Jimmie Johnson won the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 Sprint Cup race in Atlanta for the second year in a row on Sunday afternoon and tied Dale Earnhardt’s NASCAR career win total of 76 in the process tying him for seventh with the Intimidator. Sunday also marked the second year that QuikTrip sponsored the event with Folds of Honor as the beneficiary and co-title sponsor and their involvement is good for them and good for the sport.
Given the drama of the Daytona 500 last week it was always going to be difficult for the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 to live up to that dramatic ending and while the race was not as exciting as Daytona it was a great afternoon of racing entertainment for the fans on a beautiful day. And in the Folds of Honor the race has an incredibly strong and deserving focal point for exposure outside the NASCAR racing community.
The race was a fast-paced affair with the first 208 laps being raced without caution and only three yellow flags in total. While there were 28 lead changes during the race it felt like two drivers dominated; Kevin Harvick who took the lead on lap 165 and Jimmie Johnson who took over from Harvick and led the final 44 laps to the checkered flag. The only real controversy was when early leader Matt Kenseth was black-flagged on lap 120 for a pit violation and took no further part in the race.
By winning the race, Jimmie Johnson tied Dale Earnhardt in career NASCAR wins with 76 and the significance of that was not lost on him when, during his victory lap he saluted The Intimidator with a three-finger salute to the crowd. The significance was also not lost on Dale junior who was pleased for his teammate, “”I don’t have a problem calling him the best of this generation, even as a competitor of his and having to go out there and race against him. Obviously he will credit his crew chief and his team. That all has been real consistent throughout his career, and they do deserve some credit, but Jimmie is just a phenomenal talent.”
While the race lacked drama it’s important to remember that the primary beneficiary and race title holder, Folds of Honor, is an incredible non-profit organization that provides educational scholarships and assistance to families of military men and women who have been killed or disabled while serving in the armed forces. Since its founding in 2007, the organization is proud to have awarded more than 10,000 scholarships in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and Guam, including 2,600 in 2015. Folds of Honor is a worthy recipient of any, and all recognition as it continues its mission to “honor their sacrifice, educate their legacy.”