(HOMESTEAD, Fla.) — Brad Keselowski captured his first-career Sprint Cup championship on Sunday. Coming into the race, the 28-year-old had to finish 15th or better up 20 points on Jimmie Johnson.
Johnson pulled out of the season finale because of a parts failure down the stretch on turns 3 and 4, which sealed the deal for Keselowski. The championship is also the first for longtime NASCAR owner Roger Penske.
“This isn’t a one man effort, it’s about these guys (his crew),” said a humbled Keselowski in victory lane. “We were not as fast as we wanted to be, my guys just did a great job all year long.”
“It’s been a great season,” said Penske. “Not one failure all year long in that Dodge engine.”
Johnson’s run at a sixth Sprint Cup championship ended with 40 laps to go after he broke a rear end gear in his Chevrolet.
“Pretty heartbreaking,” said Johnson. “We were doing what we needed to and certainly in position to put a lot pressure on that No. 2 car, but that’s racing, stuff happens.”
Jeff Gordon won the race and was followed by Clint Bowyer after their altercation last weekend at Phoenix.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Jill Martin, CNN
Eliott C. McLaughlin, CNN Newswire