Ranking the 5 Most Disappointing Drivers in the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
The 2013 NASCAR season has seen a handful of drivers dominate early. Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth, for example, seem strong as NASCAR heads deeper into the season.
Other drivers, though, have been disappointing.
Some were solid last year but haven't had the same success this season. Others struggled in 2012 and continue to struggle in 2013.
The current season is far from over, and drivers still have a chance to make it into the Chase; however, there is no doubt that the drivers on this list have been disappointing and are in danger of missing out on the chance to win the championship.
Here are the five most disappointing drivers so far in the 2013 NASCAR season.
5. Denny Hamlin
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Denny Hamlin has experienced a disappointing start this season.
From the back injury that put him out of several races to being overshadowed by his Joe Gibbs teammates—both have already won races this season—Hamlin isn't at the same level he was last year.
To make matters worse, he might miss the Chase this season if he doesn't pull off a couple of wins.
He sits in 27th place in the standings and more than likely won't make it into the Chase on points alone.
Hamlin has made it into the Chase every season since entering the Sprint Cup Series full time but may end that impressive streak if he can't manage several wins.
Expecting Hamlin to win a race or two shouldn’t seem like a big deal, but don’t forget that the driver isn’t thrilled with the new Gen-6 car.
This time last season, Hamlin looked like a strong favorite to win the championship entering the Chase. This year, though, he will be lucky to even make it in.
4. Greg Biffle
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Greg Biffle had a solid season last year. He won two races and managed to finish the season in fifth place.
This year, though, Biffle hasn't had the same success.
He sits in 13th place, only three places ahead of teammate and rookie driver, Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
The other Roush Fenway driver, Carl Edwards, has one win and sits in second place.
Biffle has had two 36th place finishes so far this year and has not stood out like his two teammates.
Last year, Biffle had momentum moving into the Chase and even looked like a possible title contender.
This season isn't turning out the same way for Biffle.
3. Jeff Gordon
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Jeff Gordon ended the 2012 season with a win at Homestead, but so far in the 2013 season, he hasn't been able to pick up a timely win.
He has looked strong in several races, but by the time the race ended, Gordon was nowhere in sight.
Gordon is 12th in points, and as a former four-time champion, it's rare to see Gordon struggle.
Gordon, like many other drivers, spoke highly of the Gen-6 at the beginning of the season, but he hasn't had any luck with the new model so far.
Compared to his teammates Jimmie Johnson, and Kasey Kahne, Gordon is falling behind.
Will the former champion be able to reclaim his former glory and prestige, or has his time in the spotlight passed?
2013 seemed like the year Gordon would bounce back, but instead he continues to struggle.
2. Brad Keselowski
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The defending Sprint Cup Series champion might not be able to defend his title if he fails to make it into the Chase.
Keselowski sits win-less at seventh place in points.
While he started the season with solid finishes, he seems to be running into bad luck week after week. If he continues to slip in the rankings, he might fall out of the top 10, and with no wins so far this season, he could also fail to make it into the Chase.
Penske Racing made the switch to Ford this season, and while the switch could be a part of Keselowski's problems, the underdog Sprint Cup champion who held back Jimmie Johnson last season is failing to live up to his expectations in 2013.
1. Tony Stewart
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To say Tony Stewart has been disappointing this year is putting it lightly.
Stewart-Haas Racing as a whole has struggled, but for Stewart, it's even worse. This same driver made it into the Chase in 2011 without winning a single race but came alive during the postseason to win the championship.
He even started off his 2012 season strong and had a handful of wins before entering the Chase.
This season, though, Stewart is 21st in points. Unless he starts winning, he could miss the Chase entirely.
The reason for "Smoke's" struggles is still unknown. Some might blame his focus on bringing Danica Patrick up to the Sprint Cup Series, while others might say something is wrong with Stewart-Haas Racing as a whole.
Regardless, Stewart has been the top driver in Stewart-Haas Racing since the organization was established. This season, though, he has been the most disappointing driver in the Sprint Cup Series.