Johnson rewrites NASCAR history book

Sunday, November 22, 2009 at 10:23pm

Jimmie Johnson has gone where no NASCAR driver has gone before, capturing a record fourth-straight Cup Series championship with a 5th-place finish in Sunday’s season finale at Miami-Homestead Speedway.

The 34-year-old California native had been tied with Cale Yarborough, whose three-in-a-row record had stood for 30 years.

Mark Martin finished second in the standings for the fifth time in his career. Martin, 50, ended two years of semi-retirement to race this season. He has never won a championship but plans to try again next year.

Martin was the only driver in contention to catch Johnson going into the 36th and final race.

Jeff Gordon, a teammate of Johnson and Martin at Hendrick Racing, finished third in the standings.

Dale Earnhardt Jr., the fourth Hendrick driver and the sport’s most popular, finished a disappointing 25th in a winless season.

Kyle Busch won the Nationwide Series title. One of Busch’s nine wins came in the June 6 race at Nashville Superspeedway and attracted national attention when he smashed the trademark trophy Gibson guitar in a Victory Lane “celebration.”

Ron Hornaday, another Superspeeday winner in ’09, won the Camping World Series truck championship.

The Superspeedway will host two Nationwide races and two truck races next season.