Back on top with only two NASCAR greats left to catch, Jimmie Johnson won his sixth championship in eight years Sunday and staked his claim as one of the most dominant competitors in sports history.
Johnson, needing only to finish 23rd or better to spoil Matt Kenseth's career season, was on cruise control most of the day at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Johnson's lone hiccup came when traffic stacked-up on a restart and he and Kenseth made slight contact, causing Johnson to plunge 15 spots in the field with damage to his fender.
Johnson rallied to finish ninth and beat Kenseth for the Sprint Cup title by 19 points.
Now looming large in Johnson's windshield is the mark of seven titles held by Richard Petty and the late Dale Earnhardt.
Johnson barely got to finish his celebratory burnouts before the debate began: Where does "Six-Pack" rank among the greats in NASCAR?
"I have six, and we'll see if I can get seven," Johnson said. "Time will tell. ... Let's wait until I hang up the helmet until we really start thinking about this."
Kenseth, needing a Johnson collapse to have any shot at the title, led 144 of 267 laps at the 1.5-mile oval and finished second to Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin.
"It was just unbelievable year for us. Obviously, we wanted to win the championship as good as we ran all year," said Kenseth, winner of seven races in his first season with JGR. "... Maybe he'll retire."
Johnson won a record five straight titles from 2006-10 and his two-year drought is over.
"This is extremely sweet. I feel like those five years were a blur," said Johnson, who has 66 career wins for Hendrick Motorsports. "It's not that I didn't enjoy it. It just went by so fast it seems like."
Formula One: Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel won the 56-lap U.S. Grand Prix in easy fashion, setting an F1 season record with his eighth straight victory. Lotus' Romain Grosjean was second at the 3.43-mile course in Austin, Texas. Vettel avoided the danger of the treacherous first corner that pushes the drivers 133 feet up and into a blind left turn back down the hill. Once through that, he began pulling away.