Performance of the Year

Performance of the Year
Untitled Document

The MRN.com editorial staff each puts in their selection for performance of the year based off the series' covered at MRN.com.

MRN Staff Answer
Pete Pistone
Pete Pistone

Matt Kenseth came up short in his bid for a second career Sprint Cup Series championship but he turned in the best performance of the entire season. Kenseth scored a series-high seven victories in his first year with Joe Gibbs Racing and was in contention for the title all the way down to the Homestead finale. Along the way Kenseth and the No. 20 JGR team turned into a powerhouse. There was never a race Kenseth wasn't somehow a factor, until the second to last race in Phoenix when his ill handling race car doomed him to a 23rd place finish and out of championship contention. But Kenseth still enjoyed a season that was full of success and for the first time in a while he seemed genuinely happy while doing so.

Dustin Long
Dustin Long

Brian Vickers’ win at New Hampshire in July. Running a partial schedule, the odds were against Vickers winning even with Michael Waltrip Racing strong at this flat 1-mile track. It didn’t get any easier when Vickers was penalized for removing pit equipment from his stall and fell a lap down. He was still outside the top 20 halfway through the race on a track that is difficult to pass. Aided pit strategy, he moved up to fifth with 80 laps to go. Then it was a question of if he had enough fuel. To make matters more challenging, a debris caution extended the race. Vickers had Tony Stewart beside him on that final restart. Vickers got the advantage when the green flag waved and went on to score his first Cup victory since 2009.

Pete Pistone
John Singler

Kevin Harvick ... Lame Duck? He "quacked" all the way up to third in the final standings, getting the last laugh on those who suggested that his last year with Richard Childress would be uneventful. Four wins, 17 other top-10 finishes and a pole at Kansas Speedway, just for good measure ... a solid season, contested with character and grit, that left me rooting for Harvick to enjoy more success in his debut year with Stewart-Haas Racing.

Jeff Wackerlin
Jeff Wackerlin

Donny Schatz turned in one of the best performances in sprint car racing in this year's Knoxville Nationals, winning the event from the deepest starting position in the history of the prestigious race. After struggling in the preliminary feature, Schatz started 21st in the 53rd running of the Nationals after winning the B-Main. Once the green flag flew Schatz picked off cars one-by-one until he passed Brian Brown for the lead with nine laps to go en route to his seventh Nationals win. The previous deepest starting position of a Nationals winner was 14th (Steve Kinser and Jerry Richert Jr.). Schatz's Knoxville win was one of a career season-best 23 wins on the year.

 

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  • Chase Opener at Chicago
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