CONCORD, N.C.— This weekend, Hendrick Motorsports is headed to the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
And Jimmie Johnson is looking to secure a seventh championship.
“I couldn’t have dreamed this big,” Johnson said. “I never even thought I could win one race or one championship, and here we are poised for a shot at a seventh title. Nothing is guaranteed in this sport and you never know when your last win will be.”
With eyes on the championship, Johnson is ready to compete against the other three Championship 4 competitors at the 1.5-mile track.
“It’s incredible to be in this position with this No. 48 Lowe’s team and to have a shot at it,” Johnson said. “We have some serious competition, and we know what we need to do.”
Before the green flag drops at Homestead-Miami Speedway, take a look at the key notes below.
BROADCAST INFORMATION: Sunday’s race will air live on NBC at 2:30 p.m. ET. Can’t make it to the television? Listen to the race live on MRN and SiriusXM to catch the radio coverage. Here is the full broadcast schedule:
Friday, Nov. 18:
12:30 p.m. ET: Sprint Cup Series Practice, NBC Sports Network
6 p.m. ET: Sprint Cup Series Qualifying, NBC Sports Network
Saturday, Nov. 19:
10 a.m. ET: Sprint Cup Series Practice, CNBC
1 p.m. ET: Sprint Cup Series Final Practice, NBC Sports Network
Sunday, Nov. 20:
2:30 p.m. ET: Sprint Cup Series Race, NBC
THIS WEEKEND’S PAINT SCHEMES: Longtime Hendrick Motorsports partner Great Clips returns to the primary position this weekend on Kasey Kahne’s No. 5 Chevrolet SS for the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. NAPA AUTO PARTS will adorn the hood of the No. 24 Chevrolet SS for Chase Elliott’s final race as a rookie. Johnson will race the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS and Alex Bowman will pilot the red, orange and yellow No. 88 Axalta Chevrolet SS this weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS AT HOMESTEAD: Hendrick Motorsports drivers have earned one win, three pole positions, 13 top-five finishes and 28 top-10s at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The win came courtesy of Jeff Gordon in 2012, when he led the final 13 laps of the race en route to Victory Lane.
SEASON IN REVIEW: With one Sprint Cup race remaining in 2016, Hendrick Motorsports has amassed four wins, four pole positions, 28 top-five finishes, 56 top-10s and 1,352 laps led. The four wins came at four different tracks -- Atlanta, Fontana, Charlotte and Martinsville. The win at Martinsville propelled Johnson to the Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, where he will race for Hendrick Motorsports' 12th Sprint Cup Series championship.
STRONG FINISH TO THE SEASON: Even though Kahne and the No. 5 team narrowly missed the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, their commitment to finish the year strong didn’t waiver. Since the start of the Chase, the No. 5 team has moved from 16th to 12th in total points accumulated throughout the entire season. Seven of Kahne’s 15 top-12 finishes in 2016 have come in the last nine races.
KAHNE AT HOMESTEAD: Kahne has earned two pole awards (2006 and 2010) at the season-ending track, where he has a career-best finish of fourth. The Enumclaw, Washington, native has led laps three different times at the 1.5-mile track for a total of 107 laps, which ranks him 13th out of active drivers.
REIGNING ROOKIE: Elliott leads the 2016 Rookie of the Year contender standings heading into the season finale by 65 points over second-place Ryan Blaney and 98 points over third-place Chris Buescher. Elliott has accumulated a total of 297 rookie points this year through the first 35 races. This weekend at Homestead-Miami, a panel will meet and reward favorable conduct in the following categories: conduct with NASCAR officials in the garage and pit areas; conduct and awareness on track; personal appearance and relationship with the media. The panel rates each driver, with scoring ranging from a maximum of 10 to a minimum of one. Total points will be averaged from each panel member’s ballot. The points derived from the panel will be added to the entry, competition, and bonus points after the final race of the season to determine the overall Sunoco Rookie of the Year winner. In addition to the points earned from the panel, the highest-ranking rookie in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship receives 10 bonus points. For a full rundown of the scoring system and points standings, click here.
ONE DRIVER, ONE SPONSOR: Lowe’s has been the primary sponsor for Johnson since the No. 48 team’s inception in 2001. Since then, the home improvement retailer has been on board for all six Sprint Cup championships, 79 victories and numerous milestones, including two wins in the Daytona 500 and four in the Brickyard 400. Hendrick Motorsports’ relationship with Lowe’s is one of the longest-running driver-team-sponsor partnerships in NASCAR.
PERFORMANCE IN MIAMI: Johnson has posted four top-five and 10 top-10 finishes in 15 races at Homestead-Miami. He has two pole positions and two runner-up finishes as well. The runner-up results came in 2004 and 2010.
THANK YOU, ALEX AND JEFF: During a tumultuous season in which Dale Earnhardt Jr. will have missed a total of 18 races due to a concussion, the bright spot for the No. 88 team was having two incredibly talented drivers step up to fill in for Earnhardt. Both Bowman, who is scheduled to make his 10th start in the No. 88 Chevrolet SS this weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway, and four-time Cup champion Jeff Gordon not only helped carry the No. 88 team through Earnhardt’s absence, but allowed the team to stay competitive and improve each and every week. It has truly been a team effort this season.
PHOENIX RECAP: Last weekend at Phoenix International Raceway, Bowman earned his first career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series pole. The Tucson, Arizona, native didn’t take his starting position for granted either, as he led the most laps (194) in the event and brought home his third top-10 result, finishing a career-best sixth in the No. 88 Chevrolet.