Sunday, November 8, 2009

Jimmie Johnson Strumbles at Texas, Potentially Breaks NASCAR Championship Chase Wide Open

With only 3 races remaining in the 10 race Chase for the Sprint Cup, the entire points scenario turned anti-climatic as three-time champion Jimmie Johnson appeared destined to prevail in the 2009 Chase holding a 184 point lead into Dickies 500 Texas Motor Speedway. In a sad sense, many fans were probably hoping for one chink in the armor to the bulletproof nature of the #48 Lowes Chevrolet Impala. Well, the NASCAR Sprint Cup show at the 1.5 mile quad-oval granted the relief for the growing NASCAR fanbase not on the #48 bandwagon.

On lap 3 at Texas Motor Speedway's Dickies 500, the apparent Teflon coating that shielded Johnson wore thin. With cars still settling their positions from the drop of the initial green flag, Johnson was carrying his momentum on the an outer race line through turn 2 with cars on his inside. Two of those cars were the #00 Toyota of David Ruttimann and the #77 AAA Dodge of Sam Hornish Jr. Ruttimann ran just a little bit quicker on the back of Hornish resulting in very minor contact. As Hornish drifted wide to regather his Dodge her swept up into Johnson's Lowe Chevy transferring the #77 car's kinetic energy into the #48 car. Unsettled, Jimmie Johnson attempted to straighten the his Chevrolet Impala but couldn't handle his compromised car. Sliding down the backstretch, the #48 returns contact with the #77 catching the Dodge before the Johnson collided with the inside wall.

Spending 112 laps in the garage area receiving attention from mechanics of Hendrick Motorsport, the #48 Lowes Chevrolet was drastically rebuilt with an entirely new front nose and hood as well as a replaced rear drive assembly.

As the race at 2009 Dickies 500 Texas Motor Speedway continues, it is yet to be decided whether 2nd place points hunter Jeff Gordon and 3rd place Mark Martin will be able to capitalize on the rare faltering of the #48 Chevy.

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