While it came at the expense of fan favorite Dale Earnhardt Jr., Regan Smith’s shining moment came when he had the opportunity to compete in Hendrick Motorsports equipment for two races.
David Reutimann won the only races in the history of MWR before this season, but found himself looking for a ride after 2011.
Qualifying for two consecutive pole positions in August (at Pocono and Watkins Glen) was the highlight of Montoya’s year.
If there is one aspect of Paul Menard’s Sprint Cup career that stands out, it is the fact that he is good… just never great.
2012 was not a banner season for Ryan Newman. After he won at Martinsville in April, it looked like he and teammate Tony Stewart might be forces to be reckoned with throughout the season.
The combination of Mark Martin, Michael Waltrip and Brian Vickers did a solid job behind the wheel of the No. 55 Toyota, propelling the team to a 15th-place finish in the owner standings.
Jamie McMurray was less than sanguine in August, explaining, “We haven’t had a very good year, but our cars haven’t been very fast.”
Casey Mears drives for the single-car Germain Racing operation, which is looking to expand down the road but remains primarily focused on its No. 13 Ford.
In June, Joey Logano scored his first pole of the season at the tricky Pocono Raceway. By weekend’s end, he was still atop the leaderboard, having won his first Cup Series race since 2009.
Sure, Travis Kvapil earned a top-10 finish at Talladega late in the season, but that was mainly because he was able to get through the gigantic wreck on the final lap a little quicker than other drivers.
In all seriousness, there wasn’t much for Bobby Labonte to smile about in 2012, as has been the case for the last several years for a former Cup champ who’s now almost a decade removed from victory lane.
David Gilliland’s No. 38 team was able to make their way into the rain-delayed Daytona 500 and would ultimately post their best finish at another restrictor-plate track, Talladega in May, with a 13th-place result.