2010 NASCAR Season Recap

Thomas ConroyCorrespondent IJanuary 3, 2011

2010 NASCAR Season Recap

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    It has been a wild and crazy year in NASCAR, as the storylines continuously changed as much as the weekly stops. We had drivers feuding and fighting with one another on and off the track, yet it was some of the best action we seen on the oval in years.

    Here are the top stories from the 2010 NASCAR season:

5) Richard Petty Motorsports scales back to two teams in 2011

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    They long had been a four-car racing group, but much like everyone else in this current economic climate, Richard Petty Motorsports downsized to a two-car operation for the upcoming 2011 season. The talk around the garage is that the organization is trying to find new investors to help cut down its current debt. Their ultimate goal is to build two competing racing teams around AJ Almendinger and Marcus Ambrose. The team barely survived last season, as they had to scramble to make payments to the Roush Fenway Group on the cars and engines that the Petty Group leased from them.

4) Jamie McMurray doubles up at Daytona and Indy

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    Jamie McMurray had a career in one year, as he became the third NASCAR driver to win both the Daytona 500 and the Brickyard 400 in the same season. Team owner Chip Ganassi also had a landmark year, as his racing group completed a difficult trifecta in winning the Daytona 500, Indianapolis 500 and Brickyard 400 all in the same racing season. McMurray’s crew chief Bono Manion was the true MVP of the victory, as he decided to change only two tires instead of four which was the difference in the race.

3) The Two Jeffs crash, and then fought

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    Two of NASCAR’s most mild-manner drivers squared off against one another on and off the track during the Texas 500. Jeff Gordon and Jeff Burton wound up in a shoving match after Gordon became infuriated with a racing maneuver done by Burton on the track. The encounter occurred after Burton hit Gordon’s car into the outside wall, and he took full responsibility for the accident. No punches were thrown during the incident, as Burton fully dismissed their actions as a misunderstanding.

2) NASCAR Vice-President Jim Hunter dead at 71

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    Long-time NASCAR executive and one of Bill France Jr.'s most trusted confidante, Jim Hunter passed away in late October after a lengthy battle with cancer. An excellent problem-solver, Hunter loved every aspect of the sport, as he was a key component of the NASCAR’s management team during the growing years. His major career accomplishment was overseeing the expansion and renovation of Darlington Raceway in 1993. Hunter has always considered the super speedway his racing home, as Darlington was located in South Carolina where he was born.

1) Hendrick Motorsports Lineup Changes

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    Despite Jimmie Johnson's championship run this season, team owner Rick Hendrick felt his whole organization had grown complacent throughout the season and changes were needed to made in order to be successful in 2011. He switched crew chiefs on all three teams, as Dale Earnhardt Jr. will now work with Steve Letarte, Jeff Gordon will be paired with Alan Gustafson and Lance McGrew will become part of Mark Martin’s team. Hendrick disregarded that the changes were centered on another disappointing season for Junior, who finished 21st and 25th in back-to-back seasons. Instead, he wanted to pair up individuals that Hendrick felt would work well together.