Tire Woes Send Johnson Into Wall

Jimmie Johnson

Jimmie Johnson crashes after the second of two tire failures early in Sunday's race. He finished 42nd. (Photo: Getty Images)

LOUDON, N.H. - Jimmie Johnson suffered two left rear tire failures and crashed early in Sunday’s race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. He finished 42nd.

“I can promise you one thing,’’ Johnson said, “it wasn’t (because of) too low left rear tire pressure.’’

Not so, said Goodyear’s Greg Stucker.

“The tires failed in a manner consistent with low inflation pressure,’’ Stucker said of Johnson’s tire.

Denny Hamlin, who started behind Johnson noted on the radio before the race how low the air pressures seemed in Johnson’s tire. Johnson suffered his left rear tire failure on Lap 8, forcing him to pit.The team changed left-side tires only.

Problems quickly returned. The left rear failed again on Johnson’s car and sent him into the wall. He completed only 11 laps before his race ended.

Low air pressure in the left rear was cited as a reason for Joey Logano’s crash on Friday and Aric Almirola’s crash on Saturday. Goodyear stated Casey Mears and Ryan Newman had left rear tire issues on Friday because they also were below the recommended minimum levels.         

Johnson’s theory is that the second tire failure was a result of the first one.       

“You can look at the second tire and think that maybe some damage was done from the first to cause the second one to go so quickly,’’ Johnson said.

Hamlin and Grubb talked on the radio during that caution and Grubb speculated that Johnson’s team didn’t have enough time to change the air pressures on the left rear tire before he came in after the first flat.

Johnson called the crash a “setback” considering the team tested here before this race and lost a chance to try things in preparation for the Chase race in September at this track. 

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