Brickyard 400: Jimmie Johnson watches win slip away again
Sunday, Jul. 28, 2013
Sprint Cup Series driver Jimmie Johnson gets service during a pit stop during the Brickyard 400 auto race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Sunday, July 28, 2013. (AP Photo/Robert Baker)
Sprint Cup Series driver Juan Pablo Montoya, left, of Colombia, talks with driver Jimmie Johnson during qualifications for the Brickyard 400 auto race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Saturday, July 27, 2013. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)
INDIANAPOLIS Jimmie Johnson is still sitting pretty in his quest for a sixth Sprint Cup Series championship this season.
But the loss of another so-close-you-can-taste-it win is getting old.
Johnson once again led the most laps 73 of 160 but ended up second in Sundays Brickyard 400 when a slow pit stop and late-race pit strategy put Ryan Newman out front with 13 laps remaining.
Johnson, who took four new tires during his final pit stop while Newman changed two, cut into Newmans margin but couldnt get close enough to make a pass for the lead.
We win as a team, lose as a team. There have been some late race mistakes on my behalf that have taken race wins away from us granted not a major event like this, Johnson said.
But we win as a team, lose as a team. We still ended up second. We have a lot to be proud of over the course of the weekend. Well do the best to let it roll off our shoulders.
When it came down to the tire strategy, Johnson and his crew chief, Chad Knaus, knew Newman would likely do the opposite of whatever Johnson did.
But Johnson wasnt counting on a 17-second pit stop, which left him six seconds behind Newman once both returned to the track.
We definitely had a mistake on our stop. We could have been four seconds closer leaving pit road, Johnson said.
When youre the dominant car, theyre going to do the opposite of what you do. The (two tires) gave them the track position they needed. With the mistake, they had good track position.
As Johnson said, he left Indy in decent shape. He is still the series points leader and is tied with Matt Kenseth for the most wins this season. If neither gains an advantage during the next six races, Johnson and Kenseth will begin the Chase tied.
These things are so hard to win. Having a race-winning car like we did, I hate to let this opportunity slip by, but its gone, Johnson said.
Theres not a lot we can do about it, but well come back next year and try to do it again.