Showing posts with label Jimmie Johnson. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jimmie Johnson. Show all posts
Jimmir Johnson Seven Trophies

Seven. Times.
Richard Petty. Dale Earnhardt. Jimmie Johnson. The Hendrick driver joined elite company on Sunday, as he claimed a historic seventh Cup Championship - joining the two Hall of Famers as the only drivers to accomplish such a feat. "I was driving the same race cars for the same team as Jimmie and getting beat by Jimmie," said former teammate Jeff Gordon. "To me, he’s the best I’ve ever seen." It didn't come easy for Johnson, who worked his way up from the back of the field before claiming the lead during the final overtime restart in NASCAR's thrilling season finale. "Just beyond words," said Johnson.  "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."

Joe Gibbs Racing

Twelve wins, 3,769 laps led, four Chase drivers, and two in the Championship 4. Yes it was Jimmie Johnson hoisting the Sprint Cup trophy on Sunday night, but 2016 could be remembered as the year Joe Gibbs Racing established itself as a premier team in NASCAR. Their historic season propelled Toyota to their first ever manufacturer's title in the Cup series, snapping Chevrolet's 13-year winning streak. If you throw in the accomplishments of alliance member Martin Truex Jr. (another four wins and season-high 1,809 laps led), his future teammate Erik Jones, and an XFINITY Series Champion in Daniel Suarez - what team has a brighter future?

Chase Elliott, Erik Jones, Kyle Larson

Speaking of futures, 2016 proved that NASCAR has a promising one. The 2016 Chase field saw four newbies all under the age of 27. Rookies Chase Elliott (20) and Chris Buescher (24) joined Austin Dillon (26) and Kyle Larson (24) as first-time Chase competitors, with Elliott advancing to the Round of 12 and Larson having arguably the best car at the Championship race in Homestead. Rookie Ryan Blaney (22) had a strong campaign with nine Top-10 finishes, while Team Penske's Joey Logano (26), has established himself as one of the sport's most dangerous drivers with nine wins over the past two years and a Championship 4 run in 2016. Furniture Row Racing signed Erik Jones (20) to a full-time Cup ride in 2017, and his XFINITY Series teammate Daniel Suarez (24) took home the XFINITY Series Championship. Watch out next year, folks, these youngsters mean business.  

2017 and beyond

This season was definitely one for the books, punctuated by Denny Hamlin's historic start at the Daytona 500 and Jimmie Johnson's historic finish at Homestead-Miami Speedway. And while the sun has barely set on the 2016 season, already the NASCAR landscape is beginning to change. What will the Cup Series look like without Tony Stewart? How will his team, Stewart-Haas Racing, perform with their transition to Ford? Will 2016 go down as a career year for Joe Gibbs Racing - or just the beginning of something more? After a 12-year run with the sport, who will replace Sprint as the Cup Series sponsor? We won't have to wait long to find out - the 2017 Daytona 500 is just 95 days away.
Dennis with a fan at Gridside Live!

The checkered flag has waved on the 2016 NASCAR season. While it might be Jimmie Johnson hoisting the Sprint Cup trophy high, and we congratulate him and the No. 48 team, we feel like the true champions this year.

From hometown hero Denny Hamlin's historic finish at the Daytona 500, to the exciting season finale during Fan Appreciation Weekend, to Johnson's record-tying championship win - it's been an incredible ride that we're thrilled to have shared with you. 

You said our races were some of the very best of the season, but we won't stop there. Our staff is hard at work planning an even bigger 2017, and we can't wait to share our plans with you. As always, our top priority will be making sure our fans have the unparalleled experience they've come to expect from a race weekend at your favorite short track.

So as we wrap up the 2016 NASCAR season, one undoubtedly worthy of our incredible fans, we want to say Thank You one last time. I say it all the time: "We couldn't do what we do without you." This couldn't be clearer after a truly special season propelled by the loyal support of the best fans in sports.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Dennis Bickmeier
RIR Track President
Joey Logano

He did it in Talladega. He did it in Phoenix. Can he do it again in Homestead? Joey Logano won his second straight elimination race with an overtime victory in the Can-Am 500, outracing Kyle Busch to the line and securing his berth among the Championship 4.  "This feels so good, I've never felt this good about a win before," Logano said. "There was so much on the line and everyone brings their A-game when it comes to winning championships and this team did it."

