Sunday’s AAA 400 Drive For Autism went from a race to a pinball game, with more than a dozen cars involved in a frontstetch wreck that brought out a red flag stoppage.
Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth were at the front of the field, taking the top two spots for a restart on Lap 355 after two-tire stops during a caution for Tony Stewart’s track-bar mishap. While Kenseth took off when the green flag dropped, Johnson’s car appeared to stall, resulting in an accordion-like impact.
Among drivers involved: Johnson, Martin Truex Jr., Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kyle Busch, Ryan Newman, Greg Biffle, A.J. Allmendinger, Jamie McMurray, Joey Logano, Aric Almirola, Kevin Harvick and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Johnson said on his team radio that his car got locked while trying to shift into third gear, and he couldn’t shift out of it.
“As soon as I went from second and tried to go to third, it stopped before it even got to third … and then I was hit from behind,” Johnson said on Fox Sports 1. “I thought maybe I missed a shift, but it just wouldn’t go in gear.
“I lost a shot at winning, and I hate to see all those cars tore up.”
Martin Truex Jr., who also was involved, saw his run of bad luck continue, telling his team on the radio, “So much for that race. Unbelievable.”