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.

About Greg Engle 7420 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for Examiner.com and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.