DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Dec. 7, 2009) – Jimmie Johnson winning a fourth consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship was voted the sport’s top competition story for 2009 by members of the media.
Media members ranked the top competition stories of the 2009 NASCAR season on NASCARMedia.com. One hundred seventy-four votes were cast online between Dec. 1 and Dec. 7. Each highlight received 10 points for a first-place vote, nine points for a second-place vote, eight points for a third-place vote, etc. down to one point for 10th. Through its social media channels, NASCAR had received input from fans in listing 20 competition storylines from which the media could choose.
Johnson, becoming the first driver in NASCAR history to win four straight NASCAR Sprint Cup titles, garnered 72 first-place votes and finished with 1,676 points. Mark Martin’s storybook season—which saw him win five races, claim a career-high seven poles and finish runner-up for the series championship at the age of 50—earned five first-place votes and finished second with 1,432 points.
Hendrick Motorsports sweeping the top three spots in the NASCAR Sprint Cup final standings was likewise a first in the sport’s history and was ranked third by the media. Johnson, Martin and Jeff Gordon finished 1-2-3, respectively, in the points race.
Tony Stewart’s successful first season as a driver-owner – both of his Stewart-Haas race teams made it into the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup – was selected the fourth top story. Ron Hornaday Jr. becoming the first driver to win four NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championships was voted the fifth top story.
The rest of the top 10 highlights of 2009, according to the media, are: Double-file restarts, shootout style, making a successful debut in the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series; Kyle Busch winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series championship, marking his first national-series crown; Ron Hornaday Jr. winning five consecutive races in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, the most in the modern era in a national series; rookie Joey Logano becoming the youngest NASCAR Sprint Cup Series winner with his victory at New Hampshire in June and Juan Pablo Montoya, in just his third full season of NASCAR racing, making the Chase and finishing eighth in the standings.