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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)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, finishes in ninth place racing with Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmer`s Insurance Chevrolet SS who finishes in eleventh place Sunday, March 29, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Virginia. (Photo by Andrew Coppley/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John`s Chevrolet SS, finishes in eighth place Sunday, March 29, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Virginia. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Danica Patrick, driver of the #10 TaxAct Chevrolet SS, finishes in 7th place Sunday, March 29, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Virginia. (Photo by Andrew Coppley/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet SS, finishes in sixth place Sunday, March 29, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Virginia. (Photo by Andrew Coppley/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on March 29, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on March 29, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)
Paul Menard, driver of the #27 Pittsburgh Paints/Menards Chevrolet, Aric Almirola, driver of the #43 STP Ford, Greg Biffle, driver of the #16 Ortho Ford, Trevor Bayne, driver of the #6 AdvoCare Ford, and Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, are involved in an on-track incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on March 29, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia.  (Photo Credit: Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Crew members work on the #25 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, driven by Chase Elliott, after being involved in an on-track incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on March 29, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia.  (Photo Credit: Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on March 29, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Nick Laham/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Ricky Stenhouse Jr., driver of the #17 Fastenal Ford, is involved in an on-track incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on March 29, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia.  (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on March 29, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Nick Laham/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #29 Cooper Standard Ford, poses in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Kroger 250 at Martinsville Speedway on March 28, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #29 Cooper Standard Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Kroger 250 at Martinsville Speedway on March 28, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #29 Cooper Standard Ford, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Kroger 250 at Martinsville Speedway on March 28, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #29 Cooper Standard Ford, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Kroger 250 at Martinsville Speedway on March 28, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia.  (Photo Credit: Nick Laham/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Cole Custer, driver of the #00 Haas Automation Chevrolet, is involved in an on-track incident in front of Erik Jones, driver of the #4 Toyota, and Joey Logano, driver of the #29 Cooper Standard Ford, as Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Hormel/Menards Toyota, drives away during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Kroger 250 at Martinsville Speedway on March 28, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia.  (Photo Credit: Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, sits in his car during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on March 28, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Daniel Shirey/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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