After his mandatory trip to the infield care center, Johnson explained that he had not come across brakes failing like this in a long time.
“Certainly a big scare,” the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet driver said coming out of the center. “I haven’t had a scare like that since 2000 at Watkins Glen.”
According to Johnson, his brake went right to the floor and the smoke was brake fluid coming out of wherever failed and spewing onto the rotors. Before the mess, he finished fifth in Stage 1.
“I can only speculate that I got the brakes too hot and when I went to the brakes, they just traveled straight to the floor,” he said. “I didn’t even have a pedal to push on. At that point, I threw it in third gear and I was just trying to slow it down. I was heading to the grass and I was wondering why I didn’t turn right and get into the wall sooner, but I’m fine.”
McMurray experienced the same dilemma at the same time and his No. 1 Cessna Chevrolet ended up in a fiery inferno. He finished ninth in the first stage before the trouble struck.
“It was really weird that we kind of both had the same thing happen at the same point on the racetrack,” McMurray said. “Fortunately, we are both ok.”
“I didn’t really even see the No. 48 car wrecking until I just went down and I got on the brake pedal and my pedal started to go to the floor. I had a little bit that I could kind of pump it and I thought I was going to be okay. Then, I don’t know if I got into some oil or what happened, but I just started spinning and didn’t have any brakes.”
Later on lap 141 and after finishing Stage 2 in the top 10, Kasey Kahne also had a brake botheration.
“I was going down the front stretch about halfway and the right front popped,” the No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet driver explained. “I had been fighting serious brake problems for a while so I’m guessing it had something to do with that. It happened in the middle of the front stretch so I just kind of rode the wall, blew my brakes off, rode the wall to the backstretch, which was actually a very easy ride for where it happened. Just disappointed that it happened.”
When all was said and done, Johnson finished the day in the 36th position while McMurray was scored 37th and Kahne 35th.