NASCAR's 12 Biggest Stars of 2012

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NASCAR's 12 Biggest Stars of 2012
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

When it comes to having star power, this NASCAR season lit up the racing world like the night sky.

2012 marked the last year of NASCAR's "Car of Tomorrow" era, a time that had produced a champion for the ages in Jimmie Johnson. But with the end of any era comes the end of a reign as well, and Johnson was taken down head-to-head in a championship battle for the first time since reaching the top.

In the lesser two national series, a pair of championship battles came down to the wire between some of the sport's future superstars. One series saw a repeat winner, while the other saw both driver and team take home a championship for the first time.

We saw new stars rise to take the place of old ones, former leaders return to past glory, and when all was said and done, a legend of the sport accomplishing a monumental feat in stock car racing for the first time. So who were NASCAR's twelve biggest stars in '12? Read on:

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