Last in the Chase standings, Clint Bowyer at 26th also had the worst qualifying spot for any of the 16 drivers in championship contention.
“I’m staying out of this one“, Logano said of Harvick vs. Johnson.
Johnson had a simple explanation for the contact.
Jimmie Johnson has never met Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, but the six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion says he would love to someday.
Harvick crew chief Rodney Childers initially said on the team radio he felt Johnson deliberately hit Harvick. “Because of that, you have to be buttoned up before you even get started”. After spinning on the opening lap, Hamlin surprised everybody to come back and win the race. “I was fine with lifting, but I had to get back on the racetrack, so I worked my way back up on the track”. Seldom can an organization claim that all four of its teams are not only in the Chase but are all more than capable of winning the title but Gibbs did just that on Sunday. That puts Harvick firmly in the elimination zone unless he can race his way out of danger this week or next weekend at Dover worldwide Speedway, and Harvick has been notably fuming about Johnson all week. That’s not a new position for the driver of the No. 4 Chevy.
Ryan Newman, who used consistency to race his way into the championship round a year ago, was fourth and Kenseth was fifth to give JGR three drivers in the top-five. “We could have won today”. And it wasn’t to stand in Victory Lane. Not to mention the HUGE lobster he got previous year. Harvick didn’t buy that explanation, striking Johnson in the chest during a post-race confrontation in the drivers’ motor home lot.
Johnson said he didn’t know if Harvick might retaliate further on the track Sunday or at any other time during the Chase. He completed nine laps at that point and his No. 32 did not return to the track.
Speaking of Johnson, he’s tied with Kyle Busch for the most career wins at Loudon, with three.
Notes: In a manner of speaking, history repeated itself where Hamlin is concerned.
Johnson, a longtime friend of Harvick’s – they’re both of California and arrived in NASCAR about the same time – discovered that Sunday.
“We look at the Chase as a race-by-race scenario”, said Logano, who finished sixth in the Chase opener in Chicagoland.
The Trucks series’s first venture to Loudon since 2011 last September was a dramatic one, as 16-year-old Cole Custer led 148 of the 175 laps en route to the win in the UNOH 175.
Johnson sideswiped Harvick’s vehicle during a restart, and Harvick’s left rear tire went flat after the contact. “I certainly know what to hope for, but there is no telling what will take place”. In the driver’s view, it was more than he deserved.
“We’re not going to use you guys to make threats”, he said. We tried to make it better and it actually made it worse. We had to go down there and run well, and we’ve been able to do that.
Three days before the Chicagoland race, Harvick famously said, “I think we’re going to pound them into the ground”, when asked about his chances against the Gibbs team, which has dominated the second half of the season. He said that he and Harvick had not spoken since last Sunday.
“I think we all agree that maybe Jimmie should have waited a little bit longer before he approached Kevin on that one”, said Jeff Gordon, Johnson’s Hendrick Motorsports teammate. “Last weekend, you saw the Chevys show up with a lot of speed that we haven’t seen lately”. With just one race remaining in the first round after Sunday (at Dover next week), going for the win – rather than racing for points – becomes more of a factor.