Jimmie Johnson hangs on late to score fourth career Atlanta win (VIDEO)

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Jimmie Johnson rallied from 37th on the starting grid and led 92 laps en route to his fourth career triumph at Atlanta Motor Speedway, claiming Sunday’s Folds of Honor/QuikTrip 500.

Last year, Johnson had to wait until the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte to earn his first win. But by winning this second race of 2015, the six-time Sprint Cup champion has already ensured that he’ll battle for a record-tying seventh Cup title in the Chase (provided that he stays in the Top 30 in points through the regular season).

“It says a lot of good things,” Johnson told Fox Sports in Victory Lane. “I’m so excited the [new guys on the team] can understand what I was complaining about. We thought we were a Top-10 car last night, and I’m sorry to tell you that earlier today, I didn’t think we were gonna be that good.

“We had some troubles on pit road, but once we got by the 19 [Carl Edwards], that allowed us to get track position. And this thing was bad fast. I had a blast racing with the 4 [Kevin Harvick], he was awfully strong today. But I think track position at the end set things in place.”

Kevin Harvick led a race-high 116 laps but settled for second place after passing Dale Earnhardt Jr. for the spot with less than 10 laps to go. Pole sitter Joey Logano followed up his Daytona 500 win one week ago with a fourth-place result, and Matt Kenseth completed the Top 5.

How Jimmie Johnson won: Johnson held off a stiff challenge from Earnhardt on the final restart with 14 laps to go. Earnhardt hung with Johnson through Turns 1, 2, and the backstretch but Johnson was too strong and subsequently pulled away to his first Atlanta win since 2007 (he swept both Atlanta races that year).

“We got the restart we needed, cleared the 88 [Earnhardt], and off we went,” Johnson said.

Who else had a good day: Martin Truex Jr. has put together solid results in these first two races of 2015, finishing sixth today after an eighth-place run at Daytona … Also doing well were A.J. Allmendinger in seventh and Brett Moffitt, who took Brian Vickers’ No. 55 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota to eighth. Vickers returns to the No. 55 next week at Las Vegas after recovering from off-season heart surgery.

Who had a bad day: Two major restart incidents ended the afternoon for multiple big names. A four-car melee off a restart with 69 laps to go ended with Jeff Gordon hitting an unprotected inside wall at the end of the backstretch. Then, with 21 laps to go, contact between Greg Biffle and Joe Nemechek led to a chain reaction crash that involved eight cars, including those of Tony Stewart and Kyle Larson.

Quote of the day: “Pretty convenient to c that SAFER Barrier end just before @jeffgordonweb pounds wall. Hope he’s healthy! When will this end @NASCAR” – Kyle Busch on Twitter, moments after Gordon’s crash. Busch is recovering from leg and foot injuries sustained in last weekend’s Xfinity Series race at Daytona when he crashed into an unprotected wall himself.

Other notables: Regan Smith finished 17th in place of Kurt Busch for a second consecutive week, while David Ragan started his fill-in role for Kyle Busch in the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota with an 18th-place showing.

What’s next: The series heads to Las Vegas Motor Speedway for next weekend’s Kobalt 400. Brad Keselowski won last year’s race, taking the lead on the last lap from Dale Earnhardt Jr., who gambled on fuel but ran out.

Miami Championship Weekend schedule

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The NASCAR season ends this weekend with the championship races for the Cup, Xfinity and Gander Outdoors Truck Series at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Three drivers will leave the 1.5-mile track as champions.

For Friday, wunderground.com forecasts a temperature of 75 degrees, partly cloudy skies and a 14% chance of race for the start of the Truck Series race.

On Saturday, the forecast is for a temperature of 77 degrees, sunny skies and a 10% chance of rain for the start of the Xfinity race.

On Sunday, the forecast is for a temperature of 75 degrees, sunny skies and no chance of rain for the Cup race.

MORE: NBC to have multi-network coverage of Cup championship race

Here’s the complete weekend schedule with TV and radio info.

(All times are Eastern)

Friday, Nov. 15

7:30 a.m. – Truck Series garage opens

9:05 – 9:55 a.m. – Truck Series practice (No TV)

10:35 – 11:25 a.m. – Final Truck practice (No TV)

11 a.m. – 9 p.m. – Xfinity garage open

12:30 – 10 p.m. – Cup garage open

2:35 – 3:25 p.m. – Xfinity practice (NBCSN)

3:35 – 4:25 p.m. – Cup practice (NBCSN, Motor Racing Network)

4:35 p.m. – Truck Series qualifying; single truck/one lap (FS1)

5:35 – 6:25 p.m. – Final Xfinity practice (NBCSN)

6:15 p.m. – Truck Series driver-crew chief meeting

6:30 – 7:20 p.m. – Final Cup practice (NBCSN, MRN)

7:30 p.m. – Truck Series driver introductions

8 p.m. – Ford EcoBoost 200; 134 laps/201 miles (FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Saturday, Nov. 16

8 a.m. – Xfinity garage opens

9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. – Cup garage open

12:35 p.m. – Xfinity qualifying; single car/one lap (NBCSN)

1:45 p.m. – Xfinity driver-crew chief meeting

2:05 p.m. – Cup qualifying/impound; single car/one lap (NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

3 p.m. – Xfinity driver introductions

3:30 p.m. – Ford EcoBoost 300; 200 laps/300 miles (NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Sunday, Nov. 17

11 a.m. – Cup garage opens

1 p.m. – Driver-crew chief meeting

2:20 p.m. – Driver introductions

3 p.m. – Ford EcoBoost 400; 267 laps/400.5 miles (NBC, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Jagger Jones earns K&N West Rookie of the Year honors

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Like grandfather, like father and now like son. Racing success is definitely a tradition in the Jones family.

