Johnson takes shot at history
Jimmie Johnson attempts a drive into NASCAR history.
Kyle Busch would love to spoil Johnson’s record run with a racing milestone of his own and win back-toback Sprint Cup championships.
Joey Logano and Carl Edwards just want to join the championship club.
The four finalists have raced each other for 35 weeks — and rode bikes, played video games and shared laughs in the leadup to the finale Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
The top finisher among the four contenders will be the NASCAR Sprint Cup champion. Under the onerace elimination format, Kevin Harvick in 2014 and Busch in 2015 both won the finale to take the title.
Johnson, one of NASCAR’s greats, would stamp himself in the record book with a record-tying seventh championship. Johnson would match Dale Earnhardt and Richard Petty as the only drivers with seven Cup championships.
“I know that I’m as close to this opportunity as I’ve ever been, but I’m not climbing in that car Sunday saying, ‘I’ve got to win seven,”’ Johnson said. “I’m saying, ‘I’ve got to win a championship.”
Johnson, Busch, Logano or Edwards could leave Florida a champion.
Tony Stewart is simply ready to walk away.
Stewart, the three-time Cup champion, ends of one racing’s great careers when he retires following an almost two-decade NASCAR stint.
“There hasn’t been any part of my career that I didn’t enjoy,” Stewart said.
Here are some other items of note for Sunday’s race:
Sprint’s exit means NASCAR will enter a new entitlement agreement for just the fourth time since 1971, when RJ Reynolds began its 33-year sponsorship of the top series through its Winston brand. RJR pulled out after the 2003 season and Nextel stepped in until Sprint’s corporate merger.
“If you look at what’s going on in the NFL and the viewership, all the sponsors watch that,” team owner Rick Hendrick said. “The good news is we have not slipped as much as some of the other folks.” Stewart-Haas Racing will field Fords next season, ending an eight-year run with Chevrolet.
“We’ve been so proud of what we’ve accomplished, not to mention an incredible run with Tony Stewart,” said Jim Campbell, VP of performance vehicles and motorsports for GM.
Jimmie Johnson sits in his car prior to practice at Homstead Speedway on Saturday.