|Johnson has struggled at MIS|
Next stop on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule is Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan, a track that has dealt Johnson a series of frustrating finishes over the years. Johnson has celebrated in Victory Lane 63 times in his storied career, but never at MIS. In fact, Michigan is one of just five tracks on the Sprint Cup circuit where the five-time champion has never carried the checkered flag. Chicagoland, Homestead-Miami, Kentucky and Watkins Glen International are the others.
In 2009, Johnson dominated the June Michigan race, leading 146 of 200 laps only to run out of gas on the final lap and finish 22nd. He led 133 laps in August of that year, but ran out of fuel with just two laps remaining en route to a 33rd-place finish.
In June of 2010, Johnson managed a respectable, sixth-place finish at Michigan. His return visit in August was not as productive. He managed to stay in contention despite some early pit road miscues, but took four tires on the final stop of the day while most of the field stayed out on his way to a disappointing 12th-place finish.
Two years ago this week, Johnson’s Lowes Chevrolet broke loose on lap eight of the race. He saved the car from hitting the wall, but suffered a broken suspension part that forced him to pit road for lengthy repairs en route to a 27th–place showing in the final rundown.
Last June, Johnson was forced to tiptoe his way to the checkered flag to avoid – you guessed it -- running out of fuel in the final laps. He managed a fifth-place finish that day, but failed to complete the August race, ending up 28th.
So while Johnson has as many wins (3) and more Top-5 finishes (7) than anyone in the sport at present, a rare Achilles-heel track like Michigan provides an opportunity to his competition to turn the tide – at least for a week – and close ranks on a team that currently rides quite comfortably, 51 points ahead of their closest pursuer.