Dale Earnhardt Jr. celebrates, Jimmie Johnson suffers elimination after Dover

DOVER, DE - OCTOBER 04: Dale Earnrhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Plenti Chevrolet, is interviewed on pit road after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway on October 4, 2015 in Dover, Delaware. Earnhardt Jr. advanced to the next round of the Chase For The Championship. (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
DOVER, DE - OCTOBER 04:  Dale Earnrhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Plenti Chevrolet, is interviewed on pit road after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway on October 4, 2015 in Dover, Delaware.  Earnhardt Jr. advanced to the next round of the Chase For The Championship. (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
DOVER, DE – OCTOBER 04: Dale Earnrhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Plenti Chevrolet, is interviewed on pit road after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway on October 4, 2015 in Dover, Delaware. Earnhardt Jr. advanced to the next round of the Chase For The Championship. (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)

They were perhaps the most dramatic moments of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup season. Two moments that played out Sunday at Dover International Speedway in the AAA 400 that showed the highs and lows of an entire season for two Hendrick Motorsports drivers. When it was over one driver could smile while another could only wonder what could have been.

The first moment came early in the race when Jimmie Johnson, running inside the top 10 at the time pitted under green on lap 104 with mechanical issues. He was soon forced to the garage with a bad seal in his Chevy’s rear end. The crew made repairs and Johnson returned but finished 41st, 36 laps down. It marks the first time in Chase history that Johnson will not be contending for a title.

“Definitely disappointed,” Johnson said. MORE>>>

About Greg Engle 7420 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for Examiner.com and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.