An accident on lap 105 of the Big Machine Vodka 400 ended Jimmie Johnson’s 15-year NASCAR championship playoff streak.

The seven-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion entered the 160-lap race 18 points behind the 16th place tie between Roush Fenway Racing driver Ryan Newman and Stewart Haas Racing driver Daniel Suarez.

Johnson qualified fifth Sunday morning and ran inside the top ten throughout the race’s opening 100 laps. He picked up the lead during the second cycle of green flag pitstops on Lap 88 just as Kyle Busch’s engine failure brought out the yellow.

The yellow allowed the driver of the No. 48 Ally Chevrolet to stop under the caution without losing valuable track position. He emerged from the pits in 12th and picked up four spots on the short green run before debris brought out the yellow two laps shy of the end of the stage.

Everything came apart for Johnson on the restart as he attempted to go three-wide for fifth with Hendrick Motorsports teammate William Bryon and Chip Ganassi Racing driver Kurt Busch.

The rear end snapped out, and Johnson backed into the Turn 1 SAFER barrier before being impacted by Parker Kligerman.

The damage proved too severe and the four-time Brickyard winner retired from the action.

Johnson emerged from the car unhurt but disillusioned with the result.

“Yeah, it’s really disappointing,” he said. “Unfortunately, we had a bad 25 races that led to the position we’re in here today and we needed a stellar day. I think we were having a strong day. I’m really proud of my team with what’s been going on.

“The No. 1 car had a little trouble on the restart. I’m on the inside going into the corner and it was just super tight. It’s unfortunate that happened. Certainly it’s not what we needed on that restart. I couldn’t go below the white line and kind of got snipped there and turned around; and around and round we go.”

Today’s result didn’t wholly dampen the spirits of the 83-time race winner. He remains determined to get back to victory lane in the final 10 races.

“This team is getting stronger each and every week and Cliff Daniels is doing an amazing job of leading this group and we’re ready to roll. We’ll dust ourselves off and go to Vegas and try to get a trophy.”

 

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