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Cut tire causes Johnson to crash hard

8/7/2005

INDIANAPOLIS -- Jimmie Johnson was released from the
hospital Sunday night, a few hours after crashing hard in the
fourth turn during the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard.

He went to Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis for precautionary
evaluation after he appeared dazed.

Johnson, who entered the race as the Nextel Cup points leader
but dropped to second behind race winner Tony Stewart, was hurt
when his right front tire blew and he slammed into the fourth turn
wall on lap 146. He drove the car into the pits where it caught
fire.

Crew chief Chad Knaus climbed through the window on the
passenger side and assisted Johnson as the cockpit filled with
smoke.

"His bell has definitely been rung," Knaus said. "That was a
pretty hard hit that he took out there."

Johnson called it the hardest hit he'd ever taken and said he
didn't remember anything from the time he crashed until after he
returned to pit road.

He started 42nd after his car failed inspection twice Saturday
in qualifying. He finished 38th, his second-lowest finish of the
season, despite climbing to 13th early in the race. Johnson
finished 40th at Richmond.

Stewart now leads Johnson by 75 points after 21 of the season's
36 races. The top 10 in points after 26 races will contest for the
series championship over the final 10 races.

"Does it matter?" Knaus said of Johnson's falling to second
place. "Once we get to Loudon (N.H.) it basically starts over at
zero . So I'm really not concerned about points. As long as we stay
in the top 10, that's all we need."