Jimmie Johnson finds speed in Vegas but can’t shake bad luck

Fans at Sunday’s South Point 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway might have had to do a double-take.

After starting 17th and falling back early, Jimmie Johnson charged into the top five, a position he hasn’t occupied for much of the 2018 season.

Johnson was running seventh for a restart on lap 257, but on that circuit he was part of a four-car tangle with Playoff contenders Alex Bowman, Clint Bowyer and Kurt Busch. Johnson’s No. 48 Chevrolet was heavily damaged, and after repairs, he finished 22nd, two laps down.

The seven-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion leaves Las Vegas 13th in the standings, six points behind Bowman, his Hendrick Motorsports teammate.

“We could have closed with a top-five finish that would have really helped and given us a cushion,” Johnson said. “Today was really a good day for the Lowe’s team. We had good speed in the car, good pit stops… everything was going well and, unfortunately, cut a right-front tire when we touched the No. 41 (Busch) off of Turn 2.

“I don’t know how next week is going to go (at Richmond), I really don’t, and I sure as hell don’t know how the (Charlotte) Roval is going to go (Sept. 30).  So, sure, we finished higher than some guys, but any cushion we could have gotten today would have been nice.”

Greg Engle
About Greg Engle 7421 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.