Jimmie Johnson’s 2018 Daytona Speedweeks turned out to be another forgettable affair.
Johnson wrecked out of all three races in which he competed during the past week, culminating with his involvement in a multi-car wreck on the last lap of Stage 1 of Sunday’s Daytona 500.
“There was some great racing throughout. But unfortunately, many thought it was the black and white checkered flag and not the green and white checkered flag,” Johnson said after the accident.
“On lap 59 to be throwing blocks like that – just a lot of wrecked race cars. We will go to work and go to Atlanta next week. But it is disappointing for this Lowes team and everyone at Hendrick Motorsports for all the work they put into it.”
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. had attempted a block, got loose and drifted up the track. He was able to save himself from wrecking, but his moves triggered a wreck behind him.
Johnson said he thought several drivers were failing to look at “the big picture.”
“We are going way faster with this rear ride-height rule in the cars. Just everything is on edge,” he said. “It’s a lot of fun, we are flying around here, but it puts handling at a premium. It gets us closer to the edge of traction and we are just slipping and sliding all over.”
Johnson was credited with a 38th-place finish.
Speedweeks looked like it was starting well for Johnson as he was running third in last Sunday’s Clash on the last lap. He got turned by Kyle Larson and ended up wrecking – the seventh consecutive year he has wrecked out of the exhibition race.
Then, in his Daytona qualifying race on Thursday night, Johnson had trouble with his left-rear tire that ignited a three-car wreck and sent him to a backup car for the 500.
“It’s been tough lately,” Johnson said of his recent run of Daytona bad luck. “I have had some great days and nights here through the July race and this race, but of late it’s been tough. That is just how it goes.
“If I want to think too hard about it, I can look at (Dale) Earnhardt’s record here and know how long it took him to get his first.”