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Jimmie Johnson loses Pocono 400 to teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr after big scare

Dale Earnhardt Jr  in Victory Lane with his Pocono 400 trophy.
Dale Earnhardt Jr in Victory Lane with his Pocono 400 trophy.
Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images

Crew chief Chad Knaus has taken the blame for Jimmie Johnson’s pit row accident at the Pocono 400 yesterday in which Johnson’s #48 made contact with Marcos Ambrose’s # 9 car while coming out of his stall following a two-tire change, and sent him spinning dangerously close to a tire changer and tire carrier servicing Justin Allgaier's the #51 car.

Johnson’s right-front slammed into Ambrose's car hard enough, which was coming in for service, causing enough damage to his own car to send him back to the stall for extensive repairs.

"Chad was spotting me out of the pit, and he took full responsibility for it," Johnson said. "He didn't know the 9 was ahead of us pulling in. He thought the 9 had left his pit box. Just confusion on pit road. I feel terrible for the 9 guys, hurting their race car and taking them out of a good day. Hurt our race car, too. However, I'm so thankful I didn't hit those crew guys. It wouldn't have been good."

Johnson, who had won the last two Sprint Cup Series races at Charlotte and Dover, was attempting to become the first driver to win three straight races since he did it in 2007, when he secured 4 consecutive victories on his way to claiming his second championship in a row. This time, the win went to Hendrick Motorsports teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr, with Johnson holding on to finish 6th behind Brad Keselowski, Kurt Busch, Denny Hamlin and Kyle Larson. Ambrose finish 24th.