HOMESTEAD, Fla. — Jimmie Johnson won his seventh NASCAR championship Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway, besting of Joey Logano, Kyle Busch, and Carl Edwards in the third edition of the elimination-style Chase for the Sprint Cup.
Johnson came into the race with six career titles and was going for his record-tying seventh, Busch was trying to defend his 2015 crown and Logano and Edwards were both looking for their first Cup trophy.
It certainly wasn’t easy for Johnson, as all four drivers were running in the top six late in the race.
Some of the contenders had to face adversity during the day.
Edwards, attempting to win his first Sprint Cup championship, saw his title hopes crushed when he tried to block an aggressive Joey Logano on a restart with 10 laps to go before slamming into the wall.
Edwards had been one of the fastest cars in the field most of the day and had put himself in position to win the race and the title only to see it end in devastation.
“That was the race of my life up to that point," Edwards said. "I just pushed the issue as far as I could because I figured that was the race. I could feel him (Logano) a little, and I just thought I’d clear him or force him to lift. I just thought I’d have a little more time. And that’s how it ended.’’
With 131 laps to go, Busch made an unscheduled pit stop under the green flag with what he thought was a flat tire. As it turned out, there was nothing wrong with the tire – and he went a lap down essentially due to a false alarm.
Busch was able to stay out long enough to catch a debris caution, which allowed him to pit with the leaders and get back on the same pit cycle. That kept him in contention.
Johnson had to deal with a setback right from the start. His car was pulled off the starting grid and returned to the garage for a brief time, where NASCAR ruled his team made an unapproved modification after inspection.
The No. 48 team was forced to begin the race in the rear of the field, but Johnson quickly shook off that trouble. By lap 47, he was already in the top five.
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