Johnson wrecks out of Brickyard 400 in three-wide battle for the win

The possibility of a fifth Brickyard 400 win was two laps away for Jimmie Johnson.

Johnson wrecks out of Brickyard 400 in three-wide battle for the win
Jimmie Johnson, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Jimmie Johnson, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Jimmie Johnson, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Jimmie Johnson, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Jimmie Johnson, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet

With three victories to his credit — and locked into NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Playoffs — Johnson took his shot at the win but ended up in the wall with his fourth DNF of 2017.

Johnson, who started from the rear of the field after the team changed the rear gear in the No. 48 Chevrolet, was running third behind Kasey Kasey and Brad Keselowski when the race restarted after the 11th caution. Johnson had smoke coming from his car when he dove under Kahne out of Turn 2, got his teammate loose then took the drivers three-wide on the back stretch before wrecking himself in Turn 3.

“I was blowing up,” Johnson said. “I was definitely smoking and it was definitely engine oil smoke, I could smell that. I didn’t know where it was coming from and I had decent grip through (Turns) 1 and 2, and so I went into Turn 3. I had a shot to win the Brickyard 400 for the fifth time; and I was hoping one, the engine would live, and two, we would make it through Turns 3 and 4.”

Kahne went on to win his first Brickyard 400 — and the 10th for Hendrick Motorsports. Johnson finished 27th and dropped to 10th in the standings.

He finished ninth in the first stage and was 17th in the second segment after contact with Kyle Larson. Larson was tired of Johnson blocking the No. 42 Chevy and knocked him out of the way.

“Yeah, the blocking has been there for a long time and it’s so tough to pass,” Johnson said. “With stage racing, every position matters and it’s just ramped-up the blocking and the intensity.

“So, that’s just normal stuff out there right now. If Mark Martin would have a heart attack if he were racing in this era! (laughs). So, the game has changed, for sure.”

Johnson was 12th on Lap 120. As the leaders started green-flag pit stops on Lap 130, he moved up to second behind Brad Keselowski. A multi-car wreck on Lap 150 opened the door for Keselowski and Johnson to pit. Kahne, who pitted on Lap 149, inherited the lead. After a 20-minute delay, Kahne lined up first with Newman second. Keselowski, Trevor Bayne and Johnson rounded out the top five with seven laps to decide the contest.

The race was delayed again on Lap 157 when a wreck occurred between Ty Dillon, Larson and Ryan Blaney. When the race returned to green with two laps to go, Johnson made the move on Kahne, but it was too little, too late.

“I got really loose going into the corner,” Johnson added. “So I don’t know if I spun out in my own oil or if it was an aero situation, but I was so close to my fifth win here at the Brickyard.”

shares
comments
Keselowski hails Kahne for driving "a hell of a race"

Previous article

Keselowski hails Kahne for driving "a hell of a race"

Next article

Opinion: The clock has run out on NASCAR's overtime experiment

Opinion: The clock has run out on NASCAR's overtime experiment
Load comments
From the archive: Dale Earnhardt’s final Autosport interview Prime

From the archive: Dale Earnhardt’s final Autosport interview

The death of Dale Earnhardt in the 2001 Daytona 500 shocked NASCAR to the core. At the Daytona 24 Hours, two weeks before his fatal accident, ‘The Intimidator’ shared his expectations of challenging for an eighth Cup title with JONATHAN INGRAM, in an article first published in the 15 February 2001 issue of Autosport magazine. Little did we know then what tragedy would unfold…

NASCAR Cup
Feb 18, 2021
The lasting NASCAR legacy after Dale Earnhardt’s death Prime

The lasting NASCAR legacy after Dale Earnhardt’s death

On February 18, 2001, seven-time NASCAR Cup champion Dale Earnhardt – the fearless ‘Intimidator’ – was in his element at Daytona International Speedway. While his own DEI team’s cars ran 1-2 towards the finish line, his famed #3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet Monte Carlo was playing rear gunner to block any late runs from the chasing pack. As the cars tore through Turns 3 and 4 on that fateful final lap, Earnhardt maintained the strongarm tactics that encapsulated his persona… but his actions in those moments sadly proved to be his last.

NASCAR Cup
Feb 18, 2021
Inspired by Pitbull, the “revolution” sweeping through NASCAR Prime

Inspired by Pitbull, the “revolution” sweeping through NASCAR

The NASCAR Cup Series is changing. Whether it be the gradual morphing out the seasoned drivers of yesterday as the next generation step up, a radical calendar shake-up featuring more road courses than ever before and the prospect of an all-new car on the horizon, stock car racing’s highest level is nearing the end of a huge facelift.

NASCAR Cup
Feb 16, 2021
The NASCAR storylines to watch out for in 2021 Prime

The NASCAR storylines to watch out for in 2021

This weekend's Daytona 500 kickstarts a NASCAR Cup season that promises plenty of intrigue courtesy of new owners and a refreshed calendar. Here's what you need to know ahead of the new season…

NASCAR Cup
Feb 13, 2021
Why Kyle Larson can't blow his big shot at redemption Prime

Why Kyle Larson can't blow his big shot at redemption

From a disgraced NASCAR exile, Kyle Larson has been given a chance of redemption by the powerhouse Hendrick Motorsports squad. Effectively replacing seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson is no easy billing, but Larson has every intention of repaying the team's faith...

NASCAR Cup
Feb 11, 2021
Why Roger Penske is an American motorsport icon Prime

Why Roger Penske is an American motorsport icon

In this exclusive one-on-one interview, Roger Penske reveals the inner drive that has made him not only a hugely successful team owner and businessman but also the owner of Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IndyCar. He spoke to David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Dec 28, 2020
Why NASCAR's latest second-generation champion is just getting started Prime

Why NASCAR's latest second-generation champion is just getting started

Chase Elliott's late charge to the 2020 NASCAR Cup title defied predictions that it would be a Kevin Harvick versus Denny Hamlin showdown. While the two veterans are showing no signs of slowing down, Elliott's triumph was a window into NASCAR's future…

NASCAR Cup
Nov 18, 2020
Why Kyle Larson deserves his second chance in a cancel culture Prime

Why Kyle Larson deserves his second chance in a cancel culture

“You can’t hear me? Hey n*****” Those fateful words uttered by Kyle Larson, spoken into his esports headset on April 12, were directed at his sim racing spotter – but instead they quickly became amplified around the world via social media, including his own Twitch stream.

NASCAR Cup
Oct 29, 2020