Busch's second place finish was strong enough to punch his ticket to Miami as well, where he and Logano join Carl Edwards and Jimmie Johnson as Championship hopefuls. But with Top-10's in five straight (and in all but two Chase races), Logano might be the hottest driver heading to South Florida. "We're racing for a championship now. We did exactly what we had to do. We've got to go to Homestead and do the same thing."

NXS Chase Field

The inaugural XFINITY Series Championship 4 is set, with Daniel Suarez, Erik Jones, Justin Allgaier, and Virginia's own Elliott Sadler chasing the top prize. It all comes down to the two teams of Joe Gibbs Racing (Jones, Suarez) and JR Motorsports (Sadler, Allgaier) battling it out at Homestead-Miami on Saturday afternoon. Surprisingly, none of these drivers have claimed a Championship title yet - including Sadler, who has been thiiiiis close a number of times since running full time in the XFINITY Series since 2011. Personally, we'll be cheering on our hometown guy, but history will be made in any case.

Championship 4

Ready. Set. Chase. 
Only one race remains in the 2016 NASCAR season - the four-way battle for a Championship in Homestead-Miami Speedway. Can Carl Edwards, who's finished runner up to the likes of Johnson (2008) and Tony Stewart (2011), finally seal the deal and win his first title? Will Jimmie Johnson add to his historic resume with a seventh Championship? Can Joey Logano, the youngest driver to compete in the Championship round, make Penske's 50th anniversary celebration extra special? Or will Kyle Busch become the first repeat champ in five years? You'll have to tune in this Sunday to find out. 

Just a couple days before the Daytona 500 kicked off the season, the RIR staff submitted their picks for the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion. 13,531 laps, 35 races, 13 race winners and one Chase Grid later, we're down to just four drivers with a shot at the Championship.

We won't be able to throw Denny Hamlin that hometown Championship celebration like so many of us had hoped, and even Martin Truex Jr's Philly fandom couldn't carry him to a title shot - but here's a quick look back at what we were saying nine months ago.

Kyle Busch
This is Kyle Busch's second Championship 4 berth.
4 WINS  |  17 TOP-5's  |  24 TOP-10's
Alright we goofed on this one. Not a single person on our staff thought the reigning champ would repeat as NASCAR's top dog, but an impressive 2016 campaign has the No. 18 thinking back-to-back.

Carl Edwards
This is Carl Edwards's first Championship 4 berth.
3 WINS  |  9 TOP-5's  |  18 TOP-10's
 Year two with the JGR powerhouse has Carl Edwards humming into his second shot at a NASCAR Championship.

Jimmie Johnson
This is Jimmie Johnson's first Championship 4 berth.
4 WINS  |  10 TOP-5's  |  15 TOP-10's
While it wasn't the kind of dominating season we saw from Johnson during his six other Championship runs, he's definitely had his mojo of late. Half of his wins this season have come in the Chase.

Joey Logano
This is Joey Logano's first Championship 4 berth.
3 WINS  |  15 TOP-5's  |  25 TOP-10's
The "youngster" in the group - Logano has been on a mission to overcome his early exit from the 2015 Chase. With wins in the past two elimination races, can he look to make it three in a row in Homestead?

Check out the original RIR Rank list below, ranked from least to greatest number of votes received: 

RIR Rank

Jimmie Johnson wins at Martinsville

Not one, not two, not three...alright you get the picture. Jimmie Johnson added to his lengthy Martinsville resume in capturing his ninth grandfather clock at the Goody's Fast Relief 500 on Sunday. "This is the right time to start winning races,” said Johnson, who last won at Martinsville in 2013. "It isn’t going to come easy and we knew that coming into this race and there’s so many challenges at this race track." Now that his ticket is punched to Homestead, "Six-Time" is ready to embrace the challenge of racing for a seventh NASCAR Cup Championship. "I’ve been trying to ignore this conversation about seven, and now I can’t. We’re locked in.”

