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From The Marbles

2012 season in the rear view: David Gilliland

(Getty)

Vitals: 30th in the points standings. 0 wins, 0 top fives, 0 top 10s. 4 DNFs.

Moment to remember: David Gilliland's strength has been at restrictor plate tracks -- he finished third in the 2011 Daytona 500 and in the tandem-drafting era was Tony Stewart's best buddy -- so it's appropriate that the two best finishes of his season where at Talladega. He finished 13th there in the spring and 15th in the fall.

Moment to forget: Gilliland was involved in the early crash at Dover in June that included 13 cars and red-flagged the race. He finished 40th.

The wrap: No offense to Gilliland, but his 2012 season was quite unremarkable. He started every race, completing 91 percent of the season's laps and finishing on the lead lap eight times, including a stretch of five straight races in the summer. His average finish was also six spots higher than his average start. However, his average 2012 starting position was 33.5.

The addition of Penske to the Ford camp in 2013 could be a help or a hinderance to Front Row. On one hand, it's more data for Ford to gather for research and development. On the other, it knocks Front Row down the blue oval pecking order. If that has any effects, it could mitigate any potential steps forward for the team and Gilliland in 2013.

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Geoffrey Miller

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