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Mistakes and Misfortunes Cost Jimmie Johnson A Six-Pack

As written a few weeks back, mistakes could be what decides the Sprint Cup Champion. In Jimmie Johnson's case, mistakes and misfortunates cost him a six-pack.

Jason Smith

Several weeks ago, I wrote in my weekly column that mistakes could cost Brad Keselowski or Jimmie Johnson a chance at the Sprint Cup title.

Now that the season is in the history books, we now know that one small mistake (along with several misfortunates) ultimately cost Jimmie Johnson the chance to win a sixth Sprint Cup title.

When Johnson pitted with just 54 laps to go, the team knew that they would only need one more pit-stop to finish the race. They knew that Keselowski needed an additional stop to make it. If things worked the way the 48 team hoped, the 48 would have a great chance at the title.

When it was go-time, things appeared to go smoothly for the 48 team and confidence was soaring.

That is, until Johnson leaves his pit-stall.

A Sprint Cup official called that all the lug nuts on Johnson's left-rear wheel were not tightened enough and he was forced to come back in. That one mistake ultimately cost Jimmie Johnson any shot at the Sprint Cup.

While it was really only one mistake that cost Johnson a shot to win the Sprint Cup, he suffered two misfortunates in two consecutive weeks that made it hard for him to win the title. He hit the turn four wall (after suffering a blown right-front tire) at Phoenix, and then he suffered a mechanical failure Sunday at Homestead.

These kinds of things happen in racing. We all know that. But considering that Johnson had a shot to win the Sprint Cup title with Chad Knaus having what would have been a successful pit-strategy, the mistake on pit-road would have cost them any shot to win even if Johnson finished the race.

We can debate whether it was Johnson's misfortunaes that cost him the Sprint Cup, or the mistake on pit-road with 54 laps to go Sunday. But as Rick Hendrick stated in his post-race interview, "it just wasn't meant to be".

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.