Sunday’s race went on overtime, but it was worth it for No. 48 driver Jimmie Johnson. He took the checkered flag amid chaos unfolding a few cars behind him on the track.
The Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at the Atlanta Motor Speedway was filled with excitement and suspense. On Sunday, Johnson clinched his second straight victory in Atlanta. And it also happened that his win marked his 76th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory. This ties him with great late Dale Earnhardt for seven in the list of all-time wins.
To celebrate the historic achievement achievement, Johnson went out for his victory lap in a clockwise direction as he let his arm out and acknowledged the cheering crowd the way The Intimidator would, with a three-finger salute. “I remembered it on my Victory Lap coming down, and I had to come by and throw a ‘3’ out the window to pay my respects to the man,” Johnson explained.
It was more than driving that brought the Johnson the win in Atlanta on Sunday. In fact, Johnson’s crew chief Chad Knaus had a hand on it, too. He made a critical call to call in Johnson’s No. 48 Chevy for tire changes and gas on Lap 276, nine laps ahead of Kevin Harvick’s decision to pit in himself. By the time the green-flag pit stop cycle had been completed on 287, Johnson was already 13.631 seconds ahead of Harvick’s No. 4 Chevrolet.
Harvick seemed to be having a good run until the overtime restart that brought it away from the front. Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished second in his No. 88 Chevrolet while Kyle Busch scored third place in his No. 18 Toyota. Meanwhile, rookie Chase Elliott finished eighth place in the No. 24 Chevrolet.