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Motorsports 101 Debate: Most Disappointing Driver in 2012

November 28th, 2012 at 12:03 PM
By Mark Eddinger

In the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series there were plenty of drivers and teams that fell short of the expectations that they had coming into the year. Motorsports 101 debates who had the most disappointing season. 

Carl Edwards – By: Clayton Caldwell
 
When you think about the year that Carl Edwards had it is almost unthinkable to think that Edwards was the runner-up in the point standings in 2011. Edwards went from having 26 top ten finishes to half of that with 13 in 2012. In 2012 Edwards only had three top five finishes way down from the 19 he had in the 2011 season. One has to wonder why?
 
'IMG_4482' photo (c) 2012, Parker Anderson - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/
 
Edwards’ 2012 season was one of the worst seasons a runner-up has ever had the next season. He went from leading 903 laps in 2011 to just 254 laps in the 2012 season. Edwards had a horrible season, plain and simple.

In 2009 Edwards had a bad year a year after finishing runner-up. That year, however, was a bad year for Roush-Fenway Racing in general. Ford hadn’t produced their FR9 engines yet and there was an obvious lack of horse power with the team and it affected everyone.
 
In 2012 that wasn’t the case. Both Greg Biffle and Matt Kenseth had good, competitive years in 2012 winning several races and making the Chase with ease. Edwards’ was terrible. Even a crew chief change couldn’t fix the funk the #99 Ford was in. Edwards actually got worse towards the end of the season when the team hired Chad Norris to replace an ill Bob Osborne.
 
Whether it was the new contract or it was the high expectations of winning a championship or just an off year in general, Carl Edwards had a bad 2012 season. All in all Edwards lost 13 spots in the points standings which is the most anyone lost in 2012 who ran the full schedule. If that isn’t disappointing I don’t know what is.
 
AJ Allmendinger – By: Mark Eddinger
 
Yes, Carl Edwards was one of a few preseason championship favorites and had a horrible 2012 season that was by all means disappointing. But it is racing and sometimes things really just don’t go your way. He still has a hefty contract with Roush-Fenway Racing and will have the tools to rebound in 2013.
 
AJ Allmendinger on the other hand was a driver that was just getting his first real shot with a top notch team in Penske Racing. For the first time in his career it looked like he was going to be in a situation where he could compete up front for wins on a weekly basis. Then the season didn’t get off to the best of starts.
 
'IMG_6598' photo (c) 2012, Parker Anderson - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/
 
In the first 17 races, from Daytona until Kentucky, Allmendinger only posted three top ten finishes and was sitting 23rd in the points. He had six finishes of 30th or worse in those races as well. Two of the three top 10’s came in the final two races of that stretch with ninth place finishes at Sonoma and Kentucky. Things looked like they might be turning around for the No. 22 team with time to still make a run at the Chase.
 
That is when Allmendinger was suspended for violating NASCAR’s substance abuse policy and we all know the story from there. He lost his golden opportunity ride with Penske Racing, the team that won the 2012 Championship with his former teammate Brad Keselowski. 
 
Allmendinger did get the opportunity to drive four races for Phoenix Racing toward the end of the 2012 season after being reinstated by NASCAR but only could post a 24th place finish as his best.
 
Now Allmendinger is still in search of a ride for the 2013 season as no announcements have been made on that front yet. Time will tell if Allmendinger will ever get another great opportunity in the Sprint Cup Series but one thing is for sure and that is the gigantic disappointment Allmendinger suffered through in 2012.
Tags: AJ Allmendinger, Bob Osborne, Carl Edwards, Chad Norris, Motorsports, NASCAR, Penske Racing, roush fenway racing, Sprint Cup Series

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