#10. Daytona Jet Fire: The Daytona 500 had already been postponed into prime time when Juan Pablo Montoya decided to take out a jet dryer creating a bizarre scene that looked like it belonged in a Terminator movie.  Thankfully no one was injured and Matt Kenseth would continue on to secure his second Daytona 500 win. 

#9. Twitter Takeover:  Thanks in large part to Brad Keselowski tweeting during the Daytona 500 red-flag, the social network has become a vital part of the NASCAR landscape with drivers, media and fans all participating and voicing their opinions on every subject. 

#8. Dale Jr.: Jr. is always big news, well because he’s Jr. but this year he made news on two front. First, he was relevant on the race track and he broke a four year dry-spell with a win at Michigan. He even led the points standings for a while. Secondly, Jr. made news when he sat out two races after suffering a concussion. I have a feeling this will become an even bigger story as time goes by and more drivers suffer concussion type symptoms.  

#7. It’s Bristol Baby: After enduring less than riveting races, Bruton Smith rolled the dice and decided to tweak the racing surface at Bristol Motor Speedway. The resulting night race resembled the races of old with more contact, cautions and tempers. 

#6. AJ Allmendinger and Adderall. : A failed drug test by AJ Allmendinger resulted in his dismissal from Penske Racing and sent a message to all drivers that they should pay attention to everything they ingest. 

#5. Kurt’s Lack of Anger Management: While on probation, Kurt Busch verbally assaulted reporter Bob Pockrass resulting in NASCAR putting him on the sidelines for a week.  The continuing saga of Kurt Busch is impossible not watch, as one of NASCAR’s most talented drivers continues to wrestle with his own demons.      

#4. Carl Edwards, MIA: In 2012 Carl Edwards was one point away from the championship and this year Edwards was nowhere to be seen. Edwards didn’t threaten to win a race and missed The Chase. Hard to believe this was a driver that was going to be the new face of NASCAR. 

#3. Exit Dodge:  After all the fanfare that accompanied Dodges return to NASCAR, they will now leave quietly with a championship trophy tucker under an arm. This is a disturbing development to see this major company abandon NASCAR. Hopefully for the sport this does not start a trend because no matter what manufactures you root for, seeing one of them jump ship is unsettling. 

#2. MWR/Bowyer: Let the record show that the year 2012 was the year Clint Bowyer became a legitimate star. He has talent and charisma, a very powerful combination.  What is equally as impressive is that he achieved this driving for Michael Waltrip Racing. You’ve got to give Michael credit, he has positioned his race team into an organization that can challenge the best that NASCAR has to offer. 

#1. Brad: Brad Keselowski went toe-to-toe with the best driver of the past decade and came out on top – that in itself is very impressive. Many adjectives are used to describe the new champion; brash, cocky, reckless, fearless, old school, talented and the list goes. Brad Keselowski has an opportunity to energize some new, younger fans, something this sport desperately needs. Let’s hope he’s as effective in that arena as he was on the race track. 

Honorable mentions: 

The Gordon/Bowyer feud: what a tasty appetizer, I don’t think there will be any long-term implications but what a wonderful train wreck that was.  

Silly Season Shake-ups: Kenseth leaves the only team he’s ever known to race for Joe Gibbs and Joey Logano takes over the ride left open by AJ Allmendinger.