. Kenseth had a rather successful transition year from Roush Fenway to Joe Gibbs Racing. He won seven races in the season which was the most wins in the 2013 season for a driver.

Comeback Driver of the Year: Kurt Busch. Busch drove the No. 78 for Furniture Row Racing and while he didn’t win a race this season, he was able to drive a single-car team into the Chase and finish 10th in the standings. His brother, Kyle Busch, was named Honorable Mention as he raced his way back into the Chase and finished fourth in the overall standings.

Top Team: Hendrick Motorsports. All four Hendrick Motorsports drivers qualified for the Chase – thanks to a decision to include Jeff Gordon as the 13th Chase driver after a controversy at Richmond. Johnson won six races plus the championship while Kasey Kahne won twice in the season and Gordon with one win. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. didn’t win a race but had 10 top five finishes in the season. Joe Gibbs Racing was Honorable Mention as the organization’s three drivers, Matt Kenseth, Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin have JGR the most victories among team owners in 2013 with 12.

Top Breakthrough Performance: Joey Logano. 2013 was Logano’s first season with Penske Racing and qualified for his first Chase. He won his first race with Penske in August at Michigan International Speedway. He finished eighth in points and had 11 top fives, 19 top 10s and led 323 laps. Brian Vickers was named Honorable Mention as he wheeled the No. 55 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota machine on a part-time basis. He won at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and he finished three of eight races among the top five.

Top Races: Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway on May 4. David Ragan won the race as a surprising winner. Not expected as a winning contender in the race, Ragan’s is Front Row Racing teammate David Gilliland pushed Ragan to the finish to claim the organization’s first victory in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. The Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 24 was named Honorable Mention. As Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin were fighting for the win that led to a crash, Kyle Busch was able to sneak by and snag the victory. The Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on Aug. 24 was also an Honorable Mention as Matt Kenseth and Kasey Kahne battled side-by-side in the closing laps. Kenseth narrowly beat Kahne to the finish line – the fourth-closest margin of victory of the season.