Best driver- Kevin Harvick
Harvick had the best 36-race season, and would have sprinted away with the Sprint Cup title if this were pre-2004. Plus, Jimmie Johnson has already received a profusion of accolades since his record-breaking fifth consecutive title. I am sure he will forgive me for giving the nod to Harvick.
Honorable Mentions: Jimmie Johnson, Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, and Jamie McMurray
Worst driver- Kevin Conway
As nice as Conway appears to be in person, he was frequently one of the first cars to lose a lap in each race he competed, and he is not a start and parker. Nevertheless, his name is forever etched on the same list as drivers such as Dale Earnhardt Sr, Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, Matt Kenseth, Ryan Newman, and Denny Hamlin as past Rookie of the Year champions. His sponsor Extenze was also the punchline in many jokes this season.
Honorable Mentions: David Ragan, Sam Hornish Jr, Dale Earnhardt Jr, and Scott Speed
Best race- AAA 500 at Texas
On paper, this race was absolutely dominated by Greg Biffle, but it included some exciting racing throughout the pack, a last lap dash between Hamlin and Kenseth, another vintage Kyle Busch meltdown, and a wrestling match between two unlikely suspects, Jeff Gordon and Jeff Burton.
Honorable Mentions: Aaron’s 499 at Talladega, Daytona 500, Goody’s Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville
Worst race- Toyota Save Mart 350 at Infineon
Do not get me wrong, I love road course racing, but this race involved too many unnecessary incidents. It was like a bunch of first-time online simracers racing blindfolded. Add to the chaos the heartbreak on Marcos Ambrose’s face after he cut his car off trying to conserve fuel while on his way to an inevitable first career victory. Ho hum, another Johnson victory.
Honorable Mentions: Gillett Fusion Pro-Glide 500 at Pocono, Auto Club 500 at Fontana, and Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips 400 at Michigan
Best Attitude: Marcos Ambrose
Many were impressed with the way Ambrose handled the agonizing defeat at Infineon, as well as the entire saga surrounding his future team Richard Petty Motorsports. With his future full of uncertainty after leaving a secure ride, Ambrose handled it like a champ. His Nationwide Series victory at Watkins Glen was a popular within the garage.
Honorable Mentions: Jeff Burton, Mark Martin, Jamie McMurray, and Matt Kenseth
Worst Attitude: Kyle Busch
This was too easy. Kyle Busch had a weekend full of meltdowns at Texas that provoked juvenile behavior. Busch hates losing as much as the next guy, but he has not figured out the proper way to handle it. Would we really want it any other way? His classic tantrums provide an abundance of entertainment for us all.
Honorable Mentions: Joey Logano, Kurt Busch, Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin
Best Crew Chief- Chad Knaus
Knaus orchestrated another championship season for team #48. He maintained his composure while trailing Hamlin and the Joe Gibbs Racing team throughout the final stretch of the season, making difficult decisions such as making a crew swap, and gambling on fuel at Phoenix.
Honorable Mentions: Mike Ford (#11), Gil Martin (#29), Kevin Manion (#1), Greg Erwin (#16)
Worst Crew Chief- Shane Wilson (#33)
For the record, Clint Bowyer’s crew chief Wilson is excellent at his job. He has built the No. 33 team into the one of the top teams in garage. However, this dreaded award must go to someone, and he is the team leader of the No. 33, the same team that was popped for bending the rules after being warned.
Honorable Mentions: Jay Guy (#12), Lance McGrew (#88), Travis Geisler (#77)