INDIANAPOLIS – There’s usually that one driver when you look at the final finishing order of any race and question on how he got there. Today, that award goes to Jimmie Johnson.
By Lap 20, Johnson, moved up from his 13th starting spot to 10th. Then, by lap 40, he was up to eighth. He was methodically moving his way through the field hoping to inch closer towards a top five effort.
Unfortunately, he thought he ruined his race when he entered pit road seventh just past the midway mark of today’s race, but he was caught speeding on pit road as a result.
Johnson, was hit with a pit road speeding penalty on Lap 84, as he was assessed the penalty on Lap 86. He would pit one lap later and go from a top 10, to 24th.
To make matters worse, by Lap 120, he was lapped by leader Kyle Busch, as he was a lap down with only 100 miles to go. With only two cautions through that point of the race, he was a lame duck the rest of the way.
So, how did he get to third when the checkered flag flew?
“We had a really fast car,” Johnson said after the race. “I made a mistake but knew if we got some breaks things could work out. Luckily, those cautions helped us move up, and when I saw we were in the lead group again, I knew we could be a factor.”
“Luckily, we had a great spot for the final restart, and I just gave it my all.”
When asked about if he’s happy with the result, Johnson spoke like a six-time champ.
“It says a lot. We’re still not happy but we’re getting closer. To rally from 24th to back makes me very proud of this Hendrick Motorsports team.”
It was just Johnson’s second top 10 in the last 11 races and the first for Hendrick Motorsports in the last month.
This should help him with his confidence heading back to Pocono next weekend.