Jagger Jones has followed in the shoes of his legendary grandfather Parnelli and father P.J., capturing the 2019 Sunoco K&N Pro Series West Rookie of the Year honors in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West, it was announced Wednesday.

“(Winning Rookie of the Year) and to win races, those were our two main goals,” the youngest Jones, of Scottsdale, Arizona, said in a statement. “I think the whole season we’ve led the Rookie of the Year standings, which is pretty cool, and separated ourselves from the other rookies and got it done.”

Driving for Sunrise Ford and team owner Bob Bruncati, the 17-year-old Jones earned one win, eight top fives and 11 top 10s in the 14-race season. He also earned one pole, led 248 laps and had an average finish of 5.4. He finished second in the overall standings behind champion Derek Krause and three points ahead of third-ranked Hailie Deegan.

MORE: Parnelli Jones’ grandson Jagger set to make own racing mark in K&N debut

Brittney Zamora, driving for Bill McAnally Racing, finished second in the Rookie of the Year voting.

“McAnally versus Sunrise was definitely the race in the West competition wise,” Jones said. “To get that and finish second in the points in my rookie season, I was pretty pleased with that.”

Jones becomes the sixth Sunrise Ford Racing driver in the last 13 years to win the top rookie honors, joining Jason Bowles (2007), Luis Martinez Jr. (2010), Austin Dyne (2012), Dylan Lupton (2013) and James Bickford (2014). Bill McAnally Racing won the top rookie award in each of the last three seasons: Todd Gilliland (2016), Derek Kraus (2017) and Hailie Deegan (2018).

Sam Mayer previously won the K&N Pro Series East Sunoco Rookie of the Year award for 2019.

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Daniel Hemric, Jeb Burton to drive JR Motorsports’ No. 8 car in 2020

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JR Motorsports’ revealed Wednesday that Jeb Burton and Daniel Hemric will drive its No. 8 Chevrolet for the majority of the 2020 Xfinity Series season, in addition to one race with Dale Earnhardt Jr. behind the wheel.

Hemric, who drove Richard Childress Racing’s No. 8 car in the Cup Series this season, is scheduled for 21 races.

RCR is replacing Hemric with Tyler Reddick in 2020.

Hemric returns to the Xfinity Series, where he competed for RCR from 2017-18. He made the Championship 4 in both seasons.

“I want to thank Dale, Kelley and everyone at JR Motorsports for believing in me,” Hemric said in a press release. “For a Kannapolis (N.C.) boy like me, driving for the Earnhardt family is pretty awesome.

“My goal here is simple — to go win races for JR Motorsports and to help their program any way that I can. I’ve raced against their cars before and I know how they’re capable of running. My focus is on finishing the Cup season out strong, but once the checkered flag flies at Homestead, we’ll set our sights on getting the No. 8 car to Victory Lane early and often next season.”

Said Dale Earnhardt Jr.: “Daniel is a solid competitor with a great personality. He’ll be a quality addition to our lineup in 2020. We’re lucky to have him. I feel like he has grown as a driver from his time in the Cup Series. That will be valuable to him with this new opportunity to compete in the Xfinity series. He’s a local Kannapolis native with a lot of determination to succeed, and I’m excited to work with him.”

Burton, who has driven in six races for JRM this season, is set for 11 next year.

Other drivers who have piloted the No. 8 for JRM this season included Zane Smith (10 starts), Ryan Truex (six starts), Ryan Preece (four starts), Regan Smith (two starts), Brett Moffitt (one start), Chase Elliott (one start), Sheldon Creed (one start) and Earnhardt (one start).

 

NASCAR America presents MotorMouths airs at 5 p.m. ET on NBCSN

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Today’s edition of NASCAR America presents MotorMouths airs from 5-6 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

On the show will be Rutledge Wood, Kyle Petty, Dale Jarrett and Nate Ryan.

Obviously, the main topic of discussion will be this weekend’s championship races, particularly the Cup battle between Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr., Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch.

You can join the conversation by calling 1-844-NASCARNBC or reach out on Twitter via #LetMeSayThis.

If you can’t catch today’s show on TV, watch online at http:/nascarstream.nbcsports.com. If you plan to stream the show on your laptop or portable device, be sure to have your username and password from your cable/satellite/telco provider handy so your subscription can be verified.

Once you enter that information, you’ll have access to the stream.

Click here at 5 p.m. ET to watch live via the stream.