CONCORD, N.C. — A win seemed within reach to Jimmie Johnson, and he was so close to victory — what would have been his first of 2018 — that he couldn’t resist a risky move on the last lap of the Bank of America Roval 400.
The seven-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion spent the final laps of Sunday’s playoff race trying to chase down then-leader Martin Truex Jr. He saw an opportunity to try to pass Truex on the 2.28-mile half-oval, half-road course at Charlotte Motor Speedway as the two sped toward the finish line, and he just went for it.
But Johnson’s split-second decision backfired when he lost control of his car and spun out through the chicane on the front stretch, hitting Truex as well. In what could have been a second-place finish, the 43-year-old driver finished 8th, which wasn’t high enough to advance him to the Round of 12.
With Johnson and Truex out of the picture, Ryan Blaney blew past them to win his first race of the season and automatically qualify for the next round.
"I really felt like I could put some pressure on them and take a shot at it," Johnson said of trying to pass Truex. "I just locked up the rears and couldn’t control my car and spun. I didn’t think that I initially got into him, but clearly, I did and spun him around. Took myself out of a shot at the championship and obviously affected their day which I feel bad about."
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