HOMESTEAD, Fla. - Jimmie Johnson joined Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt as the only seven-time Sprint Cup Series champions with his victory in Sunday's Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Johnson turned in a dramatic victory in overtime to put his name in the record books as a seven-time Sprint Cup Series champion.
Sunday’s win was Johnson’s 80th career victory. He had to outduel the other Championship 4 drivers Joey Logano (fourth), Kyle Busch (sixth) and Carl Edwards (34th) at Homestead.
At the age of 41, Johnson becomes the youngest seven-time champion. Petty was 42 when he captured his seventh title in 1979; Earnhardt was 43 in 1994.
“Oh my gosh, there is no, no way on earth,” Johnson said. “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 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. I wouldn't be here without so many people believing in me and giving me this chance. From my dirt days - my parents first and foremost. My brothers. My wife and family today. Car owners, sponsors, Chevrolet, Lowe's, so many amazing people along the way that believed in me to give me this chance.
“Jeff Gordon, Rick Hendrick, all the men and women at Hendrick Motorsports for working so hard to get these cars fast and giving me an awesome 15 years with the company. Just thank you. From the bottom of my heart. Thank you. So thrilled to be in this moment., So grateful for the opportunity and so thankful and blessed. I am at a loss for words.”
All seven of Johnson’s championships were won under team owner Rick Hendrick and with crew chief Chad Knaus.
Kyle Larson was second with Kevin Harvick, Logano and Jamie McMurray the top five.
Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth, AJ Allmendinger, Denny Hamlin and Michael McDowell completed the first 10 finishers.
Johnson will be officially recognized for his accomplishment at the Sprint Cup Series Awards Banquet in Las Vegas on December 2nd.
For the second year in a row, Jose Rodriguez qualified for the championship four and had the chance to make up the lost chance he had last year after struggling at Homestead. He finished in 32nd place and third in the standings. This year he faced against three drivers from Northeast Ohio Motorsports. There would be a 25% chance that he would win and a 75% chance that one of the three teammates would win.
Jose worked against the odds to even make the Chase this season after struggling at the start but eventually he found his groove and worked himself up near the top of the standings. Jose beat the odds once again at Homestead. The teammates struggled and Jose was able to easily finish above all of them in 12th place.
That was all Jose needed to do to win his first Cup series championship . Jose Rodriguez is crowned the 2016 Cup Series champion and has now won in all three series. He joins Lou Demian as the only other player to do so. It took him less time to make it happen. Lou won his third different championship after 10 years, Jose only took six years.
Ford EcoBoost 400 Top 5 Finishers
1. Rodney Webb
2. Kelly Wolfe
3. Teeder Jenkins
4. Greg Miller
5. Wendal Ebach
HOMESTEAD, Fla. – Daniel Suarez took the checkered flag in Saturday’s Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway to claim the 2016 NASCAR XFINITY Series championship.
Suarez became the first International NASCAR touring series champion when the Mexican-born driver scored the title on Saturday night.
“It doesn’t feel real,” Suarez said, fighting back tears in Victory Lane.
Suarez got a jump on the night’s final restart with four laps to go and was able to outrun the field to the checkered flag.
“I can’t believe this is happening and I am so happy,” said Suarez, who said he leaned to speak English by watching American cartoons on television.
“I’m just so proud of this team and everyone who has helped me get to this point. I just can’t believe this.”
The race was set up for the dramatic finish when Ray Black Jr. spun on the front stretch and that sent the leaders including all four Championship 4 drivers to pit road. Suarez, Erik Jones and Justin Allgaier took four tires while Elliott Sadler took two.
But Cole Whitt decided to remain on track and was the leader when the green flew to restart the race. Whitt spun his tires as the field roared to life and that stacked up Jones and others behind him, allowing Suarez to get the jump.
"I thought the 14 (Whitt) would at least attempt to go, he just sat there and didn't even attempt to go,” Jones said. "It is what it is, but just kind of unfortunate," says he expected the 14 team to have more respect for the Championship teams.
