In addition to the unusual rash of Hendrick Motorsports engine failures at Michigan, there was another rarity last weekend as well: The frustration of losing a race he had seemingly in the bag caused Jimmie Johnson to make a hasty exit out of the track and skip speaking with the media afterward.
For Johnson, that was very unusual. No matter if there's a good or bad result, he generally takes a few minutes to address reporters following the race. Instead, though, he bolted out of the track without saying a word.
"Last week with the emotion, there were so many levels of frustration that came through," Johnson said Friday at Bristol Motor Speedway. "From gifting a fellow Chaser bonus points – a win – to losing two engines that weekend and losing the championship points lead, which is really important to me. All that just came to a head and there wasn't much else to say.
"Everyone watching clearly knew I had an engine failure and that I was disappointed. Just didn't make any sense to me to talk with everyone and draw further attention to the engine shop, which works so hard to put me on the racetrack week in and week out."
In total, four engines bearing the Hendrick name suffered failures at Michigan. One of those victims was Johnson himself, who suffered a blown engine at the worst possible time – leading the race with just a few laps to go.
He admitted Friday that Hendrick was "caught off guard" by the reliability issues, though he did reiterate he was confident the issues had been addressed by the engine department using technology Johnson referred to as "C.S.I. stuff."