Don’t blame us, NASCAR says. It’s all your fault.
NASCAR, in a spot on SirusXM, said Johnson’s team misunderstood orders from race control, which lead to the latest blunder on pit row.
Autoweek, quoting an unnamed NASAR official, said, “What happens is, David Hoots, our race director, will say, as he did yesterday, the cars on the backstretch can fire their engines,” the official said. “We’re still under red. What happened yesterday, we talked to Jimmie, Chad (Knaus) and Mr. (car owner Rick) Hendrick and they understood.
“So what happened is David said fire engines and the team assumed they could go back to work. Our officials were on pit road saying you can’t do that. So because they worked under red, that put them out of the event.”
The latest dust up started when Johnson’s No. 48 repairing damage to his car while the red flag was still out. Damages cars aren’t supposed to start repairs until the red flag is lifted.
Johnson was confused and wanted an explanation for what happened during a red flag in the Alabama 500 at Talladega.
Johnson was one of 17 cars caught up in a wreck when it appears David Ragan dropped down and clipped Kurt Busch, causing a chain reaction of cars spinning. Johnson managed to pit, and that’s where the issue started.
“There was a cue given to our spotter for our guys to start working on the cars,” Johnson tells NBC Sports. “We went out and made a lap and advanced quite a few spots as a result and it looks like NASCAR is trying to take that away from us.”
Repairs of cars aren’t permitted under a red flag. This one lasted over 12 minutes. NASCAR said Johnson’s crew did violate the rule and was subsequently sent to the garage for doing so. He says there was some sort of miscommunication.
“Us and a few other cars heard the cue to allow the guys to start working on the cars when the red flag had finished, but we didn’t get the cue on pit road. I’m still a little unclear about what went on.”
Johnson’s day was done though. He finished in 24th, but still did well enough with stage points. He now sits 8th in the playoff standings.