Johnson's Quest for Eight Ends

Jimmie Johnson

Johnson: "Unfortunately, we won’t have a chance to make eight this year, but we’ll come back next year and try real hard.” (Photo: Getty Images)

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Jimmie Johnson's bid to compete for an eighth championship ended when he made hard contact with the wall after a right-front tire went down in Sunday's Can-Am 500 at Phoenix Raceway.

The defending Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion was running 11th at the time of impact just as the second stage was coming to a close.

"I really didn’t have any warning," Johnson said. "I knew I was hard on the brakes, but the run before we didn’t have any issues reported back. So, I felt like I was kind of doing the same thing. Unfortunately, with so few laps to go to the end of the Stage, as soon as I went in the corner and touched the brakes, the right front just blew.

"Unfortunately, we won’t have a chance to make eight this year, but we’ll come back next year and try real hard.”

It's been a challenging season for Johnson and the No. 48 team with four top five and 11 top-10 finishes - his lowest career totals in one season. Three of his top fives this year were wins, with the last one coming at Dover International Speedway in June. His 39th-place finish at Phoenix is his fifth straight outside the top 10 in the playoffs.

“We have been staying alive and that is not going to cut it for the Round of 8 and then the Round of 4," Johnson said. "We put a lot of effort into the whole season, especially the last couple of weeks and I just feel terrible that we didn’t get better results than what we have had.  A huge thanks to everybody at Hendrick Motorsports for their efforts, support from Lowe’s, KOBALT Tools and Chevrolet. We will go to Homestead and try to win one more and then get ready for next year.” 

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