The Top 10 Stories Of 2012

One of the biggest stories of 2012 was the impending merger of Grand-Am and the American Le Mans Series. (Grand-Am Photo)
One of the biggest stories of 2012 was the impending merger of Grand-Am and the American Le Mans Series. (Grand-Am Photo)

Identifying the top-10 stories of the season is a National Speed Sport News feature that began more than 30 years ago, and SPEED SPORT Magazine is proud to carry on the tradition.

What follows is a listing of the stories, which were profiled in detail as the top motorsports stories of 2012 in the December issue of SPEED SPORT Magazine.

MERGE AHEAD: Sept. 5, 2012, is a date that will live forever in the annals of American road-racing history. That’s when officials of the American Le Mans Series and Grand-Am Road Racing came together to announce the merger of the two sanctioning bodies.

AS THE BOARD TURNS: Auto racing’s No. 1 soap opera — the IZOD IndyCar Series — ended the year with a dramatic cliffhanger. After one of its best on-track seasons in recent years, including the crowning of an American champion for the first time since 2006, CEO Randy Bernard was shown the door.

ALL SHINY AND NEW: In a little over two years, the Circuit of The Americas went from a dream to reality. The new crown jewel of American road-racing circuits, located on the outskirts of Austin, Texas, debuted Nov. 16-18 with the return of Formula One to the United States.

NO MORE HEAD GAMES: When Dale Earnhardt Jr. sat out two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races during the Chase due to a concussion, it put the spotlight on a topic that has long been swept under the rug in every form of racing.

TURNING PURPLE: Goodyear’s August announcement that the company would not continue as the official tire supplier of the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series beyond the 2012 season had a far-reaching impact on winged sprint car racing, including the prominent return of Hoosier tires for 2013.

TWO-WHEEL STARS SAY GOODBYE: Two-time MotoGP world champion Casey Stoner and two-time World Superbike titlist Max Biaggi both hung up their helmets following their respective season finales.

DAZZLING DALLARA: For the first time since 1997, the IZOD IndyCar Series had a new chassis and the Dallara DW12 produced some of the best racing in series history. The chassis, named in honor of the late Dan Wheldon who did most of the driving during its development, was especially spectacular at Indianapolis, producing 34 lead changes during the 500.

WELCOME BACK OLD FRIEND: After nearly a year’s absence, National Speed Sport News returned to the motorsports scene in March, providing the same quality of reporting and writing race fans have enjoyed since the legendary publication first rolled off the presses in August 1934.

NO ROCKING CHAIRS NEEDED: The 2012 season will be remembered as one in which veteran drivers, many of who are eligible for AARP membership, continued to perform extremely well.

YOUNG AND INNOVATIVE: The season started with a new generation of promoters guiding the nation’s two premier dirt tracks. Roger Slack took over for Larry Kemp at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, while Toby Kruse was chosen to replace the retiring Ralph Capitani at Knoxville (Iowa) Raceway.

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