NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
#Se7en: A Jimmie Johnson Story
It includes Jimmie Johnson instead of Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt, but for the next three weeks, NASCAR fans will be treated to another star-studded tale called #Se7en.
With his victory at Martinsville Speedway, Jimmie Johnson clinched the first berth in the Championship 4 race at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Sunday, Nov. 20, 2:30 p.m. ET on NBC) where he will attempt to tie NASCAR Hall of Famers Dale Earnhardt and Richard Petty with a record seventh NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship.
The win in the Round of 8 opener gives Johnson’s No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports team a strategic advantage because it can focus strictly on building a car for Homestead – a place where Johnson has never won. He has placed runner-up at the South Florida track twice (2004 and 2010).
In the meantime, Johnson can help himself even more by winning the upcoming races – Sunday’s AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway (2 p.m. ET on NBC) and the Can-Am 500 at Phoenix International Raceway (Sunday, Nov. 13, 2:30 p.m. ET on NBC). By visiting Victory Lane in those events, Johnson can block automatic berths in the Championship 4 from two drivers on the outside looking in who have had success at Homestead in their careers – Kevin Harvick and Carl Edwards.
Harvick (7.2) and Edwards (9.5) claim the top-two all-time average finishes at Homestead. Harvick finished runner-up at the 1.5-mile track last year after winning the championship with a visit to Victory Lane there in 2014. In 15 starts at Homestead, Harvick boasts seven top fives and 13 top 10s. Edwards has won at Homestead twice (2008, 2010). In 12 starts there, he claims two wins, five top fives and seven top 10s.
Johnson is the favorite to visit Victory Lane in the Lone Star State. He has won five of the past eight races at TMS, including the last four fall races.
Johnson gave a coy answer when asked about his strategy for the next two races, saying, “Just the big takeaway for us over these next two weeks could be momentum. If we can run up front or win again, I mean, that’s just huge momentum for the team. That’s the big thing we have that could work for us going to Homestead.”
If Johnson wins his seventh championship his 543 starts would be less than Earnhardt’s 676 to achieve the feat and Petty’s 1,184.