NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Jimmie Johnson Happy to Finish 3rd After Rough Streak

It may be hard to remember a time where a top-5 finish for the sport’s six-time champion spelt improvement.

However, that’s the position and attitude Jimmie Johnson was found in, as he drove his No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet to a third-place finish in Sunday’s Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

“I’m very happy,” Johnson said. “We had a pit road speeding violation and I think top 10 or 15 was the goal at that point. So to get all the way back to third is pretty awesome.”

Johnson broke a run of six straight races without a top 10, dating back to the Coca-Cola 600 in May, where he finished third.

Though climbing to the podium on the end of Sunday’s race, Johnson never believed he had a real shot at Kyle Busch, who led 149 of 170 laps toward his fourth straight IMS win in NASCAR top-two series.

“I never honestly got a good look at him,” Johnson said. “I was on a lot newer tires than he was. I know we was about to run out of gas so I wish we had another caution and maybe a better restart or two and I would’ve had a shot at it.”

Standing as the only top-10 finisher for HMS, Johnson broke a run of three straight races for the team finishing all four cars outside the top 10. Johnson, however, doesn’t get caught up in the numbers.

“I think outsiders pay more attention to streaks than what we do,” he said. “We’re just happy to finish where we should. We had a good car, knew it was a top-5 car and we finished where we should have.”

After back-to-back accident at Daytona and Kentucky, a 12th-place at Loudon made Johnson appreciate the clean race Sunday’s 400-miler brought.

“We’ve had some issues over the last month or two trying to get more than we should and not finishing races,” he concluded. “It seemed like we got that corrected today which was really good.”

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