Carl Edwards championship hopes took a hit

The Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas dominated much of the action in Martinsville. The trio of Hamlin, Matt Kenseth and Kyle Busch led a combined 227 of the race's 500 laps, and that number climbs to 374 if you include the performance of alliance member Martin Truex Jr. But it wasn't all sunshine and roses for the Short Track Squad. After running in the top-10 most of the afternoon, reigning TOYOTA OWNERS 400 champion Carl Edwards suffered a blown tire that put the No. 19 right into the Turn 1 wall. The wreck sent Edwards and the No.19 behind the wall for 24 laps, resulting in a 36th place finish for the Chase contendor. He'll need to put in some serious work at Texas and Phoenix if he wants to keep his championship hopes alive.

Elliott Sadler has his eyes on a championship.
After a two-week break, the NASCAR XFINITY Series will pick back up this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. Two races remain before the series heads to Homestead-Miami Speedway, and Virginia's own Elliott Sadler is tied with NASCAR Next alumni Daniel Suarez for the Series lead. Blake Koch and Justin Allgaier round out the top four, but Erik Jones and Ryan Reed are in sitting within two points of Allgaier at P4.

Ready. Set. Chase.

The sun has set on Martinsville, and as the Chase field veers out west for a pair of desert showdowns in Texas and Phoenix a gap has already formed among the eight remaining Chase drivers. A pair of poor showings from the Stewart Haas duo and tire problems for Edwards have all three sitting more than 16 points behind Kyle Busch in P4. But Edwards has three career wins in the Lonestar state, and Harvick can look forward to Phoenix, where the 2014 Champion has won six of the last eight contests. Someone's going to make some noise over the next couple of weeks - be sure to tune in and find out who. 

Jimmie Johnson wins
It really was just a matter of time, wasn't it? For the first time under the current Chase format, six-time champion Jimmie Johnson secured his spot in the Round of 8 with his eighth victory at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Sunday. "We knew we would get back," Johnson said in Victory Lane. "It was slower than we wanted it to be but to be here today and have this victory is great. We were able to execute all day long here. I just really can’t thank everyone enough that supports us and for all the fans that were tuned in today."

Chase Elliott

Johnson's teammate Chase Elliott was also poised for a strong finish in the 704, until a wreck on Lap 258 ended his day early. The Sprint Cup rookie led 103 laps and was running fifth when contact between Martin Truex Jr. and Austin Dillon caused a wreck that sent both the No. 3 and No. 24 into the garage. "We had such a good car and I am devastated that we didn't get the result that the guys deserved," Elliott said. "They gave me such a fast 3M Chevy and that is all you can ask for. We just have got to go and do more of that next week." Dillon and Elliott weren't the only two Chase contenders short on luck either. Drivers Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin suffered car troubles that knocked them out of the race prematurely.

XFINITY Chase Grid

Ty Dillon is out, Darrell Wallace Jr. is in - with just one point separating the two. After a hectic race in Charlotte on Sunday, the inaugural XFINITY Chase field was cut to eight drivers and Dillon was one of four drivers who's championship dreams came to an end. "Man, it's heartbreaking," an emotional Dillon said after the race. "We're a team that should have been in the final round and you've got to expect things to happen...That's the way this Chase is built." Daniel Suarez and Emporia's own Elliott Sadler lead the remaining drivers, thanks to their respective wins at Kentucky and Dover. Fellow XFINITY race winner Erik Jones also made the cut, joining Wallace, Justin Allgaier, Brendan Gaughan, Ryan Reed and Blake Koch in the field. Think you know who'll make the next round of cuts? Make your picks here.

Breathing Room?

Breathing Room? What Breathing Room?
If Sunday showed us anything, it's that the notion of "breathing room" in the Chase might be little more than an illusion. As 2014 champion Kevin Harvick pointed out last week - "trouble can strike anywhere." That certainly came to fruition in Charlotte when nearly half the Chase field was sent to the garage early. While nearly every driver had spoken about the importance of strong finishes at Charlotte and Kansas before cut-off race in Talladega, Sunday's contest proved to be an exhaustive gauntlet the entire field navigated all afternoon. Now the circus travels to Kansas City where there will be even more pressure for drivers to survive and advance in the 2016 Chase for the Sprint Cup.

