After running seventh in Sunday’s Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, seven-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson is in a precarious position heading to the second race in the Round of 12 at Talladega Superspeedway, a track he doesn’t relish.
Johnson had worked his way into the top five before a snafu on pit road dropped him to 16th for a restart on Lap 284 of 337. The driver of the No. 48 Chevrolet had to wait several extra seconds while the lug nuts on the left front tire were tightened after the car had started to leave the pit box.
“We had a similar thing happen (at New Hampshire), and NASCAR informed us that we didn’t need to back up into our pit box to complete the stop, so that’s why Chad (Knaus) stopped me where he did,” Johnson said of the pit stop.
According to a NASCAR spokesperson, although Johnson’s car was not fully inside his own pit box — the Hendrick Motorsports driver had started to pull out of his box, but jammed on the brake when a lug nut was discovered missing — it did not warrant a penalty. The reasoning for that is a safety concern, which takes precedence in this type of situation.
Having to stop, back up and affix the missing lug nut took extra time, which in effect is the penalty, according to a spokesperson.
Johnson is seventh in the series standings and a mere eight points ahead of ninth-place Matt Kenseth facing the uncertainty and potential peril of a restrictor-plate race.