Johnson gets sixth title, Hamlin wins Homestead

Johnson gets sixth title, Hamlin wins Homestead

Cup Series

Johnson gets sixth title, Hamlin wins Homestead

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Jimmie Johnson claimed his sixth NASCAR Sprint Cup title at Homestead despite a valiant effort by championship rival Matt Kenseth, as Denny Hamlin won.

Johnson entered the final race of the season with a 28-point advantage over Kenseth, whose challenge for the title suffered a setback after a disastrous outing at Phoenix last weekend.

Possessing a virtually insurmountable margin, Hendrick Chevrolet driver Johnson only had to finish in the top 23 in order to claim the 2013 championship, irrespective of Kenseth’s performance. Starting seventh, Johnson ran as high as second in the opening phase of the race before settling on fifth, where he ran solidly until things went awry on lap 193 of 267.

Following a restart for debris clean-up, Johnson found himself in the mix and had an encounter with Kenseth, which dropped him from eighth to 23rd.

Having only suffered body damage to the left front fender, Johnson began filtering his way through the field and — despite a further caution period interrupting his recovery drive — he eventually finished ninth to claim this year’s title.

Hamlin took the checkered flag, his first win of the season after dominating the second half of the race, having fended off both Kenseth and Dale Earnhardt Jr for much of the afternoon.

Kenseth led from pole and only lost his command of the race on lap 167 when Hamlin took his first turn at the front of the field.

Earnhardt soon demoted Kenseth to third, but the Job Gibbs Racing driver finally reclaimed second with 20 laps remaining and held off his Hendrick Racing rival until the finish.

Martin Truex Jr came home fourth in his last outing for Michael Waltrip Racing, ahead of Clint Bowyer and outgoing champion Brad Keselowski.

Kevin Harvick, who was mathematically still in with a shout of the title, claimed 10th after almost going a lap down at one point, but was saved when Danica Patrick caused a caution period on lap 116.

After 31 seasons, veteran Mark Martin signed off by claiming 19th position, behind IndyCar-bound Juan-Pablo Montoya, who had made his Cup debut at Homestead in 2006.

Results - 267 laps:Pos  Driver              Team/Car                         Time/Gap 1.  Denny Hamlin        Joe Gibbs Toyota             3h03m52.000s 2.  Matt Kenseth        Joe Gibbs Toyota                  +0.800s 3.  Dale Earnhardt Jr   Hendrick Chevrolet                +1.309s 4.  Martin Truex Jr     Waltrip Toyota                    +1.856s 5.  Clint Bowyer        Waltrip Toyota                    +6.687s 6.  Brad Keselowski     Penske Ford                       +7.915s 7.  Kyle Busch          Joe Gibbs Toyota                  +8.045s 8.  Joey Logano         Penske Ford                       +8.139s 9.  Jimmie Johnson      Hendrick Chevrolet                +8.262s10.  Kevin Harvick       Childress Chevrolet               +9.140s11.  Jeff Gordon         Hendrick Chevrolet                +9.541s12.  Carl Edwards        Roush Fenway Ford                +10.959s13.  Kasey Kahne         Hendrick Chevrolet               +11.424s14.  Elliott Sadler      Waltrip Toyota                   +12.901s15.  Kyle Larson         Phoenix Chevrolet                +12.951s16.  Aric Almirola       Petty Ford                       +13.435s17.  Ryan Newman         Stewart-Haas Chevrolet           +16.076s18.  Juan Pablo Montoya  Earnhardt Ganassi Chevrolet      +16.208s19.  Mark Martin         Stewart-Haas Chevrolet           +16.646s20.  Danica Patrick      Stewart-Haas Chevrolet           +21.417s21.  Kurt Busch          Furniture Row Chevrolet          +25.076s22.  Ricky Stenhouse Jr  Roush Fenway Ford                +25.835s23.  Jeff Burton         Childress Chevrolet              +26.258s24.  Greg Biffle         Roush Fenway Ford                +27.026s25.  Parker Kligerman    Swan Toyota                      +28.587s26.  Marcos Ambrose      Petty Ford                       +34.368s27.  David Gilliland     Front Row Ford                     +1 lap28.  Casey Mears         Germain Ford                       +1 lap29.  David Ragan         Front Row Ford                     +1 lap30.  Jamie McMurray      Earnhardt Ganassi Chevrolet       +2 laps31.  David Reutimann     BK Toyota                         +2 laps32.  JJ Yeley            Baldwin Chevrolet                 +3 laps33.  Landon Cassill      Circle Sport Chevrolet            +3 laps34.  Ken Schrader        FAS Lane Ford                     +4 laps35.  Joe Nemechek        NEMCO Toyota                      +4 laps36.  AJ Allmendinger     JTG Daugherty Toyota             +10 laps37.  Travis Kvapil       BK Toyota                        +19 laps38.  Dave Blaney         Baldwin Chevrolet                +25 lapsRetirements:     Paul Menard         Childress Chevrolet              229 laps     Trevor Bayne        Wood Brothers Ford               223 laps     Josh Wise           Front Row Ford                   119 laps     Tony Raines         Hillman Chevrolet                104 laps     Michael McDowell    Parsons Ford                      63 laps

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