By Seth Eggert, NASCAR Correspondent
CONCORD, N.C. – Perseverance was key as Jimmie Johnson overcame multiple mistakes to earn a top-10 in the Bank of America ROVAL 400.
The seven-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver missed the backstretch chicane on lap 72. After Johnson stopped in the restart zone on the frontstretch of the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval, his No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 dropped from second to ninth.
“There are opportunities to pass because everybody makes mistakes,” Johnson explained. “Unfortunately, I made two big mistakes that required me pitting out of sequence to put tires on the car. Somehow managed to come back and finish ninth from that.”
Johnson then spent the rest of the race attempting to catch up. While passing was difficult, he held station just inside the top-10. When the checkered flag waved, Johnson was the best among those not inside the playoffs.
While track position was key, Johnson was unable to run down his Hendrick Motorsports teammate, and eventual race winner Chase Elliott. He was also unable to follow another teammate, Alex Bowman, whose fresh tires allowed him to make quick work of the field.
Johnson explained he had nothing to challenge either of his Hendrick teammates.
“I had track position a few times and the 9 came up there and drove on by. The 88 was the first car on new tires and really took advantage of that. So, congrats to those guys. I think we’re on pace with 88, but I think tires made a difference there for us versus him.”
At the end of the first stage, Johnson was swept up in a multi-car incident. He emerged relatively unscathed while the incident ended the championship hopes of Erik Jones. Johnson then had to climb his way back up through the field into the top-five prior to his late-race mistake.
The ninth-place finish is the 10th top-10 for Johnson this season. He will now move on to Dover International Speedway for his next opportunity to be a playoff spoiler.