The Round of 16 was officially the Martin Truex Jr. show. After his postseason-opening victory in Chicagoland and nearly doubling down the following weekend in Loudon, Truex Jr. earned the fourth win of his 2016 season in Dover and has a lead a whopping 360 of the 967 total laps in three Chase races. “We are here to get it done and golly I’m telling you just the best bunch of guys you could ever ask for,” Truex Jr. said. “It’s just amazing to drive their race cars and do what we were able to do. I’m just ecstatic.”

Austin Dillon and Chase Elliott

Ryan Newman, Martin Truex Jr., Chase Elliott? Under the current Chase format we've seen a driver weave their way into Championship contention on the backs of strong, consistent finishes. Although he's without a win in his rookie season - Elliott is not only hanging with the big dogs, he's thriving with them and advances comfortably in the Chase. Fellow postseason newbie Austin Dillon raced his way into the next round with an eighth place showing at Dover, securing the 12th and final Chase spot. "It feels good," he said. "It's time to knock some more of these guys out, because we've got this opportunity. … I want to say that we're going to be the underdog in this next round, so let's go do it."

Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr

What Lies Ahead
Jeff Gordon found himself in a familiar place after 400 miles at Dover International Speedway, where a 10th place finish marked the 476th top-10 showing of his storied career.  It was Gordon's best finish in seven races behind the wheel of the No. 88 Chevrolet, and the future Hall of Famer has just one race left on his calendar for 2016. "I wanted to get a top-10 in this car before my time in the car is over,’" Gordon said. "We got that. Now let’s go get a top five or something better at Martinsville." Considering the Virginia track is Gordon's best, odds are good that he will.

Jimmie Johnson

Don't Rule Out Johnson
While it was ultimately Truex who dominated the Chase's first round - it could've just as easily been Jimmie Johnson and the 48 in Victory Lane at both Chicagoland and Dover. A pair of pit road penalties saw possible victories slip away for the six-time champion, and those kind of mistakes will be even more costly in a tighter field. But with a combined 30 wins at the six tracks between here and Homestead, there's still time to put a stop to the costly mistakes and round into championship form.
The action was fast and furious during Fan Appreciation Weekend at Richmond International Raceway. The energy from the track to the crowd was electric as sparks flew, tempers flared and 40 of the world’s most talented athletes roared around America’s Premier Short Track in one of the more memorable NASCAR regular season finales.

From the dramatic four-wide salute to furious four-wide racing, it was some of the best racing of the NASCAR season. The consensus from fans, drivers, and media was the action is truly back at “The Action Track!”

The Action Track is Back

Credit: SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Martin Truex Jr

Martin Truex Jr., driver for the single-car Furniture Row Racing team, earned his first win of 2016 in record-setting fashion. Truex dominated the Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday, pacing the field for 392 of the 400 laps for a NASCAR-record 588 miles led. It was the driver's first win in nearly a year, and the fourth of his 13-year Cup career. "There are so many emotions, I had to unplug my radio and just ride around and think for a few minutes, because I didn’t even know what I was going to say or what I was going to do," Truex said after an emotional visit to Victory Lane. "I’ve got a lot of great people behind me. Sherry’s (Pollex, his girlfriend) – she gives me a lot of inspiration and we just keep fighting. We never give up. We never quit. … It feels awesome."

JJ gives Truex high five

Following the win, Truex's journey down pit road to Gatorade Victory Lane took a bit longer than normal. Fans, crew members, and drivers (Ryan Newman, Jimmie Johnson, Carl Edwards) all stopped to congratulate the No. 78 driver on his big win. "Congratulations to my buddy Martin. He deserved that one," said Newman. Johnson, a four-time winner of the Coca-Cola 600, was also quick to offer up praise on Sunday. "I feel great for him, and we've all seen how close they've been. I just think Martin is really well liked in the garage. He's just a good dude, so I'm very happy for him."

Jimmie Johnson Memorial Day

While Truex's historic race was one of the biggest story lines coming out of the weekend, by no means was it the only one. Around the country, the NASCAR industry expressed its widespread and deep appreciation for all of those who serve in our country's armed forces. With the launch of #NASCARSalutes this past weekend, click here to check out how some chose to remember and honor those who serve.

