Jimmie Johnson rolls the dice but falls short of another 600 win

Jimmie Johnson was less than two laps away from claiming his 83rd career win and his ninth victory at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Jimmie Johnson rolls the dice but falls short of another 600 win
Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Roush Fenway Racing Ford nd Jimmie Johnson, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Jimmie Johnson, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Jimmie Johnson, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Jimmie Johnson, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet

Despite leading 35 laps in the Coca-Cola 600, the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports team gambled on fuel — and lost on Sunday.

Austin Dillon took the lead on the backstretch and his first career as win Johnson limped around on fumes to a 17th-place finish.

“I didn’t know we were thinking fuel,” Johnson said of his team’s strategy. “I could have done a lot better job on the front end to put us in a better position. When I got the news about saving fuel, I did all I could from that point and just came up a little bit short.”

Johnson started the race 14th. He was in the top 10 by Lap 15 and through attrition, after his teammate Chase Elliott and Brad Keselowski were eliminated following a wreck on Lap 20, Johnson easily remained in the top 10 for stage points in the first two segments.

Johnson pitted for fuel for the last time on Lap 330. He inherited the lead after Kurt Busch pitted on Lap 369. With 20 circuits remaining, crew chief Chad Knaus pleas to save fuel were more emphatic. He warned Johnson that the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevy would run out on Lap 399.

Try as Johnson might, the seven-time champion could not squeeze 105-miles out of a tank of gas. Still, after scoring points in the first two stages and leading three times for 35 circuits, Johnson was still pleased with his car.

“A strong performance for the car.,” Johnson said. “Had a couple of weird things go on, on some restarts where I lost some track position. I think the No. 17 (Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.) spun the tires really bad in front of us and I went from I don’t know the third or fourth row to way back.

“So, I had to fight back through some of that, but we still had a look at a win on fuel strategy. Last I heard, no one could make it (on fuel). If I had known that a little bit earlier, I could have made up that extra lap. But they were calculating stuff on the box. We do a lot to get that just right, but came up a little short. Congratulations to Austin (Dillon) on his first win. We’ll come back next week and try to get one at my favorite track (Dover).”

Johnson is currently eighth in the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series standings. He trails Martin Truex Jr. by 132 points.

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About this article

Series NASCAR Cup
Event Charlotte
Location Charlotte Motor Speedway
Drivers Jimmie Johnson
Teams Hendrick Motorsports
Author Lee Spencer
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