Jimmie Johnson pulled away from the field on an overtime restart Sunday and was first to the white flag as a four-car accident unfolded along the backstretch – ending the race under caution and leaving Johnson with his seventy-sixth career win that ties the late Dale Earnhardt for seventh place all-time. Most of the race was caution-free with just one yellow flag in the first 323 laps. With Johnson in the lead less than two laps from completion of the scheduled distance, Ryan Newman’s spin brought out just the second caution of the day that would force overtime. Johnson pushed his Number-48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet in front of Kyle Busch coming out of the final restart, and put some distance between himself and the defending series champion before the day’s final caution ended the race. Dale Earnhardt Junior finished second, giving Hendrick Motorsports a sweep of the top two spots.
Busch finished third, one position ahead of older brother Kurt – who had started from the pole. Carl Edwards completed the top five … Kevin Harvick started sixth and led a race-high 131 laps before settling for sixth place. Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin finished sixteenth in his bid to become the first driver with back-to-back season-opening victories in the Sprint Cup Series since Matt Kenseth in 2009.
Chase Elliott was the highest-finishing rookie in the forty-car field, running eighth … Sunday’s race marked the debut of NASCAR’s 2016 low-downforce rules package. It produced twenty-eight lead changes, identical to last year’s race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.