Sunday, November 20, 2016

Jimmie Johnson Wins at Homestead to Win 7th Championship

Originally written for CLNS Radio.

Jimmie Johnson won his record-tying seventh Sprint Cup Series Championship on Sunday by winning the Ford 400 from Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Johnson had to start last after his team was sent to the back for unapproved body modifications prior to the green flag.  Johnson avoided a late-race accident to move to the front, and he held off Kyle Larson and fellow Chase driver Joey Logano to win the race and the championship.
Sean Gardner (Getty Images)
“I didn’t think the race was unfolding for us like we needed to be the champs,” Johnson said.  “Some luck came our way and we were able to win the race and win the championship.”

Johnson said he didn’t think he would be able to win after running behind Logano, Busch and Carl Edwards most of the day, but that he was able to stay calm all day and was strong when it counted.

“I had this crazy calmness over myself all day long and leading into this,” Johnson said.  “Even with us running fifth, and the championship not looking like it was going to be there, I just felt something.”

Johnson is now tied with NASCAR Hall of Famers Dale Earnhardt and Richard Petty with seven Sprint Cup Series championships.  Johnson said the record was something special to be a part of.
“It’s big…number seven has a special place in my heart,” Johnson said.  

Rick Hendrick, Johnson’s team owner, said he was excited to see one of his drivers stand among NASCAR’s elite.

“To see him tie Richard and Dale…it’s unbelievable,” Hendrick said.  “To do it through all these different formats has been so special.”

Unofficial results:
1. Jimmie Johnson
2. Kyle Larson
3. Kevin Harvick
4. Joey Logano
5. Jamie McMurray
6. Kyle Busch
7. Matt Kenseth
8. AJ Allmendinger
9. Denny Hamlin
10. Michael McDowell
11. Chase Elliott
12. Austin Dillon
13. Kurt Busch
14. Paul Menard
15. Brian Scott
16. Alex Bowman
17. Greg Biffle
18. Casey Mears
19. Danica Patrick
20. Trevor Bayne
21. Landon Cassill
22. Tony Stewart
23. Clint Bowyer
24. Chris Buescher
25. Ryan Newman
26. Ryan Blaney
27. Matt DiBenedetto
28. Michael Annett
29. David Ragan
30. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
31. Jeffrey Earnhardt
32. Reed Sorenson
33. Ty Dillon
34. Carl Edwards
35. Brad Keselowski
36. Martin Truex Jr.
37. Kasey Kahne
38. Regan Smith
39. Dylan Lupton
40. Aric Almirola

Sean Gardner (Getty Images)

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