THROWBACK: Jimmie Johnson Creates NASCAR History at Homestead-Miami in 2016 Finale

Published 02/26/2021, 11:15 AM EST
HOMESTEAD, FL – NOVEMBER 20: Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet, poses for a portrait after winning the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)


NASCAR fans are no stranger to the brightly illuminated 1.5 mile-track that is the Homestead-Miami Speedway. But among the brilliant Championship 4 races the racetrack has hosted over the years, the win from Jimmie Johnson in 2016 has got to be up there on the list.

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After all, that race win officially recognized the history the Hendrick Motorsports No.48 had created. Beating his rivals in supreme fashion, Johnson was crowned a Cup Series champion for the 7th time in his career.
Therefore, he became only the third driver to achieve that feat, alongside legends like Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt. So as we approach the Homestead-Miami race this Sunday, the throwback of Johnson’s historic win can come at no better time.

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Jimmie Johnson started 14th in the all-important race

The then 40-year-old entered the Championship 4 clash having won 4 races over the course of the season. Surprisingly, for his car’s superior speed and reliability, Johnson managed to start just 14th in the race.
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AVONDALE, ARIZONA – MARCH 06: Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Ally Chevrolet, stands in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Cup Series FanShield 500 at Phoenix Raceway on March 06, 2020 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick secured pole, while Johnson’s teammate, Chase Elliott, had done well to start 5th in his rookie season. But as has been the case so many times, securing pole does not necessarily guarantee the win.
After back-and-forth switches of the lead, it was Kyle Larson who took some bold initiative and control of the race. But it was not until overtime that Johnson breezed past his opponents and took the lead himself.

"Make room, Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt, there's another SEVEN-TIME CHAMP!"

Look back at @JimmieJohnson's 2016 win at @HomesteadMiami, earning him his seventh @NASCAR Cup Series championship. pic.twitter.com/4gxevz2mb0

— NASCAR on NBC (@NASCARonNBC) February 26, 2021

Overtime saw a determined Kyle Larson challenge Johnson until the end

With officials determining that two laps would take place before the checkered flag came out, Larson was not too far behind Johnson. Steaming up the straight stretch, the No.42 took the outside route in an attempt to overtake Johnson.
But the Hendrick Motorsports No.48 had enough pace in his car and so fended off Larson’s challenge. Eventually, he finished less than a second ahead of him, storming home to claim that record-equaling 7th Cup Series title.

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Interestingly, that was the first and only time Johnson won a championship race to lift a Cup title, in what was an extraordinary achievement.
And ahead of this weekend’s clash, many will hope to drive with the same swagger as one of the best NASCAR drivers of all-time did.

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Bhargav Gopal

927 articles

Hailing from Bengaluru, Bhargav is an F1 and NASCAR author for EssentiallySports. He is a huge fan of Max Verstappen and Red Bull Racing. Bhargav also has an MBA in Sports Management from the Symbiosis School of Sports Sciences, Pune.

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