Jimmie Johnson’s quest for an eighth title has officially been kicked to 2018.
Johnson hit the wall on lap 149 of Sunday’s race at Phoenix thanks to a blown tire. He drove the car straight to the garage, ending his day under NASCAR’s damaged car rules.
The seven-time champion entered Sunday’s race as the eighth driver in the eight-driver playoff standings. He needed to win at Phoenix to be part of the final four racing for the title at Homestead on Nov. 19.
“The last couple of months we’ve been staying alive and at this stage with the Round of 8 and then the Round of 4, you can’t just stay alive,” Johnson said. “You’ve got to be hitting on all cylinders and we just haven’t been there, unfortunately. Again, I’m very thankful for all the hard work that’s gone into this and all the efforts from (crew chief) Chad (Knaus) and the team, but we just can’t get there right now.”
– – – – – – –