Denny Hamlin found redemption for a lost season, while Jimmie Johnson advanced to the threshold of legend.
Sidelined for four races with a broken back earlier in the season, Hamlin took the checkered flag in Sunday's Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, as Johnson claimed his sixth NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship with a ninth-place finish.
Johnson finished the season 19 points ahead of polesitter and race runner-up Matt Kenseth, who held off a furious charge from third-place Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the closing laps. With six NASCAR Sprint Cup titles, Johnson is one behind career leaders Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt.
Hamlin won for the first time this season, the second time at Homestead and the 23rd time in his career. The driver of the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota has won at least one race in each of his eight full seasons in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
Martin Truex Jr. completed his tenure at Michael Waltrip Racing with a fourth-place run, one spot ahead of teammate Clint Bowyer. Brad Keselowski, Kyle Busch, Joey Logano, Johnson and Kevin Harvick rounded out the top 10.
Johnson's path to the title was far from easy. Moments after a restart on Lap 194, Paul Menard rammed the back of Johnson's No. 48 Chevrolet as the outside line checked up. The impact jerked Johnson's car sideways, but the five-time champion was able to regain control and keep the car off the outside wall.
His momentum sapped, however, and Johnson plummeted to 23rd in the running order, the precise finishing position he needed to secure his sixth championship. Over the next nine laps, Johnson recovered to 16th and drove the No. 48 out of the danger zone.
From that point on, he advanced as high as sixth in the running order before finishing ninth, and the sixth NASCAR Sprint Cup title was his.