All-Star recap: Earnhardt, Johnson in top 13
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (May 22, 2010) – Two late-race incidents cost the Hendrick Motorsports drivers their chance at the $1 million purse in the NASCAR Sprint All-Star race Saturday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet, led a race-high 56 laps before spinning through the grass on the second green-white-checkered restart of the final segment. After a trip to pit road for minor repairs, Johnson finished 13th in the final order.
“I was pinned on the inside and still had a great car,” Johnson said of his spin on Lap 97. “I just couldn’t get going on those first two laps kind of. Then that last time, I knew we were coming to the white (flag). Knew I had to clear the No. 11 on the outside of me so I just kept my foot in it, and I could feel them outside of me kind of pulling the back end of my car around but I said, ‘The hell with it; it’s the All Star race.’ Kept my foot to the floor and hoped that I made it off the turn, and I didn’t. It turned around on me.”
Seven laps prior to Johnson’s spin, a multi-car accident in Turn 1 on the first lap of the final 10-lap segment sidelined Jeff Gordon, driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the No. 88 The Dale Jr. Foundation/AMP Energy/National Guard Chevrolet, and Mark Martin, driver of No. 5 Delphi/GoDaddy.com Chevrolet.
“I’m not really sure what happened,” said Martin, who was running fourth at the time of the 10-lap shootout. “It just got kind of crazy out there on that restart. You can’t win this thing until you get it started, and we were trying to get it started. I didn’t get the best start, but it was going to be okay. And then somehow or another, the No. 20 car kind of swerved up and the No. 1 car got in the back of me, and we just started wadding up.”
Earnhardt’s team was able to repair his No. 88 Chevy and he returned to earn the 12th-place finish. Martin was scored with a 17th-place finish, and Gordon was 20th.