Jimmie Johnson will not win a record eighth championship this season after wrecking out of the final Round of 8 playoff race Sunday at Phoenix Raceway.
Entering the race in last and needing a win to advance to next Sunday’s four-driver championship race at Homestead, Johnson cut a tire and crashed in Turn 4 of the flat one-mile track on Lap 149, bringing out just the first caution flag of the day.
Take another look at the contact that ended @JimmieJohnson’s day.#Chasing8 #NASCARPlayoffs pic.twitter.com/wwWKk4AWkd
— #NASCARPlayoffs (@NASCAR) November 12, 2017
“I really didn’t have any warning,” Johnson told NBC Sports after the wreck. “Unfortunately, with so few laps left to go to the end of the stage, as soon as I went into the corner and touched the brakes, the right front just blew.”
On last lap of stage 2 at @PhoenixRaceway, car of @JimmieJohnson had excessive brake heat melt a bead, causing RF tire to lose air.
— Goodyear Racing (@GoodyearRacing) November 12, 2017
“I hate it for this team,” Johnson said. “They’ve worked so hard all year long and I’m so proud of their efforts. I know it’s not the results we want, but we’re Hendrick strong and I’m proud of Team 48. Unfortunately, we won’t have a chance to make eight this year, but we’ll come back next year and try real hard.
“Disappointed for sure, but the last couple of months we’ve been staying alive. But at this stage, you can’t just stay alive, you have to hit on all eight cylinders. … We just can’t get there right now.”
Johnson will have to wait until next season to surpass NASCAR Hall of Famers Dale Earnhardt and Richard Petty on the all-time championships list with his eighth title.