It's no secret that Jimmie Johnson ruled the NASCAR Sprint Cup roost this season, wrapping up his sixth championship Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
But the rest of NASCAR's top powers are a little more surprising, in light of the season finale and culmination of the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
Who finished this season strongest while positioning himself for an even brighter 2014? Who is poised to best challenge the six-time champ heading into next season, as several of the contenders move to new teams or simply look to build on what transpired this season?
Don't forget that there are a number of drivers who finished outside the top 12 this season who will be putting on a big push to get back in the championship battle next season, including guys like three-time champ Tony Stewart and Homestead race winner Denny Hamlin, both of whom will be coming back from injury-shortened seasons, as well as 2012 champ Brad Keselowski, who failed to even make the Chase as he struggled to defend his title in 2013.