The first 26 races of NASCAR's 2011 season have been some of the most exciting races seen in a few years. But what races have been the best of the season so far? 

5) Aarons 499, Talladega Superspeedway- The Aarons 499 this past April saw the closest finish in NASCAR history be tied. The record was set by Ricky Craven and Kurt Busch at Darlington Raceway in 2003 at .002 second. Jimmie Johnson and Clint Bowyer were the two drivers that tied that number at Talladega with Johnson the victor. The two-by-two tandem draft style provided plenty of passing, and even a three-wide photo-finish for the win. 

4) Daytona 500, Daytona International Speedway- This year's Daytona 500 saw one of NASCAR's most historic race teams return to victory lane in NASCAR's biggest race with a rookie driver. The famous Wood Brothers number 21 Ford went to victory lane driven by Trevor Bayne who won the Daytona 500 in just his first try. Bayne had just turned 20-years-old the day before the race. The Wood Brothers last won in 2001 at Bristol with Elliott Sadler behind the wheel. 

3) Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at the Glen, Watkins Glen International- The second and final road course race of the season saw contenders falter, and a road course expert finally get his first Sprint Cup Series win. Kurt Busch, Denny Hamlin, and Tony Stewart all wrecked. Kyle Busch dominated much of the event, but a mistake on the final restart cost him the win. He handed the lead over to Brad Keselowski with two to go, but Keselowski couldn't hang on for the win. Road course racing veteran Marcos Ambrose got underneath Keselowski in turn five coming to the white flag and held on to get his first win at NASCAR's highest level. 

2) Advocare 500, Atlanta Motor Speedway- Atlanta's only race of the season was supposed to be run on a Sunday night, but remnants of Tropical Storm Lee pushed the race to Tuesday morning. The time change caused many fans to not be able to see the race due to work. Unfortunately for those fans, they missed one fantastic race. Drivers were three-wide throughout much of the race, and at times even four-wide. The end of the race saw a fantastic battle between Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson for the win, and incredible drive by Tony Stewart to go from ninth to third in the final five laps. 

1) Wonderful Pistachios 400, Richmond International Speedway- NASCAR's regular season finale was by far the most exciting race of the season to date.There was a lot of passing, three-wide racing, paybacks, fueding, and great battle for the win between Kevin Harvick and Carl Edwards. This race had everything you could want and more out of a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. 

So those are my top five races of the year. Tell us what your favorite races have been so far in the comments section.

The opinions expressed are those solely of the writer.