Johnson earns 76th career Cup victory in Atlanta

HAMPTON, Ga. — Jimmie Johnson smoked his tires crossing the finish line, celebrating another win at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Then he realized what it really meant.

Johnson stuck his hand out of the No. 48 car, holding up three fingers. It was his little tribute to the Intimidator.

Johnson used pit strategy and a late yellow to claim the 76th victory of his career Sunday, pulling even with the late Dale Earnhardt on the NASCAR career list. Only six drivers have won more.

"This is special for sure," said Johnson, who began his Cup career shortly after Earnhardt was killed in a wreck on the last lap of the 2001 Daytona 500. "There was a big void in my mind not having a chance to race against him. I was literally a handful of months away from having the opportunity. To tie him today, for me personally, gives me a little bit of attachment to the great Dale Earnhardt."

Johnson won the race in overtime, crossing the line under yellow after the only wreck of the day. In a poignant touch, teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. was the runner-up.

Kevin Harvick led 131 laps, more than anyone else, but ceded the lead after he made his last green-flag pit stop nine laps after Johnson.


NFL to increase 2016 cap to $155.27 million

NEW YORK — The NFL's salary cap for 2016 will be $155.27 million, an increase of nearly $12 million.

The NFL Players Association confirmed the figure Sunday and will release the franchise and transition tag numbers Monday. Free agency begins March 9, but teams must apply those tags by Tuesday.

Among the players whose contracts have expired and might wind up getting tagged are Super Bowl MVP linebacker Von Miller of Denver and other All-Pros such as Carolina cornerback Josh Norman, Tampa Bay running back Doug Martin and Kansas City safety Eric Berry.

Since the 10-year labor greement was reached in 2011, the cap has risen more than $35 million per team. The increase is the largest since 2006, when the salary cap went up from $85.5 to $102 million.

In other NFL news:

Former 49ers right tackle Anthony Davis plans to file for reinstatement after he retired in June last year after a head injury, a person with direct knowledge of his decision said.

The person spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because no move had been completed.

The 49ers' 11th overall pick in the 2010 draft out of Rutgers was affected by a concussion late in the 2014 season. On June 5 at age 25, Davis announced his retirement from the Niners in another surprising 2015 offseason departure for the team. He became the fourth prominent 49ers player to retire in a three-month span — joining linebackers Patrick Willis and Chris Borland and defensive end Justin Smith.


With short putter, Scott takes Honda Classic

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — Adam Scott won the Honda Classic and put to rest any notion that his career would suffer with a short putter.

In a tight duel with Sergio Garcia for the entire round Sunday at PGA National, Scott stayed out of the water and closed with an even-par 70 for a one-shot victory. It was his first title since Colonial in May 2014, and his first time winning with a conventional putter since the 2010 Singapore Open.

The timing of his victory also was a big statement for the 35-year-old Australian. Scott won in his third start since a new rule took effect that bans the anchored stroke typically used for the long putter that he had the past five years. Scott switched back for good at the Presidents Cup. This was his 10th start since then, and only twice has he finished out of the top 10.

Scott finished at 9-under 271 and moved to No. 9 in the world, his highest in 10 months.

Justin Thomas closed with a 69 and tied for third with Blayne Barber (70) four shots behind.

Compiled from press services.

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