Johnson's bid for third win in a row takes hit on pit road
JUN 08, 2014 2:56p ET
Jimmie Johnson's bid for a third-straight Sprint Cup Series win took a major hit on pit road during Sunday's race at Pocono Raceway.
After taking two tires under caution on Lap 73, Johnson left his pit box and made contact with the No. 9 of Marcos Ambrose, who was trying to enter his pit stall.
With extensive damage to the right front fender, Johnson back into his pit stall as the crew scrambled to make repairs.
Starting in the 20th spot, Johnson had worked his way into the top five before the incident. Once the team completed the repairs on the right front fender, Johnson rejoined the race in the 27th spot, but remained on the lead lap.
Remaining calm and showing the poise that led to six championships, Johnson and crew chief Chad Knaus used pit strategy to work his way back to the front of the field, leading five laps at one point.
While his Hendrick Motorsports teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. took the checkered flag to score the win, Johnson crossed the line to come home sixth.
"We started deep in the field and got ourselves up front," Johnson said. "Then we did a two-tire stop and just didn't know who was coming into the pit stall. The 9 (Ambrose) was coming into his pit stall and we were going out of the pit stall. Chad thought he was on his way out, told me there were two out there, but I didn't know the 9 was trying to get in and we made contact."
Although concerned about his car, Johnson said he was more worried about the crew members on Justin Allgaier's No. 51 car, which was pitted just ahead.
"I don't know who it is on the 51 car, but God was looking out for him today," Johnson said. "My car somehow pivoted around that right front tire changer and carrier, and it didn't hit those guys. I was scared to death I was going to hurt someone."
Despite missing out on his third-straight win, Johnson was pleased with his team's effort through the adversity.
"We just went to work and do what the 48 does best and grind it out," he said. "I thought we had a shot at it. Chad had a great strategy, but that last set of tires was just way too tight and I couldn't get it done."