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Johnson Clinches Nextel Cup Title

November 19, 2006

HOMESTEAD, Fla. (AP) _ Hard though he tried, Jimmie Johnson just couldn’t give another Nextel Cup championship away. Johnson completed his dream season Sunday by cruising over every speedbump in his path, finally winning the NASCAR championship that had taunted him the past two years.

The perpetual points leader for the past three regular seasons only to collapse once the Chase began, Johnson finally put an entire year together, wrapping it up with a 9th-place finish at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

It handed him his first NASCAR title by an 51-point lead over Matt Kenseth.

``Yeah, it’s incredible,″ said Johnson, in his typically low-key tone. ``These guys are incredible. This team has really come into its own in the last year.″

Greg Biffle won the Ford 400 for the third straight season, beating rookies Martin Truex Jr. and Denny Hamlin to the finish line. Kasey Kahne was fourth and Kevin Harvick rounded out the top five. Kenseth was sixth.

Juan Pablo Montoya, making the first Nextel Cup start of his budding NASCAR career, ran as high as 13th, but his race ended in a fiery wreck 15 laps from the finish.

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