On Lap 275 of the Coca-Cola 600, Jimmie Johnson found himself spinning by himself coming out of Turn 4 for the second time.
Unlike the first time, on Lap 91, the seven-time winner of Charlotte Motor Speedway points races wasn’t able to save his No. 48 Chevrolet as the car slid toward pit road before impacting the inside wall just shy of a garage entrance and then the first pit stalls.
Charlotte confirmed the spot where Johnson hit was where new SAFER barrier had recently been installed.
“I could see the SAFER barrier and I could see that opening and I could see the No. 2 (Brad Keslowski) pit,”Johnson said. “I was frightened I was going to get through that hole. It wouldn’t have been pretty for me, but to have teams and stuff there that was something I was staring at (while) sliding for a long ways. I was very thankful the SAFER barrier was there and wish we could find a way to extend a wall out and redirect the car away from that opening or close that opening up.”
For Johnson, it was the second accident in the race, continuing a trend of loose car behavior at 1.-5 mile tracks that started at Kansas Speedway, when Johnson spun out early before rebounding to win his third race of the year.
After retreating to the garage Johnson returned to the track and finished the night in 40th position, 30 laps down.
“It’s just something with this car,” Johnson told Fox. “We have nothing to lose, so we’re trying to be as aggressive as as we can on pit calling and strategy.”
Johnson attributed his first spin to “driving through a loose race car.
“If we would have had another another 30, 40 laps I think we would have had the exact car we would have needed for the finish of this race.”
Johnson described his Lowes Chevrolet was “wicked” and “unpredictable” in traffic, similar to his car in the Sprint All-Star Race last weekend and at Kansas, though he was able to overcome that for a win.
“It’s kind of a new thing,” Johnson said. “We didn’t have that at Texas (Motor Speedway) and Atlanta (Motor Speedway) and some of the other mile-and-half tracks.”
Johnson wasn’t too bent out of shape over the loss thanks to being locked into the Chase for the Sprint Cup with three wins.
“Chad (Knaus) told me he either wanted it on a hook or the trophy,” Johnson said. “Unfortunately we got the hook.”