The Homestead-Miami Speedway is the home to the final weekend of racing for the NASCAR series each year and is where the champions are born. This year, a likely and long-time champion was crowned once again, but in a fashion that he hadn’t experienced in the past. Jimmie Johnson, driver of the number 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS won the Sprint Cup Series but under different rules he had dealt with in the past. As a six-time previous champion, the changes that NASCAR has made, have made it more competitive to the end and no longer just a matter of amassing points or position.
Heading into the race, four drivers, including Johnson were vying for the championship and it appeared the 48 car would be out of contention early. Sent to the rear of the pack for the start of the race due to an unapproved body modification the team needed some luck on their side in order to get where they wanted to go. Johnson battled back all race long and finally receive the break he needed near the end of the race to help catapult himself into victory and into the record books.
With ten laps remaining, and in the fourteenth position, Johnson avoided a ten car incident that sent the race under the red flag. After two more restarts he had moved up to second and then quickly took the lead and then drove to Victory. This seventh championship for Johnson puts him in the record books with Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt, Sr. who both also have seven to their name. This championship marks the twelfth championship for Hendrick Motorsports which is the most all-time by team owners. For the season Johnson won five races, had eleven top five finishes and sixteen top tens while only winning the pole position once all year.
Earlier in the same weekend, Johnny Sauter gave Chevrolet its first championship of the weekend. He is the driver if the number 21 Allegiant Silverado in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. He won the series with a third-place finish on that Friday night in the final race. His season was comprised of three wins and nineteen top tens in the 23 races for the year, making him one of the most dominant racers in the truck series. This marks the thirteenth driver for Chevrolet to win in the Truck Series in its history.
Over the years, Jimmie Johnson has put the pack behind him by amassing a huge lead in points over the course of the racing season. The changes to the recent format no longer allow this to be how the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship is won, which makes the racing more entertaining and more difficult for drivers to win. This historic win just goes to show that Jimmie Johnson and the number 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS have what it takes to handle the change and continue their winning ways. The next goal for this champion is to be the all-time leader with eight titles under his belt.