Cut tire causes Johnson to crash hard

Updated: August 7, 2005, 9:20 PM ET
Associated Press

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."

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press