The 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup season began with a celebration by Jimmie Johnson and ended with another one by Johnson, who earned his sixth championship.
In between, there were controversies, wrecks, rivalries, twists and turns no one could have seen coming. Sure, Johnson won it all again. But Matt Kenseth pushed him to the limits, and others, such as Kevin Harvick and Jeff Gordon, made their own respective runs at Johnson before it was over.
Here, then, is a look back at the season that was through the Twitter feeds of those who lived it—beginning with Johnson's take on winning the season-opening Daytona 500.
Feb. 24: Jimmie Johnson Wins Daytona 500
Johnson won the race after Danica Patrick stole most of the pre-race headlines by becoming the first woman to win the 500 pole (she also became the first woman to lead the race and was running third on the last lap before fading to eighth).
March 17: Denny Hamlin-Joey Logano Feud Heats Up
Of course, the season was not without wrecks and early controversy. Topping the list was the crash at Auto Club Speedway in March that left Denny Hamlin with a compressed vertebra in his lower back and essentially removed him from any chance to contend for the Sprint Cup title.
Hamlin's feud with Joey Logano, his former Joe Gibbs racing teammate, actually began a week earlier when Logano thought Hamlin deliberately spun him as the two were racing for second place at Bristol and Hamlin taunted Logano on Twitter.
Last time I checked he had my cell and direct message button to choose from if he's got a problem.. Otherwise hush little child— Denny Hamlin (@dennyhamlin) March 17, 2013
May 5: David Beats All Goliaths at Talladega
There also was at least one upset victory that could be considered monumental, and it came in May at Talladega when David Ragan from the small team that could, Front Row Motorsports, beat all comers at the famed superspeedway with a late push from teammate David Gilliland.
May 18: Johnson Captures All-Star Race in Charlotte
Later in May, Johnson kept up with what would become the theme of the season by winning the Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Afterward, let's just say the party went on for a good while.
I'm still drinking... You?— Jimmie Johnson (@JimmieJohnson) May 19, 2013
July 6: Johnson Completes Rare Daytona Season Sweep
And in July, Johnson completed the Daytona sweep by winning again at Daytona International Speedway.
July 28: Ryan Newman's Dreamy Win at Indy
But it was Indiana native Ryan Newman's win at Indianapolis near the end of July that resonated as the biggest win of the summer. It gave Newman at least some solace after learning earlier that he would be replaced next season at Stewart-Haas Racing by Kevin Harvick (and also Kurt Busch, who was added to the 2014 SHR roster later when the organization decided to add a fourth team).
Newman eventually took his winning Indy trophy with him to his new 2014 ride at Richard Childress Racing, but he left no doubt that day on Twitter about how much the victory in his home state meant to him.
Thank you @quickenloans for believing in me and the opportunity to represent your company. Today was a dream come true.— Ryan Newman (@RyanJNewman) July 29, 2013
September 7: Clint Bowyer's Sketchy Spin
Newman, of course, was a late addition to the Chase for the Sprint Cup field, which was expanded from the usual 12 qualifiers to 13 in the wake of a wild regular-season finale at Richmond in which Clint Bowyer allegedly spun on purpose to help get Truex Jr., his teammate at Michael Waltrip Racing, into the Chase field. The spin immediately was called into question by Jeff Gordon and others.
Gordon eventually joined Newman as a late Chase addition, as NASCAR came down hard and handed out severe penalties to MWR.
Sept. 12: Bowyer Goes (Even More) Country
Bowyer, meanwhile, grew weary of all the questions from the media regarding the controversy and joked that he would soon be directing all queries to a new publicist.
Nov. 17: Kevin Harvick Congratulates 'The Machines'
All the while, Harvick and, especially, Matt Kenseth kept up their frantic pursuit of Johnson. Both registered fine seasons, especially considering that Harvick was in his final season at RCR and Kenseth was in his first at Joe Gibbs Racing after a long run at Roush Fenway Racing.
Harvick and Kenseth remained mathematically in the running until the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, where Johnson clinched his sixth title.
Congratulations to @JimmieJohnson and his entire team you guys are machines!— Kevin Harvick (@KevinHarvick) November 18, 2013
Dec. 3: Six Time Commences Party in Las Vegas
Finally, Johnson made it to Las Vegas—where he made it clear that he intended to party heartily during NASCAR Champions Week.
I'm sad to report no tiger, no tattoo and I have all my teeth... The week is still young though.— Jimmie Johnson (@JimmieJohnson) December 3, 2013
Follow Joe Menzer on Twitter @OneMenz