By David Morgan, NASCAR Editor
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – For Jimmie Johnson, the third time was not the charm.
After losing two cars already in Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway, Johnson was down to his third car of the week for the Daytona 500 and things didn’t get any better for the seven-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion.
Johnson started from the rear of the field and was working his way forward when disaster struck on the final lap of Stage 1. When Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. made a miraculous save down the backstretch, the rest of the field stacked up behind him and by the time all was said and done, Johnson’s No. 48 Chevrolet was damaged beyond repair and he was done for the day.
“There was some great racing throughout,” said Johnson. “But unfortunately, many thought it was the black and white checkered flag and not the green and white checkered flag. On lap 59 to be throwing blocks like that just…a lot of wrecked race cars.
“It’s been tough lately. I have had some great days and nights here through the July race and this race, but of late it’s been tough. That is just how it goes. If I want to think too hard about it I can look at Earnhardt’s record here and know how long it took him to get his first.”
Needless to say, Johnson will be more than ready to put Daytona in the rear-view and turn his attention toward next week’s race at Atlanta.
“We will go to work and go to Atlanta next week. But it is disappointing for this Lowes team and everyone at Hendrick Motorsports for all the work they put into it. But we’ll get this Camaro ZL1 dialed in for Atlanta and take it over there.”