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: