Six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Jimmie Johnson was eliminated from wining his seventh title following the Geico 500 at Talladega. Johnson was one of four drivers eliminated after the second round on the new format. Suddenly he is left wondering about the rest of the year with fellow drivers Kasey Khane, Dale Earnhardt Jr., and Kyle Busch.
It's something that Johnson indicated that he was OK with despite the frustration because of the way his team fought on Sunday. The driver of the No. 48 Lowes car said his team "went down swinging." Nothing beats a classic boxing and baseball term in order to sum up an incredible effort by a driver and crew in the effort to win a race. It was a strong statement from a driver eliminated from the chase but who was proud of his teams efforts on Sunday.
"Today I went down swinging, and I'll take pride in that," Johnson said.
"Am I disappointed in our Chase? Absolutely. In the last two weeks, people tuned in on the radio and there's been plenty of articles written this week."
Even though the Lowes team put up a good fight at Talladega it was obvious that the frustration level was high coming into the race weekend. Over the last several races the usually tight relationship between Johnson and his crew Chief Chad Knaus has encountered a few bumps.
Now that the Talladega is behind them, as well as a chance at winning the Championship, Johnson admits that frustration with the way the team was running was real. It was not imagined by fans or the media.
"Frustration's been high between Chad and I and the fact that we haven't been able to produce like we wanted to," Johnson said following being eliminated from the Championship chase. "Today we went down swinging, we had a chance. We came up short, and we have to make the best of 2015."
Finishing the Season
Johnson and the No. 48 team may be out of winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship but that does not mean that the season is over. Besides having the opportunity of playing a spoiler role Johnson can still finish 5th in the points. After all, there are still several races left on the schedule.
Johnson said a good finish to the season is important. In fact, if you are a Jimmie Johnson fan you know that he has a reason to shoot for a fifth place finish and now that goal is one that Johnson wants to fight for.
"We still have a chance to finish fifth in points, which would mean the world to me, " Johnson said. "The worst I've ever finished is sixth in points, so it's not time to put our feet up, we need to finish strong and try to be in the top five."