HOMESTEAD, Fla. (NBC Sports/Jerry Bonkowski) — Joining NASCAR Hall of Famers Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt with the most championships by a driver, Jimmie Johnson won his record-tying seventh NASCAR Sprint Cup championship, winning Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
As for the other Championship 4 drivers, Joey finished fourth, 2015 champion Kyle Busch was sixth and Carl Edwards, victimized in a late wreck, wound up 34th.
Johnson, whose prior championships were in 2006 through 2010 and also 2013, led only the final three laps to become part of NASCAR history.
“For some reason, I just felt good and calm today and things just kind of unfolded at the end for us, along with help from above,” Johnson told NBC Sports. “In my heart, I wanted to believe it would happen and it has.”
Runner-up Kyle Larson led the most laps (132), while 2014 champ and third-place finisher Kevin Harvick led 79 laps. The race was scheduled for 267 laps, but due to a late caution involving Ricky Stenhouse Jr., was extended into overtime for a total of 268 laps.
The rest of the top-10 of the final race of the 2016 season were Jamie McMurray (fifth), Matt Kenseth (seventh), AJ Allmendinger (eighth), Denny Hamlin (ninth) and Michael McDowell (10th).
Larson led at the midpoint (134 laps) of the scheduled 267-lap event.
Five years to the date, it was the second time that Edwards once again fell short of winning the championship. Edwards lost the 2011 title to Tony Stewart on a tie-breaker (Stewart had more wins than Edwards that season).
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