Johnson Has Another Rough Day

Jimmie Johnson

Jimmie Johnson makes his way to the garage after hitting the wall and ending his race Sunday at Pocono. (Photo: Getty Images)

LONG POND, Pa. - His teammate won, but Jimmie Johnson wasn’t at the finish, continuing a rough stretch for the six-time series champion.

While Dale Earnhardt Jr. scored his third victory of the season Sunday at Pocono Raceway, Johnson was dealing with his fourth consecutive finish outside the top 10. It’s only the second time since 2009 that Johnson has had such a drought. Of course, he rebounded from such a stretch last year to win the title.

Johnson hit the wall twice Sunday before finishing 39th. It’s the third time in the last four races he’s finished 39th or worse. He was 42nd at Daytona after being involved in a crash and placed 42nd at New Hampshire when he crashed early after his second tire issue.

His problems Sunday started early when his contact with the wall brought out the first caution on Lap 10.

“The first one, I got tight off Turn 1 and got in the fence,’’ Johnson said. “It pushed the rear quarter panel into the tire and got the first flat, so my bad.’’

His team recovered and he worked his way toward the front in a race that saw multiple pit strategies throughout the field.

Then trouble returned about 100 laps later when hit the Turn 2 wall, ending his race.

“On that one, I am clueless,’’ Johnson said. “It didn’t act like a tire went down and I am not exactly sure if it did. Normally when they go down that quick they explode and there was no explosion, the tire did not come apart, it just went straight.  

“We are trying to get in there and look at it, obviously the tire is flat now from the impact. Hopefully we can get a reason why. Unfortunate with how hard we fought to get ourselves back in contention. It wasn’t the best weekend but we still gave ourselves a chance at a win if not a top five today and came up a little short.” 

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