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Jimmie Johnson defeated three to tie two to be the one. Johnson, driver of the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS, won the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series finale’ to outpace the other three drivers in the Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Sunday, Nov. 20, to earn his seventh series championship, tying a NASCAR record held by Hall-of-Famers Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt Sr.
“Just beyond words,” said Johnson, who also won NASCAR championships in 2006-10 and 2013. “Just didn't think the race was unfolding for us like we needed to do to be the champs, but we just kept our heads in the game. Chad (Knaus, crew chief) called a great strategy, made some great adjustments for the short runs. Luck came our way and we were able to win the race and win the championship.
“So thrilled to be in this moment, so grateful for the opportunity and so thankful and blessed. I am at a loss for words.”
(photo by Alan Marler/HH for Chevy Racing)
Johnson – en route to his 80th career win, most among active drivers – qualified 14th but started from the rear of the field because of an unapproved body modification. He quickly moved forward, regained 14th place by lap 16, and ran near the front for most of the night. His biggest break came with 10 laps remaining when he avoided a 10-car incident that put the race under a red flag for 31:09. Two restarts later he was second, quickly took the lead and held on to drive to Victory Lane and into history.
“Congratulations to Jimmie Johnson, Chad Knaus, Rick Hendrick and everyone at Hendrick Motorsports on another championship,” said Jim Campbell, Chevrolet U.S. Vice President of Performance Vehicles and Motorsports. “Jimmie overcame adversity several times throughout the race. He started from the rear ofthe field and drove steadily up the field. Late in the race, he avoided that multi-car wreck and kept himself in a position to put his name in the record book once again. He never gave up. Seven championships, incredible. That is an amazing feat and just further reinforces his legendary status.”
Johnson, who is the all-time leader in Chase wins with 29, scored his first career victory at Homestead-Miami Speedway to deliver Chevrolet’s 31st driver’s championship. It marks Hendrick Motorsports’ 12th championship, most all-time among team owners. Johnson led only the final three laps.
He finishes the 2016 season with five wins, 11 top-fives, 16 top-10s and one pole.
Kyle Larson, driver of the No. 42 Target Chevrolet SS, led a race-high 132 (of 268) laps and finished second at Homestead. Pole-sitter Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, was third to complete a 1-2-3 Chevrolet sweep. Harvick led 79 laps.