Another season of action motorsports may be over, but we’ve been spoiled with some incredible competition this year. No matter where you looked, the 2018 season was chock full of top drivers or riders exerting their will on some of the deepest and most challenging fields we’ve seen in a long time.
Presented in alphabetical order, here are 10 of the racers (or pairings) who made their mark on some of racing’s most challenging series in 2018. Did we miss anyone? Tell us on Twitter at @JimBeaver15 or @christopherlion:
Technically speaking, the 2018 Stadium Super Trucks season isn’t over yet, but Brabham has been far and away the series’ best driver this year. Thanks to his stellar qualifying performances and passing savvy, he’s piled up dozens of bonus points that have him well ahead of the field in the standings.
Dave and Mike Brown
Despite facing a wonky engine for much of the year, the Browns won the 2018 Rally America National Championship with a win at Sno*Drift and six podiums in eight rounds. The Colorado natives became the first national champions to earn the title with a naturally aspirated Open Light Subaru.
When Dixon pulled his car out of a major first-lap wreck in IndyCar’s return to Portland International Raceway unscathed save for some dust, it was clear: nothing would stop his quest for a fifth title. The Chip Ganassi Racing driver has cemented his name alongside Foyt and Andretti as the sport’s best ever.
David Higgins and Craig Drew
After giving up the inaugural American Rally Association title to Travis Pastrana, Higgins and Drew returned with something to prove in 2018. And prove they did: Subaru Rally Team USA’s longtime lead pairing locked up the championship a race early.
It was a strong year for one of off-road racing’s true legends in 2018, as MacCachren won not only the SCORE Trophy Truck title, but also the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series Pro 2 championship. Even with a trophy case as full as his is, this year will have to go down as one of his finest seasons ever.
Wayne and Kristen Matlock
The Matlocks had a year to remember in 2018, as UTV racing continues to become quicker and more competitive. Wayne became the first UTV racer to win the overall SCORE title, beating Rob MacCachren; Kristen was the top overall UTV driver in the Baja 500 despite running in the Normally Aspirated class.
Sebastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia
Ogier and Ingrassia’s World Rally Championship title streak was in clear jeopardy of coming to an end in 2018, but a clutch victory at Wales Rally GB kept them in the fight and allowed them to prevail in Australia. After going two for two at M-Sport, they’ll look for their seventh in a row with Citroen in 2019.
Scott Dixon was just a little bit better over the course of the full season, but it became clear with Rossi’s victory in Long Beach that he’s ready to win an IndyCar title. Not long after a multi-win season in the open cockpit wrapped up, Rossi also made his Baja 1000 debut in a factory-backed Honda Ridgeline.
He may not have swept both the Monster Energy Supercross and Lucas Oil Pro Motocross titles, but Tomac was certainly the sport’s most dominant racer in 2018. With his win count well into the double digits, Tomac successfully defended the outdoor crown and added a $1 million Monster Energy Cup win.
After missing out on the 2017 NHRA Top Fuel title, Torrence came back with a vengeance this year. Not only did he take a dominant top seed into the Countdown to the Championship, he also swept the entire six-round playoffs—a feat that had never been previously accomplished, and may never be again.