Skip to content

It could have been worse: Jimmie Johnson overcomes damage to finish 25th in Texas

Apr 7, 2014, 7:35 PM EDT

Jimmie Johnson AP

Hendrick Motorsports teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. became a pain in the grass for Jimmie Johnson in Monday’s Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.

Had Earnhardt not made a costly mistake, driving off the track and into a waterlogged grassy area in the infield heading into Turn 1, Johnson could very well have finished much better in the race than he actually did.

Unfortunately, a big chunk of the sod Earnhardt tore up, not to mention rubber from the tire he blew when he hit the grass and then bounced off the edge of the pavement and up into the Turn 1 wall went where it shouldn’t have.

Namely, right into Johnson’s windshield and the front end of his car. The impact was so forceful that the debris actually bent part of Johnson’s windshield and the inside support bracket.

As a result, Johnson was forced to make three separate pit stops within a few laps of each other for repairs. And then, if that wasn’t bad enough, he had to make a fourth stop when he suffered a right rear tire issue several laps later.

For Johnson to go through such a miserable day and still finish 25th, two laps behind race winner Joey Logano, is commendable and notable.

“When Junior when through the grass, it kicked up all this debris and mud,” Johnson recalled after the race. “It ripped the windshield and ripped the left front.

“There was a lot of noise. And I saw his car and then I instantly lost vision. I felt a couple of hard hits on my car and I knew that we had some damage.

“But … we recovered and had a fast car and we were okay, and then I don’t know if I ran something over on the track or what, but something really big hit the bottom-side of my car and that, I think, punctured our right rear tire. We had to come to pit road after that. And then we lost a couple of laps due to that.”

Johnson actually had a car worthy of winning his second race in a row at Texas, having done so in last fall’s Chase race there.

But when the race finally went green after the field circled TMS for the first 10 laps under yellow/green caution to test the track’s viability and dryness, it took less than two laps for Earnhardt to not only spoil his day, but Johnson’s as well.

“The Lowe’s team gave me a great car today,” Johnson said. “It’s kind of surreal what happened. Junior hit the grass there and something off his car like a splitter or something just destroyed my windshield and then something hit the nose of the car too.

“We were in a good position and were running decent lap times when the right rear blew. I’m glad Junior is alright and hats off to my guys today. We played around with some strategy at the end. They never gave up.

“It was a day of bad luck. We had a fast race car, so there was a little silk lining in it, but it was a terrible finish.”

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

Latest Posts
  1. It’s official: Marcos Ambrose will return to Australia to race V8 Supercars for Roger Penske

    Sep 14, 2014, 8:52 PM EDT

    Marcos Ambrose (left), along with NASCAR president Mike Helton. (Photo: Sean Gardner/Getty Images) Getty Images

    JOLIET, Ill. — One day after announcing he would not be returning to Richard Petty Motorsports in 2015, Marcos Ambrose made it official that he’s going home to his native Australia to and race in the V8 Supercars series for Roger Penske.

  2. Danica Patrick, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. tangle in wreck at Chicago — but it’s all good

    Sep 14, 2014, 7:48 PM EDT

    (Photo: Sean Gardner/Getty Images) Getty Images

    JOLIET, Ill. – Oh, how we’d love to be a bug on the wall when Danica Patrick and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. get home after Sunday’s MyAFibStory.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway.

  3. Jeff Gordon makes strong ‘Drive For Five’ start, also has high praise for Kyle Larson in Chase opener

    Sep 14, 2014, 7:18 PM EDT

    (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh) AP

    JOLIET, Ill. – In the first race of the 2014 Chase for the Sprint Cup, Jeff Gordon took the first step in his “Drive For Five” – and put his best foot forward.

  4. How the 16 drivers fared in Sunday’s Chase opener

    Sep 14, 2014, 6:17 PM EDT

    (Photo: Jerry Markland/Getty Images) Getty Images

    JOLIET, Ill. – Sunday’s opening race in the Chase for the Sprint Cup was good for 12 of the 16 contestants, as they dominated the top-15 finishers in the MyAFibStory.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway. But four others struggled and find themselves in a hole heading into the second race of the Chase.

  5. Keselowski surges between Harvick, Larson to win Chase opener at Chicagoland

    Sep 14, 2014, 5:30 PM EDT

    (Photo: Jerry Markland/Getty Images) Getty Images

    JOLIET, Ill. — While Kyle Larson and Kevin Harvick were jousting for the lead, Keselowski slipped up in-between them and then sailed right through with 15 laps left to win Sunday’s MyAFibStory.com 400, the opening race in the Chase for the Sprint Cup at Chicagoland Speedway.

  6. Brad Keselowski, Jeff Gordon lead Chase opener at halfway point

    Sep 14, 2014, 3:44 PM EDT

    keselowski joliet 2014 Getty Images

    JOLIET, Ill. – With 134 of the scheduled 267 laps complete, Brad Keselowski leads the opening race of the Chase for the Sprint Cup, the MyAFibStory.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway.

  7. Even with new crew, Kevin Harvick’s pit road problems continue

    Sep 14, 2014, 3:15 PM EDT

    Harvick pit crew richmond 2014 Getty Images

    JOLIET, Ill. — Kevin Harvick made a celebrated trade of pit crews with Tony Stewart for Sunday’s MyAFibStory.com 400 due to numerous mistakes and errors committed by his pit crew during the first 26 races of the regular season. Unfortunately, Harvick’s pit road jinx continued with the new crew.

