Jimmie Johnson and Jamie McMurray both crashed after having brake problems entering turn 1 within seconds of each other on lap 96 Sunday at Pocono.
Johnson was ahead of McMurray and suffered a massive brake failure as he dove into the corner at over 200 MPH. He tried to crank the car into the grass and spin it, but it came back across the track and violently hit the wall. Johnson climbed from his car and sat on the track next to his wounded vehicle for a few moments before he was checked and released in the infield care center.
“Yeah, I told myself if this ever happened again I would turn immediately into the outside wall and try to slow myself down, but my instincts, you are looking at the corner, you look at all that real estate to the inside and I pointed it down to the infield,” Johnson said of what went through his mind when he realized he didn’t have any brakes. “Once I was in the grass, I was like, man, I’ve been here before, I should have just turned dead right into the wall and got to the wall right away. You have a split-second decision to make there. Fortunately, this one turned out well for me, just an exciting ride.
“I didn’t have a long pedal or anything to tell me to not use my brakes like I had been. And when I went in the corner and hit the pedal, it traveled immediately to the floor and I could see a little puff of smoke and I knew I was in big trouble. I quickly stuffed it into third gear and tried to slow the car down and got into the grass. Fortunately I had a decent angle when I hit the wall in turn 1.”
McMurray was a couple of cars behind Johnson and might have hit some of the debris that spewed from Johnson’s car as he dove into the corner and his car then skidded into the wall.
“So, I didn’t really even see the No. 48 car wrecking until I just went down and I got on the brake pedal and my pedal started to go to the floor and I had a little bit that I could kind of pump it and I thought I was going to be okay,” McMurray said. “And then, I don’t know if I got into some oil or what happened, but I just started spinning and didn’t have any brakes.”
While Johnson’s car came to a stop in turn 1, McMurray’s car kept going and finally came to rest on in the inside of the backstretch. While it was on fire.
As McMurray scrambled from his car, the fire under the hood was extinguished by the built-in extinguisher as it spread to the back of the car.
Both drivers entered Sunday’s race in the top 10 in the points standings. McMurray falls three places to eighth in the standings while Johnson is seventh, a spot lower than he was before Sunday’s race.
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