“It is over. This night was good, we had a great race car. That is what made me most comfortable was the fact that we had a great racecar and I could pass people. There were some guys that were racing for next year, a spot in points or a job. I began to question some of the hard racing that went on throughout the lap-down guys, but we had a great car and made the most of it tonight,” said an exhausted, yet excited Johnson at the end.
Starting from 30th on the grid, Johnson only needed 36th or best at the chequered flag to secure the title (in case Carl Edwards had won the race). Hendrick Motorsports set their driver with a good car to drive in Miami and Johnson soon started to make up the lost ground and event challenge for the win.
Following the 6th caution of the day, Johnson was already leading the pack, but was soon passed by Matt Kenseth. Then, only a few laps from the finish line, Rick Hendrick decided to pit his driver and re-fuel the #48 Chevrolet, refusing to take any chances in a race that started to be dominated by fuel mileage.
The stop caused Johnson to slip down to 15th overall, but sure gave the Hendrick Motorsports officials a peace of mind in the closing laps of the Ford 400. Title contender Carl Edwards did his job and won the race, but had to settle for runner-up in the championship, only a day after going the same way in the Nationwide title race.
“I'm sure glad we won today's race because it will make it a little bit easier to deal with the off-season and coming so close to that championship. We ran really well this season and it's something I wanted to make sure my guys understood is they did their jobs”.
“They did a great job and there were two races where we lost points. One was my mistake and one was a complete coincidence or freak accident with the ignition system, so my guys performed well enough to win a championship this season, and considering how well Jimmie performed, I don't think that's a small feat. I'm glad that we won the race so that we can go into the off-season knowing we won more races than anyone else in this series,” said Edwards.