Jimmie Johnson suffered one of the harder impacts in his career, wrecking on Lap 95 of Sunday’s Pocono 400 at Pocono Raceway.
Johnson struggled to get himself out of his No. 48 Chevrolet, then walked and sat down next to his car on the outside wall, awaiting safety crew workers.
Johnson was entering Turn 1 when smoke appeared from the rear of his car, he went into the infield grass, and then back across the track, striking the SAFER barrier with a very hard impact, particularly to the right rear and back of his car.
When crew chief Chad Knaus asked over the team radio if he was okay, Johnson responded, “Yeah, I’m pretty sure. Whoo, I got away with one there. When I hit the brakes, the pedal went straight to the floor.”
Johnson told FS1, “It went right to the floor. I think the smoke was the brake fluid coming out of whatever failed. I can only speculate I had the brakes too hot, and when I went to them, they just went to the floor, I didn’t have a pedal to push on. I’m fine, certainly a big scare, I haven’t had a scare like that since 2000 in Watkins Glen.”
Johnson tried to find some humor from the incident, adding, “I’m just letting my wife and kids and mom know I’m okay. I’ll just go change my underwear and get ready to go home.”
Jamie McMurray was also involved in a trailing incident.
It appeared McMurray may have been caught up in some of the fluids from Johnson’s car when he also hit the outer SAFER barrier and then rolled across the track, his car on fire.
McMurray quickly escaped the car, which was consumed by the fire before rescue workers extinguished it.
“Actually, my brake pedal went to the ground,” McMurray said over his team radio.
The race was red-flagged for more than 23 minutes as track personnel towed away both cars and cleared the debris.
McMurray told FS1, “I didn’t really even see the 48 car wrecking until I just went down, got on my brake pedal and my pedal started to go to the floor. I had a little bit that I thought I could pump it. I thought I was going to be okay. I don’t know if I got into some oil, but I just started spinning — and I didn’t have any brakes. It’s really weird we both had the same thing happen at the same place on the racetrack. Fortunately we’re both okay and we move on.”
McMurray will likely finish the day 37th, and Johnson 36th.