Indianapolis, IN- For most of Sunday afternoon it looked like the Brickyard 400 was Jimmie Johnson’s race to lose.
He led for most of the race, had a dominant car and was easily the class of the field.
Until the final pit stop where they lost the race, that is.
Johnson first took the lead after a blistering fast pit stop on Lap 30. He would go on to lead three more times for a total of 73 laps until the final pit stop on Lap 132. After sub 13 second pit stops all day the No. 48 Lowe’s crew let him down.
Johnson’s final stop was just over 17 seconds and took him from leading to behind race-winner Ryan Newman over seven seconds back. Since Johnson pitted one lap earlier than Newman the No. 39 crew knew if they took just two tires they’d be ahead far enough to cruise to the victory.
That’s exactly what they did.
“We win as a team and lose as a team,” said Johnson. “There’s definitely disappointment there. But that’s racing – it happens.”
Instead of us talking about Johnson being the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s all-time winningest driver with five wins in eight years, we’re now talking about the letdown after one bad pit stop.
That just goes to show it doesn’t matter how much you dominate the race. You just have to position yourself at the end and capitalize on the final pit stop. The 48 team didn’t come through for Johnson.
Nevertheless, it was still a solid day for the five-time Sprint Cup champion. He finished runner-up and extended his points lead to 75 points over second place Clint Bowyer. One thing is for sure, these pit issues can’t happen in the Chase.
Eric Smith is the Lead Motorsports Writer for Race Review Online. Follow him on Twitter @ericsportsguru
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