After moving within the Top 10 in a backup car, Jimmie Johnson’s checkered history at Michigan International Speedway continued when engine issues put him out of the race.
Johnson was running eighth after making his second stop of the day at Lap 45 when he brought his No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet back to the pits. He then went back out for one slow lap around the two-mile oval before he took the car behind the wall at Lap 55.
“The engine broke there,” Johnson told ESPN. “…I didn’t really notice anything off, then it finally dropped a cylinder or two down the back straightaway. Definitely an unfortunate thing, but we had plenty of speed in the car and I think we were going to be a factor with this [car].”
Noting MIS’ penchant for taking engines to – and then beyond – their limits, Johnson said that days like today made him glad to have as big a points lead in the Sprint Cup standings as he’s created. Going into the Pure Michigan 400, he had built a 75-point advantage over Clint Bowyer with four “regular season” races to go.
“It happens and I hope to get all of this stuff out of the way now, although I hate losing momentum going into the Chase,” said Johnson. “It’s nice to roll in there hot and I think we had a chance to win today. But we’ll dust ourselves off and go again next week.”
Ferrari Driver Academy member Callum Ilott will start the 64th Macau Grand Prix from pole position after beating his Formula 3 rivals to victory in Saturday’s qualification race.
Ilott, 19, started third on the grid on Saturday behind pole-sitter Joel Eriksson and McLaren junior Lando Norris, but made a good start to rise to second early on.
Ilott hounded Eriksson for position for much of the race before battling past at Mandarin on Lap 7 as his Swedish rival struggled to keep his tires alive.
With Eriksson unable to respond, Ilott ultimately crossed the line more than seven seconds clear to take his first Macau win and secure pole for Sunday’s main event.
“We started quite strong as I got up to second from third which was not too bad. Then in the middle part of the race I had a good pace and I got past Joel for P1,” Ilott said.
“After that I managed to pull away. It was a good race, even quite relaxing at the end. I’m really happy for the result. Thank you SJM Theodore Racing by Prema, they did a great job and it should be good for tomorrow too.”
Eriksson held on to second ahead of Sergio Sette Camara, who completed the podium ahead of Maximilian Günther in P4.
Ferdinand Habsburg finished fifth ahead of Pedro Piquet, while Norris was left to settle for a lowly P7 after a clutch issue off the line caused him to drop down the order.
You can see full results from the Macau F3 qualifying race here.