Content Spotlight: 2016 NASCAR Recap
That’s a wrap on another thrilling year for NASCAR! The 68th season came to an end at Homestead-Miami on November 20th, crowning another round of cup champions. MRN and PRN were there every step of the way, keeping fans entertained and in-the-know from the Daytona 500 ramp-up to the dramatic Sprint Cup finish.
Jimmie Johnson’s quest for his 7th championship title is complete, joining the ranks of legends Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt. But Johnson’s victory was hard-fought, facing an uphill battle in 2016. Despite a strong season start, he struggled with the remaining schedule. His team, Hendrick Motorsports, kept by his side with a strategy to help launch him into The Chase “playoffs,” giving him key victories in Charlotte and Martinsville. With no cup title since 2013, this would mark his first foray into the new elimination-style Chase format.
The uphill battle continued before the final race even started when Johnson was forced to start last in the 40-car field due to unapproved car adjustments. He gained ground quickly though, moving into the top 5 after 50 laps. Still thinking he would be shaking someone else’s hand in victory lane, Johnson remained calm. His opening came after a crash between Carl Edwards and Joey Logano. At the restart, the number 48 car took off, overtaking leader Kyle Larson for a historic finish for one of NASCAR’s all-time best.
We kicked-off 2016 with some incredible, record-breaking races that were almost too close to call. The Sprint Cup race at the Daytona 500 delivered nail-biting action right up to the very end when Denny Hamlin nipped Martin Truex Jr. to win by one one-hundredth of a second. A few weeks later at the Good Sam Phoenix 500, Kevin Harvick edged Carl Edwards by a mere one one-hundredth of a second to score the victory. These races boast the closest wins in the history of the tracks – it’s the making of two classics that fans will remember for years to come.
2016 also marked some changes for the XFINITY and Camping World Truck series. The Championship system used in NASCAR's top division, The Sprint Cup, launched in 2014 with some initial criticism from drivers. But the elimination-style format took off, and has now expanded across all three series, upping the ante for drivers while building even more excitement for fans. It paid off for number 19 Daniel Suarez who took home the XFINITY Cup Championship, making him the first Latin American driver to win a NASCAR national series title.
End of an Era
"If you retire and you’re not excited at the end of it, you've done something wrong. It’s proof that I’m doing the right thing for me and I’m going to have a lot of fun." - Tony Stewart
2016 closed a chapter on another NASCAR legend. After an 18-year career, future NASCAR Hall of Famer Tony Stewart is heading into retirement. Fellow racers and fans alike will remember him as a fierce competitor with a tremendous passion for the sport. After driving 234,560 miles, Stewart ends his career with 49 victories, ranking 13th on the all-time win list.
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