Feat Marks 29th Driver Championship for Chevrolet; Kevin Harvick Finishes Third in Final Standings
HOMESTEAD, Fla. (November 17, 2013) – Jimmie Johnson is the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) champion. It is the sixth time in a record-setting eight-year span that Johnson, the driver of the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS fielded by Hendrick Motorsports, has claimed the coveted crown. His first five championships came consecutively in a run that started in 2006.
“I am at a loss for words, but I am so proud, and so thankful for this opportunity at Hendrick Motorsports,” said Johnson. “Thankful that Jeff Gordon and Rick Hendrick gave me this opportunity back in 2002. Thankful that Lowe’s came on board. I want to say hi to all the employee-owners that are watching; everybody back at Hendrick Motorsports in all departments. This sport is about people and our people at Hendrick Motorsports, especially on this 48 car, rose up and got the job done. I am so thankful to be able to drive for this race team, and so honored and so excited to have a six-pack.”
Johnson’s title also delivered Chevrolet’s 29th NSCS driver’s championship. On the strength of a total of 16 wins this season by Team Chevy drivers, Chevrolet also captured its 37th Manufacturers’ Cup.
“Congratulations to Jimmie Johnson, Chad Knaus, Rick Hendrick and the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS team on winning a remarkable sixth NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship,” said Jim Campbell, Chevrolet U.S. Vice President, Performance Vehicles and Motorsports. “Preparation, strategy, teamwork and great driving were key elements of the No. 48 team’s success this season.
Campbell added, “The Hendrick engine shop along with our powertrain engineers prepared Chevrolet-Hendrick V8 engines that delivered the right combination of power, fuel economy and reliability all season long.”
Johnson’s ninth-place finish in today’s NSCS season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway cemented the championship-winning effort for his Chad Knaus-led team. Heading into the final race of the year, Johnson carried a 28-point lead. After qualifying seventh, Johnson went on to run as high as second place, and as low as 23rd in the 267-lap/400.5-mile race. He finished the 2013 NSCS season with six wins, 16 top-five finishes, 24 top-10 finishes and three poles.
The list of Johnson’s accomplishments leading up to becoming only the third driver in NASCAR history to capture six or more titles, is filled with unprecedented statistics as he joins NASCAR legends Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt, Sr.- both of whom have seven titles apiece. However, neither won six titles in an eight-year span. Johnson’s 66 Series’ wins since 2002 are 30 more than any other driver in that span. In addition, he is the same age (38) as Petty at the time of his sixth title, and four years younger than Earnhardt when he won his sixth crown. He also was the first driver in NASCAR history to capture five consecutive championships.
Johnson has never driven for any team other than Hendrick Motorsports in NSCS competition, and he has never piloted anything but a Chevrolet, not only in NASCAR competition, but throughout his four-wheel vehicle racing career.
Additionally, the title is the 11th time that Hendrick Motorsports has won the owner’s championship. The accomplishment placed Rick Hendrick in an elite class of his own as the all-time NSCS owner’s championship winner. Chad Knaus’ championship total (six) ranks him second all-time among crew chiefs in NASCAR history. Only Petty’s long time crew chief Dale Inman has more – a total of eight.
In his final race as driver of the No. 29 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet SS, Kevin Harvick drove to a 10th-place finish to clinch third in the final points order. It is the sixth time in his career that Harvick has finished in the top-five in the final points order including three times in the past four seasons. He entered the season finale a mere 34 points down to Johnson, and finished the same, 34 points, behind the newly crowned champion.
Other Team Chevy drivers in the 2013 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup finished the 2013 season’s final race and secured their final place in the 2013 Chase standings as follows: Dale Earnhardt, Jr., No. 88 National Guard Chevrolet SS, finished third in the race, and fifth in the final standings; four-time NSCS champions Jeff Gordon, No. 24 Axalta Coating System Chevrolet SS, finished 11th in the race, and sixth in the final standings; Kasey Kahne, No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet SS, finished 13th in the race, and 12th in the final standings; Ryan Newman, No. 39 Quicken Loans Chevrolet SS, finished 17th in the race, and 11th in the final standings and Kurt Busch, No. 78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet SS, finished 21st in the race, and 10th in the final standings.
“It has been a strong inaugural season for the Chevrolet SS,” Campbell said. “Jimmie started the season winning the Daytona 500. Chevrolet teams delivered 16 wins that resulted in Chevrolet’s 37th Manufacturers’ Championship. Seven Chevy drivers made the Chase, and today Jimmie and the No. 48 Chevrolet SS team clinched the championship. Thank you to the Chevrolet team owners, drivers, crew chiefs, engineers and team members as well as our technical partners for their contributions.”
The 2014 NSCS season will kick off with the February 23 running of the Daytona 500.
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