Could Johnson Really Miss The Playoffs? Why He And Hendrick Overall Are Struggling Heading to Watkin
It’s looking more and more likely that Jimmie Johnson may miss out on the postseason this year. For a seven time Cup Series champion – that’s insane to think about. But, Johnson is currently in the midst of a three week string of finishes of 30th, 30th and 15th respectively heading into a track where he’s finished 40th, 29th and 30th respectively in his last three starts at the Watkins Glen International.
Currently, he’s 12 points behind the final bubble spot. If Daniel Suarez happens to win on Sunday, he can too with two top four finishes in as many tries in Watkins Glen, then Johnson falls even further back.
Jimmie Johnson at the Kentucky Speedway earlier this month
After Watkins Glen it’s to Michigan, a place where Johnson finished 15th in June and has just one top five finish at since 2012. Then, it’s to Bristol a spot that he can win out followed by Darlington and Indy, spots where he’s struggled at in the last few years too.
Johnson, likely needs to win to make it in. He hasn’t done so in 80 races. That speaks volumes.
What about Chase Elliott?
At one point of the season, Elliott looked like a championship contender. He won at Talladega back in April to kick off a five race string of a top five finish in each race. Unfortunately, his good finishes stopped then.
Since Michigan, Elliott has one top 15 finish in seven tries. Those last seven finishes are – 20th, 37th, 11th, 35th, 15th, 29th and 38th respectively. He heads to Watkins Glen as the defending race winner but also coming off of a practice crash last weekend in Pocono and a crash in the race itself en route to a last place finish.
He needs to end this spiral and Watkins Glen could be the place.
Alex Bowman is struggling too. He won at the Chicagoland Speedway a month ago but that and a 10th place run are his only top 10 results in the last eight races. He finished 14th at Watkins Glen last year.
The only bright spot is William Byron who has three top eight finishes in his last five starts on the season. He finished eighth in Watkins Glen last year and had a really fast car at Sonoma back in June.
Right now, Byron is HMS’ leader.