NASCAR: Top drivers of 2014 – No. 11 Jimmie Johnson

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Jimmie Johnson

Season finish: 11th

2014 Season Stats: 4 Wins, 11 Top-5s, 20 Top-10s, 1 Pole.

What went right: After going winless in the first 11 races, Johnson returned to his familiar dominance with a victory in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte and followed that the next week with another triumph at Dover. Two weeks later, he finally conquered Michigan, a track that had not been one of his best. After such a stellar display, you had to think that things were returning to normal for Johnson and for NASCAR, really. But as it turned out…

What went wrong: …Johnson and his No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports team couldn’t keep their form. An ugly five-race summer stretch (42nd at Daytona, 42nd at New Hampshire, 14th at Indy, 39th at Pocono, 28th at Watkins Glen) again fired up questions of what was going wrong with the champions. In 2013, Johnson hit a rough patch going into the Chase but still won his sixth Sprint Cup in the end. However, he couldn’t replicate that in 2014 and was bounced in the Contender Round. Johnson rallied for a fourth win of the season at Texas but that was buried by teammate Jeff Gordon’s post-race fight with Brad Keselowski in the pits.

2015 Prospectus: With the problems that Team 48 had in 2014, there was chatter regarding a possible breakup of the successful partnership between Johnson and crew chief Chad Knaus. But both men have shot those rumors down. Now, after struggling to ‘solve” the 2014 rules package that admittedly did not fit Johnson’s driving style, the duo and their squad must make sure that doesn’t happen again with the 2015 package.

MotoGP champion Marc Marquez has second surgery on fractured arm

MotoGP Marc Marquez second surgery
JAVIER SORIANO/AFP via Getty Images
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Defending MotoGP series champion Marc Marquez underwent a second surgery Monday after a titanium plate inserted in his fractured right arm sustained damage. The Repsol Honda Team said in a statement that it’ll be two days before the recovery period is determined.

Marquez was injured during a crash in the July 19 season opener. He underwent an initial surgery July 21 in Barcelona, and doctors said there was no nerve damage.

The eight-time champion was cleared to race in the season’s second event Jerez. But Marquez decided to skip the July 26 race after experiencing discomfort while riding the No. 93 bike in a July 25 practice.

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He had planned to race in Sunday’s grand prix at the Automotodrom Brno in the Czech Republic in hopes of returning to defend his title. His status for Sunday apparently will be unclear until at least Wednesday.

In a statement Monday, the team said the titanium plate in Marquez’s right arm successfully was replaced after stress accumulation. Marquez will stay in the hospital for two days recovering.

Dr Xavier Mir, who performed the surgery at the Hospital Universitari Dexeus, said in the release that “Marc Marquez underwent surgery 13 days ago and today he returned to the operating room. The first operation was successful, what was not expected was that the plate was insufficient. An accumulation of stress in the operated area has caused the plate to suffer some damage, so today the titanium plate has been removed and replaced by a new fixation.

“The rider has not felt pain during this period. He has always followed the medical advice given and the feeling from his body. Unfortunately, an overstress has caused this issue. Now we have to wait 48 hours to understand the recovery time.”