Keselowski headlines Golden Leadfoot Awards
NASCAR is in Las Vegas this week to officially crown Brad Keselowski as the 2012 Sprint Cup champion at a banquet Friday night.
Starting today, all sorts of awards will be handed out.
In the spirit of all the festivities, here are our Golden Leadfoot Awards.
Driver of the Year: Keselowski, hands down. Five wins (which tied for most in series) and ability to withstand pressure from odds-on favorite Jimmie Johnson to win the Sprint Cup championship.
Surprise of the year: Clint Bowyer (driver) and Michael Waltrip Racing (team). Bowyer wasn’t sure if move to MWR was good choice, but was only one he had after failing to gain a contract renewal. With the addition of Bowyer and Mark Martin, MWR made huge leap. Bowyer won a single-season career-best three races, made Chase and finished second in points. Martin helped make MWR’s No. 55 a more consistent victory threat than it was with David Reutimann, and Martin Truex Jr. made Chase and came close to getting second victory.
Tires all flat award: Richard Childress Racing as biggest disappointment of year. Three-car team picked up just one win, that by Kevin Harvick in the fall race at Phoenix, and Jeff Burton was invisible for the second straight year.
Tires flat award II: Carl Edwards, who didn’t win after losing the 2011 championship on a tie-breaker.
Daytona, we’ve got a problem award: The television ratings, which again declined during the Chase.
Let’s get ready to rumble award: Crews of Jeff Gordon and Clint Bowyer scuffling in Phoenix garage after Gordon wrecked Bowyer on purpose in retaliation for number of incidents on track. One or two of those every race and television ratings might go back up.
What was he thinking and the dog ate my homework award: AJ Allmendinger, for losing the ride he got with Penske Racing for this season when he was suspended from NASCAR for testing positive for a substance on the sanctioning body’s banned list. Allmendinger eventually said the substance was Adderall, which he said he took when he was told it was an energy pill.
Almost blown chance award: Kurt Busch, who lost his ride with Penske Racing at the end of the 2011 season for cursing out an ESPN reporter, almost losing his ride with James Finch after drawing a suspension for threatening a reporter.
Glad it’s over award: Dale Earnhardt Jr. ending his lengthy losing streak.
Needed more than Goody’s Award: Earnhardt Jr., in one of the most bizarre developments of the year, sitting out two races in the Chase after suffering two concussions in two weeks.
Main squeeze award: Tony Stewart, who was caught on video grabbing the backside of Harvick’s wife, something that Stewart says he does regularly as a prank. And oh yes, Harvick is set to drive for Stewart beginning in 2014.
Early favorite award: Johnson to win 2013 Cup championship. With teams having to adapt to new generation car, hard to go against Johnson because his crew chief, Chad Knaus, is quick at adapting to new circumstances.