Jimmie Johnson was one of the 16 drivers involved in a massive crash at Talladega, and he went to pit road so his team could work on his car.
But NASCAR officials issued a red flag, and teams aren’t allowed to work on cars when the red flag is out. So Johnson was forced to park his car, and was unable to gain an extra point by getting back on the track and running a lap under caution.
Johnson finished 24th, and his spotter, Earl Barban took the blame for the issue. Barban said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio’s “Tradin’ Paint” that he was to blame for Johnson’s team working on the car during a red flag.
“I ended it one lap earlier when I was anticipating (NASCAR) taking the red out and putting the yellow in,” Barban said. “Definitely my fault for telling them they could work on the car a little prematurely there. Before I knew I made a mistake, it was too late, they were already working on it. So we were unable to make that one lap. I don’t think we could have gone green or any more than that.
“I’m crossing my fingers at Kansas that that one point doesn’t make a difference for us. If it does, like I said, it’s my mistake there. The radio came up. I was overly excited probably.
Johnson is currently in eighth in the points, and he is only seven points ahead of Kyle Busch for the cutoff line. He is also only eight points ahead of Matt Kenseth, and the final race in the Round of 12 is Sunday at Kansas Speedway.
Johnson will likely need one of his best performances of the postseason if he’s going to advance, and hopefully for Barban’s sake they don’t miss the cut by one point.
Only Martin Truex Jr. and Brad Keselowski have locked themselves into the next round of the postseason, so Sunday’s race at Kansas will be nerve-wracking for the other 10 drivers in the playoff field.
(h/t NBC Sports)