Power Rankings

Tony Stewart

Tony Stewart won five out of 10 races in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. (Photo: Getty Images)

Season-to-Date NASCAR Driver Ratings

Tony Stewart finished the season on top of the rankings after winning Sunday's Ford 400 to become the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion.

1. Tony Stewart: Put an exclamation point on one of the most remarkable performances in NASCAR history with his Ford 400 win at Homestead and, in turn, the Sprint Cup Series championship. Stewart's five wins in the Chase is a mark that will be intact for some time and he'll go down in history as one of the sport's most memorable champions.

Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 96.0
Point Standing: First
Last Week's Ranking: Second

2. Carl Edwards: Came out on the short end of the tiebreaker after a valiant effort Sunday night but turned in a season that was extraordinary in its own right. The saying goes 'you have to lose a championship before winning one.' If so, Edwards will win many more titles before he hangs up the helmet.

Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 101.0
Point Standing: Second
Last Week's Ranking: First

3. Matt Kenseth: A typical steady season by Kenseth ended up with a top-five finish Sunday in Homestead. Kenseth's return to victory land this year showed there's no reason to count the former champion out as a contender anytime soon and count on him to be in the title epicure again next season.

Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 98.9
Point Standing: Fourth
Last Week's Ranking: Third

4. Brad Keselowski: Made his mark on the Sprint Cup Series in a big way this season and elevated his game up to the level of race winner and title contender in the process. Look for Keselowski to be among the favorites in 2012.

Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 87.1
Point Standing: Fifth
Last Week's Ranking: Fourth

5. Kevin Harvick: Could not match his first half season performance when he rattled off victories. As the season wore on, Harvick seemed to lose a little of his edge and it appears there will be big changes inside all of Richard Childress Racing next year particularly with the 29 team.

Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 92.2
Point Standing: Third
Last Week's Ranking: Fifth

6. Jimmie Johnson: The title reign came to an end this season and Johnson will come into 2012 trying to start a new streak of championships. He finished his year by spinning out Sunday in Homestead, which kind of summed up the atypical Chase performance by the five-time series champ.

Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 99.1
Point Standing: Sixth
Last Week's Ranking: Sixth

7. Jeff Gordon: Gordon's year of resurgence included a return to Victory Lane after a long drought as well as a leap back into title contention. Came into the Chase with a lot of momentum that unfortunately didn't carry through the playoff run but Gordon appears positioned to be back for another drive for five next season.

Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 96.5
Point Standing: Eighth
Last Week's Ranking: Seventh

8. Dale Earnhardt Jr.: The difference between the end of the 2010 season and this year is truly amazing. Sure Earnhardt is still winless in three years and did not challenge for the championship this season. But there's no argument his performance was much improved and the potential to be better next year is very real.

Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 83.3
Point Standing: Seventh
Last Week's Ranking: Eighth

9. Kasey Kahne: Will now officially make the move to Hendrick Motorsports in 2012 after a one-year tenure with Team Red Bull that was very impressive indeed. Kahne and crew chief Kenny Francis may be the surprise tandem to watch next season after their success in 2011.

Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 89.7
Point Standing: 14th
Last Week's Ranking: 10th

10. Denny Hamlin: Started to get the ship headed in the right direction as the season wound down. Hamlin is a long way from where he was at this time last year when he went down to the last race of the season fighting for a championship, but the mood inside the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 11 camp is much better today than it was about six or eight weeks ago.

Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 88.1
Point Standing: Ninth
Last Week's Ranking: N/R

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