Jimmie Johnson to Marty Snider on his Seventh Championship: “In my heart, I wanted to believe it would happen, and it has.”
Carl Edwards to Kelli Stavast after his Championship Hopes Ended in a Late Crash: “I just risked too much.”
Dale Earnhardt Jr. on Johnson tying his Father with Seven Championships: “I told Jimmie, I wish Dad was here to shake his hand.”
HOMESTEAD, Fla. – November 20, 2016 – NBC Sports presented the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship race this afternoon from Homestead-Miami Speedway. The Championship Four NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers, Jimmie Johnson, Carl Edwards, Kyle Busch and Joey Logano left everything they had on the track. But after 268 laps of fierce competition, Johnson captured his seventh Championship, tying Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt for the most all-time.
NASCAR on NBC’s pre-race coverage was hosted by Krista Voda, alongside analysts Kyle Petty and Dale Jarrett. Inside the NASCAR on NBC broadcast booth, announcer Rick Allen and analysts Jeff Burton and Steve Letarte called the action. Working the pits were reporters Marty Snider, Kelli Stavast, Mike Massaro and Dave Burns.
2016 CHAMPIONSHIP RESULTS
The following are highlights from this afternoon’s Sprint Cup Championship coverage on NBC.
The Sprint Cup Championship Four drivers joined Krista Voda, Kyle Petty and Dale Jarrett live on NASCAR on NBC’s pre-race set moments before they climb into their cars. Below are quotes from their interviews.
Dale Jarrett to Joey Logano: “You were tapped at about 14 years old by Mark Martin as the next greatest driver to come into NASCAR. What did it take to get you to become the driver that you are today?”
Logano in response: “A lot… I’ve grown a lot in my faith, and in my ability to stay strong and know inside that I’ve got what it takes. You just have to have the right people and the right scenario around you in order to make everything shine. It seems like that has happened, and it has taken a lot of work, believe me, it’s not easy. You have to preach to yourself a lot of times to get fired up, because you’ve got to honestly believe that you’re the best race car driver on the race track. I honestly believe that I am and I know that we have the best race team—we just need to put it all together today.”
Carl Edwards on potentially winning his first Sprint Cup title: “We know how hard we are going to have to compete today. We know it is all on the line. We are going to hang it out today. We are going to have a good time and we aren’t leaving anything on the table.”
Jimmie Johnson on the pressure of potentially winning a historic seventh Championship: “My heart is full… In the past, it has gotten more into my head and it has worried and frightened me. But in 2013, I think I learned how to use it and twist it in the right way. I’m building on that now this year. I am very comfortable in my skin. I’m very comfortable with who I am, what I am, and what I’ve accomplished. Yes, seven would be absolutely incredible, but it is not going to change me. It is not going to change what I’ve accomplished. I’m still going to go back to my motorhome, kiss my wife and hug my kids.”
Kyle Busch on racing against teammate Carl Edwards: “It’s every man for himself… (Carl and I) are part of Joe Gibbs Racing and we’re here to battle and fight it out in order to take our 25-30 guys to the stage in Las Vegas. Effectively, it’s on Carl and I’s shoulders to bring Joe Gibbs Racing a championship and bring that trophy back to the house, but it’s going to be every man for himself when it comes down to the end of this thing, we know that, whether it’s between teammates or not.”
SPRINT CUP RACE COVERAGE
Letarte on the importance of pit stops halfway through the race: “Among the Championship Four, the No. 19 has the strongest pit crew. The pit crew won in Darlington and essentially the pit crew won in Texas. That is where the pass for the win happened. The No. 19 team also got a few reps winning the XFINITY Championship with Daniel Suarez yesterday.”
With 97 Laps to go Steve Letarte offered the following on Jimmie Johnson’s pursuit of a seventh Championship: “Jimmie Johnson, currently in 10th place, just doesn’t have the pace of the other Championship Four cars. The No. 48 team has remained calm, but either the sun setting and a cooler track is going to going to help this team, or Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus are going to have to start making bigger chassis adjustments.”
Burton added: “They’re going to have to make big chassis adjustments. During that last run, Jimmie Johnson was a solid half a second slower than (current race leader) Kyle Larson. In the racing world, a half a second is an unbelievable amount, so they’re going to have to take a big swing.”
Burton on the intensity with just under 100 laps to go: “In a racer’s mind, there is something about 100 laps to go, that is like the light switch. That is when you are going to see the aggression level pick up.”
With 55 Laps to go, Burton offered the following after a slow pit stop for Carl Edwards’ No. 19 team: “The problems on pit road are starting to add up for Carl Edwards tonight. To me, they are not doing everything that needs to be done. As this race starts to wind down, you are going to need clean pit stops to win the championship.”
Burton with 27 laps to go as Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards were running 1st and 2nd: “Kyle Busch is in a difficult spot right now. It is obvious Carl Edwards is a little bit faster. What do you do? Do you try to take his line away, or do you run where your car is the fastest?”
With 10 laps to go, Burton after a multi-car crash that ended Carl Edwards’ night after he attempted to block Joey Logano’s strong restart: “An aggressive move by Logano, but in my eyes, he did everything he was supposed to do in trying to win the race and a Championship.”
A link to the crash with 10 laps to go is available here.
Allen as Edwards’ Championship hopes come to an end: “This might be Carl Edwards’ last chance to ever win a title.”
Burton added: “Remember how close he came (in 2011). He and Tony Stewart had the closest finish in NASCAR history, as far as points. That is how close he came to winning a Championship, and he has been waiting ever since that moment to have another opportunity. With only 10 laps to go, to end up in this situation, he has to be unbelievably disappointed.”
Carl Edwards to Stavast after being released from the infield care center: “I just risked too much. Dave Rogers told me before this race, ‘It is a pretty big reward, and remember risk gets reward.’ I had to push it. I couldn’t go to bed tonight and think that I gave him that lane.”
Burton in response: “Not only could he not sleep tonight, but all of next year if he gave that lane (to Joey Logano).”
Seven-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion Johnson to Marty Snider: “I wouldn’t be here without so many people believing in me and giving me this chance…In my heart I wanted to believe it would happen and it has. I can’t believe it.”
Rick Hendrick to Voda: “To see him tie Richard and Dale, that is unbelievable. I am still in shock. I think it is going to sink in later tonight. We are so proud of him. To do it through all these different formats has been so special. What a great representative of the sport.”
Dale Earnhardt Jr. to Voda on Johnson’s win: “I told Jimmie, I wished dad was here to shake his hand. Dad would think he is such a badass.”
Letarte on Johnson’s historic win: “Seven Championships in just 15 seasons makes it even more impressive. Each one had a different signature. Each one had a different feel.”
Burton added: “He is a clean race car driver. He does it with speed. He just finds a way to go faster than most people can go. He doesn’t knock people out of the way and he doesn’t run people out of the way.”
– NBC SPORTS GROUP –