Jimmie Johnson started on the front row for today’s Camping World RV Sales 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, but has crashed early on Lap 13 due to a left-rear tire failure.
Prior to his crash, Johnson had been forced to abandon second on the track when he had a left-rear tire go flat under green at Lap 8. But when he got back to the pits, his Hendrick Motorsports crew started on the right side of the car instead of the left, adding to the length of the stop.
Johnson came back out 42nd and one lap off the pace, and on Lap 13, his new left-rear tire blew and sent him spinning into the Turn 1 wall. USA Today writer and NBCSN contributor Nate Ryan passed along this bit from Johnson over the team’s radio:
“The first [tire problem], I was able to drive the car all the way through Turns 1 and 2,” Johnson told TNT. “I knew I had a flat, I got it down the back [stretch] and came in. The other one just blew on one of the straights as soon as I hit the brakes.
“I’m not sure what caused it – I’m sure there will be a lot of speculation and finger-pointing back to our team. But we’ve seen some issues here especially with that particular tire over the last couple of days.
“We’ll try to dig into it and learn more, but I can promise you one thing. It wasn’t low tire pressures. I’ve been out here for two days running around and haven’t had a flat.”
However, Goodyear official Greg Stucker has told reporters at NHMS that the 48’s two tire failures was “in a manner consistent with low inflation pressure.”
On Friday, Joey Logano suffered a left-rear tire failure in practice and crashed his primary car, reportedly sustaining a sprained wrist in the process. Then yesterday in second practice, Aric Almirola wrecked after a tire went down on him as well.
Like Logano, he is racing today in a backup car but had to start from the rear of the field since his own incident took place after qualifying.