The Frontstretch Newsletter: Jimmie Johnson Wins Ford EcoBoost 400 to Claim 7th Championship

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Nov 21, 2016, 2:06:13 PM11/21/16
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Nov. 21, 2016
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What to Watch: Monday

- Today is the joint XFINITY/Camping World Truck Series Banquet at the Loews Miami Beach Hotel in Miami Beach.  Champions Daniel Suarez (XFINITY) and Johnny Sauter (Camping World Truck) will be properly feted, along with the remainder of the top 5 in both series.  Our own Dustin Albino will be in attendance at the banquet and will report back later tonight.


Monday's TV Schedule can be found here.
Top News
by the Frontstretch Staff

Jimmie Johnson Wins Historic 7th Sprint Cup Championship

After starting at the rear due to an illegal body modification, Jimmie Johnson charged through the field on Sunday up into the top 5, only to stall out.  Johnson needed outside circumstances to intervene in order to have a shot at a seventh title.

Johnson got them.

He benefitted from a late caution, then a big wreck on the ensuing restart to put himself into position to pounce.  That wreck was between two other title contenders, eliminating Carl Edwards, damaging Joey Logano's Ford while involving several other cars.  After gaining the edge over Kyle Busch before another caution, he got a better run on the inside line for the race's final restart.  That got him past Kyle Larson for the lead, where Johnson held on for the victory and his seventh Sprint Cup.  Larson was second, followed by Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano and Jamie McMurray.  Read more

Huge Wreck Eliminates Carl Edwards From Title Contention

Carl Edwards was the strongest of the Championship 4 contenders for most of Sunday night, leading 47 laps.  But a late caution bunched the field, eliminating Edwards' edge and leaving title contender Joey Logano restarting directly behind him.  With ten laps to go, he tried to block Logano on a restart.  Contact was made, sending Edwards head-on into the inside wall, then back across the track.  Once the smoke cleared, nine cars had been wrapped up in the wreck and Edwards' title chances were done.  Read more

The Agony of Defeat for Joey Logano: ‘This Hurts’

With ten laps to go, Joey Logano made a move to the inside of Carl Edwards on a restart.  Contact was made and Logano's car was damaged.  He was able to get back to fourth, but ultimately came up short on Sunday.  Read more

Tony Stewart's Historic NASCAR Career Ends With Smiles After 18 Years

For Tony Stewart, he'd had a decent weekend at Homestead heading into the race, qualifying 11th and running well.  However, the race was not so great for him as he dropped down the order early, falling multiple laps down at one point.  He would eventually fight back but only finished 22nd in his 618th and final Cup start.  Afterwards, Stewart seemed to be happy while exchanging hugs in the pits.  Read more

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Chasing the Chase: Jimmie Johnson Takes Home the Sprint Cup
by Phil Allaway

Jimmie Johnson's move on the lap 262 restart put him in position to win the championship.  A great final restart on the GWC allowed him to add the race victory to that as well.  Johnson walked out of Homestead-Miami Speedway late Sunday night/early Monday morning with the Sprint Cup after a crazy final 20 laps.  

Joey Logano's contact with Carl Edwards with ten laps to go punched a hole in Logano's nose.  Quick pit work allowed him to keep his spot, but he was unable to progress past fourth.  That ended up being enough to finish second in points. 

Kyle Busch stopped before the GWC for tires and restarted 13th.  He charged back to sixth in two laps to finish third in points.  Edwards was likely the strongest of the Chasers all weekend on long runs.  However, Logano's move with ten laps to go resulted in Edwards crashing out and finishing 34th.  He ended up fourth in points as a result.

Outside of the chasers, Matt Kenseth ended up fifth in the standings after starting and finishing seventh on Sunday.  Denny Hamlin ended up ten points behind his teammate in sixth after finishing ninth.  Kurt Busch had a very quiet run on Sunday and finished 13th.  That was good enough to give him a seventh-place finish in the standings.  Kevin Harvick's third-place finish boosted him up three places to eighth.

Kyle Larson was dominant on Sunday, leading 132 laps.  He came up short, but his performance was enough to move him up to ninth in the final standings, one point behind Harvick.  Chase Elliott rounds out the top 10 in points in addition to walking out of Homestead as the 2016 Sprint Cup Series Rookie of the Year.  Martin Truex, Jr. and Brad Keselowski both lost three places in the points as a result of getting caught up in the big wreck with ten laps to go.  They are 11th and 12th, respectively.

Jamie McMurray had a very quiet run to a fifth-place finish on Sunday.  That was enough to hold onto 13th in points.  Austin Dillon finishes 14th in points, followed by the retiring Tony Stewart and Chris Buescher.

Final Chase Point Standings: 1) Jimmie Johnson 5040, 2) Joey Logano -3, 3) Kyle Busch -5, 4) Carl Edwards -33.

