Jimmie Johnson plays joke on No. 78 team with special gifts

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DOVER, Del. – Jimmie Johnson and Cole Pearn showed that they can still have some fun over last weekend’s last-lap incident at the Charlotte Roval.

Johnson earned the No. 78 team’s ire after he locked his brakes and spun in the final chicane trying to pass Martin Truex Jr. for the lead. Johnson’s spinning car hit Truex’s and spun him, allowing Ryan Blaney to win the race.

Truex was upset after the race and explained his frustration Saturday.

Here’s what led to the gag:

“Cole made a comment to me at the end of last weekend when we were leaving the track all in good fun,” Johnson said. “I saw some of his crew guys when I came back from a bike ride on Friday, and one of them grabbed my bike and said, ‘Oh, hey, is this my nice, new bike that Cole was talking about?’ ”

“So, as I shared that story with my team, the ideas started flowing, and we landed on that one and sent my bus driver off to Walmart where they had some pre-assembled bikes and had some fun with it. To see them passing out the bikes to the kids now in the garage area, the note Cole hung, it’s fun to have fun at the track and not make it so serious all of the time.”

“I had a great time with it, especially the fact that I didn’t have to sneak in there (to the garage) and do it. We drove in. I didn’t know where I was going to put them and thankfully, NASCAR, since I wasn’t going into a hauler or a pit stalls or anything like that, we’re down with this, we’ll let this happen.”

Johnson put the children’s bikes on Furniture Row Racing’s lift gate Saturday night so the team would see the bikes when they arrived Sunday morning.

Pearn got back at Johnson on Sunday morning.

He had the team put up a sign that read: “Free Bikes (Tend to Wheel Hop).”

Said Johnson: “I thought it was great. They were in great spirits about the bikes being placed up there. I was expecting somebody to come back as well. Just good fun.’’

Furniture Row Racing started giving the bikes out to children in the garage later in the morning, and some people had Johnson, Truex and Cole Pearn sign their bikes before the drivers meeting.

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