Jimmie Johnson is the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion
Jimmie Johnson is changing his nickname. The Six-Time is becoming the Seven-Time. The driver of the #48 Hendrick Motorsports’ Chevrolet clinched his seventh NASCAR Sprint Cup Series title today at Homestead-Miami Speedways by winning the final race of the 2016 season. Johnson was leading just three of 268 laps but it was enough for a historic achievement as he now has the same number of titles as Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt.
At the age 41, Johnson also becomes the youngest seven-time winner; Petty was 42 when he took his seventh title in 1979 while Earnhardt was 43 in 1994 when he completed the feat.
Of four championship contenders, Carl Edwards spent most of the time in front, leading for 47 laps and running in P2 behind Kyle Larson until the caution on Lap 253. Unfortunately for Edwards, the race was over for him at the restart on Lap 258.
In an attempt to block Joey Logano, Edwards was going too low and slight touch from Logano’s car sent him into the wall. The Big One followed after that, which put few more drivers out of the race (Martin Truex Jr, Brad Keselowski, Kasey Kahne…) Joey Logano survived the pile-up. Edwards later told his team that the wreck was “100 percent on me.”
Jimmie Johnson was fourth at the restart with five laps to go but he progressed to P2 before another caution period, caused by Ricky Stenhouse’s crash. In the final restart, which goes to the overtime, Johnson overtook Kyle Larson, who led for 132 laps, to confirm his seventh title with a victory.
Photos: Getty Images/nascar.com,