By Ben White
Driving the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, Jimmie Johnson posted 10 wins and 24 top-10 finishes on the way to securing his second consecutive NASCAR Cup Series championship and seventh title for team owner Rick Hendrick.
From 2002 until 2006, Johnson and crew chief Chad Knaus amassed 24 victories, finished second in points in 2003 and 2004 and claimed their first championship in 2006. The dynamic duo felt they had the strongest team and could successfully defend their crown.
Johnson began the season by suffering a crash in the season-opening Daytona 500. The El Cajon, California, native finished 39th in the 43-car field and knew he had his work cut out for him to get his title hopes back on track. He rebounded with a victory at Las Vegas Motor Speedway two weeks later and returned to fourth in points.
Johnson remained in the top-five in points through the July 4 event at Daytona International Speedway but fell to seventh at Chicagoland Speedway with a crash and a 37th-place finish.
A second crash at Indianapolis a week later and a 39th-place finish dropped him even further back to ninth. The path toward defending the title wasn’t looking promising.
Then, three top-5 finishes and wins at California and Richmond returned Johnson to the points lead. He was among the top three in points for the remainder of the season.
Consecutive wins at Martinsville, Atlanta, Texas and Phoenix during the Chase iced the championship.
In the final points tally, Johnson bested teammate Jeff Gordon by 77 points.
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Jimmie Johnson, driver of the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, recorded 10 wins, 24 top-10 finishes and four pole positions. Johnson suffered through ebbs and flows during the 2007 schedule but was able to edge teammate Jeff Gordon by 77 points for his second consecutive NASCAR Cup Series championship. Johnson’s ability to communicate with crew chief Chad Knaus made them a force to be reckoned with throughout the 36-race season.
On June 4, Martin Truex Jr., driving the No. 1 Dale Earnhardt Inc. Chevrolet, led 216 of 400 laps at Dover Motor Speedway to claim his first Cup Series victory. Ryan Newman, Carl Edwards and Denny Hamlin chased him under the checkered flag. The race featured 18 lead changes and seven caution periods spanning 35 laps. A second-generation driver from nearby Mayetta, New Jersey, the one-mile Dover oval is Truex’s home track.
Jimmie Johnson’s No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Lowe’s Chevrolet went to Victory Lane 10 times and had 24 top-10 finishes.
The No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports DuPont Chevrolet, driven by Jeff Gordon, recorded six wins and 30 top-10 results.
2007 Series Recap
DATE | LOCATION | WINNER
Feb. 18 | Daytona International Speedway | Kevin Harvick
Feb. 25 | Auto Club Speedway | Matt Kenseth
March 11 | Las Vegas Motor Speedway | Jimmie Johnson
March 18 | Atlanta Motor Speedway | Jimmie Johnson
March 25 | Bristol Motor Speedway | Kyle Busch
April 1 | Martinsville Speedway | Jimmie Johnson
April 15 | Texas Motor Speedway | Jeff Burton
April 21 | Phoenix Raceway | Jeff Gordon
April 29 | Talladega Superspeedway | Jeff Gordon
May 6 | Richmond Raceway | Jimmie Johnson
May 13 | Darlington Raceway | Jeff Gordon
May 27 | Charlotte Motor Speedway | Casey Mears
June 4 | Dover Motor Speedway | Martin Truex Jr.
June 10 | Pocono Raceway | Jeff Gordon
June 17 | Michigan International Speedway | Carl Edwards
June 24 | Sonoma Raceway Juan | Pablo Montoya
July 1 | New Hampshire Motor Speedway | Denny Hamlin
July 7 | Daytona International Speedway | Jamie McMurray
July 15 | Chicagoland Speedway | Tony Stewart
July 29 | Indianapolis Motor Speedway | Tony Stewart
Aug. 5 | Pocono Raceway | Kurt Busch
Aug. 12 | Watkins Glen International | Tony Stewart
Aug. 21 | Michigan International Speedway | Kurt Busch
Aug. 25 | Bristol Motor Speedway | Carl Edwards
Sept. 2 | Auto Club Speedway | Jimmie Johnson
Sept. 8 | Richmond Raceway | Jimmie Johnson
Sept. 16 | New Hampshire Motor Speedway | Clint Bowyer
Sept. 23 | Dover Motor Speedway | Carl Edwards
Sept. 30 | Kansas Speedway | Greg Biffle
Oct. 7 | Talladega Superspeedway | Jeff Gordon
Oct. 13 | Charlotte Motor Speedway | Jeff Gordon
Oct. 21 | Martinsville Speedway | Jimmie Johnson
Oct. 28 | Atlanta Motor Speedway | Jimmie Johnson
Nov. 4 | Texas Motor Speedway | Jimmie Johnson
Nov. 11 | Phoenix Raceway | Jimmie Johnson
Nov. 18 | Homestead-Miami Speedway | Matt Kenseth