The NASCAR Sprint Cup season finale saw the crowning of a new champion for the first time in six seasons. The past season saw plenty of upheaval in the sport, and much of what we have to expect from 2013 was foreshadowed in the final performances of 2012.
Up: Brad Keselowski
For the first time since 2004, we have a first-time Cup Series champion. Keselowski won in just his third full-time Cup season, sending Dodge out in style in its final season in NASCAR (for now). It will be interesting to see how Penske performs next season under the Ford banner, because this young man has the look of a multi-time champion.
Down: Jimmie Johnson
A golden opportunity for grabbing a sixth title slipped from JJ’s grasp due to three happenings outside his control: first a blown tire at Phoenix, and then a dropped lug nut and sickly engine at Homestead. It was a better year than 2011 for Team 48, but anything less than a championship is a major disappointment for this group.
Up: Jeff Gordon and Clint ...