DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — It’s become an all-too familiar pattern for Jimmie Johnson during Speedweeks 2018: Standing outside the Florida Hospital Infield Care Center, waiting to talk to the media.
He crashed out of his seventh straight Advance Auto Parts Clash a week prior, wrecked out of the Duel qualifier three days earlier and was caught up in another multi-car melee in the 60th running of the Daytona 500.
“I know. It’s been tough lately,” Johnson said. “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 (Dale) Earnhardt’s record here and know how long it took him to get his first.”
While not the main pinball of the wreck, as he was in his Clash wreck, Johnson collected early in the five-car wreck on the final lap of the first stage.
Heading down the backstretch, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. moved down to the bottom of the track to block the advance of Ryan Blaney. Stenhouse got loose coming up the track, but saved it. Erik Jones attempted to thread the gap between Stenhouse and Alex Bowman on the bottom, but Bowman either made contact or got him aero loose. Either way, it sent Jones squirreling back into the nose of Johnson, which turned him down into Bowman, who hooked Daniel Suarez into the outside wall in Turn 3.
“Just racing that hard coming for a green and white checkered flag. I’m not sure everybody was thinking big picture and really using their head through that,” Johnson said.
Johnson, who got loose from turning Jones, got kicked up into the wall by Jones’s car, sending him straight into Suarez.
“It looked like everybody thought that was the finish of the Daytona 500 and it was really only lap 59 coming to 60,” he said. “Unfortunately, we lost our third car for the weekend. It’s unfortunate it has turned out that way, but we will get this Lowe’s for Pro’s Chevy dialed in for Atlanta and go do it again.”
Johnson ended the race in 38th and left Daytona International Speedway 36th in points.