Knaus back, Johnson off track

Chad Knaus' first weekend back after a month long suspension was a real humdinger. Time trials were rained out. It snowed during most of Cup practice with temps around 29 degrees and on the first turn of the first lap of the 500-miler at Bristol,...

Chad Knaus' first weekend back after a month long suspension was a real humdinger. Time trials were rained out. It snowed during most of Cup practice with temps around 29 degrees and on the first turn of the first lap of the 500-miler at Bristol, his driver, Jimmie Johnson cut a tire.

Johnson plummeted through the field before finally maneuvering the No. 48 Chevy onto pit road at lap five. But, the damage was done.

Johnson fell to a one lap deficit and the problems mounted from there.

Handling issues and chassis problems beleaguered the car and on lap 125 he smacked the wall. From there on in, the car was junk and by the races midpoint he was 10 laps down and had lost the NASCAR point lead.

"Jimmie's car is pretty bad," said Knaus during the race. "During the last pit stop we got up under there to check out the whole suspension to make sure nothing was going to fall off and it's pretty bent up under there.

"We're just going to do what we can too gain a few more spots out there. These guys keep wrecking and having their difficulties which will give us a few more spots and then we move on to Martinsville."

Knaus had not called one point race all season until this weekend. He was ejected from activities from infractions during Speedweeks and engineer Darien Grubb stepped to the plate to sub for Knaus. Under Grubb's direction, Johnson scored the win in the Daytona 500, finished second at Fontana, won at Las Vegas and earned sixth in Atlanta.

His run of top ten's came to a crashing halt at Bristol Motor Speedway.

"Man, before we hit the start of the race we had a flat tire," explained Johnson. "It was a really tough day for us."

After his day of suffering with a wounded race car was over he wound up 13 laps down in 30th place. The poor finish slips him to third in NASCAR Nextel Cup series point standings.

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Jimmie Johnson , Chad Knaus