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Jimmie Johnson is now facing a win-or-go-home situation for his push into the NASCAR playoffs.
Fortunately he is going into his favorite course, Dover International Speedway, this weekend. It is a course that he has won at an insane 11 times.
As it stands now, Johnson is 25 points out of the playoff cutline. He has the two Dover races this weekend and then next week’s regular-season finale at Daytona International Speedway. If he does not get a win, his final full NASCAR season ends in a rather inauspicious way, with empty stands and no fanfare.
So far this season the results have not been kind to one of the all-time greats. It is a fact not lost on him.
”I never wanted to have a winless drought or have a winless season,” Johnson told Yahoo! Sports. ”But I’ve worked through so many of those emotions over the last couple of years and also understand that there are factors that I can’t control that have affected my performance.”
His win-and-in situation has also been somewhat forced on him by external factors.
Johnson’s care failed inspection after the race at Charlotte. It negating his runner-up finish and cost him 45 points. With those point back into his total he would currently rank ahead of Matt DiBenedetto (596) and his teammate William Byron (577).
Moreover, he flunked a COVID-19 test before a race at the Brickyard and received 0 points for the race. He has long maintained it was a false positive as he show no symptoms and had two negative test results in the subsequent days.
Throughout his career Johnson has led 3,110 laps at Dover. He hasn’t won since that 2017 season in Dover but even at the track he used to own, he has finishes of 14th or worse in the last three races.