Junior at Pocono

Dale Earnhardt Jr's tumultuous 2016 continued on Sunday when an untimely caution left the 88 team in a rough spot. With just 60 laps to go, the yellow flag flew for debris on the backstretch - catching Junior already on pit road for a green flag stop. By taking the wave-around, he was able to remain on the lead lap but not allowed to pit under the yellow. After climbing as high as seventh, the No. 88 ultimately crossed the start/finish line in 14th place, making that Junior's seventh finish outside the top-10 this season. He'll have a chance to get things back on track this weekend in Pocono, where he swept both races in 2014.
 Kyle Busch

With a couple trophies and a pair of Grandfather Clocks in tow, reigning NASCAR Champ Kyle Busch managed to make a fan's day/week/month/life after his weekend sweep in Martinsville. Busch and his wife Samantha were seemingly stuck in traffic, when the couple noticed a Rowdy fan trucking alongside them. Click the link above to check out her priceless reaction.

AJ Allmendinger

Sunday's STP 500 saw several drivers turn in career performances. Kyle Larson took home a third place finish (his best in five races at the half-mile track), Danica Patrick posted her best finish of the season and spent a good portion of the race threatening in and around the top-10 and Austin Dillon raced his way to a fourth-place finish (tying his career best). But it was the late-race heroics of AJ Allmendinger that caught a lot of people's attention. The 'Dinger fought his way to the second spot late in the race, and turned in an impressive runner-up finish in Martinsville. "Well, I was hoping for one more spot for a culmination,” Allmendinger joked. “But, I passed Jimmie Johnson like five times at Martinsville; that’s pretty cool!"

Short Track Success

Four weeks after the circus left for the West Coast, NASCAR was back in the Commonwealth with it's first short track race of the 2016 season. With Bristol and Richmond on the horizon, fans and drivers alike have short track racing on the brain, and most couldn't be happier. Drivers working to find an opening, lead changes during a long green flag run, working to protect track position through a crowded pack. Some of the best racing in the country happens on short tracks, so it's no wonder drivers love it so much.

Jimmie Johnson

But before NASCAR continues on it's short track swing, it takes a pit stop at Texas Motor Speedway where Jimmie Johnson has won three consecutive races and five of the last seven. With the downforce package leading to phenomenal on-track action so far this season, it'll be interesting to see if another driver can rival JJ's dominance or if the six-time champion can make it four in a row at the 1.5 miler.

Jimmie Johnson Passes Dale Earnhardt on all-time wins list
He had the "S" on his firesuit and on the hood of his car, but this past Sunday Jimmie Johnson truly solidified his place as NASCAR's Superman. With his win in the Auto Club 400, Johnson moved past Dale Earnhardt Sr. on NASCAR's all-time wins list. "I feel like physically and mentally I'm the best that I've ever been in my career," he said. "So I'm in the space I want to be in, which tells me it makes me want to stick around and do this for a lot of years. There's no guarantees about when you're going to win and have success. I've been very, very fortunate to win 77 of these things, which blows my mind on its own."

Logano and Truex do some rubbing and racing
The 2016 season is young still, but it's been filled with high-drama and exciting racing. Already there have been two of the top eight closest finishes in NASCAR history, Jimmie Johnson continues his march up NASCAR's all-time wins list, four different winners in five races (including at least one from each manufacturer), the three previous Sprint Cup Champions (Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and Johnson) are all inside the top-5 of points standings and we're just getting started. The new low-downforce package is getting rave reviews on the track, as evidenced in Fontana where we saw green flag passes and multi-car battles for positioning throughout the field. "I think overall, when we look at the start of the season, we said we would kind of get through the West Coast swing and take a look at it," saidSteve O’Donnell, NASCAR's Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer. "But we still feel like … certainly it's going in the right direction.
Drivers dish on their West Coast experience

As NASCAR wraps up it's West Coast Swing and drivers head into their Easter weekend reprieve, driver and crew guys take to Twitter to react to what transpired in California. With a mix of haterade, bedhead, boat towing and more, here's some of our favorite tweets from the weekend as #NASCARgoeshome. 

Jeff Gordon can spit some fire.

We knew he could light it up on the track, but who knew Jeff Gordon could spit fire like that? Jeff's transition from behind the wheel to the broadcast booth has shown he's a natural in front of the camera. But Jeff showed the guys from Fox Sports Live he's got some chops behind the mic too, giving viewers a few lines Nelly himself would be proud of.