Pit road error costs Johnson another potential win

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Pit road error costs Johnson another potential win
Lee Spencer
By: Lee Spencer
Oct 2, 2016, 10:04 PM

Jimmie Johnson was ready to drive off into the sunset — and his 11th career Cup win at Dover International Speedway.

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
Martin Truex Jr., Furniture Row Racing Toyota takes the checkered flag

That was before the pitstop on Lap 277. Johnson had led 89 laps before he came to pit road. First, the No. 48 team’s jack man jumped over the wall prematurely. Then his fueler had issues with the gas can. After a lengthy stop Johnson returned to the track only to have his crew relay the message that the team had been penalized for a crewman over the wall too soon.

"Really a unique circumstance on pit road," explained Johnson. "We had the No. 18 in the pit before us getting ready to pull out, the No. 43 leaving his stall. I got slowed up and had to check up and get behind two cars and unfortunately, I think it just threw the rhythm off of the pit stop."

When Johnson’s crew informed him of the infraction, he asked the crew, “I have to come in, don’t I?”

Crew chief Chad Knaus told his driver, “Bring it around,” and added not to speed.

Johnson served his penalty on Lap 282. He restarted 16th, one lap down. He fought his way back up through the field, but never got the caution he desperately needed. His speed allowed him to fight back to a seventh-place finish. 

Johnson led Lap 366 under the final round of green flag pit stops, bringing his race total to 90 laps led. Despite being a ten-time winner at the Monster Mile, Johnson claimed that his car for this particular race was "probably one of the best I've ever had here."

And although disappointed about the missed opportunity, the six-time series champion can't get be too frustrated, all things considered.

"We lost the battle today, but to be able to transfer and move on and only lose one lap serving that penalty, just because we had such a strong car. It turned out okay, but I do feel like one got away today. We're knocking on the door to win, just need some luck."

He then added, "We're getting better, so that feels really good. Just need to execute and get to Victory Lane. We're going to need to if we want to keep moving forward in this round."

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About this article

Series NASCAR Cup
Event Dover II
Sub-event Sunday race
Location Dover International Speedway
Drivers Jimmie Johnson
Teams Hendrick Motorsports
Author Lee Spencer
Article type Breaking news