Jimmie Johnson Eliminated from 2015 NASCAR Playoffs
Dover International Speedway is one of Jimmie Johnson’s favorite stops on the NASCAR circuit. He made history in his No. 48 Chevrolet SS at Dover this past May, when he picked up his 10th career win at the “Monster Mile.” This put him in the same category as hall-of-famers Richard Petty, David Pearson, Darrell Waltrip, and Dale Earnhardt Sr., as the only drivers to win 10 or more times at a single track.
With that type of previous success at Dover, Johnson seemed like a lock to advance to the Contender Round of the NASCAR playoffs, especially considering he entered Sunday’s race fifth in the standings, but sometimes it’s just better to be lucky than good.
Slightly more than 100 laps into the race, Johnson was forced off the track and into the garage for a total of 37 laps, while his team rushed to repair a broken rear axle seal.
“It’s definitely disappointing,” Johnson said. “It’s tough having a very inexpensive rear axel seal (break). It’s racing. I’ve had mechanical (problems) take me out of championships growing up. It’s part of racing. You can’t take anything for granted.”
Due to the mechanical problem, Johnson finished the race in 41st place and dropped to 14th in the Sprint Cup Series standing, which knocked him out the 2015 playoffs after only one round.
Johnson was on the quest for his seventh championship in NASCAR’s premier series, which would have tied the all-time record held by both Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt Sr. Johnson recently signed a two-year contract extension to remain with Hendricks Motorsports, so he should at least a couple more opportunities to tie the record for the most championships.
Fellow Team Chevy driver Kevin Harvick won Sunday’s race at Dover and advanced to the Contender Round of the NASCAR playoffs, along with Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon, Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski, Carl Edwards, Kurt Busch, Ryan Newman, Denny Hamlin, Matt Kenseth, Joey Logano, and Martin Truex Jr.
Despite being eliminated from championship contention, Johnson could still pass Earnhardt Sr. in another category. Johnson is eighth all-time on the NASCAR Cup Series wins list–only two wins behind Earnhardt for seventh.
Johnson will get the chance to add another win to his resume on October 10th, when the Sprint Cup Series visits Charlotte Motor Speedway. The race will be broadcast by NBC and has a scheduled start time of 7pm.
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