And that’s a wrap for the 2015 season. Kyle Busch made potentially the most amazing comeback in NASCAR history. After missing the first 11 races, Busch grabbed four consecutive checkered flags and earned enough points to make himself Chase eligible. Once he secured his spot, Busch kept his nose clean and was able to advance to the final four, without a win, where he went on to dominate at Homestead winning the race and claiming his first Sprint Cup championship. Oh yeah, he also won the Camping World Truck Series championship with driver Erik Jones.
The favorite, Kevin Harvick, came up one position short finishing second in the race and second in points. It was an emotional day as Jeff Gordon made his final start as a full-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver. He was unable to take his fifth championship but finished third overall in driver points standings. The other sentimental favorite, Martin Truex, Jr. couldn’t find the right setup throughout the race, finishing 12th in the race and fourth overall in driver points (his career highest points finish).
Let the countdown to winter testing and the Daytona 500 begin. But before we turn our focus to football, see where you favorite driver ranked in the final power rankings of the year.
How The Rankings Are Calculated: Frontstretch does our power rankings similar to how the Associated Press does them for basketball or football. Our expert stable of NASCAR writers, both on staff and from other major publications will vote for the Top 20 on a 20-19-18-17… 3-2-1 basis, giving 20 points to their first-place driver, 19 for second, and so on. In the end, Mike Mehedin calculates the points, adds some funny one-liners, and… here you go!
Busch claimed five victories in the No. 18 to claim the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series title. His son Brexton’s birth date: 5/18/15. Coincidence? Yeah, probably. Aaron Bearden, Frontstretch.com
First Place Votes: 5
13 second-place finishes in one season. Woof. While he didn’t have the best average finish in recent times, he was always lurking around. Phil Allaway, Frontstretch.com
A fitting way to say goodbye. Gordon didn’t quite have what was required to win the title, but he wins the award for biggest crowd pop when he took the lead on lap 36. Phil Allaway, Frontstretch.com
It was a career season for Logano but also a “what might have been” one as well. He led the series with six wins and six poles, but his feud with Matt Kenseth cost him a win at Martinsville in the opening Eliminator 8 Round race and an eventual berth in the Championship Round at Homestead. He still may have fallen short of Kyle Busch there, but he was contending for the win most of the day as he led 72 laps en route to a fourth-place finish. Mike Zizzo, Texas Motor Speedway
Brad Keselowski had a good season, but couldn’t cash in on another championship in 2015. A second Cup crown is elusive, but Keselowski seems to have plenty of reserves in his win bank. Phil Allaway, Frontstretch.com
| Martin Truex, Jr.|
Martin Truex, Jr. took the underdog team to strong-dog status in 2015. Truex could bark again in 2016. Dwight Drum, RaceTake.com
Kurt Busch overcame a suspension deficit to finish well in 2015. The family trait of rebounding after adversity may boost his 2016 results near that of brother, Kyle Busch. Dwight Drum, RaceTake.com
The majority of the field would be content with a five-win season unless you’re six-time series champion Jimmie Johnson. The wins were tempered by a first-round ouster in the Chase and a 10th-place finish in the championship standings. Look for the No. 48 team to be back with a vengeance in 2016. Dwight Drum, RaceTake.com
Judging from the start of Edwards’ first season with Joe Gibbs Racing, it was heading to become a huge disappointment. He struggled mightily in the early going, but came to life with the win at Charlotte and got hot heading into the Chase to advance to the Eliminator 8 Round and finished fifth in the championship standings. Mike Zizzo, Texas Motor Speedway
Perhaps Denny Hamlin can follow teammate Kyle Busch and finally convert his Chase contender spot into footing on the championship stage in the next few years. Dwight Drum, RaceTake.com
Nothing like ending the year with a wrecked race car and a 40th-place finish to completely kill any momentum going into the offseason. Aaron Bearden, Frontstretch.com
Of all of the people that refused to pull over and let the leaders battle late at Homestead, it was Newman that got out of the way. How about that? Aaron Bearden, Frontstretch.com
Waffled through the final seven races after getting eliminated from the Chase, but at least he actually made the Chase. Aaron Bearden, Frontstretch.com
If it wasn’t for that strip of metal on the frontstretch, Larson would have won that race on Sunday. Clearly had the best car on long runs. Aaron Bearden, Frontstretch.com
Kenseth’s season will be remembered for him wrecking Joey Logano at Martinsville and the two-race suspension rather than the solid season he enjoyed. He was tied for second in the series for wins and poles (four apiece) and was considered among the favorite heading into the Chase before the feud unfolded with Logano. Mike Zizzo, Texas Motor Speedway
Others Receiving Votes: Austin Dillon (25), Paul Menard (24), Kasey Kahne (19), Aric Almirola (12), Clint Bowyer (8), Ryan Blaney (7), AJ Allmendinger (4), Greg Biffle (4), Casey Mears (2), Brett Moffit (1).