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Johnson tells pit crew to let Indy mistakes ‘hurt’
Question of the Day
LONG POND, PA. (AP) - Jimmie Johnson’s pit crew gave away a win on the final stop at the Brickyard.
He’s ready to move on from the disappointment as the Sprint Cup series shifts to Pocono Raceway.
“I talked to the guys Sunday night and just asked them to enjoy the pain, let it sit there, let it hurt, let it bother you,” Johnson said Friday. “But Monday morning, when they started hitting lugnuts and jacking the car and going through their routine, that it was out of their mind. I asked them also to be fearless when they hopped off the wall this weekend and just do their jobs.”
Johnson’s 17.2-second pit stop stalled his momentum and ended a serious bid to become the first NASCAR driver to win five times at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Ryan Newman took advantage of the slow stop and pulled away for the win.
“The worst thing any of us can do that have to go out and perform is to carry something in the back of your mind, mentally,” Johnson said. “That will do more damage than you can ever imagine. We had some great conversations Sunday evening. The guys had solid stops all week and I didn’t hear of anything additional. Just kind of a normal week for the guys.”
Johnson and Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jeff Gordon have each won four times at Indianapolis. A.J Foyt, Rick Mears and Al Unser won four Indianapolis 500s. Johnson tried to join Michael Schumacher as a five-time winner at the track. Schumacher won his five F1 races on Indy’s road course configuration.
Johnson won in 2006, 2008, 2009 and 2012 at the Brickyard. He’ll have to wait another year in his drive for five.
“Indy means so much to everybody,” Johnson said. “I think that one stings universally. It doesn’t matter if you are a regular up front or wherever you run. … It wasn’t fun for any of us, but the best thing we could do is get back to our jobs and fortunately or unfortunately forget about Indy and move on. The faster we move on from that the better we are going to do here.”
Johnson still holds a 75-point lead over Clint Bowyer for the series lead as he chases his sixth career championship.
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