Relive How Jimmie Johnson Stepped up in the Playoffs to Win His 7th and Final NASCAR Cup Title

Published 01/05/2021, 5:00 AM EST
LAS VEGAS, NV – DECEMBER 06: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Jimmie Johnson (R) and team owner Rick Hendrick pose for a portrait prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion’s Awards at Wynn Las Vegas in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Graythen/NASCAR via Getty Images)


Jimmie Johnson is a legend in NASCAR, there are no two ways about it. The man has accumulated seven Cup Series titles during his tenure in the highest tier of stock car racing. His last championship came in 2016, ahead of Joey Logano, Kyle Busch, and Carl Edwards.

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The Hendrick Motorsports driver got off to a storming start, winning two of the opening five races. To be precise, he reached Victory Lane at Atlanta and at the Auto Club Speedway in California. At the time, everyone expected the #48 driver to rocket off into the distance for a dominant title triumph.

Speaking after the title triumph, he said, “It means the world to me to tie with Earnhardt and Petty. Those guys are legends of our sport and made it what it is today. For guys like myself to come along and compete, I’m so thankful for their legacy, for their families and dedication to the sport.

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“To join those guys, I just hope I can carry the banner, carry the torch as they have. This has been absolutely incredible”

Jimmie Johnson was forced to work for the win

Unfortunately for Johnson, things did not work in his favor, for the most part. As it turned out, he failed to reach Victory Lane for the remainder of the regular season after a good start. To make matters even more difficult, he could only manage a top-five finish on four occasions, going no higher than third.

LOUDON, NH – JUNE 27: Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet, performs a burnout to celebrate winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series LENOX Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on June 27, 2010 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Somehow, he managed to make it into the playoffs in fourth place. Heading into Chicagoland, he was just six points away from the leaders. Unfortunately, he could only muster 12th, while Martin Truex Jr took top honors. At New Hampshire, he ended up eighth, while he was seventh at Dover.

Apparently, he did enough to scrape through to the next round.

Luckily, he got that winning feeling back again, this time at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. This meant that he was safely through to the next round, regardless of what happened in the next two races.

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After a fourth-place finish in Kansas and a disappointing 23rd at Talladega, he managed to win again, this time at Martinsville, and booked his place in the Championship 4.

He could relax at Texas and Phoenix, while Edwards, Busch, and Logano joined him later on for the final showdown. Admittedly, the Hendrick Motorsports team struggled in the initial stages. Luckily, they got their act together by the final caution and took the lead.

From there, it was only a matter of holding on to the lead and winning the race.

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DIVE DEEPER

“Had Dale’s Fanbase After Me” – Jimmie Johnson Opens up On Crash With Dale Earnhardt Jr At Talladega

6 months ago

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Dhruv George

11645 articles

Dhruv George is a senior Formula One and NASCAR analyst for EssentiallySports, having authored nearly 12000 articles spanning different sports like F1, NASCAR, Tennis, NFL, and eSports. He graduated with a PG Diploma in Journalism from the Xavier Institute of Communications. Dhruv has also conducted interviews with F1 driver Pierre Gasly and Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino.

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