While most get ready to enjoy the current or upcoming holidays, there are millions of college students fretting right now. Exam season just ended. Grades are coming due. Fifteen weeks of work (or slacking) will be rewarding (or acknowledged) with one simple letter.

The same holds true for many Sprint Cup teams as they make mad dash to end 2011 with something resembling momentum for 2012. Here’s how this teacher grades these final exams.

Kurt Busch signs with Phoenix Racing: C

Not having a ride would be an F. Getting a ride with a top tier team would be an A. This meets in the middle. Busch has a forum to display any life changes he’s made. If Busch can be a better person who still has racing edge, the dude can get a bigger ride and still compete for a Sprint Cup.

Phoenix racing signs Kurt Busch: A+
Instant name recognition might be the best holiday gift this team ever received. It will also answer an age-old question: If you put an elite driver with a team that doesn’t have elite resources, what happens? Great move.

AJ Allmendinger signs with Penske Racing: B+

Allmendinger went from best year on tour to almost booted to signing with a more competitive team in the span of two weeks. Now the best driver to have never won a Sprint Cup race needs to win a Sprint Cup race. Allmendinger might go Chasing next year. And I’m not drinking eggnog as I type this.

Richard Petty Motorsports signs David Ragan, Aric Almirola or some other driver to run the #43: D+
RPM went from having a young up and coming driver with potential to almost getting a Cup champion to losing its best sponsor to getting a young up and coming driver who hasn’t done as much recently as the young up and coming driver he replaced. The loss of Best Buy is tough. Beyond tough.

Hendrick Motorsports does nothing: A
Notice how quiet the whole shop has been? Kind of like Roush last season. Quiet is dangerous if you’re the other Sprint Cup teams, especially the way Kasey Kahne ended his 2011 season.

NASCAR stays in the headlines: B
The job transition news kept the sport on the front page of major media outlets during the heart of football season and the start of an NBA season.

The economic and sponsorship news on the main page of blogs and racing forums is of real concern to the product on and off the track. No matter how much we ask Santa, sponsor drama won’t go away. I’ll still be leaving cookies and milk Saturday night.

Hope everyone’s GPA is good and holidays are better. Now insert random catchphrase here.