Wreck Ends Day for Johnson and McMurray at Pocono

by Tucker White On Sun, Jun. 11, 2017

Jimmie Johnson slams the wall in Turn 1 after suffering brake failure on the 96th lap of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Axalta Pocono 400 at Pocono Raceway. Photo: Kirk Schroll/SpeedwayMedia.com

Jimmie Johnson and Jamie McMurray saw their day end in a violent wreck within seconds of each other just prior to the end of the second stage of the Axalta Pocono 400 at Pocono Raceway.

Johnson was working his way down the frontstretch on lap 96 when he suffered brake failure. His car turned down the track, which he later admitted was an intentional move on his part to bleed off speed, and clipped the grass, before turning back up the track and slamming the Turn 1 wall twice.

Johnson was asked if there were any issues with the brakes prior to the incident.

“No, it went right to the floor and I saw a replay inside the medical center. The smoke, I think, is the brake fluid coming out of wherever failed and onto the rotors. I can only speculate that I got the brakes too hot and when I went to the brakes they just traveled straight to the floor,” Johnson said. “I didn’t even have a pedal to push on. At that point, I threw it in third gear and I was just trying to slow it down. I was heading to the grass and I was wondering why I didn’t turn right and get to the wall sooner, but I’m fine. Certainly, a big scare. I haven’t had a scare like that since 2000 at Watkins Glen. So, just want to let my wife and kids and my mom know that I’m okay and I will go change my underwear and get ready to go home.”

He also addressed his move to catch the grass, saying he told himself “if this even happened again I would turn immediately into the outside wall and try to slow myself down, but my instincts, you are looking at the corner, you look at all that real estate to the inside and I pointed it down to the infield. Once I was in the grass, I was like, man, I’ve been here before, I should have just turned dead right into the wall and got to the wall right away. You have a split-second decision to make there. Fortunately, this one turned out well for me, just an exciting ride.”

Seconds later, McMurray suffered brake failure and slammed the wall in Turn 1. His car continued down the track before catching fire on the Long Pond Straightaway. He exited the vehicle safe and sound though, and the fire was extinguished.

“So, I didn’t really even see the No. 48 (Johnson) car wrecking until I just went down and I got on the brake pedal and my pedal started to go to the floor and I had a little bit that I could kind of pump it and I thought I was going to be okay,” McMurray said. “And then, I don’t know if I got into some oil or what happened, but I just started spinning and didn’t have any brakes. So, it was really weird that we kind of both had the same thing happen at the same point on the racetrack, but fortunately, we are both okay and yeah, move on.”

Johnson leaves seventh in points, 163 behind Martin Truex Jr. McMurray leaves eighth, 166 back.

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