An errant piece of debris cost Jimmie Johnson his second car this Daytona Speedweeks as he crashed out of his Can-Am Duel qualifying race Thursday evening.
The Hendrick Motorsports driver believes he ran something over in Turns 3 and 4 before the tire went soft in the tri-oval. When Johnson then hit the short-chute going into Turn 1, the No.48 Chevrolet snapped away from him, and he spun to the right and into oncoming traffic.
“I mean, gosh, you worry about being caught up in a wreck, you don’t worry about getting a soft tire or a flat tire and causing a wreck,” Johnson said after being released from the infield care center. “As I came into the tri-oval, the car started shaking, and I knew exactly what it was. I knew I had a tire going down.
BIG TROUBLE! Jimmie Johnson and Aric Almirola are done for the night in Daytona. https://t.co/a5BV1xcjxE
— FOX: NASCAR (@NASCARONFOX) February 16, 2018
“I kept it under control through the tri-oval, and as I exited, it finally went flat, and it was the right rear, and it just hooked the car around and turned me into Aric [Almirola] in the outside lane.”
In addition to collecting Stewart-Haas Racing driver Aric Almirola, the Lap 8 accident also included Joe Gibbs Racing’s Daniel Suarez. While Suarez only suffered minor damage and was able to continue, both Almirola and Johnson will go to backup cars for Sunday’s 60th annual Daytona 500. As a result, both will start from the rear of the field.
Johnson also crashed last Sunday in the Advance Auto Parts Clash, his seventh consecutive wreck in the race. The continued loss of race cars has not been lost on Johnson.
“I’m devastated for the work and effort that goes into these cars and more on the crew side,” he said. “I know the next car is going to be fast. I know all three cars we have built are really good and strong. I just hate that we have been through three cars down here a lot of different Speedweeks.
“That part bothers me. But, I do feel very confident in the car we are going to roll out and what the team will be able to put under me.”
Johnson is a two-time winner of the Daytona 500 (2006, 2013), with both victories coming after Johnson qualfied inside the top 10.