It was almost a formality. Jimmie Johnson had such a huge lead entering the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway that all he had to do was finish 23rd or better to earn his sixth Sprint Cup Championship.

He came in ninth, and that was good enough for his sixth career title, putting him just one behind the NASCAR Cup Series all-time record holders, Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt, who each won seven.

Matt Kenseth did all he could to chase down Johnson. Kenseth started from the pole and led a race-high 144 laps, but he finished second to race winner Denny Hamlin. So after starting the Chase with back-to-back wins, Kenseth was forced to settle for second place in the championship series, 19 points back.

For Hamlin, he had to wait until the final race to win his first race of the season, his second at Homestead and the 23rd of his career. It extended to eight the number of seasons he's won at least one race. He's also the 16th different race winner this season, one more than last year.

Following second-place Matt Kenseth, it was Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Martin Truex, Jr. and Clint Bowyer completing the Top 5.

Sunday's race also was the last for driver Ken Schrader. At the age of 58, he's retiring from Cup racing, but will continue next year in the Truck Series.  He finished 34th.