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For one night at least, Johnson lost his grip on that horseshoe

By admin | May 10, 2010

By Richard Allen

After this year’s race in Fontana, California driver Kevin Harvick said that Jimmie Johnson raced with a golden horseshoe up his… Well, you know. The statement was reference to the fact that so often Johnson and his team seem to get all the breaks and go on to win even when it appeared they had no chance to do so.

In Darlington on Saturday, Johnson lost his grip on that horseshoe.

Early in the SHOWTIME Southern 500, it appeared as though Johnson still had a firm grip on the lucky device. He, along with Greg Biffle and Martin Truex, was involved in a spin that caused minor damage to his Chevrolet.

Later, Johnson was caught and passed by the leaders. But almost immediately after being lapped, the caution flag flew and he was granted the ‘Lucky Dog’ free pass which allowed him back on the lead lap.

With that, the twitter social network site lit up with comments about the driver’s horseshoe. However, within a short time it would become obvious that the ‘Lady in Black’ is not one to take luck into consideration.

Just shy of the halfway mark, A.J. Allmendinger’s car suffered a brake failure which sent him spinning wildly onto the track apron. The #43 car eventually ran right into the side of Johnson’s machine with a hard impact.

“I didn’t see where he came from,” Johnson declared. “All I know is that at the last minute, I saw a green bumper and it was a hard hit. Unfortunately we had all kinds of issues tonight … but still had a very fast race car, and I think we could have salvaged a top-10, top-5 today. I’m going to go back and watch the video, because I have no clue. I guess it was A.J., because he came and apologized to me and said his brakes failed or something. I don’t know if he was behind me or where he was, but he came in behind me and hit me hard.”

As a result of the crash, Johnson’s night was done and he was relegated to a very uncharacteristic 36th place finish. He remained second in the Sprint Cup standings, 110 points behind Harvick.

So often, what appears to be misfortune somehow works out in Jimmie Johnson’s favor. That is because those who are well prepared often appear lucky when in reality they have simply put themselves in position to take advantage of whatever breaks come their way. Unfortunately for Johnson, this race had a bad brake come their way…hard.

Follow @RacingWithRich on twitter.

Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly columns appear in The Mountain Press and the Knoxville Journal.

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