Racing life has been rough for Jimmie Johnson since he won at Dover. And his luck didn’t change at Pocono on Sunday.
“We were going into Turn 3 and the guys were lifting and he just missed his marks a little bit and luckily we didn’t crash,” Johnson said of the incident with Blaney. “And then I was in the outside lane and losing some spots. I think the [Kahne] washed-up into me and king of finished me off over there in Turn 3. It’s definitely not the day we wanted to have but I don’t think either one of those situations were intentional by any stretch.”
Johnson’s Dover win on the first weekend of June was his third of 2017. In the eight races since the victory, his average finish has been 23rd and his best finish has been 10th.
Though Johnson was a contender for the win last week at Indianapolis despite a possible engine issue with two laps to go. As his engine was smoking shortly after the race’s final restart, Johnson dove into turn 3 three-wide with Kahne and Brad Keselowski. While the other two drivers made it through unscathed — and Kahne went on to win the race — Johnson didn’t.
While the other two drivers made it through unscathed — and Kahne went on to win the race — Johnson didn’t. He finished 27th after his car ended up in the wall.
After Sunday’s wreck, Johnson is now 11th in the points standings despite having a series-leading three wins.
As the drivers in the top-10 of the points standings accrue points to use in the playoffs based off their regular-season finishing order, Johnson’s slide is slightly concerning. Following the Dover win, Johnson was sixth in the standings and would be set to get five bonus points for the playoffs for his place in the standings.
Now in 11th, Johnson isn’t set to get any for his points position.
As the playoffs go, however, it’s hard to get too concerned about the No. 48 team. Johnson and company entered the 2016 playoffs on a sour note, scoring just three top-10 finishes in the 13 races leading up to the playoffs.
But in the 10 playoff races, Johnson won three times and had six top-10 finishes as he scored a record-tying seventh championship. While Johnson may not enter the playoffs as the favorite, don’t start thinking about counting him out.
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