While the just completed season didn't quite live up to 2011, which I considered the best in NASCAR history, it still had its share of moments. The Sprint Cup Series once again generated multiple winners with 15 different drivers visiting victory lane. The title was decided in the final race of the season at Homestead in dramatic fashion with Brad Keselowski bringing a brand new face to the championship.
But when we look back at 2012 years from now one memory will undoubtedly stand out -- Juan Pablo Montoya's fiery encounter with a jet dryer at the Daytona 500.
The spectacular blaze that engulfed turn three of Daytona after a mechanical issue sent Montoya crashing into a jet dryer working on the race track became international news. Pictures and video of the accident went worldwide and NASCAR, already in the spotlight thanks to rain forcing the 500 to a Monday night prime time spot, generated tremendous publicity as a result. Thanks to Keselowski tweeting pictures of the incident, the sport also became a social media sensation.
Thankfully there were no serious injuries in the melee and after a red flag lasting more than two hours the race was able to resume with Matt Kenseth taking the checkered flag. But the Daytona inferno turned out to be the lasting memory of the 2012 NASCAR campaign.