Jimmie Johnson‘s runner-up finish in Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 was one of his best runs in a long time. Well, until it wasn’t.
Shortly after the conclusion of the NASCAR Cup Series event, Johnson was disqualified when his #48 Hendrick Motorsports car failed post-race technical inspection. As a result, his finish in the 600 has been dropped to last in fortieth.
“I learned on my drive home last night we had been disqualified,” Johnson posted on Twitter. “It’s a tough reality to process but we are ready for Wednesday and what ever else 2020 throws at us.”
In particular, the car’s rear alignment raised red flags in the Optical Scanning Station (OSS) during the inspection process. While specifics were not disclosed, Cup Series director Jay Fabian noted that “if parts break, you know, the number is the number. There is no real parameter outside of that. There’s parts in the past that have been designed to failure break. Certainly not suggesting that’s the case here. But that’s what’s gotten us to this hard line of this is a post‑race number and there is a fair tolerance from pre‑race numbers to post.”
“Disappointed about our post-race OSS,” Johnson’s crew chief Cliff Daniels tweeted. “We think something must’ve broken but won’t know until we get it back to the shop tomorrow and can diagnose. Tough news after a strong night. This team is getting stronger We are focused forward. We’ll be back Wednesday with another great car”.
Since the season restart the previous Sunday at Darlington Raceway, it has been a heartbreaking series of races for the seven-time champion, currently in his final full season of Cup action. Johnson, who has not won since 2017, was in early contention in that day’s The Real Heroes 400 before wrecking out from the lead on the final lap of Stage #1. This placed him at the back for Wednesday’s Toyota 500, which forced him to make his way through the field before settling for eighth.
Hendrick team-mate Chase Elliott, who was in prime position to win the 600 until a late caution caused by Hendrick driver William Byron‘s tyre going down led him to pit and fall out of contention, was promoted from third to second. The thirty-seven other drivers behind the two have also been bumped up by one spot.
Brad Keselowski won the race after holding off Johnson in overtime.