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Jimmie Johnson says NASCAR and drivers need to rethink how to deal with a last-lap crash like at Loudon

  AJ Allmendinger, here making a late pit stop at Loudon Sunday, found himself in a dangerous situation when he got spun the final lap and sat in the middle of the track as the leaders bore down on him racing for the win (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

   By Mike Mulhern

   Jimmie Johnson says NASCAR was too slow to throw the yellow the final lap of Sunday's New Hampshire 300, while AJ Allmendinger's car was sitting in the middle of the racing groove on the front stretch, ahead of the leaders racing to the checkered.
   Allmendinger, in the middle of the pack, spun and stalled as the leaders took the white flag and headed into the first turn. But NASCAR, hoping that Allmendinger could get his car refired and pull out of the way before the leaders came back around, held off throwing the caution until the leaders -- a four-some headed by Mark Martin, with Denny Hamlin, Juan Pablo Montoya and Johnson chasing -- reached the final corner.
   "I saw the (caution) lights come on in the middle of (turns) three and four," Johnson said. "I didn't really hear anything (from his spotter) until I exited four. 
   "It's an unsafe situation for sure...and I think it should have been called a little bit earlier than what it was. 
   "I did see the lights in the middle of three and four, so it’s hard to say we didn't have enough time to get slowed down. 
   "I think on the last lap we need to take into consideration how fired up everybody is to get back to the start-finish line...and wondering where the last scoring loop was, or what's the point you race to. 
    "That bit of hesitation in all the drivers' minds leads to an unsafe situation. So it wouldn't hurt to call it earlier.
    "The timing of the caution was a little late. I understood NASCAR's position -- trying to really let the race play itself out. 
    "I saw the caution and had a quick argument with myself what to do. And at the end I knew the caution was out, and I could see it in the flagman's hand when I came off of turn four.  So I pulled down to the inside and checked up, and I had nobody pass me. 
    "Kyle Busch was behind me; I am not sure who was immediately behind him. But we all recognized we needed to check up. 
   "In front of me, I saw guys -- granted they're in position to win the race -- I saw Mark check up...and the other two were still heavy in the gas trying to get to the stripe. 
    "I don't really want to blame anybody. I don't think it's fair to blame anyone.  It's really tough -- and when you're covering a lap in 29 seconds, and in three or four seconds you have to decide what to do...
   "We need to do a better job. Hopefully we've all learned a lesson here. 
    "I think NASCAR can look at maybe throwing it a little earlier. And the drivers certainly need to check up. 
    "I think it was a chain reaction deeper in the field, where guys weren't checking up on time.
    "When I saw the replay -- granted, the first couple cars coming across (the finish line) was pretty hairy (splitting around Allmendinger's car). But there were a lot of close calls deep in the pack. 
    "It's tough to get 43 cars to check up and slow down in time. And the chain reaction of that made it pretty intense coming off turn four."
    Should drivers who didn't slow down at the yellow and kept racing have been penalized?
    "It could be viewed that way," Johnson said. "I'm not sure I've seen the penalty for it.  I'm sure there's one in the rule book, but I don't recall it actually being said. So I don't have a clue what that would even be."

   Jimmie Johnson says NASCAR's slow yellow Sunday left drivers wondering just what to do, creating a dangerous situation (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)


Jimmie said it in his comments that he did not hear from his spotter until turn 4. The spotter had 25 seconds to say something. Na$car made the right call.

i think jimmie was saying

i think jimmie was saying that his spotter didnt say 'caution' until he was in turn four, just after he himself saw the lights. i'm not sure yet what the spotter actually told jimmie while aj was sitting in the middle of the track. i'll ask.

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