Jimmie Johnson won both the battle and the war at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Sunday, winning the Ford EcoBoost 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season finale and claiming his seventh Sprint Cup Series championship, tying NASCAR Hall of Famers Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt for the most all-time. It was a devastating finish for the 37-year-old Edwards, who in 2011 had won at Homestead to tie Tony Stewart in the championship points only to lose the title on a tiebreaker.
"They set a goal to get where they are and circumstances and fate made it a reality", Petty said. That was the drive of my life and it didn't yield a championship, but I have a lot of pride in how we performed.
Logano's team patched him up and he gave it a good try, finishing fourth, but everyone cleared a path for the best driver of this era. "This one and the calm nature and the way we went about business and got it done only gives me more confidence for the future". "Just beyond words. 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) called a great strategy, made some great adjustments for the short runs. Busch was then called in for a questionable stop for tires that left him too far behind for the green-white-checkered overtime finish to challenge race (and championship) victor Jimmie Johnson. I'm so thankful for their legacies, their families, their dedication to the sport.
Nearly immediately, Petty and the Earnhardt family reacted.
"It's big. It has a different meaning", Johnson said.
"I felt like something was going to happen", he said, "and I was going to be OK with it".
"It was just racing", Edwards said. "But I had this insane weird calmness". Even with us running fifth and the championship not looking like it was going to be there. I honestly feel like I'm playing with house money. My heart was full because I was thinking of some loved one. He's such a great race auto driver. Dedicating the #Se7en hashtag to him and kind of building up to this.
In 15 seasons, Johnson posted his 80th career win.
"Everyone at Hendrick Motorsports is fantastic", Knaus said.
It took Johnson 543 Sprint Cup starts to win seven championships. After losing his original starting spot due to a pre-race inspection fault, Johnson found himself behind his other competitors, such as Joey Logano, Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch, USA Today reported.
Johnson, who then had six championships and 66 wins, still wasn't resonating with the fans. Edwards retired from the race, but Logano was able to continue with significant damage to his vehicle after NASCAR red-flagged the race for almost 31 minutes for track clean-up. Logano and Edwards are chasing their first championship.
That brought out a 31 minute, 9 second red flag period and another restart. He survived two late restarts and used the final one in overtime to get past Kyle Larson and win the race and the championship.
Logano slowed but regained control of his auto and continued with minor damage, while Edwards' vehicle shot backward up the track to be knocked slightly airborne by Kasey Kahne's Chevrolet.
Another caution came out on Lap 264 when Ricky Stenhouse Jr. spun.
Larson finished second followed by Harvick, Logano, Jamie McMurray, Busch, Matt Kenseth, A. J. Allmendinger, Denny Hamlin and Michael McDowell.
"I think it was shared, you know what I mean?"
"All in all, we fought hard tonight", he added.
With 10 laps to go Logano bumped Edwards' rear quarter and pushed him into a wall and out of the race.
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