Jimmie Johnson can’t answer the bell in Dover debacle

After last week’s close call at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course, Jimmie Johnson was a logical choice to contend for a victory at Dover International Speedway, where he has accumulated 11 of his 83 career victories.

But when the green flag waved at the Monster Mile, Johnson’s No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet wasn’t even on the track.

With what was eventually diagnosed as a lower ball joint failure, Johnson took his car to the garage for repairs and didn’t reappear on the concrete until the Gander Outdoors 400 was 10 laps old. After a subsequent pit road penalty, he finished 36th, 17 laps down.

The mechanical failure was a continuation of the ill fortune the seven-time champion had suffered at Charlotte, where his attempted pass of martin Truex Jr. on the last lap ended in an accident that knocked Johnson out of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs on a tiebreaker.

Truex’s crew chief, Cole Pearn, suggested that Johnson could atone for the Charlotte wreck by giving Truex’s crew road bikes, so Johnson went shopping, bought a trove of girls’ bicycles and placed them on the No. 78 hauler before the crew arrived.

But the frivolity quickly turned to frustration when Johnson failed to start Sunday’s race.

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.