Top 10 NASCAR Driver of the Year 2012: 8. Martin Truex Jr.

Birthdate: June 29, 1980 Hometown: Mayetta, NJ Team: Michael Waltrip Racing Crew chief: Chad Johnston 2012 starts: 36 Poles: 1 Wins: 0 Top 5: 7 Top 10: 19 Annual earnings: $5,291,630 Championship points: 2299 Championship position: 11th NASCAR Driver of 2011 position: 17th

This has been quite the renaissance year for Martin Truex Jr., a strong run during the regular season easily slotting him into a Chase position for the first time since he was racing for Dale Earnhardt Inc. in 2007.

His strong season was part of an overall breakthrough year for his team, Michael Waltrip Racing, which also saw team mates Clint Bowyer, Mark Martin and part-timer Brian Vickers also have impressive runs during the year at various venues, cementing the idea that MWR is truly ready to join top teams like Henrick Motorsports, Joe Gibbs Racing and Richard Childress Racing at the forefront of Sprint Cup competition.

Truex wasn't able to claim any wins in 2012 - his best results were second places in both of NASCAR's visits to Kansas, together with third places at Bristol and Pocono - but an average finishing position of 12.1 confirmed his consistency over the year and gives him much to be proud of and to carry forward and build on in 2013.

Top 10 NASCAR Driver of the Year 2012 results so far:

7. Marcos Ambrose 8. Martin Truex Jr. 9. Jeff Gordon 10. Greg Biffle