You always hear from the losing team in a close stick and ball sports game. They don’t point to a final shot by the opposition or the late game touchdown or last second field goal heroics from the opposing team. That’s not what lost them the game.
They’ll point to a missed free throw here. A missed layup there. A dropped pass here. A fumble there.
Well for Jimmie Johnson, the seven time series champion has three races on his mind – Darlington, Coca-Cola 600, Brickyard 400. If any one of those three races finish differently for him, he, not Matt DiBenedetto is playoff bound.
Johnson, missed the playoffs by six points. The surface shows his crash late in Saturday nights Coke Zero Sugar 400 at the Daytona International Speedway as to why. But, if you dig deeper, you’ll see maybe it’s Darlington back on May 17 as to why he’s missing the playoffs for a second straight year.
He was leading the first stage on the final lap. He got too aggressive and crashed in Turn 2 while battling a lap car. That’s 10 points gone. Take that back, he makes the playoffs by four points.
Then you have the ‘600 a week later. Johnson crossed the finish line second. His car failed post race inspection. He got last place points. Thats a difference of 38 points.
Then, you have the Brickyard. He announced on July 3 that he’d miss the race that weekend due to testing positive for the coronavirus. He got zero points since he didn’t race.
Now, this is where a debate can spark. Should he have gotten an average point differential for that July 5 race. Some series’ do that. If he made the playoffs because of that, is it fair? Is it fair he missed the postseason in his final full time year because of that too?
Could Johnson have had a false positive? His wife tested positive and had allergy like symptoms. Johnson, had no symptoms and tested negative early the following week. He was allowed to race again a week later. Could a false positive have kept Johnson out?
Combine all three and the fact that Johnson hasn’t won a race in 120 starts now (6/4/17) and he’s missing the playoffs again. It’s a shame.