Sunday, November 19, 2017
Sports

Jimmie Johnson in sudden Sprint Cup slump

RECOMMENDED READING


BROOKLYN, Mich. — The finishes seem implausible, especially because they've come in succession — 42nd place at Daytona, 42nd at New Hampshire, a brief improvement to 14th at the Brickyard, followed by a dip to 39th at Pocono and 28th at Watkins Glen.

This is Jimmie Johnson, NASCAR's six-time Sprint Cup champion?

"It has been a very challenging year," Johnson said. "We started off without the speed that we wanted. We got the speed back and then the luck left. So, we choose to look at it as we're getting all this out of the way so we can have 10 great races (at the end, in the Chase for the Championship)."

With three victories this season, "Six-Time" is safely in the Chase, but lately the No. 48 car has had its share of problems. The latest setback came Friday when Johnson qualified 30th at Michigan International Speedway, complaining afterward about a vibrating car.

Johnson won at MIS in June — his third victory in four races at the time — but based on his recent form, a repeat isn't looking especially likely in today's Pure Michigan 400.

Johnson finished in the top 10 twice in a row after that Michigan win. Then his run of misfortune began. He was one of several top contenders taken out by a couple of huge accidents at Daytona, then tire issues did him in at New Hampshire. He fell a lap down at Pocono after his rear right tire smacked the wall. He rebounded to get back to fifth, then a second blown tire forced him to the garage.

More of the same last weekend at Watkins Glen: With only a few laps to go, Johnson was bumped and his No. 48 spun around.

"We're not trying to make excuses or asking for sympathy from anybody," Johnson said. "But we can't ignore the results and fortunately we're in the Chase era, and we're sitting in a great position."

There are four more races until the Chase, so Johnson has a little while to reverse this trend. Though it has been a humbling stretch for him, he should still be considered a threat for the title at the end of the season.

"It's nice to have momentum entering the Chase. If it doesn't happen, we've won championships that way, too," Johnson said. "So, we're taking it as it comes."

Ryan Truex to sit out: J..J. Yeley will drive the No. 83 BK Racing Toyota in today's race after Ryan Truex crashed during practice Saturday and was taken to the hospital with a concussion. Truex walked to the ambulance after the crash. He hit the wall head-on while exiting a turn, and the front of his car was severely damaged.

Comments

New Winston accuser hires Kinsman attorney

The unnamed female Uber driver who has accused Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston of groping her in Arizona in 2016 has hired a familiar name to represent her: John Clune, who represented Zephyrhills' Erica Kinsman in her civil lawsuit against Winston."...
Updated: 1 hour ago
AP poll: State showdown of ranked teams will be in Orlando

AP poll: State showdown of ranked teams will be in Orlando

Inadvertently, the newest Associated Press football poll produced some Florida history Sunday.For the first time ever, UCF and USF both will be ranked — and the 'Noles and Gators both will be unranked — entering their respective season-en...
Updated: 7 minutes ago
Trump says he should have left UCLA players in Chinese jail

Trump says he should have left UCLA players in Chinese jail

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump says he should have left three UCLA basketball players accused of shoplifting in China in jail. Trump’s tweet Sunday comes after the father of player LiAngelo Ball minimized Trump’s involvement in winning the playe...
Updated: 22 minutes ago
Live blog: Bucs at Dolphins

Live blog: Bucs at Dolphins

Follow our live coverage of the Bucs’ game against the Miami Dolphins this afternoon at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens. You’ll find news, analysis, photos, video and more from Times reporters, columnists and photographers — all in real time. View...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Not much movement in my AP Top 25 ballot

Not much movement in my AP Top 25 ballot

Cupcake weekend in college football meant few shakeups in my AP Top 25 rankings.I thought about moving Wisconsin up from No. 5 after a quality, double-digit win over Michigan, but it wasn't enough for me. In my rankings, the Badgers have beaten one t...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Bucs rookie TE Antony Auclair active against Dolphins

Bucs rookie TE Antony Auclair active against Dolphins

The Bucs' inactives for today's game at Miami are largely as expected, though rookie TE Antony Auclair is getting the nod as the third tight end, rather than veteran Luke Stocker.Auclair, an undrafted rookie from Canada, played only one other time th...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Former Winston teammate: I was in car, nothing inappropriate happened

Former Winston teammate: I was in car, nothing inappropriate happened

Eagles cornerback Ronald Darby has released a statement in defense of Jameis Winston, saying he was in the back seat with the Bucs quarterback  during the Uber ride in 2016 and "nothing inappropriate" happened.The NFL is investigating an allegat...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Chip Kelly: Florida Gators’ next coach ‘will be really lucky’

Chip Kelly: Florida Gators’ next coach ‘will be really lucky’

With rumors swirling in Gainesville that Chip Kelly might be the Gators' next coach, ESPN asked him about it Sunday morning."Is this your way of firing me?" Kelly responded.Kelly, the former Oregon coach, eventually answered seriously. He didn't deny...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Sunday morning QB, playoff edition

Sunday morning QB, playoff edition

Player of the Week | Michael Penix Jr., Tampa Bay TechPenix, a Tennessee commit, has been good all season and it seems as if he’s getting even better in the playoffs. On Friday night against Palmetto in the Class 7A region semifinals, he was too ...
Published: 11/19/17
Lightning finds its game too late, loses to Islanders

Lightning finds its game too late, loses to Islanders

TAMPA — The firepower showed up in the third period.Yanni Gourde and Ondrej Palat scored 13 seconds apart. Gourde scored again.Suddenly it was a one-goal game, and the Lightning appeared on its way to one of those comeback wins that would be remember...
Published: 11/18/17