DOVER, Del. – With a week to think about his last-lap attempt at a Bank of America ROVAL 400 win, which ultimately cost him his spot in the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs, Jimmie Johnson still knows one thing for certain.
“I still have to make that move,” he said. “I still have to try for it.”
The driver of the No. 48 Lowe’s for Pros Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 said he has put a lot of thought into what he would have done differently.
As he tweeted the day after the race, he noted that he would have made a brake bias adjustment as he entered the turn. His entire goal, he said, was to get to the inside of the leader, Martin Truex Jr., as they exited the chicane.
Instead, he spun – and in recovering from the spin, he collected Truex in the process. That’s the part, he said, that weighs on him.
“I feel bad for Martin and that No. 78 team,” Johnson said. “I hate that my mistake affected them and could impact their season to some degree. So, I don’t like that aspect to it, but it is racing and I know in my heart that it was a legitimate attempt at winning the race and a mistake was made. I didn’t go in there and just try to move him out of the way and wreck him and create all this havoc.”
He also feels for the entire No. 48 team, that after all the hard work that has gone into the season each and every day, their playoff run came to a close before the Round of 12.
But his teammates have assured him that they stand behind his decision to take a shot at Victory Lane.
“Countless text messages, phone calls, walking through the shop, they’ve all supported my decision to race for the win,” the driver said, “and I have a lot of pride in that.”
Regardless of the outcome, he was glad people could see just how much victories mean to the seven-time champion in the midst of a season that hasn’t lived up to the No. 48 team’s lofty goals.
“From my standpoint, my desire to win has never been stronger,” he said. “And I’m happy that last weekend people were able to see that.”
While the finish to last weekend’s race has certainly lingered with him, he noted that climbing back behind the wheel of the No. 48 Chevy always helps to clear his mind and wipe the slate clean.
For Johnson and the No. 48 team, that first chance to rebound comes at his best track. Johnson has more wins at Dover – a record 11 – than 28 other drivers on the preliminary entry list for the race this weekend have in their Cup Series careers.
And if he has a shot again this weekend, he once again won’t hesitate to make the move for the win.
“We’re at my favorite racetrack and absolutely, I do want to win the race,” he said. “And I’ll do everything in my power to win the race.”