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The 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series concluded a few weeks ago with the running of the Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, and the curtain was officially lowered on the season Friday with the annual Sprint Cup Series Awards banquet in Las Vegas. Here’s a look back at some memborable moments from 2012 — some good, some bad, but all memorable:
– Jimmie Johnson, a.k.a. “Five Time” looked to be well on his way to giving up that moniker for a new one — “Six Time” — as he held the championship points lead over Brad Keselowski with two races remaining in the season. Bad fortune struck Johnson and the No. 48 team in each of the last two races, propelling Keselowski to his first Sprint Cup and making him the first first-time champion in eight years.
– The 2012 season started in a flash, literally. After rain delayed the Daytona 500 to a Monday night season-opener, Juan Montoya hit a jet dryer under caution, causing the jet dryer to go up in flames and leading to a lengthy red flag to repair the track. Jokes about the incident are still sometimes cracked.
– Brad Keselowski, NASCAR’s Twitter darling. During the red flag resulting from the previously mentioned incident, the eventual series champion posted the first-ever in-car, in-race photo on Twitter. He posted his view of the jet dryer fire and later gave updates after climbing out of the car during the red flag. Keselowski wound up becoming somewhat of a NASCAR spokesperson on Twitter throughout the season and would tweet photos from victory lane after race wins. But by the end of the season, he was slapped with a fine from NASCAR for an in-car tweet after NASCAR decided that cell phones in race cars were a bad idea. One tweet that NASCAR was okay with was a tweet from the head table at the banquet. Several months after Keselowski sent out the first in-car NASCAR tweet, he also sent out the first NASCAR tweet from the head table at the banquet.
– With all the media hype, deserved or not, that follows Danica Patrick, I guess I felt obliged to include a Patrick moment. I’ll just go ahead and get it over with here. Patrick made her Sprint Cup Series debut in the February, season-opening Daytona 500. She finished 38th. She ran 10 Cup races in preparation for her 2013 full season of Sprint Cup racing. She posted her best Sprint Cup finish of 17th in her last race of the season at Phoenix International Raceway, the next-to-last race of the year.
– Jimmie Johnson gets Hendrick Motorsports its 200th NASCAR premier-level win with a victory in the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway in May. Car owner Rick Hendrick celebrated the milestone win by hitching a ride to victory lane in the window of Johnson’s No. 48.
Keep in mind that this post is just in part one of two and these moments are ordered from most memorable to least, or vice-versa. Didn’t see your favorite moment on the list? Don’t worry, it may show up here tomorrow. More memorable moments coming.
The above moments are in no particular order, other than the order in which they came to mind. What do you consider some of the most memorable moments of the 2012 season? Follow Auto Racing Daily on Twitter @AutoRacingDaily or like Auto Racing Daily on Facebook to let us know. Amanda’s also on Twitter @NASCARexaminer and has a fan/like page on Facebook — NASCAR Examiner