VIDEO: High-speed brake failure gives Jimmie Johnson a major scare

For Jimmie Johnson, Sunday’s Lap 95 excursion into Turn 1 at Pocono Raceway was the scariest moment the seven-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver had endured since nosing into a tire barrier in a NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Watkins Glen 17 years ago.

Johnson roared into the tight corner at more than 200 mph, but a sudden brake failure sent his No. 48 Chevrolet out of control and hurtling into the outside wall.

“(The brake pedal) went right to the floor, and I saw a replay inside the medical center,” Johnson said after exiting the infield care center. “The smoke, I think, is the brake fluid coming out of wherever it failed and onto the rotors. I can only speculate that I got the brakes too hot and when I went to the brakes they just traveled straight to the floor.

“I didn’t even have a pedal to push on. At that point, I threw it in third gear and I was just trying to slow it down. I was heading to the grass, and I was wondering why I didn’t turn right and get to the wall sooner, but I’m fine. Certainly, a big scare. I haven’t had a scare like that since 2000 at Watkins Glen. So, just want to let my wife and kids and my mom know that I’m okay and I will go change my underwear and get ready to go home.”

In a bizarre coincidence, Jamie McMurray’s brakes failed in the same corner on the same lap. His No. 1 Chevrolet caught fire, forcing McMurray to make a hasty exit from the cockpit.

“I didn’t really even see the No. 48 (Johnson) wrecking until I just went down and I got on the brake pedal and my pedal started to go to the floor, and I had a little bit that I could kind of pump it, and I thought I was going to be OK.

“And then, I don’t know if I got into some oil or what happened, but I just started spinning and didn’t have any brakes. So it was really weird that we kind of both had the same thing happen at the same point on the racetrack, but fortunately, we’re both OK, and, yeah, move on.”


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 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.