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Jimmie Johnson J makes it six Sprint Cup championships

Orlando Sentinel

November 17. 2013 7:57PM
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Jimmie Johnson celebrates in victory lane after winning the Sprint Cup championship after the Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. (Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports)

HOMESTEAD, Fla. — Jimmie Johnson began the 2013 NASCAR season celebrating a victory at the Daytona 500, accidentally tearing up his car during a celebratory burnout.

He finished the season in celebratory mode again Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway, completing the perfect bookends to a 36-race grind by winning his sixth Sprint Cup season title.

“Yes, yes, yes!” Johnson screamed over the radio after the checkered flag.

Denny Hamlin’s first victory of the 2013 season was overshadowed by Johnson’s amazing “Six Pack” — a title that brings him within one championship of tying Richard Petty and the late Dale Earnhardt Sr. for most Cup titles in the sport’s history.

“There is nothing like this,” Johnson said in Victory Lane, choking back tears as he held the older of his young daughters while looking at his wife, Chandra.

Johnson’s “Six Pack” was no surprise. He led Matt Kenseth by 28 points going into the season-finale, and all Johnson had to do Sunday was avoid major trouble and coast into the early evening to secure his title.

No worries. Johnson finished ninth, ending the day 19 points ahead of Kenseth, who finished second to Hamlin.

What did you expect? Johnson is no Drama King when it comes to securing championships.

Johnson remains the safest bet in the NASCAR garage. Between 2002 and 2013, Johnson has 66 victories, 182 top 5s, 272 top 10s and 32 pole positions.

Better yet, Johnson has won 24 of 98 races since the inception of the 10-race Chase playoff format in 2004. The winning percentage of 24.49 percent is almost double his victory rate during the regular season (12.54 percent, 42 victories in 335 starts).

Call it uncomplicated brilliance.

“This is extremely sweet,” Johnson said. “It feels like the last five championships were a blur.”

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