So close to a stage victory, Jimmie Johnson went through a crash in the final lap of the first stage at Darlington Raceway.
In the 81st lap of 293 laps, Johnson took the lead by moving ahead of Alex Bowman. As he was set to complete the last lap of the first stage and lap Chris Buescher ahead of him, Johnson’s car came in contact with the Chris’ No. 17 Ford. This contact steered Johnson’s No. 48 Chevrolet towards the wall and the car suffered heavy front-end damage.
Speaking to FOX Sports, the three-time Darlington winner said:
Gosh, what I would do to get that corner back to do it over again. Coming to the end of the stage and just trying to make sure I got a good run off of Turn 2 and I felt like I was going to be able to exit the corner side-by-side with him, and things just went horribly wrong there.
What a great car. I feel terrible for my team, everybody at Hendrick Motorsports, very thankful for Ally and all their support. We’ve got great race cars, and things are really coming in the right direction. Just unfortunate that things just really didn’t turn out there off of Turn 2.
Heartbreak for @JimmieJohnson!
— NASCAR (@NASCAR) May 17, 2020
While the 44-year old driver was apologetic of the incident, crew chief Cliff Daniels told his team to cheer up. He said:
I don’t want one single person to get down. We’ve got a great race car, so don’t you get down.
Hendrick teammate William Byron went on to win the first of the three stages.
For seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson, the crash at Darlington extended his winless streak stretch to 100 races, the longest in his career.
— Jimmie Johnson (@JimmieJohnson) May 17, 2020