Jimmie Johnson is virtually guaranteed of making the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship for the 12th consecutive year after winning Sunday's Fold of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Johnson's win at Atlanta didn't come easy. On Friday, he was one of 13 drivers who did not get a chance to participate in qualifying due inspection issues. All 13 had their cars initially fail inspection and then could not have another examination of their vehicles completed in time for qualifying. Johnson was placed in the 37th starting position.
Former series champions Jeff Gordon, Matt Kenseth and Tony Stewart did not make a qualifying run as well and joined Johnson deep in the starting field.
Dale Earnhardt wound up finishing third, while Logano, the pole sitter, took the fourth spot after he had led 84 of the first 96 laps. Johnson, Harvick and Earnhardt outran Logano after that.
Johnson, the six-time Sprint Cup Series champion, earned his 71st career win, including his fourth at this 1.54-mile racetrack. He joined Joey Logano as those drivers who have all but assured themselves of making this year's Chase, which begins in September.