Jimmie Johnson took the checkered flag in overtime under caution in Sunday’s Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway and then remembered it was his 76th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory, tying the late Dale Earnhardt for seventh on the all-time wins list.
the six-time champion thrust his arm out the driver’s side window with a three-finger salute to the crowd, acknowledging The Intimidator.
“It’s such an honor,” Johnson said. “With the chaos at the end and the crash and wondering about overtime and how it worked these days, I kind of lost sight of that.
“I remembered it on my Victory Lap coming down, and I had to come by and throw a ‘3’ out the window to pay my respects to the man. There’s a huge void in my career that I never had a chance to race with him, but at least I was able to tie his record.”
Dale Earnhardt Jr. ran second to his teammate, followed by Kyle Busch, who started 39th.
Polesitter Kurt Busch was fourth, and Carl Edwards came home fifth.
“I think Dad would have liked Jimmie as a person, but he certainly wouldn’t have enjoyed competing against him,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “I don’t think any of us — I love when we race door to door, but when he goes out there and he spanks you, it’s not a lot of fun.
“Knowing Dad and knowing Jimmie’s character, they would have gotten along tremendously, and Dad would have thought the world of him.”