When it comes to racing at Charlotte Motor Speedway, perhaps no driver in all of NASCAR knows more about what it takes to emerge victorious than Jimmie Johnson.
Johnson’s seven wins at the track are the most in its history, and his four wins in the 400-lap Coca-Cola 600 place him second behind only Darrell Waltrip on the event’s all-time wins list.
On Sunday, the driver of the No. 48 Chevrolet entered the 56th edition of the Coca-Cola 600 trying to once again assert his dominance at the race. But despite Johnson’s past success, the defending champion fell far behind the field and out of contention after spinning out on Lap 273. He finished in 40th.
“We just had a really loose race car,” Johnson said. “We came in with an aggressive mindset to bring an aggressive setup in that car, drive aggressively, take chances. We just don’t have anything to lose.
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“Unfortunately, we didn’t get long enough into the race for the aggressive setup to come into play. Another 30 or 40 laps would have had the car right where we wanted it. I just didnt make it there.”
Johnson was sitting inside the top 10 when he lost control of his car rounding Turn 4. His car slid toward pit road before its front caught the inside wall, crashing into a SAFER barrier.
“I could see the SAFER barrier, I could see that opening and I could see the (No.) 2 car pit. I was frightened I was going to get through that hole,” he said. “That was something I was staring at sliding for a long way, and I was very thankful the SAFER barrier was there.”
The spin-out with just over 125 laps remaining was the Hendrick Motorsports driver’s second of the night. Johnson was sitting at the No. 13 position when he spun out in Turn 4 on Lap 91. The car didn’t suffer any damages then, as Johnson was able to regain control.
Johnson used his aggressive strategy to surge back into contention following the caution, but his incident later in the race cost him.
“I could’ve driven a little easier and tried not to work so hard through traffic, but we said we were going to come in and swing for the fences,” Johnson said. “We didn’t even hit the fence.”
James: 704-358-5118; Twitter: @patjames24