Keselowski, Danica up for 'Year in Sports' awards

December 16, 2013, Pat DeCola,

USA Today honors 2012 Cup champ and 'Stenica'

As temperatures start to drop dramatically and news cycles wind down, it can only mean one thing -- it's "best of the year" season.

From lists that recount 2013's best albums, movies to crazy things that Kanye West said, no stone is unturned as everything that happened in the past 11 months is compiled into listicle form and graded.

NASCAR isn't an exception, as USA Today has included a trio of Sprint Cup Series drivers in polls for its 'Year In Sports' awards, putting 2012 champion Brad Keslowski up for "Best Athlete on Social Media" and the Danica Patrick/Ricky Stenhouse Jr. combination up for "Best Couple."

Keselowski is up against some stiff competition in five-time NBA champion Kobe Bryant, Vancouver Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo, Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Brandon McCarthy and gold-medal Olympic gymnast McKayla Maroney.

Patrick and the 2013 Sunoco Rookie of the Year Stenhouse Jr. don't have it much easier, going against golfer Tiger Woods and World Cup skiier Lindsey Vonn, three-time NBA scoring champion Kevin Durant and two-time WNBA champion Monica Wright, two-time Olympic gold-medal soccer player Abby Wambach and U.S. soccer player Sarah Huffman and two-time major champion golfer Rory Mcilroy and former No. 1 women's tennis player Caroline Wozniacki.

Make sure you get your votes in at the links below.

Patrick/Stenhouse Jr. write-up, via

This is a legitimately cool story. The two drivers were battling for NASCAR rookie of the year on the track, yet found love together off of it. "It is unique. It is different," Patrick says. But you just can't pick when love happens and with whom."

Vote for Patrick and Stenhouse Jr.

Keselowski write-up, via

NASCAR drivers don't get a lot of credit for being social media mavens, but Keselowski is easily the biggest must-follow in racing. He shows a sense of humor ("I don't feel knowledgeable enough about food to be on Instagram") and tweets about day-to-day life mixed in with all of his on-the-job adventures. Recently, however, he has become more outspoken, discussing the sport's attempt to prevent concussions with further testing. Whether or not you agree with him, you'll admire his ability to have a thoughtful opinion.

Vote for Keselowski