Johnson swept up in stage-ending, multi-car wreck

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — It’s become an all-too familiar pattern for Jimmie Johnson during Speedweeks 2018: Standing outside the Florida Hospital Infield Care Center, waiting to talk to the media.

He crashed out of his seventh straight Advance Auto Parts Clash a week prior, wrecked out of the Duel qualifier three days earlier and was caught up in another multi-car melee in the 60th running of the Daytona 500.

“I know. It’s been tough lately,” Johnson said. “I have had some great days and nights here through the July race and this race, but of late it’s been tough. That is just how it goes. If I want to think too hard about it I can look at (Dale) Earnhardt’s record here and know how long it took him to get his first.”

While not the main pinball of the wreck, as he was in his Clash wreck, Johnson collected early in the five-car wreck on the final lap of the first stage.

Heading down the backstretch, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. moved down to the bottom of the track to block the advance of Ryan Blaney. Stenhouse got loose coming up the track, but saved it. Erik Jones attempted to thread the gap between Stenhouse and Alex Bowman on the bottom, but Bowman either made contact or got him aero loose. Either way, it sent Jones squirreling back into the nose of Johnson, which turned him down into Bowman, who hooked Daniel Suarez into the outside wall in Turn 3.

“Just racing that hard coming for a green and white checkered flag. I’m not sure everybody was thinking big picture and really using their head through that,” Johnson said.

Johnson, who got loose from turning Jones, got kicked up into the wall by Jones’s car, sending him straight into Suarez.

“It looked like everybody thought that was the finish of the Daytona 500 and it was really only lap 59 coming to 60,” he said. “Unfortunately, we lost our third car for the weekend. It’s unfortunate it has turned out that way, but we will get this Lowe’s for Pro’s Chevy dialed in for Atlanta and go do it again.”

Johnson ended the race in 38th and left Daytona International Speedway 36th in points.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com

Tucker White
Tucker White
I've followed NASCAR for well over 20 years of my life, both as a fan and now as a member of the media. As of 2024, I'm on my ninth season as a traveling NASCAR beat writer. For all its flaws and dumb moments, NASCAR at its best produces some of the best action you'll ever see in the sport of auto racing. Case in point: Kyle Larson's threading the needle pass at Darlington Raceway on May 9, 2021. On used-up tires, racing on a worn surface and an aero package that put his car on the razor's edge of control, Larson demonstrated why he's a generational talent. Those are the stories I want to capture and break down. In addition to NASCAR, I also follow IndyCar and Formula 1. As a native of Knoxville, Tennessee, and a graduate of the University of Tennessee, I'm a diehard Tennessee Volunteers fan (especially in regards to Tennessee football). If covering NASCAR doesn't kill me, down the road, watching Tennessee football will. I'm also a diehard fan of the Atlanta Braves, and I lived long enough to see them win a World Series for the first time since 1995 (when I was just a year old). I've also sworn my fan allegiance to the Nashville Predators, though that's not paid out as much as the Braves. Furthermore, as a massive sports dork, I follow the NFL on a weekly basis. Though it's more out of an obligation than genuine passion (for sports dorks, following the NFL is basically an unwritten rule). Outside of sports, I'm a major cinema buff and a weeb. My favorite film is "Blazing Saddles" and my favorite anime is "Black Lagoon."

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