Page last updated on Sat Oct 22 13:53:45 EDT 2016
Fri, 25 Nov 2011 12:31 PM EST

NASCAR had one of its most exciting seasons ever this year, starting with newbie Trevor Bayne winning the Daytona 500 in February and ending with one of the most thrilling championship races in series history between Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards last weekend at Homestead. Basketball lines

In between, there was conflict, controversy and, most importantly, compelling competition—none more so than Sunday’s season finale, where Stewart grabbed his third NASCAR championship, passing an unbelievable 118 cars to win for the fifth time in the 10-race Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.

Stewart tied with Edwards in the final points standings— a NASCAR first—and gained the title on the tie-breaker of season wins.

Old and new fans apparently liked the fact that the final race came down to a contest between the two veteran drivers. The television ratings backed it up, with NASCAR enjoying an upswing for the first time in years. Overall, ratings for the entire Chase were up 14.8 percent over last year. Basketball betting lines

The year started with Trevor Bayne’s Daytona 500 victory. The 20-year-old made headlines by winning with his first start at Daytona. Bayne’s win was an incredible opening to the season and helped break up the two-car tandem racing style that had taken over at Daytona.

As the season progressed, 18 different drivers won Sprint Cup races, including six first-time winners.

There was no lack of controversy throughout the season, either, much of it generated by the Busch brothers.

Kurt Busch made life difficult for everyone around him and the drama extended past the last race – just this week, his crew chief quit the team and Penske Racing officials took the unusual step of issuing a public apology after a fan posted video on the internet of Busch being verbally abusive to a sports reporter at Homestead.

And he’s the good brother.

November was rough for Kyle Busch, who was top seed at the start of the Chase and ended the year ranked last. NASCAR suspended him at Texas for deliberately wrecking Ron Hornaday Jr. under caution in the Truck Series race, and he had to fight hard to keep from losing his main sponsor.

NASCAR officials also levied fines against him and seemed to be holding Busch up as the one who finally went too far in settling scores. Then, a week after Busch’s incident, Brian Vickers deliberately wrecked Matt Kenseth at Phoenix—after announcing for weeks that Kenseth had it coming—and NASCAR took no action. Fans have subsequently been questioning the double standard.

At least four major teams will be calling it quits next year due to sponsorship issues. Kenseth has no funding lined up as of yet, and team owner Jack Roush already has begun layoffs.

The most immediate challenge, though, is breaking up the two-car packs before racing resumes again at Daytona in February.

The season finale was so thrilling, and drew a fair share of casual viewers, that NASCAR must rise to the challenge at February’s Daytona 500 with a solid show.

Sponsored Links

Download Printable Schedules
Now you can download and print schedules for each sport so you can plan ahead and track your results.
FOOTBALL: 8/7/2016 - 10/31/2016
BASKETBALL 10/25/2016 - 11/9/2016
HOCKEY 10/12/2016 - 11/9/2016
RK Team
Texas Am
North Carolina State
Chicago Cubs
WTA - Luxembourg, DoublesNICULESCU M / TIG P M vs. BERTENS K / LARSSON J08:40 AM PST
ATP - Stockholm, Sweden, DoublesYMER E / YMER M vs. BOPANNA R / HUEY T08:45 AM PST
College FootballWisconsin vs Iowa09:00 AM PST
College FootballNC State vs Louisville09:00 AM PST
College FootballTexas vs Kansas State09:00 AM PST
MLBLos Angeles Dodgers vs Chicago Cubs12:00 PM PST
College FootballTCU vs West Virginia12:30 PM PST
College FootballTexas A&M vs Alabama12:30 PM PST
College FootballUtah vs UCLA1:00 PM PST
College FootballArkansas vs Auburn3:00 PM PST
College FootballOklahoma vs Texas Tech5:00 PM PST
College FootballOhio State vs Penn State5:00 PM PST
College FootballMississippi vs LSU6:00 PM PST
PGA TourCIMB Classic - Final Round7:00 PM PST
College FootballWyoming vs Nevada7:30 PM PST
College FootballFresno State vs Utah State7:30 PM PST
NFLNew York Giants vs Los Angeles Rams06:30 AM PST
NFLMinnesota Vikings vs Philadelphia Eagles10:00 AM PST
NFLCleveland Browns vs Cincinnati Bengals10:00 AM PST
NFLNew Orleans Saints vs Kansas City Chiefs10:00 AM PST
NFLIndianapolis Colts vs Tennessee Titans10:00 AM PST
NFLWashington Redskins vs Detroit Lions10:00 AM PST
NFLBaltimore Ravens vs New York Jets10:00 AM PST
NFLBuffalo Bills vs Miami Dolphins10:00 AM PST
NFLOakland Raiders vs Jacksonville Jaguars10:00 AM PST
MLBLos Angeles Dodgers vs Chicago Cubs12:00 PM PST
NFLSan Diego Chargers vs Atlanta Falcons1:05 PM PST
NFLTampa Bay Buccaneers vs San Francisco 49ers1:05 PM PST
NFLNew England Patriots vs Pittsburgh Steelers1:25 PM PST
NFLSeattle Seahawks vs Arizona Cardinals5:30 PM PST
NFLHouston Texans vs Denver Broncos5:30 PM PST