Kyle Larson is snookered on final restart

Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe's Chevrolet, takes the checkered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 and the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 20, 2016 in Homestead, Florida. (Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe's Chevrolet, takes the checkered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 and the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 20, 2016 in Homestead, Florida. (Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet, takes the checkered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 and the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 20, 2016 in Homestead, Florida. (Getty Images)

HOMESTEAD, Fla. – Kyle Larson led 132 of 168 laps in Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, but he didn’t lead the one that counted.

And though Larson didn’t begrudge Johnson’s seventh NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship, Larson felt Johnson gained an edge by laying back on the overtime restart that decided the race.

“Congrats to Jimmie for winning the championship,” Larson said. “That’s pretty cool that Jimmie could win seven there. We had the car to win there, and I know that I did everything in my power to win the race. But rules are rules and I have to work in the box.”

“You’re supposed to be side-by-side entering the (restart) box, and he was all the way behind me. So not really anything I could do to maintain his distance behind me. But it’s whatever—I’m happy for him.”

Larson wasn’t wrong. Knowing other championship contenders would also try to lay back behind him, Johnson admitted he did the same—just not enough for NASCAR to call him on it.

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