Even a 10-time winner can’t survive the Monster Mile of Dover International Speedway.
On lap 105 of Sunday’s AAA 400, the last race of the Challenger Round, Jimmie Johnson suffered a broken rear axle seal, sending the No. 48 car to the garage. The team worked diligently to put a new rear-end assembly in the Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet.
Returning to the track on lap 137, Johnson would be scored in the 43rd position, 36 laps down, and in serious danger of failing to advance to Round 2 of the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
During the first round of pit stops following a lap 40 competition caution, Johnson was nabbed for speeding on pit road.
The defending Dover winner charged through the field, sitting just outside the top 15 before the failure.
As four drivers will face elimination at the end of 400 laps at Dover, Johnson will need to rely on issues from multiple Chase drivers in order to advance toward a possible seventh Sprint Cup Series crown.