Dodging a bullet

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Published in Sprint Cup Series News
Thursday, 10 October 2013 21:37
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With two laps left in the Kansas race, Jimmie Johnson’s engine began to fail.

Johnson felt the telltale vibration in his No. 48 Chevrolet and began preparing mentally for the worst-case scenario—failing to complete the final lap and falling farther behind NASCAR Sprint Cup Series leader Matt Kenseth.

Almost miraculously, Johnson’s engine recovered enough on the last to keep him in sixth place. Instead of losing points to Kenseth, he gained five and comes to Charlotte just three points down to the leader.

“It really was bizarre,” Johnson said Thursday. “I was trying to manage how hard the car was shaking with my throttle inputs. Looking back on it, I just got lucky with the parts that were failing. They decided to work in harmony for another mile and a half, where I could use a lot more throttle and maintain that sixth position.”

Johnson doesn’t expect his engine problem to be a recurring issue.

“We had a big meeting on Tuesday, and they walked all the drivers and crew chiefs through,” he said. “It’s amazing how thorough things are in out engine shop (at Hendrick Motorsports). We feel very comfortable and confident that they’ve got the issue sorted out—it was in the valve train—so we’re feeling good about it.”

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Steven B. Wilson

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