Top 10 Tuesday: NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship Battles

Spencer Neff

Twitter:@NeffOnSports11

Thank you for reading and I hope you are having a great week.

On Sunday, Jeff Gordon, Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. will battle at Homestead for the 2015 Sprint Cup Championship, with the highest finisher winning the title. The 2015 championship is the latest in a long history of exciting championships. Here is a look at the  most memorable championship battles in series history.

10. 1996: Terry Labonte vs. Jeff Gordon- Despite only winning two races to his teammate’s 10, Labonte was still in prime position to win his second career championship. Labonte finished fifth and Gordon third, giving Labonte the title by 37  points.

9. 1989: Rusty Wallace vs. Dale Earnhardt- Wallace held onto his points lead with a 15th-place finish in the last race at Atlanta to clinch his first and only championship by 12 points over Earnhardt.

8. 1990: Dale Earnhardt vs. Mark Martin-Despite a controversial 46-point penalty following his Richmond win early in the year, Martin was still in contention for the title. After a win at Phoenix, Earnhardt took the lead and finished third in the Atlanta finale to clinch his fourth title.

7. 1980: Dale Earnhardt vs. Cale Yarborough- After falling down a lap early at Riverside, Earnhardt made it up and finished fifth, two spots behind Yarborough and took his first championship by 21 points.

6. 1997: Jeff Gordon vs. Dale Jarrett vs. Mark Martin- Despite winning 10 races in 1997, Gordon still needed to hold off Jarrett and Martin at Atlanta to take his second title. Gordon finished three laps down in 17th, but still clinched the championship by 14 points over Jarrett.

5. 1979: Richard Petty vs. Darrell Waltrip- Waltrip was leading the championship before the final race in Riverside, but lost the lead after spinning during the race and finishing a lap down in eighth. Petty finished fifth and won his seventh title by eleven points.

4. 2014: Kevin Harvick vs. Denny Hamlin vs. Ryan Newman vs. Joey Logano- The first year of the winner-take-all Chase format lived up to its name, as Harvick held off Ryan Newman to win the race at Homestead and his first championship.

3. 2004: Kurt Busch vs. Jimmie Johnson vs. Jeff Gordon- The first championship utilizing the Chase format would be decided between Kurt Busch, Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon. Despite a loose wheel early in the race, Busch would finish fifth at Homestead and win the title by eight points over Johnson.

2. 1992: Alan Kulwicki vs. Bill Elliott- Six drivers were in the running for the 1992 championship prior to Atlanta, but Davey Allison, Bill Elliott and Alan Kulwicki were the main contenders. After Allison was involved in a wreck, Bill Elliott won the race, but Kulwicki finished second and led the most laps and  won the title by just ten points.

  1. 2011: Tony Stewart vs. Carl Edwards- Headed into the Chase, Tony Stewart had under-performed most of the 2011 season. After four wins in the first nine races of the Chase, Stewart needed to make up three points at Homestead to take his third title. Stewart did so by finished first ahead of Carl Edwards in the race and the championship on a tiebreaker (five wins to one).

Enjoy the rest of your week and see you soon.

Published by Spencer Neff

I am a lifelong auto racing fan. Through IndyCar1909, I look forward to sharing my passion for the series and its illustrious history with you.

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