By Sarah Handy, Staff Writer
LOUDON, N.H. – Jimmie Johnson had an up and down day in his final NASCAR Cup Series start at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Even so, the Hendrick Motorsports driver was able to come home in the 12th position.
After the random draw of qualifying had Johnson starting in 20th for the fourth straight NASCAR Cup Series event, he quickly made his way through the field. With 20 laps to go in the first stage, he was running in the sixth position and battling with Stewart-Haas Racing driver Clint Bowyer. The battle, however, wouldn’t end in favor of the 48 as Johnson spun on lap 64.
— NASCAR (@NASCAR) August 2, 2020
After coming down pit road to assess the damage to his 48, the seven-time champ would have his work cut out for him. With not much time remaining in stage 1 to come from the back of the pack, he wound up 33rd. However, stage 2 would produce better results and a 14th place finish.
The cautions would fall just the right way for Johnson as he was able to zoom away with productive pit stops. With 45 laps to go in Sunday’s Foxwoods Resort Casino 301, he was back to running sixth — the same position he was in before contact with the 14 earlier in the race.
As the laps were winding down Johnson battled with teammates Chase Elliott and William Byron in addition to Richard Childress Racing’s Tyler Reddick for position in the top-10 running order.
Ultimately, Johnson wasn’t able to keep the No. 48 Ally Chevrolet in the top-10 and would have to settle for 12th as the checkered flag waved on his final race at New Hampshire.
Johnson tweeted post-race and is looking forward to the upcoming double header at Michigan.
A day full of challenges but we salvaged a decent finish. My team is hungry and ready for the double header @MISpeedway.
— Jimmie Johnson (@JimmieJohnson) August 2, 2020
Johnson’s career at The Magic Mile will end with 35 starts, three wins, 10 top-five and 22 top-10 finishes. Additionally, his average finish sits at 11.2 with 96.4% of his attempted laps completed and 323 laps led.
— New Hampshire Motor Speedway (@NHMS) August 3, 2020
Next up the NASCAR Cup Series heads to Michigan International Speedway for a double header weekend. In 36 starts at the track, Johnson has one win, five top-five, 13 top-10 finishes. This time around, he will look to turn his luck turn around because his last top-10 at Michigan came in the June 2017 race.
Photo Credit: Nigel Kinrade Photography / NKP