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Monster Energy NASCAR Cup

Backup Car for Jimmie Johnson After Crash at MIS

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Jimmie Johnson’s summer of struggle continued at Michigan International Speedway Saturday morning when he stuffed the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet into the Turn 1 wall on his first lap during final practice for tomorrow’s Pure Michigan 400.

Johnson got loose heading into the turn and his car slid, with the right side of his car collecting the wall hard. As a result, Johnson will have to go to a backup car for the race. Worse yet, he’ll have no practice time on his backup.

“Just lost it on corner entry getting into Turn 1,” said Johnson. “The first lap at speed and the thing just rotated around. The effort level is high and you’ve got to run in there committed.  I did so and unfortunately the rear grip just wasn’t there in the car and around it came.”

It was a difficult situation for Johnson.

“I ran a half a second faster today in practice than I did in qualifying yesterday,” he said. “So, with the grill open and tires on low pressure and all that, especially these morning sessions with overcast clouds you just run so hard that when something happens, it’s gone.”

Later in the session, Johnson’s teammate Kasey Kahne also crashed in Turn 1.

In recent weeks, it’s been a brutal stretch of racing for Johnson, who won three times earlier this season.

Since winning at Dover International Speedway, the seven-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion hasn’t finished inside the top 10 in any of the last nine races, when his average finish has been 23.56.

In those nine races, Johnson led only twice, being out front for 12 laps at Sonoma Raceway in late June and four more at Daytona International Speedway the following weekend.

Of course, summer struggles are not unusual for Johnson. But when the playoffs come, he and the No. 48 team always seem to dramatically elevate their game.

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Tom Jensen

Tom Jensen is a veteran motorsports journalist. He spent 13 years with FOXSports.com, where he was Digital Content Manager. Previously, he was executive editor of NASCAR Scene and managing editor of National Speed Sport News. Jensen served as the president of the National Motorsports Press Association and is the group’s former Writer of the Year.