Jimmie Johnson leaves Long Beach with third crash but optimism about injury recovery

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LONG BEACH, California – Three crashes, a fractured right hand and a 20th-place finish for Jimmie Johnson in the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach, his hometown race in the NTT IndyCar Series.

Believe it or not, the seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion has had worse race weekends during his racing career – just ask his former crew chief, Chad Knaus, Johnson joked Sunday.

“We had to go to a couple of backups before we got to a race, maybe Darlington one year,” Johnson told NBC Sports’ Marty Snider in a postrace interview (video above). “But it comes with it. I certainly feel bad I put the team in this position, but I’m thankful for their support and the support from Carvana and my fan base.

“This deal isn’t easy, and you’ve got to live on the razor’s edge on these street courses. There’s no margin for error. And trying to be faster, more competitive. I made some mistakes this weekend. I’ll learn from them and come back even stronger.”

The hope is Johnson also will come back healthier after fracturing his right hand by nerfing his No. 48 Dallara-Honda into a Turn 5 tire barrier during practice Friday.

The Chip Ganassi Racing driver will meet with a hand specialist Monday in North Carolina to determine if the hand requires a screw. Johnson is scheduled to return behind the wheel of his race car for an April 20-21 test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in a warmup for his expected Indy 500 debut next month.

The next race is May 1 at Barber Motorsports Park, a physically demanding road course.

“I feel like what I went through this weekend I can carry on like this for the next couple of weeks until I’ll be healed up,” Johnson said.

After the El Cajon, California, native considered skipping Long Beach to put an emphasis on Indy, Johnson managed to muddle through despite a seemingly incessant series of unfortunate turns.

After being fitted with a carbon fiber splint to stabilize the injury, Johnson returned to practice Saturday morning and slammed the tire barrier in Turn 1. He returned for qualifying and lost his two fastest laps because of a penalty for impeding Graham Rahal.

After starting 25th of 26 cars Sunday, Johnson was in 17th with 12 laps remaining when he lost traction and collided with the Turn 8 tire barrier in an accident that also collected rookie David Malukas.

Despite a small fire that sparked on his right-front tire, Johnson was fine and walked to the waiting safety vehicle with a wave to the Southern California crowd (which included dozens of friends and family for the second consecutive season).

Though his team thought he had help, replays seemed to indicate that Johnson lost control in the rubber buildup on corner entry.

“I lost it so early, I’m not sure if there was contact from behind or not,” he said. “But either way, the rubber is unlike anything I’d ever seen before; inches of rubber stacked up around the racetrack, especially before that last caution. Just very interesting to figure out where to place the car and how to drive on that rubber. I think I was just wide on corner entry and potentially had my left rear in that rubber and just spun on the way in.”

Though attrition helped Johnson finish better than a 23rd in the season opener at St. Petersburg, he still came up short of matching his Long Beach debut last September.

“I thought I was going to limp to a decent finish with my hand in the situation it was in,” Johnson said. “I thought I was going to get a 16th– or 17th-place finish. Instead, I ended back up in the tire barriers.”

And back in a doctor’s office Monday – with hopefully a good prognosis for when “Jimmie-Mania” hits Indianapolis after his career-best sixth at Texas Motor Speedway last month.

“I’m not sure what is the best pathway forward, the shortest recovery time,” Johnson said. “I’ll know more (Monday) afternoon.”

Saturday’s Supercross Round 5 in Houston: How to watch, start times, streaming info

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The championship race has tightened up as the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series heads to NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas, for Round 5 of the 2023 season.

With his 450 victory in the Anaheim Triple Crown, Chase Sexton has moved within four points of two-time and defending series champion Eli Tomac.

Jason Anderson is coming off a second place in Anaheim after crashing out of the first two rounds while racing in the top five. Ken Roczen earned his first podium last week since the 2022 season opener and the first for Suzuki since Chad Reed at Detroit in 2019.

Here are the pertinent details for watching Round 5 of the 2023 Supercross schedule at NRG Stadium in Houston on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2023:


(All times are ET)

BROADCAST/STREAMING SCHEDULE: TV coverage of Round 5 will begin Saturday at 8 p.m. ET streaming on Peacock and will re-air Monday, Feb. 6 at 1 a.m. on CNBC. The Race Day Live show (including qualifying) will begin on Peacock at 2:30 p.m. ET.

NBC Sports will have exclusive live coverage of races, qualifiers and heats for the record 31 events in SuperMotocross. The main events will be presented on Peacock, NBC, USA Network, CNBC, and NBC Sports digital platforms.

Peacock will become the home of the SuperMotocross World Championship series in 2023 with live coverage of all races, qualifying, and heats from January to October. There will be 23 races livestreamed exclusively on Peacock, including a SuperMotocross World Championship Playoff event. The platform also will provide on-demand replays of every race.

ENTRY LISTS: 450 division l 250 division

EVENT SCHEDULE (all times ET):

Here are the start times for Saturday, according to the Monster Energy Supercross schedule from the AMA:

2:05-2:15 p.m.: 250SX Group C Qualifying 1
2:20-2:30 p.m.: 250SX Group B Qualifying 1
2:35-2:45 p.m.: 250SX Group A Qualifying 1
2:50-3 p.m.: 450SX Group A Qualifying 1
3:05-3:15 p.m.: 450SX Group B Qualifying 1
3:20-3:30 p.m.: 450SX Group C Qualifying 1
4:20-4:30 p.m.: 250SX Group C Qualifying 2
4:35-4:45 p.m.: 250SX Group B Qualifying 2
4:50-5 p.m.: 250SX Group A Qualifying 2
5:05-5:15 p.m.: 450SX Group A Qualifying 2
5:20-5:30 p.m.: 450SX Group B Qualifying 2
5:35-5:45 p.m.: 450SX Group C Qualifying 2
8:06 p.m.: 250SX Heat 1
8:20 p.m.: 250SX Heat 2
8:34 p.m.: 450SX Heat 1
8:48 p.m.: 450SX Heat 2
9:22 p.m.: 250SX Last Chance Qualifier
9:33 p.m.: 450SX Last Chance Qualifier
9:53 p.m.: 250SX Main Event
10:27 p.m.: 450SX Main Event

TRACK LAYOUT:

Click here to view the track map

HOW TO WATCH SUPERMOTOCROSS WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP SEASON IN 2023Full NBC Sports, Peacock schedule

FINAL 2022 STANDINGS: 450 points standings | 250 East points standings250 West points standings


2023 SEASON RECAPS

ROUND 1: Eli Tomac opens title defense with victory

ROUND 2: Oakland postponed by storms

ROUND 3: Tomac holds off Cooper Webb again

ROUND 4: Chase Sexton wins Anaheim Triple Crown


NBC SPORTS’ COVERAGE OF SUPERMOTOCROSS WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP

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