2011 NASCAR, Formula One, IndyCar, NHRA and Moto GP champs
George Brunnhoelzl III
George Brunnhoelzl III, 29, won his second NASCAR Southern Modified Tour championship this season. He also won the title in 2009. Brunnhoelzl earned his title in style. He made a pass for the lead on the opening lap of the season finale at Caraway Speedway and held on to both win the race and clinch the championship. It was his fifth win of the season and 11th of his career.
Getty ImagesGregg Forwerck
Pop the champagne
With the 2011 racing season winding down, all forms of motorsports series have crowned their champions. From Formula One's Sebastian Vettel, the youngest two-time champ in that series, to a slate of young drivers working their way through various series, it's been an exciting season for title races. Here's a look at several 2011 champions in the motorsports world.
Getty ImagesMark Thompson
Worsham, 31, earned a stellar eight wins over the course of the 2011 en route to the NHRA Top Fuel crown. Worsham spent 20 years in the Funny Car class, but made his mark on the Top Fuel ranks this season. He held the points lead throughout the regular season, then fell to third overall after a second-round loss in the Countdown to the Championship. He closed the year with a runnerup performance, then a win in the season finale at Las Vegas, clinching his title with his semifinal victory there.
Vettel and his Red Bull Racing team set the Formula One world on fire this season. He has already clinched the title with races remaining on the schedule. In his first 18 starts for the year, Vettel earned 11 wins. He earned 17 top-five finishes in an amazing testament to consistency. In clinching his second consecutive title, the 24-year-old became the series youngest two-time champion.
Getty ImagesClive Rose
Casey Stoner won the Moto GP championship in stellar fashion. In 17 races, Stoner finished in the top three 16 times. He won 10 times, finished second once and was third five times en route to his second title. It was the second championship for the 26-year-old, who also won the title in 2007.
At the end, Stewart and title rival Carl Edwards were fit to be tied in the Sprint Cup championship standings. But it was Smoke's epic performance during the 10 race Chase for the Sprint Cup, where he won five races - including the season finale - that helped him win the title thanks to tiebreaker rules (Edwards had only one win). Overall, Stewart had five wins, nine top fives and 19 top 10s in 36 races on his way to the championship - the third of his Sprint Cup career.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Stenhouse Jr. put together a solidly consistent season to snare his first NASCAR Nationwide Series championship. Stenhouse entered the season finale with the title well in hand. He won two races this season. He earned 26 top-10 finishes, 16 of them top fives, to top the field and hand Roush Fenway Racing the championship.
Getty Images for NASCARChris Trotman
Scott Steckly won his second NASCAR Canadian Tire Series championship. He finished second in the last race to snare the title. Although he had the title virtually sewn up entering the race, he was intent on finishing in top form. Steckly earned three wins this season with 10 top-10 finishes, nine of them top fives.
Silk won the NASCAR Whelen Modified Series championship this season. Silk, 28, overcame an early-race accident in the final race to clinch his first career title. He had a 54-point lead over Todd Szegedy into the event, but the points lead was in danger for much of the race. Szegedy was then caught up in an incident in the race and lost his chance at Silk - and the championship.
Getty ImagesJeff Zelevansky
Quiroga won the Aguascalientes 240 to clinch his third straight NASCAR Mexico Series championship with a race remaining in the season. Quiroga took the lead in the race on a green-white-checkered in a race when the other three driver vying for the title struggled. Quiroga, 31, had been winless in the opening nine races, but earned top-five finishes to be in or near the points lead for much of the standings. He then won in September, won again two weeks later and thenquickly picked up his third win. He has 11 top-10 finishes, 10 of the top fives, to go with his trio of victories for the year. Quiroga has 17 career wins, second on the all-time list behind Rogelio López with 20.
Memo Rojas and Scott Pruett
Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas won the Daytona Prototype championship in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series for owner Chip Ganassi. The pair won five of the 12 races, including the Rolex 24, to earn Chip Ganassi Racing its fifth title in eight years. It was the fourth title for Pruett; third for Rojas.
Getty ImagesRobert Laberge
Meyers won his second consecutive World of Outlaws Sprint Cup title, becoming only the fifth driver to win multiple titles in the series. Meyers and his Elite Racing were impressive throughout the season. Meyers earned the fastest qualifier slot 12 times this season. He also finished in the top five in 14 of the season's 17 races.
Line, 42, win the NHRA Pro Stock championship after earning six wins this season. He opened the year with back-to-back wins, held the points lead for much of the regular season but entered the Countdown to the Championship second in the standings. He then earned two wins and made three final-round appearances to clinch the title. He also won the title in 2006.
Krawiec, who turns 35 on Dec. 6, finished in the top three in the last two NHRA seasons. This year, he and his team never ranked lower than third in the Pro Stock Motorcycle title race. Krawiec finished the regular season with the points lead, then won two races in the three final-round runs to earn his second career championship. He also won the title in 2008.
Jones capped his stellar USAC National Sprint Car season with a flag-to-flag victory in the season finale. He closed the year with a 99-point edge to earn his fifth series title and seventh USAC National title, which ties him with Mel Kenyon and the late Rich Vogler. Jones now trails only A.J. Foyt, who has 10 USAC championships. He also won the USAC Traxxas Silver Crown Series title this season.
Hagan, who turns 29 on Nov. 18, won twice in 2011 to earn the NHRA Funny Car championship. He fell to John Force in the championship in 2010, was fifth in the standings in the regular season then won in the opening race of the Countdown. He held the points lead entering the season finale and clinched his first title with his semifinal win there. Not only did he win his first title, but he also gave Don Schumacher Racing its first NHRA Funny Car world championship since Gary Scelzi won in 2005.
The Chip Ganassi Racing driver earned his fourth IndyCar Series title this season, though the tragedy of the season finale obviously ended any desire to celebrate. Franchitti and Penske Racing's Will Power enjoyed a tight battle through most of the season. Franchitti had four wins this season to snare the championship. The 38-year-old also won the title in 2010, 2009 and 2007.
Dillon won his first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship this season, clinching the title in the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The Richard Childress Racing driver won two races. He earned 16 top-10 finishes, 10 of them top fives.