May 6th, 2015
A forgettable 2013 season for Denny Hamlin ended on a high note Sunday afternoon at Homestead-Miami. Despite dismal performances throughout the year, Hamlin was able to bring a little light to his season with a win. This victory will continue Hamlin’s streak of seven straight seasons with at least one win. Momentum going into the off-season may not add up to anything soon, but it could allow the No.11 to shine once 2014 gets underway.
It wasn’t just Hamlin celebrating in Miami, however. Jimmie Johnson was hoisting his sixth Sprint Cup following the race. Johnson escaped potential trouble throughout the day to secure a high enough finishing position for the championship. Johnson’s flawless Chase performance receives the credit for the title as the last ten races require perfection for the championship and the No.48 team did just that.
Johnson was being chased throughout the day in the points by Matt Kenseth. Kenseth needed to do one thing in the race and that was dominate. The first half of the race went that way, but Kenseth couldn’t regain the feel he had towards the end. Kenseth’s pit crew did all they could do with fast, finesse, and flawless pit stops. Towards the conclusion of the race, Kenseth was towards the front but a tough battle with Dale Earnhardt Jr. allowed Hamlin to pull away and the win slipped out of Kenseth’s grasp.
Earnhardt Jr. had one of his best days of the season with a car that looked capable of winning. He first led on lap 140 and then made it back out front at different points throughout the race. The lead was his on the final restart with 28 laps to go, but Hamlin eventually made the winning pass. Another great performance by Earnhardt Jr. closes out a Chase where he started slow, but eventually caught fire in route to placing fifth on the season
The only time Johnson saw trouble throughout the day was on a restart following a caution with 79 laps to go. Jeff Gordon couldn’t getting going and created an accordion effect which strung back to Johnson, causing the No.48 to wiggle and lose lots of ground. Johnson recovered, but he didn’t return to the front where he ran a majority of the race.
A bizarre situation brought out the eighth caution of the day. Paul Menard’s car caught fire in the right-rear portion and as he pitted, the right rear tire blew out. That sent the tire outwards and a loud explosion along with black smoke came with it. No injuries were reported following the incident.
Denny Hamlin proved to be too strong at the end of the race as he set sail as the laps wound down. This was Hamlin’s first victory of the season and his first trip to victory lane since New Hampshire in September 2012.
Johnson took care of his car towards the end of the race as he raced towards his sixth title. Once he got it, he and his No.48 team were ecstatic. Its Johnson’s sixth title in eight years and this puts him in a position to tie Dale Earnhardt and Richard Petty’s seven titles in 2014.
The remarkable 2013 season comes to a close with a deserving champion. Jimmie Johnson put everything together this year and he was rewarded with another Sprint Cup trophy. The off-season looms ahead, but there are only 97 days until the Daytona 500.
|1||5||11||Denny Hamlin||FedEx Express||Toyota||267||$322,350||Running||72||47|
|2||1||20||Matt Kenseth||Dollar General||Toyota||267||$293,251||Running||144||44|
|3||21||88||Dale Earnhardt Jr||National Gaurd||Chevrolet||267||$203,860||Running||28||42|
|4||8||56||Martin Truex Jr||NAPA Auto Parts||Toyota||267||$174,235||Running||0||40|
|5||25||15||Clint Bowyer||5-Hour Energy||Toyota||267||$167,968||Running||0||39|
|6||4||2||Brad Keselowski||Miller Lite||Ford||267||$156,701||Running||9||39|
|8||3||22||Joey Logano||Shell Pennzoil||Ford||267||$119,518||Running||0||36|
|11||26||24||Jeff Gordon||Axalta Coating Systems||Chevrolet||267||$123,596||Running||0||33|
|13||13||5||Kasey Kahne||Farmers Insurance||Chevrolet||267||$94,060||Running||0||31|
|14||10||55||Elliott Sadler||Aaron’s Dream Machine||Toyota||267||$88,110||Running||0||0|
|16||19||43||Aric Almirola||Smithfield Foods||Ford||267||$116,421||Running||0||28|
|17||15||39||Ryan Newman||Quicken Loans||Chevrolet||267||$113,343||Running||0||27|
|18||27||42||Juan Pablo Montoya||Target||Chevrolet||267||$105,999||Running||0||26|
|19||22||14||Mark Martin||Bass Pro Shops / Mobil 1||Chevrolet||267||$121,585||Running||0||25|
|20||24||10||Danica Patrick||GoDaddy- It’s Go Time||Chevrolet||267||$80,935||Running||0||24|
|21||2||78||Kurt Busch||Furniture Row/Denver Matress||Chevrolet||267||$104,255||Running||4||24|
|22||9||17||Ricky Stenhouse Jr||FORD ECO BOOST||Ford||267||$122,396||Running||0||22|
|24||16||16||Greg Biffle||No. 16 3M Fan Appreciation Ford||Ford||267||$91,660||Running||0||20|
|25||30||30||Parker Kligerman||Lean 1-Swan Energy||Toyota||267||$93,543||Running||0||0|
|27||31||38||David Gilliland||Long John Silver’s||Ford||266||$90,368||Running||0||17|
|28||40||13||Casey Mears||No. 13 GEICO Ford Fusion||Ford||266||$95,568||Running||0||16|
|29||29||34||David Ragan||Taco Bell||Ford||266||$93,157||Running||1||16|
|31||32||83||David Reutimann||VooDoo BBQ & Grill||Toyota||265||$74,685||Running||0||13|
|32||37||36||J.J. Yeley||United Mining Equipment||Chevrolet||264||$71,960||Running||0||12|
|33||39||33||Landon Cassill||Little Joe’s Autos||Chevrolet||264||$71,760||Running||0||0|
|34||41||32||Ken Schrader||Federated Auto Parts||Ford||263||$71,560||Running||0||10|
|35||42||87||Joe Nemechek||Royal Teak Collection||Toyota||263||$71,360||Running||0||0|
|36||36||47||AJ Allmendinger||Scott “Win My Car”||Toyota||257||$79,135||Running||0||8|
|37||33||93||Travis Kvapil||Burger King-Dr. Pepper||Toyota||248||$78,912||Running||0||7|
|38||38||7||Dave Blaney||Florida Lottery||Chevrolet||242||$65,750||Running||0||6|
|39||12||27||Paul Menard||Menards / Moen||Chevrolet||229||$91,741||Accident||0||5|
|40||17||21||Trevor Bayne||Motorcraft / Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center||Ford||223||$57,750||Engine||0||0|
|41||35||35||Josh Wise||MDS Transport||Ford||119||$53,750||Rear Gear||0||0|
|42||43||40||Tony Raines||Hillman Racing||Chevrolet||104||$49,750||Vibration||0||0|
|43||34||98||Michael McDowell||Phil Parsons Racing||Ford||63||$46,250||Brakes||0||1|