The top NASCAR stories of 2013

HOMESTEAD, FL - NOVEMBER 17:  Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe's/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet, celebrates in Champions Victory Lane after winning the series championship following the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 17, 2013 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)

HOMESTEAD, FL – NOVEMBER 17: Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet, celebrates in Champions Victory Lane after winning the series championship following the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 17, 2013 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)

The 2013 NASCAR season saw standout performances from young and old drivers alike, a veteran get sidelined prior to the end of the year and a familiar champion. In between there was history making moments, a wide reaching scandal, and the debut of the Generation 6 car in the Sprint Cup series.

Kevin Harvick won the first race of the season, the non-points paying Sprint Unlimited at Daytona; already rumors were swirling that this would be his last full season with Richard Childress Racing. In her first race in her first full year of Sprint Cup competition Danica Patrick made history by winning the pole for the Daytona 500.

The week leading up to the season opening Daytona 500 was relatively quiet until the final lap of the Nationwide race on Saturday when a crash coming to the finish line sent pieces of cars into the grandstands injuring nearly 30 fans. Driver Michael Annette was also injured and spent the night in a hospital; he would later require surgery for his injuries and miss part of the Nationwide season. MORE>>>

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