Jimmie Johnson’s 2019 playoff hopes have come to an abrupt end at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
On a Lap 105 restart, Johnson found himself battling for a position inside the top-ten.
While exiting Turn 1, he was to the inside of Hendrick Motorsports teammate William Byron. Kurt Busch slid up in front of them and they were three-wide entering Turn 2. Johnson got loose and went spinning, collecting eight drivers in a multi-car crash.
Johnson’s No. 48 was too damaged and he retired from the race, ending his day and his outside chance to make the playoff field.
It is the first time the seven-time Cup Series champion has missed the playoffs since its introduction in the 2004 season.
“It’s really disappointing,” said Johnson. “Unfortunately we had a bad 25 races that led to the position we were in here today. We needed a stellar day and I think we were having a strong day. Just really proud of my team and where we are at and what’s been going on.
Explaining what went wrong, Johnson said: “The 1 car (Kurt Busch) had a little trouble on the restart. I’m on the inside going into the corner and it was just super tight so unfortunate that happened. Certainly not what we needed on that restart. I couldn’t go any lower. I’m below the white line … around we go.”
Despite being out of the championship discussion, Johnson is still on a mission to end the longest winless streak of his career.
“The goal is to win a race this team is getting stronger each and every week. (Crew chief) Cliff Daniels is doing an amazing job leading this group. We are ready to roll so we will dust ourselves are off, go to Vegas and try to get a trophy.”
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