Loss of power steering ruins Jimmie Johnson’s day at Loudon

LOUDON, NEW HAMPSHIRE - JULY 21: Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Ally Chevrolet, leads a pack of cars during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 21, 2019 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Seven-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson has never missed any form of a series Playoff, but mechanical issues in Sunday’s Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 dropped him farther into the danger zone.

Halfway through the race, Johnson was sixth for a restart on Lap 149, but the end of Stage 2 two laps later spelled the end of Johnson’s hopes for a strong finish.

“Well, it was certainly a letdown, to say the least,” said Johnson, who fell back precipitously after that Lap 149 restart. “We had some issues with the power steering and the water pump pulleys. I thought it might have been from some contact on (the) restart. I got in the back of the car in front of me. They told me that wasn’t the case.

“So I assume some debris got in the pulley system and took out my power steering and the water pump as well. So it’s just unlucky on that front. Certainly, the wrong time of the year to have some bad luck. It looked like the guys I’m worried about in the points didn’t have the best day either, so maybe I got a pass on this one. I’m just disappointed to say the least.”

Nevertheless, Johnson leaves Loudon 17th in the standings, 17 points out of 16th, the last Playoff-eligible position.

Greg Engle