Best of the Rest: 5) Matt Kenseth 2330, 6) Denny Hamlin -10, 7) Kurt Busch -34, 8) Kevin Harvick -41, 9) Kyle Larson -42, 10) Chase Elliott -45, 11) Martin Truex, Jr. -59, 12) Brad Keselowski -63, 13) Jamie McMurray -99, 14) Austin Dillon -107, 15) Tony Stewart -119, 16) Chris Buescher -161, 17) Kasey Kahne -1432, 18) Ryan Newman -1435, 19) AJ Allmendinger -1500, 20) Ryan Blaney -1518, 21) Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. -1558, 22) Trevor Bayne -1568, 23) Greg Biffle -1639, 24) Danica Patrick -1641.

Regular Point Standings: 1) Kevin Harvick 1159, 2) Joey Logano -26, 3) Kyle Busch -54, 4) Brad Keselowski -70, 5) Denny Hamlin -75, 6) Kurt Busch -104, 7) Jimmie Johnson -152, 8) Carl Edwards -154, 9) Matt Kenseth -162, 10) Martin Truex, Jr. -168, 11) Chase Elliott -193, 12Kyle Larson -228, 13) Jamie McMurray -252, 14) Austin Dillon -257, 15) Kasey Kahne -261, 16Ryan Newman -264, 17) AJ Allmendinger -329, 18) Ryan Blaney -347, 19) Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. -387, 20) Trevor Bayne -397.

Outside the top 16, but in the Chase: 24) Tony Stewart -517, 28) Chris Buescher -618.

Race Winners: Denny Hamlin (Daytona-1, Watkins Glen, Richmond-2), Jimmie Johnson (Atlanta, Auto Club, Charlotte-2, Martinsville-2, Homestead), Brad Keselowski (Las Vegas, Talladega-1, Daytona-2, Kentucky), Kevin Harvick (Phoenix-1, Bristol-2, Loudon-2, Kansas-2), Kyle Busch (Martinsville-1, Texas-2, Kansas-1, Indianapolis), Carl Edwards (Bristol-1, Richmond-1, Texas-2), Matt Kenseth (Dover-1, Loudon-1), Martin Truex, Jr. (Charlotte-1, Darlington, Chicagoland, Dover-2), Kurt Busch (Pocono-1), Joey Logano (Michigan-1, Talladega-2, Phoenix-2), Tony Stewart (Sonoma), Chris Buescher (Pocono-2), Kyle Larson (Michigan-2).
Phil Allaway is the Newsletter Manager and a Senior Writer for  He can be reached via e-mail at

Letter of the Race: Sunday's Ford EcoBoost 400 was brought to you by the letter "C," for "Championship."  Carl Edwards effectively did everything that he needed to do on Sunday to waltz out of Homestead with the Sprint Cup trophy.  However, one false move on a result wrestled that trophy out of his hands.  Jimmie Johnson came to the forefront when it counted, and because of that, he's the one with the hardware. - Phil Allaway


Quotes to Remember: Ford EcoBoost 400
compiled by Phil Allaway

"Oh my gosh, there is no, no way on earth.  Just beyond words.  Just didn’t think the race was unfolding for us like we needed to do to be the champs, but we just kept our heads in the game. Chad called a great strategy, made some great adjustments for the short runs.  Luck came our way and we were able to win the race and win the championship. I wouldn’t be here without so many people believing in me and giving me this chance; from my dirt days – my parents first and foremost, my brothers, my wife and family today.  Car owners, sponsors, Chevrolet, Lowe’s, so many amazing people along the way that believed in me to give me this chance.  Jeff Gordon, Rick Hendrick, all the men and women at Hendrick Motorsports for working so hard to get these cars fast and giving me an awesome 15 years with the company. Just thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.  So thrilled to be in this moment and so grateful for the opportunity and so thankful and blessed. I am at a loss for words." - Jimmie Johnson, race winner and 2016 Sprint Cup champion

"Congrats to Jimmie (Johnson) congrats to Chevy for winning the championship, that’s pretty cool and that Jimmie could win seven there.   We had the car to win there and I know that I did everything in my power to win the race.  But rules are rules and I have to work in the box." - Kyle Larson, finished second

"You know it’s coming, that’s for sure. Anytime you put so much on the line and you have a late-race restart you know it’s gonna get crazy, and then you add two or three on top of that it’s gonna get crazier. I’m proud of the effort that the team put in today. Everyone did an amazing job this week, putting together a fast race car, handling the pressure that is put on these race teams, and really executing this race perfectly. We just came up a little bit short. It hurts, but we had a great shot at it and came so close on that last restart to doing something, but just didn’t quite get it.” - Joey Logano, finished fourth

