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Johnson bobble benefited each of his Hendrick teammates

By admin | August 6, 2012

By Richard Allen

On what proved to be the race’s final restart, five time Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson made what appeared to be a very uncharacteristic mistake as he raced side by side into turn one of the Pocono Raceway with Matt Kenseth. The #48 car bobbled and then slid up the track taking Kenseth into the outside wall and setting off a chain reaction wreck that also involved Greg Biffle and Denny Hamlin.

According to Johnson, the right rear tire on his Chevrolet had gone soft. No matter what the reason, everything strangely enough worked out in favor of the Hendrick Motorsports organization as a whole.

Johnson, of course, drives for HMS along with Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Kasey Kahne.

After the Johnson/Kenseth incident is when things really began to fall into place for Team Hendrick. Rain clouds loomed ominously over the giant 2.5 mile triangular track when the caution flag waved for the final time on lap 91 of the scheduled 160 lap event. As luck would have it, it was Gordon who was able to take advantage of the mishap among the lead duo and claim the top spot on the leader board.

Gordon would then be able to cruise around with the lead under caution until the race was finally stopped for good on lap 98 after heavy rains began to fall. That win was not only significant in that it ended a run of terrible luck for the #24 team but it also moved Gordon into the 13th place of the overall Sprint Cup standings. That, in turn, placed him as the second highest running driver with a win who is outside the top-10.

This means Gordon is now in position to claim a spot in the Chase for the Championship playoff as a wildcard entrant. That was something considered virtually unthinkable just a few short weeks ago as the four time Sprint Cup champion resided outside the top-20 in the standings.

So clearly, Jeff Gordon benefited from the bobble in turn one by teammate Jimmie Johnson.

But the good luck to befall Hendrick Motorsports didn’t end there. Earnhardt, who had suffered transmission troubles early in the race, looked as if he might lose the points lead he had taken only one week earlier. Both Kenseth and Biffle appeared poised to move past the popular driver as each of those Roush Fenway competitors ran in the top-5 with the rain drawing nearer to the speedway.

However, with both drivers falling back in the running order as a result of their crash, Junior was able to maintain the top spot in the standings by a narrow margin.

And lastly, Johnson’s late race misfortune proved beneficial to teammate Kasey Kahne as well. As the cars rode around under the final caution, the right rear tire on the #5 began losing air. Had the cleanup from the wreck not taken so long, he would have had to pit and would have dropped well back in the finishing order.

That could have proven costly in the standings. But instead, Kahne coasted to a 2nd place finish in Pocono and currently sits in the 11th overall spot of the Sprint Cup standings. And like Gordon, he holds one of the two wildcard spots for the Chase.

Late Sunday afternoon, it looked as if Jimmie Johnson was going to score his second consecutive Sprint Cup win and assure himself more bonus points for the Chase re-set. Instead, he saw what looked to be a certain win slip away. All the while, he aided each of his Hendrick Motorsports teammates in the process.

Even Johnson probably didn’t realize what a team player he was.

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10 Responses to “Johnson bobble benefited each of his Hendrick teammates”

  1. Josie Says:
    August 7th, 2012 at 8:18 am

    Was I the only one who noticed?? During an inside the car camera view of Johnsons restart he was messing with the fan switches..glancing up and down flipping the switches while getting his car up to speed. At one point he’s glancing down..and his car starts to spin… I know Johnson’s a great driver..but I know I have a tough time trying to change radio stations while I’m traveling 35mph! Maybe Johnson used the flat tire excuse so he didn’t have to tell the world he messed up the restart because he was trying to dial in his favorite RAP station!

  2. RC Says:
    August 7th, 2012 at 9:12 am

    “Hendrick Motorsports organization as a whole”
    Is correct when speaking with an italian accent.

  3. Jim Russell Says:
    August 7th, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    This article describes exactly what my feelings were regarding the Pocono event. In fact, I wrote a response at another blog site yesterday that says basically the same thing. When things have a way of happening that appear to be almost too good to be true, they probably are not.

  4. midasmicah Says:
    August 7th, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    Wow! Gordon wins after Johnson takes out Kenseth. I can smell the stench all the way here in Las Vegas.

  5. Jerseygirl24 Says:
    August 7th, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    I hope that you are not trying to make the argument that Johnson caused the wreck on purpose to benefit the other drivers for HMS?

    Based on comments that I’ve heard on JJ’s radio and from Chad, I doubt that the 48 team has any but their own interests in mind when they are on the track. I also think that Jeff Gordon would be the last driver that Chad and JJ would “help” in any way. Chad wants to erase every last record that Jeff has ever set with his own driver.

    Obviously you can see from my “name” that I am a Gordon fan, so you can call it sour grapes if you like, but I won’t be cheering for JJ to win more Chase trophies. For me, 5X hasn’t won a full season’s trophy yet, only the 10 race dash for a trophy and yes, he’s done that 5X’s. When the 48 team goes into the last 10 races leading the points AND then holds onto it for the last 10 race, I’ll say he’s won a championship but not until then. As of now, the 48 team has always had the reset for the points advantage before they win.

  6. Jeanette Acker Says:
    August 7th, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    Johnson would never help another team mate or anybody. It is all about him! I agree with Jerseygirl24. He has never won a real championship!

  7. Jim Russell Says:
    August 7th, 2012 at 11:21 pm

    Ladies, you may want to look into the ownership of the 48 car.

  8. Offkilter Says:
    August 9th, 2012 at 5:52 pm

    Gordon being part owner of the 48 team aint got jack $#%* to do with what happened on that restart. Geeze. The car didn’t stick, plain and simple. It’s just dumb luck that none of the other hendrick cars got caught up in it. That bobble had the potential to take out all the hendrick cars along with half the field. The conspiracy theory of johnson getting loose and almost wrecking himself on purpose to benefit his teamates is rediculous.

  9. Richard Allen Says:
    August 9th, 2012 at 7:05 pm

    Please note that nowhere in this column does it state a belief on my part that the Johnson/Kenseth incident was done on purpose.

    As a matter of fact, I added the tongue-in-cheek remark that Johnson probably didn’t realize what a team player he was at the end of the piece.

  10. offkilter Says:
    August 10th, 2012 at 8:02 pm

    Richard, i gotcha man…its a good article. My comment was directed toward other comments above that hinted at johnson doing that on purpose.