  8. For 16 Sprint Cup drivers, the time is here: ready, set, Chase

    Sep 14, 2014, 1:34 PM EDT

    Sprint Cup trophy 2014 Getty Images

    JOLIET, Ill. — If Sunday’s MyAFibStory.com 400 plays out the way folks in the garage were talking Sunday morning, there’s going to be at least a few surprises both in the course of the race and potentially in the outcome in the opening event of the 2014 Chase for the Sprint Cup.

  9. Kyle Busch starts Truck race ticked-off, only to end up in victory lane at Chicagoland

    Sep 13, 2014, 9:20 PM EDT

    (Photo: Daniel Shirey/Getty Images) Getty Images

    JOLIET, Ill. – A ticked-off Kyle Busch is the most dangerous kind of Kyle Busch. Dejected after coming up short in the Nationwide Series race earlier in the afternoon, the younger Busch brother rallied back to win Saturday night’s Lucas Oil 225 Camping World Truck Series race.

  10. Joey Logano: ‘We’re ready’ to win Sprint Cup championship

    Sep 13, 2014, 8:09 PM EDT

    (Photo: Sarah Glenn/Getty Images) Getty Images

    JOLIET, Ill. — Joey Logano is ready to go from wanna-be champion to doing the real thing in this season’s Chase for the Sprint Cup.

  11. DeJoria (FC), Enders-Stevens (PS), Todd (TF) and Krawiec (PSM) are the ones to beat in NHRA race in Charlotte

    Sep 13, 2014, 7:30 PM EDT

    Alexis DeJoria is No. 1 at Charlotte heading into Sunday's eliminations. (Photo courtesy NHRA) Alexis DeJoria is No. 1 at Charlotte heading into Sunday's eliminations. (Photo courtesy NHRA)

    Alexis DeJoria (Funny Car), Erica Enders-Stevens (Pro Stock), J.R. Todd (Top Fuel) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) will enter Sunday’s Pep Boys NHRA Carolina Nationals as the No. 1 qualifiers at zMAX Dragway in Concord, N.C.

  12. Kevin Harvick outsmarts Kyle Busch, earns third career NNS win at Chicagoland Speedway

    Sep 13, 2014, 6:40 PM EDT

    (Photo: Sean Gardner/Getty Images) Getty Images

    JOLIET, Ill. – What looked like yet another almost certain Kyle Busch win on Saturday literally went up in smoke, as Kevin Harvick rallied to earn his third career Nationwide Series victory at Chicagoland Speedway.

  13. Kyle Busch ready to claim his ‘second’ Sprint Cup championship

    Sep 13, 2014, 5:26 PM EDT

    (Photo: Nick Laham/Getty Images) Getty Images

    JOLIET, Ill. – Kyle Busch believes he can win his ‘second’ Sprint Cup championship in 2014. Wait a minute, when did he win his first? Did we miss something somewhere?

  14. Carl Edwards leads final Sprint Cup practice, Keselowski up to speed, Danica 5th-fastest

    Sep 13, 2014, 3:30 PM EDT

    Kesewlowski Chicagoland 2014 Getty Images

    JOLIET, Ill. — Carl Edwards was fastest in Saturday’s Sprint Cup happy hour practice, but Brad Keselowski was the bigger story, finding the speed he’s been lacking up to now. Also, Danica Patrick was fifth-fastest.

  15. Marcos Ambrose decision to leave RPM, NASCAR due to family, desire to return to Australia

    Sep 13, 2014, 2:41 PM EDT

    marcos ambrose chicagoland 2014 Getty Images

    JOLIET, Ill. — Marcos Ambrose cited being homesick for his native Australia as well as family concerns as the main reasons he’s leaving Richard Petty Motorsports and NASCAR at the end of this season.

  16. Brian Scott holds off Ryan Blaney to earn 3rd NNS pole of season

    Sep 13, 2014, 2:03 PM EDT

    (Photo: Nick Laham/Getty Images) Getty Images

    JOLIET, Ill. — Shortly after Richard Childress Racing teammate Paul Menard posted the fastest speed in Saturday morning’s Sprint Cup practice, teammate Brian Scott went out and earned the pole for Saturday afternoon’s Jimmy John’s Freaky Fast 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Chicagoland Speedway.

  17. Romain Grosjean hopeful of points at Singapore GP

    Sep 13, 2014, 1:00 PM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Germany - Qualifying Getty Images

    Frenchman is confident that Lotus will be in better shape than it was at Monza.

  18. Sprint Cup practice speeds slower Saturday morning at Chicagoland, Paul Menard tops at 188.772 mph

    Sep 13, 2014, 12:23 PM EDT

    paul menard richmond 2 2014 Getty Images

    JOLIET, Ill. — Paul Menard shot to the top of the speed charts during the first of two practice sessions for the Sprint Cup drivers Saturday morning at Chicagoland Speedway.

  19. Roberto Merhi dominates Formula Renault 3.5 race in Hungary

    Sep 13, 2014, 12:00 PM EDT

    © Renault Sport © Renault Sport

    Spaniard dominates at the Hungaroring, strengthening his case for an F1 seat with Caterham.

Video from NASCAR America

Johnson's quest for a record 7th title
Top 10 NASCAR Driver Searches
  1. J. Johnson (1805)
  2. K. Busch (1287)
  3. J. Logano (1182)
  4. J. Gordon (1144)
  5. D. Suarez (1118)
  1. B. Keselowski (1021)
  2. B. Rhodes (954)
  3. A. Hill (924)
  4. R. Pardo (911)
  5. I. Vences (880)