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Johnson creates history as Hamlin wins

Jimmie Johnson takes a fourth straight NASCAR Sprint Cup title while Denny Hamlin ends the season with victory at Homestead
Denny Hamlin may have taken victory in the NASCAR Sprint Cup season finale at Homestead Miami Speedway, but Jimmie Johnson rewrote the record books with a fifth place finish that secured an unprecedented fourth successive title.

Johnson went into the race needing to finish inside the top 25 to secure the title and led the opening lap to pick up five bonus points that then left him needed to take 27th or better to beat Hendrick team-mate Mark Martin to the title.

The defending champion led through the opening ten laps of the race before briefly being passed by Marcos Ambrose, but quickly returned to the front of the field to lead through to lap 33.

While the #46 Chevrolet wouldn't lead again, Johnson was able to stay out of trouble to run in or around the top ten throughout to secure the result he needed to take his place in NASCAR history.

Johnson's title success overshadowed a fine performance from Hamlin, who picked up his fourth victory of the season in the final round of the year. Having hit the front for the first time on lap 158 after winning the race off pitroad following the fifth caution of the race, Hamlin battled at the front of the field and retook the lead for the final time on lap 223.

From there, the race was Hamlin's to lose but it never looked like happening as he came home ahead of Jeff Burton and Kevin Harvick. Kurt Busch had to settle for fourth having gambled on taking just two tyres on his final stop ahead of Johnson and Jeff Gordon – with his top six finish securing third in the standings ahead of Kurt Busch and a lock-out of the top three places in the championship for Rick Hendrick's team.

For Martin, the title was always going to be a tall order and the veteran was unable to challenge for the victory he needed as he eventually came home in twelfth place, leaving him as series runner-up for the fifth time in his long career.

The race itself featured no fewer than seven cautions, with the two most controversial involving Tony Stewart and Juan Pablo Montoya.

The pair touched on lap 115 while fighting for position and Montoya then ended up in the wall with a punctured tyre after futher contract between the pair, with the Colombian forced to pit and go behind the wall for repairs.

Having returned to the race 28 laps down, Montoya was soon fighting with Stewart again on track and having just been warned by officials that 'enough was enough', Montoya tipped Stewart into a spin on lap 155 to bring out another caution and earn himself a black-flag for driving standards.

Stewart would eventually finish down in 22nd place while Montoya was classified 38th as the penultimate driver still running at the flag.

Homestead Miami – Top ten:

1. Denny Hamlin
2. Jeff Burton
3. Kevin Harvick
4. Kurt Busch
5. Jimmie Johnson
6. Jeff Gordon
7. Carl Edwards
8. Kyle Busch
9. Martin Truex Jr
10. AJ Allmendinger

Other:

12. Mark Martin



Related Pictures

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Jimmie Johnson, driver of the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet, celebrates in victory lane after winning Sunday’s Sprint Cup Series Checker O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Ariz. (Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Brian Scott. (Picture Credit: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS, holds his daughter, Lydia Sunday, November 22, 2015 before final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Johnson and other Jeff Gordon teammates at Hendrick Motorsports wore tribute hats to honor the retiring Chevy driver prior to the start of the race. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
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Defending Sprint Cup Champion Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, races to a second place finish, Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS finishes in sixth place, and Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision finishes in twelfth place Sunday, November 22, 2015 in the final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. This Chevrolet drivers finished 2nd, 3rd and 4th (respectively) in the Chase of the Cup Championship. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
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Series championship contenders Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 AXALTA Chevrolet, Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet, and Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, take part in pre-race ceremonies for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Former racing driver Mario Andretti, Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 AXALTA Chevrolet, and Formula One World Champion Lewis Hamilton pose during pre-race ceremonies for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, and Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, race during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 AXALTA Chevrolet, pits during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
A general view as cars pit during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 AXALTA Chevrolet, and Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet, race during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, crosses the finish line to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, celebrates winning the series championship and the race with a burnout after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, celebrates winning the series championship and the race in Victory Lane after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, celebrates winning the series championship and the race with his team after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, celebrates with the trophy in Victory Lane after winning the series championship and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

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Steve Pearce - Unregistered

November 23, 2009 1:02 PM

There are almost no words to describe Johnson's achievements these past 4 years. It should not be forgotten that only a flat tire scuppered 5 in a row! Jimmie is the perfect driver, metronomic behind the wheel and a sponsors dream off the track. People may claim that he has it easy because he's with the best team, but NASCAR is one of the most competitive sport series in the world and to come out on top 4 times in a row is something special. There are haters, there always will be. But any genuine fans have to look on and agree that what we have seen is unlikely to be seen again. Heck, the Homestead crowd managed it and kudos should go to them for capping the usual booing!



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