When the checkered flag flew it was the 24-year-old native of Monterrey, Mexico scoring the historic win and championship.
In the first season of Xfinity and Truck series Chases, Lou Demian was able to make the Chase in both series and the championship four as well. Yesterday he had the chance to win his third truck series title but unfortunately fell short. He didn't lose focus and more than made up for that loss by having a big day in the Xfinity series. Lou ended up scoring a total of 201 points, tied with two other members, but he won the tiebreaker to win the race. That allowed him to the Xfinity Series championship.
Lou wins his fourth title in this series and now has championships under the Busch, Nationwide and Xfinity series titles. He won in 2005, 2009, 2011 and now 2016. It's also his seventh championship in Lucky Dog Racing.
Ford EcoBoost 300 Finishers
1. Lou Demian
2. Dean Higley
3. Terry Smith
4. Kevin Sullivan
5. Jack Thesier
HOMESTEAD, Fla. - Johnny Sauter celebrated his first career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship Friday night at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Sauter’s third-place finish in the season-ending Ford EcoBoost 200 was good enough for the 38-year-old driver to capture his first title in eight full seasons in the Truck Series.
The GMS Racing driver finished second in the season championship back in 2011 and became the 15th different driver to win a title in 22 years.
Sauter had his best overall season since moving into the series. He won three races, had 12 top-five finishes and capped it off with a solid Chase that ended in the crown. Sauter won back-to-back races at Martinsville and Texas also finishing second at Phoenix last week. Sauter's 13 career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victories tie him for 11th most all-time in series history.
“Well, this championship means a lot, obviously. I just I don't think it's completely sank in quite yet, but you know, it wouldn't be possible without these two guys sitting next to me,” Sauter said of team owner Maury Gallagher and crew chief Joe Shear Jr.
“That's for sure. I can remember last September when I flew to Las Vegas and the Gallagher family brought me to their house and cooked me a wonderful meal and said this is our goals and this is what we want to do. You know, when I went and checked out the shop and saw their ultimate vision for where they wanted GMS Racing to be, I knew it was something that I wanted to be a part of.”
Indeed Sauter joined GMS this year in a move felt to be risky, but it paid off in a title.
Greg Miller started his career in Lucky Dog Racing on fire. He won the 2005 Cup series championship in his rookie year and then followed that up by winning the championship again the following year. After that he left the league for a few years but returned in 2009. He didn't quite have the same performance but managed a few top 10 finishes in the Cup and Xfinity series. He struggled a lot in the Truck series though. In seven seasons his highest finish was 12th and he wasn't even able to win a race until this season.
This season was a complete turn-around, he really found his groove. Greg won two races, led the standings and made the championship four. At Homestead it all came together one more time, Greg was able to have a dominant race to score a total of 177 points to win the Ford EcoBoost 200. The win gave him the Truck series championship making it the third in Lucky Dog Racing and the first in 10 years.
Ford EcoBoost 200 Top 5 Finishers
1. Greg Miller
2. Matt Steinfels
3. Wendal Ebach
4. Kelly Wolfe
5. Jack Thesier
After coming up short last year to P10 Select, Lucky Dog Racing has their sights set on another championship in the 2016 season. It will be tough since there is more competition this year. For the first time, there will be four teams competing for the championship in LROC XI. P10 Select and MGTNFRL rejoin the series and the Fantasy Sport Site (formerly The Cool Pool) rejoins as well.
The Lucky Dog Racing team will be up to the task since we have a strong team. Cup Series champion Randy Cook & Xfinity Champion Kelly Wolfe return for their 2nd season. Stephen DiCaprio returns for his 4th season and the first time for Lucky Dog Racing since LROC IV. Janet Sebern has raced for The Cool Pool for a couple of seasons, but she makes her debut this year. LDR Owner and Past LROC Champion Lou Demian also returns for his 10th season.
The season will run for 16 races and will start at Daytona.
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