When Jimmie Johnson hit the wall in the closing laps of Sunday's Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway, he also took a serious hit in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings.
The five-time champion blew a tire, smacked the wall, finished 28th and lost roughly 40 percent of the advantage he held entering the race, as his lead over second-place Carl Edwards (eighth Sunday) dwindled to 31 points.
So what, you might say. Johnson is still comfortably in the lead and he's in no danger of missing the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup for the first time in his career. But there's another reason why Johnson was loath to see the margin shrink.
What it means: Johnson's wife Chani is expecting the couple's second child, and the due date is in September. The possibility exists that Johnson may need to miss a race to witness the birth of his child.
Before Michigan, Johnson was more than one full race ahead of Edwards. Now he's not. Being the regular-season champion in the Cup series isn't that big a deal, because it pays no points, and the Chase is seeded by number of victories in the first 26 races.
Nevertheless, leading the points before the Chase is set is a benchmark of the quality of one's program, and Johnson doesn't want to see any erosion in the standings. Chances are, he'll come out loaded for bear at Sonoma.