Closing thoughts on 2012 racing season - NASCAR Notes by Lugnut - - Jackson, MS

NASCAR NOTES: Closing thoughts on 2012 racing season

Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images for NASCAR Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images for NASCAR

With the racing action quiet for the 2012 season, I finally have enough time to reflect on some loose ends.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. captured this second consecutive Nationwide Championship title for team owner Jack Roush, which is a feat that many owners don't get to experience very often.

"I've had a lot of great driver and crew chief combinations over the years," said Roush about his Nationwide team. "I've never had anything that has worked better than the relationship between Mike Kelley and Ricky."

In a season that saw his longtime driver, Matt Kenseth, depart for another team, Roush needed a positive to hold to from the 2012 season and Stenhouse provided that.

"Ricky and Mike really deserve my thanks and my credit for the great job that they did," continued Roush. "They are both going to do well in this business for a long time to come."

Stenhouse knows the opportunity that Roush gave him several years ago and is appreciative for all the organization has given him.

"It's just a testament to how hard Jack works and puts these guys together," commented Stenhouse on his team. "It's been a lot of hard work by a lot of great people, and I'm just blessed to be a part of it."

In other Nationwide news, Danica Patrick closed out the point race in tenth position making her the highest finishing female driver in NASCAR history. She also walked away with the Series' most popular driver award.

"It is nice to know that statistic but, I always hope for more,'" said Patrick on her historically feat. "We came back at the end of the year to put ourselves in top 10 in points. It would have been nice to have a couple top-fives."

The Camping World Truck Series also crowned a new champion with James Buescher taking the title for new powerhouse team owner Steve Turner.

"I've got to thank everybody on this team," said an excited Buescher after securing the crown. "Championship or no championship, it was going to be a great year, and to win the championship after winning four races this season makes it an incredible year."

Finally, NASCAR unveiled their new 2013 race car with hopes of more changes to come as the organization looks to provide sponsors and fans more access to their favorite drivers.

"We've been hearing for a long time that our fans like rivalries within the manufacturer group," commented NASCAR Chairman Brian France recently when asked about the new car. "Obviously the car manufacturers like more identification the better, and that's good for them."

There was also some talk about a dirt track race for the Truck Series. However, nothing has been set in concrete yet.

"It's part of our history at a high level," said France when asked about the possibility. "It still is at the weekly level. And that hasn't been completely worked out, but that's a possibility."

As we move into the off season, there will be more time to look at those scenarios but for now the focus moves to the banquet next week. I'll have much more to talk about next week.

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