Jimmie Johnson gains speed after wrecking two cars at Daytona

Jimmie Johnson talks to crew chief Chad Knaus prior to final practice Saturday at Daytona International Speedway. (Greg Engle)
Jimmie Johnson talks to crew chief Chad Knaus prior to final practice Saturday at Daytona International Speedway. (Greg Engle)
Jimmie Johnson talks to crew chief Chad Knaus prior to final practice Saturday at Daytona International Speedway. (Greg Engle)

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Perhaps the third time really is the charm for Jimmie Johnson.

After wrecking his primary Daytona 500 car in the second 150-mile qualifying Budweiser Duel at Daytona on Thursday, Johnson was down two No. 48 Chevrolets.

He had trashed the intended Daytona 500 backup car five days earlier in the Sprint Unlimited.

The six-time champion expected his third Speedweeks car might be a rewrapped version of a Hendrick Motorsports teammate’s Chevy. Instead, a brand new No. 48 was ready for Friday’s practice, fully painted and detailed.

What’s more, Johnson said the current version may be faster than the primary and backup he destroyed.

“We’ve been very impressed and happy with the speed this third car has had,” Johnson said prior to the final NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice session Saturday at Daytona International Speedway. “Not a situation we wanted to be in, by any means, but I wasn’t aware of the preparation and our car count coming down here. Obviously we want to bring our best two race cars and we felt that was the case.

“But we brought two cars that we had a lot of success with last year and a build on those cars that were last year’s mindset and technology. Some of our teammates built new vehicles and brought them down here and they have had a little speed on us even through qualifying.”

Johnson was surprised his team also had a new car at his disposal.

“I wasn’t aware that we had a (new) generation car like this, and that’s what our third backup is,” Johnson said. “With our single-car runs (Saturday in practice) the car had a few tenths more speed in it than our best car, the car that we had slated for the Daytona 500.

“So, with all that, it’s nice to have the speed, and we’ll take it from there.”

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.