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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)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, and Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet, lead a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, passes Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, to take the lead and win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford, pits during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, and team owner Tony Stewart celebrate winning in Victory Lane after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, celebrates with his wife DeLana and son Keelan in victory lane after winning during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, celebrates with the trophy in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Marcos Ambrose, driver of the #9 Stanley Ford, poses with his team before his last race, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Christa L Thomas/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, leads Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 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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