Carl Edwards won the race – Jimmie Johnson wins the Championship. In a race where the 48 team didn't have the best car, they didn't actually need one anyway. Carl Edwards car was the best as he lead most of the race as the drama was happening behind him.
Denny Hamlin spun and damaged his car and really didn't have anything that could help his championship run. Kevin Harvick was caught speeding on pit road which sent him to the back leaving the championship to the 48 Lowes team.
Chad Knaus kept Jimmie Johnson up near the front and away from most of the chaos which was happening closer to the back. Jimmie took 4 tires on every stop as did the other leaders.
To win the championship, Jimmie Johnson overcame the second-largest points deficit entering the final race since NASCAR went to its current points setup in 1975. Johnson was 15 points off the pace heading into Sunday’s season-ending Ford 400 and responded with a solid second-place finish, his series-leading 17th top-five finish of 2010. Johnson, who also scored six victories this year, has never finished outside of the top five in the standings in each of his nine full-time seasons.
Here is some of the post race Question and Answers.
Questions for Jimmie
YOUR THOUGHTS ON WINNING A FIFTH CONSECUTIVE TITLE: “I'm so proud to be in this position and so thankful to have my great race team and everybody at Hendrick Motorsports giving me great race cars. I think this year we showed what this team is made. At times we didn't have the most speed, but we proved it here at the end of the Chase and especially here today. I am just besides myself. Four was amazing. Now I have to figure out what the hell to say about winning five of these things because everybody is going to want to know what it means. I don't know! It is pretty damn awesome I can tell you that.”
YOU WERE BEHIND FOR A LITTLE BIT IN THE RACE, BUT YOUR COMPETITORS WENT THROUGH PROBLEMS TOO AND IT REALLY WAS ANYBODY’S RACE. TELL ME WHAT YOU GUYS TALKED ABOUT ON THE RADIO DURING THE RACE AND WHAT YOUR EMOTIONS WERE INSIDE THE CAR:
“We really didn’t talk about much on the radio, but I could see in the mirror where the guys were—where Kevin was and where the 11 was. When he got in front of me and was two spots in front of me, I thought, ‘Man, it’s going to be tough now.’ I expected them to be there, but we had restart or two and we went forward and they went backward and off it went. Chad made some great adjustments on the car and we were up there chasing Carl around and put in a great finish there in second.”
THE POINT WHERE YOU CAME OFF PIT ROAD AND YOU WERE RIDING AROUND IN SECOND, DID YOU DECIDE THAT YOU WERE OK THERE AND YOU WERE JUST GOING TO RIDE AROUND, OR WERE YOU AFTER IT ALL THE WAY TO THE FINISH?
“I was after it pretty hard. Chad told me with about 10 to go to be smart and save our tires in case there was a green-white-checkered, and I definitely backed off a little bit at the end. I don’t think I had anything for the 99. This Lowe’s Chevrolet was awesome when it was up front and had clean air and we knew if we got up there that we would stay there and it really worked out that way in the end. Just an amazing day for the team as I mentioned earlier. I have to thank all my fans, all the employees at Lowe’s, and the fans of our sport—the people that may not be fans of the 48, but I think you saw something special today. We’ve got an awesome sport and I’m proud to represent it as our champion again.”
THE WAY IT STARTED AT NEW HAMPSHIRE, THE THINGS THAT HAPPENED AT TEXAS—AT ANY POINT WAS THERE A DOUBT THAT YOU COULD BE HERE?
“Yes, there was at times. I’m human. I don’t think that we’re invincible. I knew coming into this that at some point somebody is going to beat us and the 11 did an awesome job all Chase long, and the 29 for that matter. So I knew there was a good chance. I knew that if I left this season and I gave 100% and so did my team, that we could sleep at night. And I know we may not sleep tonight but we’re going to sleep sometime soon! We made it through and gave 100% every race and showed what teamwork was all about with this Hendrick Motorsports car.”
TAKE US THROUGH YOUR DAY TODAY: “We really didn't talk about much on the radio but I could see in the mirror where the guys were, where Kevin was and where the 11 (Denny Hamlin) was and when he got in front of me and was up there, two spots in front of me, I thought, man it is going to be tough now. And, I expected them to be there. We had a restart or two and we went forward and they went backwards and off it went. Chad made some great adjustments on the car and we were up there chasing Carl (Edwards, race winner) around and had a great finish in second.”