Jimmie Johnson is now firmly the greatest drivers in NASCAR history. Jimmie Johnson claimed his record fifth straight NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship after a second- place finish at Nascar’s season-ending race. “Yeah, unbelievable, you guys are the best,” Johnson said to his pit crew over the team radio after he crossed the finish line.
Johnson becomes just the third driver in series history to win the title after not leading in points heading into the season-finale. Richard Petty accomplished the feat in 1979 to earn his seventh title, and Alan Kulwicki turned the trick in 1992.
Johnson entered the season finale 15 points behind Chase points leader Denny Hamlin.
But he finished 36 points ahead of Hamlin, who finished 14th overall in the race, and wound up 41 points ahead of Kevin Harvick, who wound up finishing third in the race.
Johnson, 35, came in second to winner Carl Edwards at the Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway and finished 39 points ahead of Denny Hamlin in the season’s final standings. Hamlin, who entered the season-finale with a 15-point lead over Johnson, placed 14th in today’s race.
Kevin Harvick, who ran third today, finished 41 points behind Johnson in the standings. Johnson won six races in 36 starts this season.
The fifth title moved Johnson past Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jeff Gordon for most titles among active drivers. He now ranks third on the career list behind seven-time champions and Hall of Famers Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt.