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Jimmie Wins Homestead, Historic Seventh Title

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Sunday, November 20 2016
Jimmie Johnson joins The King and The Intimidator on top of the heap. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Andrew Coppley)

Jimmie Johnson joins The King and The Intimidator on the top of the Cup championship heap. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Andrew Coppley)

For most of Sunday’s season-ending Sprint Cup Series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway, things looked grim for six-time champion Jimmie Johnson. But as can happened in an event in which the competitors are traveling at 190 miles per hour, craziness broke out late in the race and the result sprint-logo-08was a historic seventh championship for Johnson.

The title for Johnson ties him with Hall of Famers Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt at the top of the championship mountain.

Johnson, who started from the rear of the field after his car was found to be illegal, executed a perfect final restart and won the race in overtime to win big ugly silver trophy No. 7 in style.

The three OT laps were the only ones he led all day.

“Didn’t think the race was unfolding for us to be the champs,” he said. “But we kept our heads in the game and Chad (Knaus, his crew chief) called a great strategy, made some great adjustments for the short run. Some luck came our way and we were able to win the race won this championship.”

Non Chasers Kyle Larson and Kevin Harvick finished second and third in the race while.

Chaser Joey Logano, who was involved in the first of two late-race wrecks, was fourth and second in the final standings.

“It was eventful to say the least,” Logano said. “I hate being that close to a championship and not getting it.”

Chaser driver Kyle Busch finished sixth Sunday while the final Chaser, Carl Edwards wrecked while leading the playoff drivers with 10 laps to go and finished 34th.

Welcome to the ‘hood The King told Johnson.

“Records are a mark and they set something for everyone to shoot at,” Petty said. “Jimmie and his team have done that tonight. They set a goal to get where they are and circumstances and fate made it a reality.  They did what they needed to do and now they are at seven championships. Congratulations to him and his team.”

Edwards was fastest among the Chasers early. After starting 10th, he quickly worked his way into the top five. He was third when the yellow flag waved for the first time on Lap 27. He restarted on Lap 32 in second place and quickly pulled even with leader Harvick. The two ran side by side for a lap and then Edwards made the pass for the lead.

Harvick took the lead back on Lap 35. On that Lap, Logano was third, Busch fifth and Johnson, who had to start the race from the rear of the field because of illegal body modifications, was seventh.

Harvick, who started from the pole was able to pull out to a big lead early in the race but not after the Lap 32 restart as Edwards stayed right with him.

That changed 20 laps later when Harvick was able to break free of Edwards a bit and led by .5 seconds.

On Lap 68, Logano pitted ahead of schedule in hopes that fresh tires would allow him to make up ground on Harvick and Edwards. But on the next lap, Harvick pitted and he was quickly followed by most of the the field.

When the pitting cycled through, Harvick was back in the lead and was 5 seconds ahead of second-place Edwards. Logano was third, Busch fourth and Edwards, who had a slow stop after his jack man fell down, was sixth.

On Lap 80, the second caution flag of the day waved and the leaders pitted. Harvick came out of the pits first but Logano moved past Edwards. Busch restarted fourth and Johnson sixth.

On the restart, Logano was perfect. He got past Harvick and took the lead. Also passing Harvick, who had led 79 laps, was Edwards.

On Lap 93, Edwards went low on Logano in Turn 1 and took the lead. Once out front, Edwards quickly built a lead of over a second.

On Lap 118, Kyle Larson, who took second from Logano on Lap 108, passed Edwards for the lead. On the next lap, Logano again pitted early and once again the field followed. When the pitting cycled through, Edwards had the lead back. Logano was fourth, Busch fifth and Johnson had fallen to 11th after a second slow stop.

On Lap 126, Larson again took the lead from Edwards.

Ten laps later, Edwards moved back to the lead.

On Lap 137, Busch pitted from fifth place because of what he thought was flat right front tire. Busch kept his Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota off the wall but the incident knocked him off the lead lap.

On Lap 146, Larson, running the high line all day, took the lead back.

Ten laps later Larson and Edwards pitted under green. Larson came out first – over 2 seconds ahead of Edwards. With the leaders pitting, Busch got back on the lead lap. Edwards was 11th.

On Lap 172, another caution flag waved. The caution, for alleged debris, gave Busch the break he needed and also kept Johnson from being lapped as leader Larson was closing on him.

When the race restarted, Larson led, Edwards was second, Logano fourth, Busch eighth and Johnson 12th.

On the restart, which came on Lap 178, Logano moved to second past Edwards. Busch moved to fourth.

On Lap 205 of the 267-lap race, Edwards moved past Logano for second place and, hence, first place in the battle for the championship.

With 61 laps to go, the caution flag waved when Ryan Blaney brushed the wall. The sent the leaders into the pits. Larson came out the leader with Chasers Logano and Busch behind him. Edwards dropped to fifth while Johnson moved up to sixth.

On the restart, which came with 55 laps to go, Busch jumped past Logano into second place at they headed into Turn 3.

With 25 laps to go, Edwards passed his teammate to move to second on the track and the lead in the Chase.

With 15 laps to go, the caution flag waved with Edwards second on the track and in the Chase lead, Busch next and Logano behind him. Johnson was sixth. Larson held the lead out of the pits while Edwards was second, Logano third, Johnson fifth and Busch sixth. All took four tires.

On the restart with 10 laps to go, Logano made a big move to the low side of Edwards, Edwards moved down to block, was hit from behind and spun into the inside wall. Edwards’ car was knocked out of the race, Logano recovered but slipped to eighth.

