Photo Credit: Beyond the Flag
After starting in 40th (last) place in the 2016 NASCAR championship finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida, Jimmie Johnson drove through the field to win the Ford EcoBoost 400 and win a record 7th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship.
Johnson was scheduled to start the race in 14th place, but his team incurred a pre-race penalty that sent him to the back of the field for the start of the race.
Johnson, 41, becomes just the third driver in NASCAR history and the youngest to ever win seven Sprint Cup Series championships, joining Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt Sr. as the only drivers who have ever pulled off such a feat. Petty won his 7th championship in 1979 at age 42 while Earnhardt Sr. won his 7th championship in 1994 at age 43.
Johnson won the NASCAR Spring Cup Series championships in the 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2013 prior to winning this season’s championship. Johnson is the only driver in NASCAR history who has won more than three championships in a row, and his streak from the 2006 through the 2010 seasons was at five.
The other three drivers that were eligible to win this season’s championship in the final race of the season and were in this season’s “Championship Four” were Joey Logano, Kyle Busch, and Carl Edwards. Logano finished in 4th place after starting in 12th place, Busch finished in 6th place after starting in 8th place, and Edwards crashed out as the highest running championship contender on a late restart that changed the entire complexion of the race and finished in 34th place after starting in 9th place.
The 2017 NASCAR Spring Cup Series will begin on Sunday, February 26th, 2017 with the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona, Florida.