Johnson Salvages Top-10 Finish
By: Pete Pistone - @PPistone | MRN.com on August 17, 2014 | 6:14 P.M. EST
Jimmie Johnson came from a lap down to finish in the top 10 Sunday at Michigan. (Photo: Jeff Wackerlin)
BROOKLYN, Mich. – Jimmie Johnson somehow managed a ninth-place finish after battling with a broken gearshift handle.
Johnson started 30th Sunday but worked his way to the lead by pittong on the day’s first yellow when Kyle Busch hit the wall and not on a lap 20 competition caution.
The advantage was short lived when Johnson’s gearshift lever broke and forced him back to the pits.
The first attempt to give Johnson a pair of vice grips as a means of grabbing the lever to shift didn’t work and eventually more work was necessary.
“Somebody handed me some tools, and I didn’t have a lot of success getting that fixed,” Johnson said. “They had some contraption with a vice grip to try to figure that out, and it fell off before I even got back to pit in under caution.
“So, once I could get the wire tie busted and get the boot down, I could see what was wrong and we were able to kind of adjust from there. And (car chief) Ron Malec dove into the right-side window and we got it sorted out.”
Johnson then set sail for the front of the field and after falling a lap down not only got back on the lead lap but started moving to the front.
Before scoring the top-10 finish, Johnson had a bit of a run-in with Ryan Newman for position.
“Oh, it was just normal ‘Ryan Newman stuff’. Anybody who has watched this sport long enough or has been in a race car out there understands the frustration that comes along with racing Ryan,” Johnson said.
But Johnson remained focused on the effort of his race team that had to step up to help stem the tide of a recent skid.
“I don’t want to take away anything from what this awesome race team did,” he said. “Granted, we put ourselves in a bad position with the shift lever breaking off and were able to rally back and get ourselves a good finish. It was unfortunate we didn’t get any further up in the field, but we still salvaged a lot today.”