Top 10 photos of 2015

Another racing season comes to a close. 2015 was truly a remarkable year for photos and although it was a real pleasure looking back at all the fantastic images from the past year, it was a tough process getting the number down to the very best 10 captures.

Top 10 photos of 2015

Stay tuned for an honorable mentions list, which in effect was our working master list. Some great images that didn't make the top 10 will be included for your viewing pleasure.

From all of us at Motorsport.com's photo department, we hope you have a very happy holiday season and a great 2016!

10. Ryan Briscoe, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda in huge crash

10. Ryan Briscoe, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda in huge crash
1/10

Photo by: IndyCar Series

We open with a crash photo. These are, by nature, the most impactful (pun intended). Ryan Briscoe's scary flip at the end of the IndyCar race at Fontana was only part of a year of huge crashes in IndyCar including Justin Wilson's freak fatal accident at Pocono.

9. David Ragan, Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota

9. David Ragan, Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota
2/10

Photo by: NASCAR Media

In general, photographers and photo editors have a sense of humor. Nothing like Spongebob Squarepants and friends to cheer you on in turn 4 at a NASCAR race.

8. Low light action

8. Low light action
3/10

Photo by: XPB Images

This shot of F1 testing before the start of the season gets the nod because of its mood and masterful use of the sun light and lack thereof. Lots of negative space leads the eye straight to the silhouetted car. This is art for art's sake. And we can appreciate that.

7. Fernando Alonso, McLaren MP4-30 stopped on track

7. Fernando Alonso, McLaren MP4-30 stopped on track
4/10

Photo by: XPB Images

The F1 meme of the year. This scene of Alonso relaxing track-side at Interlagos after his McLaren Honda failed him for the umpteenth time this season was a clear choice for top 10. ALO giving exactly zero f*cks.

6. Adam Malysz, Mini during testing

6. Adam Malysz, Mini during testing
5/10

Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool

The Dakar, and cross-country rallies in general, is magic for photography. Much like its rallying cousin, the WRC, moments captured in "nature" away from the armco, concrete barriers, electricity poles and safety vehicles that are omnipresent at a circuit, afford a different look at the sport we all love. It's more scenic and more approachable.

5. Drift action

5. Drift action
6/10

Photo by: Larry Chen / formulad.com

Great use of a drone. The symmetry calms our OCD and this angle really shows off the true essence of drifting.

4. Trailing lights at Pflanzgarten

4. Trailing lights at Pflanzgarten
7/10

Photo by: Eric Gilbert

So crisp and clear, this long exposure at one of the best places on earth: Pflanzgarten. That bit of bright yellow in the trails of lights in the middle of this image is where the cars literally take off for a split second before slamming on the brakes for the fast approaching right-hander. It's a quick section and all happens in the blink of an eye.

3. Thierry Neuville and Nicolas Gilsoul, Hyundai i20 WRC, Hyundai Motorsport

3. Thierry Neuville and Nicolas Gilsoul, Hyundai i20 WRC, Hyundai Motorsport
8/10

Photo by: Hyundai Motorsport

A Hyundai takes on the chase helicopter in its own game. The flying car is perfectly frozen in air between the fans and the helicopter. Not sure the photographer could have planned this any better.

2. Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle, Citroën DS3 WRC, Citroën World Rally Team

2. Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle, Citroën DS3 WRC, Citroën World Rally Team
9/10

Photo by: Citroën Communication

This is a photo that takes a lot of experience and tons of patience to pull off. Without having talked to the photographer, we suspect he did a long exposure for the night sky and stars, then used a light source, such as a flash, to "freeze" the passing Citroën. No matter how it was done, this is an exquisite starry night capture.

1. Austin Dillon, Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet in huge crash at the finish

1. Austin Dillon, Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet in huge crash at the finish
10/10

Photo by: Getty Images

There was little doubt from the beginning of this process that this would be the winning image of 2015. Even back in July when this photo was taken, we had a suspicion that it would be high on our list. After long rain delays, the July Daytona race started at 11:42 p.m., and the checkered flag being shown at 2:40 a.m. the following morning, with this mayhem happening below. Our early morning photo editor woke up to this image on his screen, with mouth wide open. Nobody was seriously hurt, but it made one hell of a frame, like we say in the business.
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