Breaking News: Pothole Brings Daytona 500 Red Flag, Jimmie Johnson Penalized

Jesse L. Medford@JesseMedfordContributor IFebruary 14, 2010

DAYTONA BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 14:  Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe's Chevrolet, races Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Old Spice/Office Depot Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 14, 2010 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo by John Harrelson/Getty Images)
John Harrelson/Getty Images

With 78 laps remaining in the 52nd running of the Daytona 500, the race is at a standstill. A red flag was called due to a pothole in an asphalt seam that likely caused Jimmie Johnson’s flat tire.

A yellow was called just as Johnson was heading to pit road, because John Andretti also had a tire problem put him in the wall. Johnson will be penalized for pitting while the pits were closed; as opposed to going around the track another lap and letting the blown tire further damage his Lowe’s Chevrolet.

This brings to mind a Martinsville race in April 19, 2004 where the No. 48’s owner and Hendrick Motorsports teammate. This cost Gordon a chance at a Martinsville three-peat.

Johnson has had a great start to the season with a win in the Gatorade Duels. He hasn’t led today, but he is looking for a good start to the 2010 season in a quest for an unprecedented fifth straight NASCAR championship. Johnson will have to charge from the back, as his pit road penalty will cause him to have to start from the tail end of the longest line. Currently 34 cars remain on the lead lap.

No cars can be worked on during the red flag. A minor repair by Sterling Marlin in the 2002 Daytona 500 is engrained in most NASCAR fans memories, for costing him a chance at the victory. While everyone sat in the cars, he stepped out and pulled sheet metal away from his tire. Marlin had to start at the tail end of the longest line, and wasn’t able to recover.

Clint Boyer is sitting in the lead right now, after a Daytona 500 record 18 drivers have been in front.

NASCAR is currently waiting for the repairs to the track to dry.

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