"[Today's race was] just a product of hard work.  I will be honest I was shocked by how bad we were.  Dropped the green and the car wouldn’t turn and we just kind of fought that all night.  This tire is a tire that we’ve definitely struggled on.  Got to keep doing our homework on it.  Had a pit road penalty, we fought back there and kept doing the right thing.  I could see the No. 21 was the guy we were actually racing.  He was having trouble, so I was just trying to be smart.  Kept getting the wave around, kept getting our laps back, and missed the big wreck and hell I don’t know how we finished eighth.  Good finish we’ve definitely got to do our homework to be better and be ready for next year.” - AJ Allmendinger, finished eighth

"We had a great car.  We made up a lot of spots in the beginning and we just sort of maintained that all day.  We were running right there 16th – 20th most of the day and the strategy worked out, everything played out.  Got back on the lead lap which obviously was a game changer.  There at the end we got a couple of good restarts and we had a good car.  We were able to close off a good season." - Michael McDowell, finished tenth

"We actually had a car that was capable of competing. That kept us in the race and kept us able to hang on when we took the wave around to get back on the lead lap. I thought we were gonna have a shot for a top 10, but it just didn’t play into our favor with not having a car that was very good on restarts the first couple of laps. I’m proud of my guys though for fighting all year. Even through the struggles it’s been a fun year." - Brian Scott, finished 15th

"I’m proud.  It’s been an awesome 21 years racing in NASCAR with the Xfinity Series and the Cup Series.  That is really cool to see that No. 48 (Jimmie Johnson) up there making history.  Now we’ve got three guys in the seven win club.  Pretty proud day, I was glad I got to race with him on the day he got his seventh... I raced.  I did what I do every time I get in the car.  I didn’t think of anything else other than just racing the race.  We got behind there and we tried something to make ground and got caught out and had to run 60 laps on a set of tires.  At the end the line-up there was, let’s say confusing.  I was still screaming about that just like I would on any other race.  I was true to form all the way to the end." - Tony Stewart, finished 22nd

"We just struggled tonight. I made a lot of mistakes. I made a big mistake early and we ended up getting a flat tire out of it. I just hit the wall early being impatient. That just wasn’t smart, so that’s something I need to be better at and not being so impatient. We learned a lot this year. It was a fun year and I’m just looking forward to years to come. This team does a great job. We’ll learn during the off-season and then come back." - Ryan Blaney, finished 26th

"Yeah, I think it was shared, you know what I mean? I think it was just racing. I haven’t seen a real close up view, but the way I had it figured is first of all that was the race of my life up to that point. That was a lot of fun and Joey (Logano) was so good on the short run. I don’t know how he got that restart. It was a really good restart. I thought we were – I thought everything was going to work out and Jason (Hedlesky, spotter) told me he was looking low and I – he told me basically he was there. I knew what Jason was saying and I just pushed the issue as far as I could because I figured that was the race there and so here let me watch it again. Yeah, Joey just timed it perfectly, he moved down, I thought I could feel him a little and I just thought that – I was probably a little optimistic, but I thought I could clear him or force him to lift. I just thought I had just a little more time, but he drove down as far as a guy could be expected to drive down and that’s how it ended. I don’t know what the caution was for. I really hope it was something that we needed to have a caution for because that was really – that was going really well.” - Carl Edwards, finished 34th (Crashed out)

"It’s a product of a format that’s based on putting everything and risking everything. I don’t know. It’s not really all that surprising. It’s disappointing. I don’t think that’s great racing, but I understand why it happened on both ends." - Brad Keselowski, finished 35th (Crashed out)

"All I see is the 2 (Brad Keselowski) coming up the track and nowhere to go. This is one of those wrong place, wrong time. We got put in the back a few times. Once was our mistake early and (Kevin) Harvick’s after that. It’s unfortunate. We had a really good race car tonight and nothing to show for it. It’s two weeks in a row. Frustrating, glad this year is over and we will go and regroup and get ready for next year." - Martin Truex, Jr., finished 36th (Crashed out)

Phil Allaway is the Newsletter Manager and a Senior Writer for  He can be reached via e-mail at



by Mike Neff

Q:  This upcoming weekend, the World Championship will be decided in Abu Dhabi.  Controversial things have happened in final races before in Formula One.  The series' last visit to Jerez in 1997 is a definite example.  What happened between the championship contenders there?

Check back Tuesday for the answer, here in the Frontstretch Newsletter!

Friday's Answer:

Q:  Here's an interesting one. Which series champion had the worst finish at Homestead while still walking away with the title?

A: That would be Matt Kenseth back in 2003, who had already clinched his championship a week earlier by finishing fourth at Rockingham.  At Homestead, Kenseth blew an engine on Lap 29 and finished 43rd.  The engine failure can be seen here.

The last-place finish for Kenseth resulted in him winning the title by only 90 points.  However, that doesn't tell the whole story as Kenseth's lead was 436 points after Dover with eight races to go.


In The Frontstretch Newsletter:
We'll have breaking news from Monday, Tom Bowles returns with Numbers Game and S.D. Grady is back with Sitting In The Stands: A Fan's View.

Amy Henderson takes a closer look at how some of the sport's smaller teams fared at Homestead in Underdog House.
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