3 Strikes and Johnson was called out by The Lady in Black

Dale Wilkerson                                   May 2010 


Jimmie Johnson’s rough night at Darlington ended with a grinding turn three crash as AJ Allmendinger’s brakes failed.  For Johnson he was in the wrong place but for Allmendinger the location of Johnson’s car may have saved him from a harder impact with the wall.

Back in 2001, Mike Skinner had a similar problem at full speed approaching turn three. Skinner, as Allmendinger did, threw his car into a spin and crashed backward into the wall. The filler neck was torn from the car resulting in a major fire as Skinner slid to the apron area of the track. Skinner was able to climb from his RCR-Chevrolet as crews scampered to extinguish the flames.

If Johnson had not been in the exact location he was when Allmendinger had his problem, the #43 Ford would have backed into the wall and a similar fire could have engulfed the car.

In baseball, the rule book reads three strikes and you’re out and that rule applied to Johnson during the Southern 500. Johnson had picked up a big Darlington Stripe in turns one and two earlier, this one could have been called a foul ball. Strike two was a knuckle-ball, a few laps later in the race, as he was swept up into a three car crash, in turn four, involving Martin Truex Jr and Greg Biffle. All three cars continued but Johnson and his Lowe’s Chevrolet picked up the most damage. Then he was blindsided by a wicked curve ball for strike three from Allmendinger.

Johnson and his Chad Knaus led crew will be very anxious to get on track at Dover, a track where this team has been very successful, and don’t forget his best track is coming up with the All Star Race and the Coke 600 at Charlotte. After a rough performance at the plate last week, this team will be looking to go yard the next few weeks to regain their form.

For the past four years most fans have said Johnson has the best luck in the world, and races could be listed to support those claims. But last Saturday night, Johnson’s misfortune was a bit of good luck for Allmendinger.