Jimmie Johnson broke a 16 race losing skid on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series by taking the checkers at the Southern 500 on Saturday night before a near sellout crowd at Darlington Raceway.
Johnson passed Kyle Busch for the lead with 43 laps to go. Off a final re-start, Johnson pulled away from the pack and gave Hendrick Motorsports its 200th Sprint Cup victory.
Denny Hamlin finished second, followed by Tony Stewart and Kyle Busch. The race had eight cautions with nine different leaders, and took just over three hours and 47 minutes to complete. 21 of the 43 cars that started the race finished on the lead lap.
Southern 500 pole winner Greg Biffle dominated early but faded to finish 12th. Biffle is the points leader by just two over Matt Kenseth heading to the all-star break. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. is third in points after a 17th place finish at Darlington. Junior has not won in his last 140 Cup starts.
Jeff Gordon had the worst night among the big name drivers. He got into the wall early and later had multiple tires go down. Gordon hobbled to a 35th place effort at the Lady in Black.
Last year's Southern 500 winner, Regan Smith scraped the wall early in the race but rebounded to finish 14th. And Danica Patrick became only the third female driver to race at Darlington. She finished six laps down in 31st place.