The wreck red-flagged the race as Martin Truex Jr.’s car burst into flames after being caught up in the incident.

Edwards said he did what he had to do as he knew Logano’s terrific restart was going to doom his championship chances.

“It was the race of my life up to that point,” Edwards, who led 47 laps, said. “It was a lot of fun. I pushed the issue as far as I could because that was the race there.”

After the lengthy 31 minute red flag delay, the race went yellow.

The race restarted with Larson and Harvick in the front row and Johnson and Busch in the second row. Logano lined up eighth.

On the restart, which came with six to go, Johnson moved to second. Also having a great restart was Logano, who after the wreck, pitted for tires and restarted eighth, moved to the top four. But before the cars could get fully up to speed, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. wreck to bring out an other caution and set up overtime.

On the OT restart, Johnson moved to the lead past Larson to the lead. Once out front, Johnson cruised.

“That last restart,” Logano said, “I was hoping to get Jimmie there and trying to get either to the inside or outside of him. I just timed it a little bit wrong to get underneath him. I just didn’t have enough time to get under him. We lost some time there and unfortunately we finish second. The championship means so much and everyone forgets about second place. That is what stinks.”

(This story will be updated shortly)

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NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race – Ford EcoBoost 400

Homestead-Miami Speedway

Homestead, Florida

Sunday, November 20, 2016

  1. (14) Jimmie Johnson (C), Chevrolet, 268.
  2. (24) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 268.
  3. (1) Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, 268.
  4. (13) Joey Logano (C), Ford, 268.
  5. (15) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 268.
  6. (9) Kyle Busch (C), Toyota, 268.
  7. (7) Matt Kenseth, Toyota, 268.
  8. (12) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 268.
  9. (4) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 268.
  10. (26) Michael McDowell, Chevrolet, 268.
  11. (5) Chase Elliott #, Chevrolet, 268.
  12. (17) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 268.
  13. (16) Kurt Busch, Chevrolet, 268.
  14. (28) Paul Menard, Chevrolet, 268.
  15. (22) Brian Scott #, Ford, 268.
  16. (19) Alex Bowman(i), Chevrolet, 268.
  17. (21) Greg Biffle, Ford, 267.
  18. (23) Casey Mears, Chevrolet, 267.
  19. (30) Danica Patrick, Chevrolet, 266.
  20. (20) Trevor Bayne, Ford, 266.
  21. (32) Landon Cassill, Ford, 266.
  22. (11) Tony Stewart, Chevrolet, 266.
  23. (33) Clint Bowyer, Chevrolet, 266.
  24. (27) Chris Buescher #, Ford, 266.
  25. (3) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, Accident, 264.
  26. (8) * Ryan Blaney #, Ford, 264.
  27. (31) * Matt DiBenedetto(i), Toyota, 264.
  28. (40) Michael Annett, Chevrolet, 264.
  29. (36) David Ragan, Toyota, 264.
  30. (18) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, Accident, 262.
  31. (38) Jeffrey Earnhardt #, Toyota, 261.
  32. (37) * Reed Sorenson, Toyota, 259.
  33. (34) Ty Dillon(i), Chevrolet, Accident, 258.
  34. (10) Carl Edwards (C), Toyota, Accident, 257.
  35. (2) Brad Keselowski, Ford, Accident, 257.
  36. (6) Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, Accident, 257.
  37. (29) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, Accident, 257.
  38. (35) * Regan Smith, Chevrolet, Accident, 255.
  39. (39) Dylan Lupton(i), Ford, 250.
  40. (25) Aric Almirola, Ford, 213.

 

Average Speed of Race Winner:  128.869 mph.

Time of Race:  3 Hrs, 07 Mins, 10 Secs. Margin of Victory:  0.466 Seconds.

Caution Flags:  7 for 33 laps.

Lead Changes:  20 among 6 drivers.

Lap Leaders:   K. Harvick 1-31; C. Edwards (C) 32-34; K. Harvick 35-67; C. Edwards (C) 68-70; K. Harvick 71-85; J. Logano (C) 86-91; C. Edwards (C) 92-117; K. Larson 118-121; C. Edwards (C) 122-125; K. Larson 126-135; C. Edwards (C) 136-143; K. Larson 144-154; C. Edwards (C) 155; K. Larson 156-172; C. Edwards (C) 173; K. Larson 174-208; C. Edwards (C) 209; K. Larson 210-253; K. Busch (C) 254; K. Larson 255-265; J. Johnson (C) 266-268.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  K. Larson 7 times for 132 laps; K. Harvick 3 times for 79 laps; C. Edwards (C) 8 times for 47 laps; J. Logano (C) 1 time for 6 laps; J. Johnson (C) 1 time for 3 laps; K. Busch (C) 1 time for 1 lap.

Top 16 in Points: J. Johnson (C) – 5,040; J. Logano (C) – 5,037; K. Busch (C) – 5,035; C. Edwards (C) – 5,007; M. Kenseth – 2,330; D. Hamlin – 2,320; K. Busch – 2,296; K. Harvick – 2,289; K. Larson – 2,288; C. Elliott # – 2,285; M. Truex Jr. – 2,271; B. Keselowski – 2,267; J. McMurray – 2,231; A. Dillon – 2,223; T. Stewart – 2,211; C. Buescher # – 2,169.

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Sunday, November 20 2016
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