Jimmie Johnson crashes in Saturday morning Cup practice at Michigan

Chris Trotman/Getty Images

By Aaron Bearden, Motorsports Editor

BROOKLYN, Mich. – Jimmie Johnson suffered a significant setback to his Michigan International Speedway victory hopes when he crashed during a Saturday morning practice session for the FireKeepers Casino 400.

The 41-year-old was in the midst of his 16th lap of around the two-mile Michigan oval when he lost control of his No. 48 Chevrolet while navigating Turn 4. The seven-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion then spun down the track.

While he managed to avoid hitting the wall or his competitors, Johnson’s machine tore through the infield grass, causing heavy damage to his splitter. The session’s lone red flag quickly flew, allowing the El Cajon, California native to limp his battered machine to pit road.

 

Afterward, Johnson placed the blame solely on himself.

“I got loose into Turn 3 and fought it for a long time and unfortunately came around,” Johnson said. ” Did a nice job of keeping it off the outside wall, but came back down the hill and into the grass and the front end dug in pretty good.  I’m pretty surprised the guys feel like the damage isn’t too bad and they can get that stuff pulled back out and get the shape of the body back.  So, we are out for the rest of this practice and we will get back on-track for the second one.  Not the way we wanted to start the day, but it is what it is.”

FOX Sports initially announced that Hendrick Motorsports had elected to fix the damaged Chevrolet instead of reverting to a backup car. But in the end, the team chose to revert to a backup car, meaning Johnson will roll off at the tail-end of the field in Sunday’s FireKeepers Casino 400.

The crash comes just one week after one of Johnson’s hardest crashes – a vicious slam into the Turn 1 wall at Pocono Raceway endured after the Californian suffered a brake failure.

Crash aside, Johnson ended the early session third on the charts, with a fastest speed of 197.341 mph.

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