Ride along with Jimmie Johnson as he and the No. 48 crew figure out how to fix a broken shifter at Michigan International Speedway.
2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Jimmie Johnson teams up with Gatorade and surprises the Independence High School football team in effort to teach players the importance of staying hydrated.
'Six-Time' shows some spunk with top-10 finish MORE: Icy relationship continues for Newman, Johnson RELATED: Play NASCAR Fantasy Live " Sign up for RaceView today BROOKLYN, Mich. -- After four wrecks in the preceding five races, Jimmie Johnson needed a jolt, a silver lining ... anything to register a positive as the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs draw near. What he got Sunday was the solid top-10 finish he needed, but the roundabout way he arrived there made for a rough ride. Johnson rallied past a heavy helping of obstacles for a ninth-place finish in the Pure Michigan 400 , overcoming a broken shifter just before the halfway point and a frenzied battle with Ryan Newman in the race's final stages. The former required clamping a tool in place mid-race for a makeshift level; the latter issue prompted a testy post-race meeting between the two drivers. Johnson snatched a spot among the top 10 finishers after a handful of instances of contact between his No. 48 and Newman's No. 31. Newman faded to an 11th-place effort and declined comment after hastily walking from the Sprint Cup garage to a waiting SUV. "Everyone that's ever been in a race car out there understands the frustration that comes along with racing Ryan. Just normal Ryan stuff," Johnson said. "And I don't want to take away anything from what this awesome race team did. Granted, we put ourselves in a bad position with the shift level breaking off and were able to rally back and get ourselves a good finish. Unfortunate we didn't get any further up in the field, but still salvaged a lot today." Johnson's whole weekend was a self-contained comeback in its own right. Despite claiming his first Michigan win in June, the six-time Sprint Cup champ mustered just the 39th-fastest speed in Friday's opening practice and followed that with a 30th-best effort in Coors Light Pole Qualifying. Saturday's ranks of 13th and eighth in practice offered hope for improvement, but any gains would have to come from deep in the field. Johnson steadily worked his way up to take the lead as alternate pit strategies unfolded, but radio-ed to his crew on Lap 45 of 200 that his shifter had fallen off shortly after a restart for the race's fourth caution period. He didn't stop again until the 76th lap, but by then crew chief Chad Knaus had already hatched a game plan for the team to hand Johnson wire-cutters and vice grips to rig a stopgap shift lever. Johnson lost the lead and plenty of ground after the four-tire change and a push off pit road to get the car going led to a sluggish return to speed. Though chances of a Michigan season sweep suddenly grew dim, the effort to salvage a solid result was already under way. After getting the upper hand in the late-race fight over racing room with Newman, the comeback was as complete as the 400-mile distance would allow. "I think what they show is they can battle back, figure out a way not to lose with the shifter broken in the car, not to lose laps, then Chad focuses on trying to get him back on the lead lap, get him in position with tires at the end of the race to maybe even get a top five," said team owner Rick Hendrick. "I think that's just calling a great race and Jimmie not giving up. Hopefully we have all the bad luck behind us now. They'll be able to go to the next race feeling great." Johnson faced a similar rough patch in the schedule last year, when he closed out the regular season with four finishes of 28th or worse. He rallied then to notch his sixth championship in the Chase, in another show of perseverance. All things considered, a reprise of 2013 wouldn't be all that bad. "Yeah, we have fast cars, it's just unfortunate that we've got to dig out of holes each weekend," Johnson said. "At least we were able to leave under the checkered flag today and get a decent finish out of it, with a ton of adversity thrown at us." MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news WATCH: Latest NASCAR video PLAY: NASCAR Fantasy Live FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Jimmie Johnson and Ryan Newman exchange words following an on-track incident in the Pure Michigan 400.
Regan Smith and Billy Johnson get together during the Johnsonville Sausage 200 Presented by Menards at Road America.
Following the Johnsonville Sausage 200 presented by Menards at Road America Max Papis has a few words with Billy Johnson .
Get the latest Jimmie Johnson news, media, stats, and standings for the NASCAR Nationwide Series driver only on the official site of NASCAR.
Get the latest Jimmie Johnson news, media, stats, and standings for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver only on the official site of NASCAR.
Four spots in the Chase Grid remain heading into the 24th race of the season RELATED: Play NASCAR Fantasy Live " Sign up for RaceView today All 12 race winners in 2014 have clinched a spot in the top 30 in driver points and a spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, provided they qualifying for the final three races of the regular season. Those drivers, in current Chase Grid order, are Jeff Gordon , Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Brad Keselowski , Jimmie Johnson , Joey Logano , Kevin Harvick , Carl Edwards , Kyle Busch , Denny Hamlin , Aric Almirola , AJ Allmendinger and Kurt Busch have clinched a spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, provided they attempt to qualify for the remaining four races. If a winless driver wins this weekend, and is 97 or more points ahead of 31st place, he or she will also clinch a spot. No winless drivers can clinch a spot in the Chase after the Irwin Tools Night Race (Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET, ABC). Three-time Bristol winner Matt Kenseth , Ryan Newman , Clint Bowyer and Greg Biffle are in the provisional grid for now and on the bubble with Kasey Kahne , Austin Dillon , Kyle Larson and Marcos Ambrose , fifth-place finisher at Bristol in March, who are the first four drivers outside the grid. See the full rundown below. 2014 Chase Grid Outlook Pos. Drivers Wins Points Chase Bonus Pts 1 Jeff Gordon 3 816 9 2 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 3 813 9 3 Brad Keselowski 3 733 9 4 Jimmie Johnson 3 686 9 5 Joey Logano 2 714 6 6 Kevin Harvick 2 687 6 7 Carl Edwards 2 679 6 8 Kyle Busch 1 620 3 9 Denny Hamlin 1 589 3 10 Aric Almirola 1 556 3 11 AJ Allmendinger 1 556 3 12 Kurt Busch 1 543 3 13 Matt Kenseth 0 709 0 14 Ryan Newman 0 679 0 15 Clint Bowyer 0 672 0 16 Greg Biffle 0 660 0 Outside Looking In 17 Kasey Kahne 0 651 0 18 Austin Dillon 0 638 0 19 Kyle Larson 0 636 0 20 Marcos Ambrose 0 616 0 21 Paul Menard 0 614 0 22 Brian Vickers 0 598 0 23 Jamie McMurray 0 596 0 24 Casey Mears 0 543 0 25 Tony Stewart 0 537 0 26 Martin Truex Jr. 0 516 0 27 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 0 476 0 28 Danica Patrick 0 445 0 29 Justin Allgaier 0 400 0 30 Michael Annett 0 364 0 Green = Locked into the Chase, provided they attempt to qualify for the remaining four races Orange = No wins, Inside the current Chase Grid's top 16 - Currently in the Chase, not locked in Red = Inside the current top 30 in points, outside of the Chase cutoff MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news WATCH: Latest NASCAR video PLAY: NASCAR Fantasy Live FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView
Drivers Carl Edwards, Jimmie Johnson , Kurt and Kyle Busch hit the street to the spread the word and explain the all new Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup to fans.