Jimmie Johnson won the final round of the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship at Miami-Homestead Sunday night, locking down his seventh career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship. Johnson is now tied with NASCAR greats Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt for the most NASCAR championships won by a single driver.
Johnson took the win despite having to start from the back of the grid due to unapproved last-minute changes to the No. 48 Chevrolet. The newly christened ‘Seven Time’ led just three laps – taking the lead after a late-race wreck that took out fellow championship contender Carl Edwards.
The restart came with just 10 laps left to go. Edwards, who led a total of 47 laps, was lined up on the front row on the inside lane, while Logano was in the second row on the inside. Logano got a strong start when the green came back out, forcing Edwards to block Logano. Logano’s Ford then got into the back of Edwards’ Toyota, spinning him and sending him hard into the SAFER-barrier lined inside wall.
The wreck collected multiple cars, but most importantly, it helped clear the way for Johnson to move into the lead. Johnson pulled out nearly half a second over Kyle Larson following the ensuing restart, crossing the finish line .466 seconds ahead of the Chip Ganassi Racing driver.
“Oh, my gosh, there is no, no way on earth,” Johnson said post-race. “Just beyond words. Just didn’t think the race was unfolding for us like we needed to be the champs, but we just kept our heads in the game. Chad 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 grateful for the opportunity, and so thankful and blessed. I am at a loss for words.”
Pole-sitter Kevin Harvick, who took more top tens than any other driver this season, crossed the finish line third. Logano was fourth, while Jamie McMurray rounded out the top five. Click here for full results from Miami-Homestead.