The 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup season has reached the midpoint and so far the year has been filled with surprises and ups and downs.
Here are 10 things few would have predicted:
10. JOHNSON JAMMIN' - In case there were any questions, Jimmie Johnson, Chad Knaus and the rest of the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports team is at the top of their game right now. OK, that's the least surprising thing to happen this year. Still, the degree of Johnson's dominance is surprising.
9. KENSETH CRUISING - The conventional wisdom was that Matt Kenseth would flourish in his first season with Joe Gibbs Racing. But few expected Kenseth would win four races in the first half of the year, given that the most wins he's ever had in a single season was five.
8. STREAK BROKEN - Bobby Labonte had competed in 704 consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup races, dating back to the 1993 Daytona 500. But that streak ended at Kentucky Speedway, when Labonte was replaced AJ Allmendinger in the No. 47 JTG/Daugherty Racing Toyota.
7. RULES RHUBARBS - The C word - "Cheating" - has reared its ugly head this year, deflecting some attention from on-track competition. Penske got busted for a bogus rear suspension at Texas, Joe Gibbs Racing had an engine issue at Kansas and 31 teams got caught monkeying with roof-flap spacers at Daytona last week.
6. AJ OK - When AJ Allmendinger flunked a drug test and lost his ride with Roger Penske last season, all seemed lost. But Penske stood by his man, giving him rides in the IndyCar Series and the NASCAR Nationwide Series. The 'Dinger rewarded Penske with a win at Road America, afterwards kissing the camera.
5. FRONT ROW RUN - In 384 career starts prior to this season, Bob Jenkins' Front Row Motorsports team had scored just two top-five and four top-10 finishes dating back to 2005. But at Talladega Superspeedway, Front Row teammates David Ragan and David Gilliland hooked up to finish 1-2 and stun the racing world.
4. KESELOWSKI STUMBLES - When 2012 Sprint Cup champion Brad Keselowski opened the season with top-four finishes in the first four races, he seemed on track for another title. But he's fallen like a stone and is all the way down to 13th in points, having failed to be competitive in recent weeks.
3. NO LAME IN HIS GAME - The conventional wisdom was that Kevin Harvick's No. 29 Richard Childress Racing team would struggle in the driver's lame-duck season before moving to Stewart-Haas Racing next year. Nothing could be further from the truth. Harvick already has two victories, including the Coca-Cola 600, and is a legitimate title contender again.
2. KURT'S COMEBACK - Although he hasn't won a race yet this season, Kurt Busch is in the top 10 in points and has helped elevate Furniture Row Racing from a lightly regarded single-car team to one that's been in contention almost every weekend. And off the track, Busch's charity work for veterans has been outstanding.
1. HAMLIN'S HARD HITS - The biggest shocker of the year? Halfway through the season, Denny Hamlin is 26th in points and will miss the Chase for the Sprint Cup for the first time in his career. It began with a Twitter war with Joey Logano, then a hard crash at Auto Club Speedway, four missed races and a ton of hard crashes since his return.
Click here for a full photo gallery of this season's biggest surprises.