Johnson’s Early Struggles Will Not Define His Success

Although Jimmie Johnson is currently 35th in points with back to back finishes of 27th or worse, he is still optimistic about the 2018 season.

The uncharacteristic results of the 2017 season seem to have rolled over into the first two races and both exhibition events of the season. Last year, Johnson posted a career-worst 11 top-10 finishes and a 10th place finish in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship. So far this season, he has been involved in a crash in every event, has a DNF in three of the four races, and has yet to lead a lap.

In the Daytona 500, the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet crashed when the field entered Turn 3 coming to the green-checkered flag at the end of Stage 1, resulting in a 38th place finish. This past week at Atlanta Motor Speedway, the team struggled with handling and car setup all weekend. Johnson spun on the backstretch on lap 159 after a right front tire came apart. He finished in the 27th position, five laps down.

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When asked about the crash at the Daytona 500, Johnson wasn’t pleased with how the competition was racing so early in the event.

“Unfortunately, many thought that was the black and white checkered flag and not the green and white checkered flag,” Johnson said after he was released from the infield care center. “On Lap 59 to be throwing blocks like that just let to a lot of wrecked race cars.”

The exhibition races proved no different. In the Advance Auto Parts Clash, Johnson was involved in a last-lap crash coming to the checkered flag. Later, during Daytona Speedweeks, he crashed on Lap 8 in the first Can-Am Duel qualifying race with a sudden flat left-rear tire at full speed at the exit of the tri-oval, collecting Aric Almirola.

However, ‘Seven-Time’ is determined not to let the end of last season and the first two rounds of 2018 determine his success for this year. He reassured his fans and team through a tweet Monday after the Atlanta race.

The Hendrick Motorsports veteran doesn’t seem fazed two races into the season and is confident about his pursuit of a record-breaking eighth championship. Johnson looks to break through this weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, where he holds four career victories. To witness the race in person on March 4, you can order tickets for the Pennzoil 400 on the speedway’s website at http://www.lvms.com/tickets/pennzoil_400/.

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