Originally written on Start 'N' Park Blog  |  Last updated 9/21/14

WATKINS GLEN, NY - AUGUST 07: David Stremme, driver of the #12 Penske Dodge, sits in his car prior to practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at Watkins Glen International on August 7, 2009 in Watkins Glen, New York. (Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Start ‘N’ Park Blog is taking a look back at the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season driver by driver. Today’s installment is taking a look at drivers who did not rank in the top 35 in the final driver standings. Those drivers are David Stremme, Michael McDowell, J.J. Yeley, Josh Wise, Ken Schrader, and 2012 Sunoco Rookie of the Year Stephen Leicht. 36th – David Stremme: 28 starts, 0 poles, 0 wins, 0 top 5s, 0 top 10s, 23 DNFs Season Recap: Give Stremme credit ladies and gentlemen, he stuck with the starting and parking and has been rewarded. This week it was announced that businessman Brandon Davis had purchased the #30 team and will be investing in the team to win. Stremme will stay on as the driver, but have Tony Eury, Jr. as his crew chief.  I usually mock the start and parkers, but this shows you why these drivers stick it out. Side note, if you haven’t noticed by now I’m not talking about his 2012, because it was nothing to write home about. 37th – Michael McDowell: 30 starts, 0 poles, 0 wins, 0 top 5s, 0 top 10s, 25 DNFs Season Recap: Another over 20 DNF driver here, McDowell shows potential in his one-off Nationwide Series starts. When it comes to the Cup side, you know you’re running an 80% chance of him parking. Maybe his persistence will pay off with more runs with Joe Gibbs Racing or like Stremme’s case, but I’m not thinking so. On the plus he got over $2 million parking, that’s a nice chunk of change right there. 38th – J.J. Yeley: 24 starts, 0 poles, 0 wins, 0 top 5s, 0 top 10s, 16 DNFs Season Recap: Yeley started the season running races, then fell into the start and park routine again. He was able to escape and pseudo join Tommy Baldwin Racing, where he got to go the distance in some races. I think based on his reasons out, Michael Waltrip should take some pity and get him a NAPA gift card to buy some darn brakes! 39th – Josh Wise: 30 starts, 0 poles, 0 wins, 0 top 5s, 0 top 10s, 29 DNFs Season Recap: Wise ran 30 of the 36 races and still didn’t win the Rookie of the Year title even after his only scheduled competition, Timmy Hill, dropped out of the running after only a few races. Stephen Leicht came in and stole the award from Wise, or did he? Wise may have ran 30 races, but in 29 of them he dropped out early in the race. Leicht’s record wasn’t much better going 10 for 15 in the DNF category, but some of those were accidents and he went for running races. It’s not Wise’s fault he was held by back his team, but I’m glad we didn’t just give him the award for showing up. 40th – Ken Schrader: 13 starts, 0 poles, 0 wins, 0 top 5s, 0 top 10s, 2 DNFs Season Recap: Schrader gave it the old college try in his 13 starts for FAS Lane Racing in 2012. I really feel bad that he’s still holding on to running races when his best days are clearly behind him. At one point I was one of his biggest fans, now I just wish he’d ride off into the sunset and not come back. I think the FAS Lane Racing team can do good things, they just need consistency in a driver to get them the foundation they can build on. 41st – Stephen Leicht: 15 starts, 0 poles, 0 wins, 0 top 5s, 0 top 10s, 10 DNFs Season Recap: Very quietly Leicht was able to capture the 2012 Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award running only half the races that competitor Josh Wise ran. Leicht put forth a good effort driving the underfunded #33 Chevrolet, but was replaced at random times by Cole Whitt among others. I still don’t believe anyone has really acknowledged he won the award, but good job Stephen!

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