Jimmie Johnson admitted he was thrilled to join the likes of Cale Yarborough in winning three successive NASCAR Sprint Cup titles after successfully securing the crown at Homestead Miami Speedway.
Johnson needed to finish inside the top 35 to secure the title and eventually took the flag in 15th – giving him the crown by 69 points over race winner Carl Edwards.
It capped a fine season for the Hendrick Motorsports ace, who finished the campaign with seven wins and the best average finishing position of the Sprint Cup field.
It also made him one of a select number of drivers in NASCAR history to win three successive championship titles as the #48 Lowe's crew cemented its status as the team to beat.
"It is over, what a special year," Johnson reflected. "It hasn't sunken in yet, but I'm just proud of this race team and the fight that this team has had in it over the course of the year. There were times this season when we weren't even in the ballpark, but these guys buckled down and worked hard. I'm so proud of this team effort, I mean, how cool.
"Growing up in El Cajon, California racing motocross, I never thought I'd be in this position. I'm so thankful and so blessed and know how many people are a part of what makes this take place, the great people at Lowe's, Kobalt, Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports, it's been a total team effort and I'm very, very happy."
Johnson's crew chief Chad Knaus, who made a number of vital calls over the course of the season to help keep his driver in the mix, admitted that he too was thrilled with the title success.
"Man, that is just awesome; just absolutely awesome," he said. "This team is just great and Jimmie is a fantastic driver and Mr. Hendrick is just a great person to work for and all five-hundred people we've got at Hendrick Motorsports from the engine shop to the chassis shop, aviation, travel people, they just all do such and incredible job and put their hearts and souls into what we do to make these cars go fast.
"My guys just do a fantastic job on the race car and you know, we had to change some stuff on the race car this morning just as a precautionary measure because we didn't want to have any mechanical problems and I didn't have any doubts about their ability one time. Its nice to have a group of guys that work with you that you have that kind of trust that you can change whatever you want to and you know its going to last all day long, so it's awesome."