Jimmie Johnson wasn’t happy with the speeding penalty that dropped him from second to 12th for the final restart with 29 laps remaining in the Goody's Fast Relief 500 Sunday at Martinsville.
Johnson ended up 11th.
The five-time champion felt he had judged the timing lines well enough that there is no way he could have been speeding. NASCAR determines speeding by using a driver’s elapsed time between timing lines, so drivers try to judge if they can go over the limit for part of the distance between the timing lines, especially when getting in and out of their pit boxes.
“I wasn’t speeding,” Johnson said. “They didn’t like how it looked. The way I managed my timing lines. … There is just no way. People will say whatever. But with the math and the way we know our timing lines, there is just no way. You accelerate real hard through your timing zone.
“A lot of guys get dinged for that. I’ve been dinged a couple of different times. Usually you get dinged when you pass someone or break the plane of the car in front of you. With no one there, I accelerated like I always do, so from my mark, there is just no way. There is just no way.”
Johnson had no plans to talk to NASCAR officials. The speed limit at Martinsville was 30 mph, and drivers get a 5 mph tolerance so NASCAR ruled he was over 35 mph. NASCAR made the ruling from information gathered by its timing system and not on how fast Johnson appeared to be going, a NASCAR official confirmed Monday.
“It won’t do me any good to have a conversation; it isn’t going to matter,” the Hendrick Motorsports driver said. “I guess I just can’t attack pit road like I know I can and like I did every single time before this. … It just sucks to have that taken away from me at the end.
“But that is racing. [I’m] not the first guy to get dinged on pit road and thinking it wasn’t his fault. I know it won’t be the last so we will just go on.”