After winning his record tying seventh Cup championship at Homestead in 2016, Jimmie Johnson said the pressure was now off. Yes, he wants to win a record setting eighth Cup title, but to get to seven, the pressure is gone. Unfortunately, that new outlook hasn’t turned into much success.
At Daytona, Johnson crashed four times, ruining three race cars during Speedweeks. In the Clash, he crashed twice exiting Turn 4, he would finish 16th out of 17 drivers. In the Duels, he was involved in a crash with Ryan Blaney late in his race. He would have to go to a backup for for the Daytona 500.
Then, in the Daytona 500, Johnson was involved in the Lap 128 melee in Turn 3. He’d finish 34th.
Last weekend in Atlanta, he struggled all weekend long and finished a disappointing 19th. That was a shock as he’s won the previous two years at the 1.5-mile Georgia track. For him to be an after thought all weekend really shocked everyone in the garage area.
But, we now went to Las Vegas. This, was another spot where Johnson could turn his misfortunes around. Instead, he had to go off strategy and try to manufacturer a solid result.
It didn’t necessarily work.
Johnson, finished 11th, his third straight race without a top 10 to start the season. That puts him 18th in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series points standings
Now, he heads to Phoenix to really try to turn this around.