HOMESTEAD, Fla. — Austin Dillon won the NASCAR Nationwide Series championship, holding off Sam Hornish Jr. in a wild season finale Saturday.
Sprint Cup regular Brad Keselowski won the race after moving up 10 spots in the final laps.
Dillon, driving the famed No. 3 for his grandfather, Richard Childress, finished 12th. It was good enough to hold off Hornish by three points. Hornish crossed the finish line eighth.
Hornish looked as if he would overcome an eight-point deficit in the standings for much of the 200-lap race, but a lengthy caution late posed problems. Hornish dropped from third to ninth on the final restart with five laps to go, ending his chances at getting a title in what could be his final race for Penske Racing.
BIG CHANGES COMING AT RCR: Jeff Burton will be making his final start in the No. 31 Chevrolet today for Richard Childress Racing.
At the same time, the team knows it will bring back the famed No. 3 to the Sprint Cup Series with Dillon behind the wheel.
Caterpillar has sponsored Burton for the past six years and the heavy equipment company will mark the driver’s last race by removing its name from the rear quarter panel and replacing it with: “Thank you Jeff.”
QB CAUSES STIR: Former NFL quarterback Donovan McNabb insisted Friday night that Jimmie Johnson isn’t an athlete because “he sits in a car and he drives.”
Almost instantly, the NASCAR nation responded.
McNabb is one of the hosts of Fox Sports Live, and he was asked whether Johnson won his sixth championship today where he would rank among the greatest athletes.
McNabb never hesitated by saying drivers, particularly Johnson, aren’t athletes.
“Do I think he’s an athlete? No. Absolutely not,” McNabb said. “I give credit to what he does. Athletically, what is he doing?”
Drivers posted comments on Twitter late Friday and early Saturday. Burton suggested McNabb drive a Sprint Cup Series car around the half-mile Bristol Motor Speedway for 500 laps before saying drivers aren’t athletic.
Kyle Larson tweeted: “Donovan McNabb is a moron.”
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. added” “Got to b an idiot. I’d like to see him keep up with Jimmie Johnson in a workout. And drive our cars for 500 miles.”
Whether NASCAR drivers are athletes has been debated for decades. What many don’t understand is the temperature inside the car can reach 140 degrees and the centrifugal forces in the corners can be tougher on the body than any weightlifting session.
And what McNabb clearly didn’t understand – or know – is Johnson competes in triathlons and generally runs as many as 10 miles a day.
Jeff Gordon offered McNabb a challenge on Twitter, saying: “Never met an “athlete” who actually drove a racecar that doubted it. Care to take a ride Donovan?”