Brad Keselowski reaffirmed one of the oldest truisms in all of motorsports: You only have to lead one lap, as long as it’s the last lap. Keselowski managed to pass Kevin Harvick on the final green-white-checkered restart to score what would be his only victory of the season.
Getty ImagesDoug Pensinger
Sonoma Raceway, Toyota-Save Mart 350
There was debate at Joe Gibbs Racing as to whether or not Kyle Busch should compete on the Sonoma road course, where the constant shifting and braking would be painful to his still-aching feet and legs. Not only did Busch compete, he scored a hugely surprising victory that kicked off his title run.
Getty ImagesJonathan Moore
Talladega Superspeedway, GEICO 500
The only thing bigger in the state of Alabama than Dale Earnhardt Jr. winning at Talladega is the Alabama Crimson Tide football team beating LSU in Tuscaloosa. Fortunately for fans, both those things happened this year.
Getty ImagesMatt Sullivan
Watkins Glen International, Cheez-It 355
It looked like Kevin Harvick had it in the bag at Watkins Glen. On the final lap, Harvick led and second-place Joey Logano ran wide in Turn 1, as Harvick quickly stretched out a huge lead. But the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet ran out of fuel in Turn 6, allowing Logano to come back and steal the victory.
Getty ImagesChris Graythen
Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Crown Royal Presents the Jeff Kyle 400 at the Brickyard
Kyle Busch drove brilliantly over the closing laps to hold off the relentless pressure of Joey Logano and win the Brickyard 400. The victory was huge because it was Busch’s first win in a NASCAR “major” and the first victory for Toyota in the sport’s second biggest race.
Getty ImagesKena Krutsinger
Texas Motor Speedway, AAA Texas 500
If you’re a fan of old-school, balls-out, hard racing on a scary fast track, Texas was the place to be. Brad Keselowski led 312 of 334 laps, but late in the race Jimmie Johnson stalked him and ran him down, making the race-winning pass with just 4 laps to go and essentially knocking Keselowski out of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup in the process.
Homestead-Miami Speedway, Ford EcoBoost 400
Kyle Busch completed an amazing recovery from serious injuries to win his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship by capturing the final race of the season. And the Homestead race was the last of his career for Jeff Gordon.
Getty ImagesRobert Laberge
Kansas Speedway, Hollywood Casino 400
The entire NASCAR season hit the fan on Lap 263 of the scheduled 267-lap race, when Joey Logano spun leader Matt Kenseth and went on to win. That move, which was heartily endorsed by NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France, triggered a firestorm of controversy and, ultimately, retaliation.
Getty ImagesTodd Warshaw
Darlington Raceway, Bojangles' Southern 500
The Bojangles’ Southern 500 was pure genius: With one of NASCAR’s most important tracks back on its rightful Labor Day weekend date, the entire show was a throwback to the old days in NASCAR. Fans, drivers, crews, the media -- everybody loved what Darlington did and rightfully so. And, oh by the way, Carl Edwards won.
The fall race at NASCAR’s shortest track had it all: tight racing, huge controversy and an emotional final victory for one of the sport’s greatest stars of all-time. Jeff Gordon’s joyous triumph lifted up this race, which would have made this list for the Matt Kenseth-Joey Logano controversy alone.