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Tire woes flatten Johnson’s race at New Hampshire

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LOUDON, N.H. (AP) — Jimmie Johnson’s tire woes flattened his race at New Hampshire.

Johnson hit pit road only a few laps into the race with a left rear flat. The new tire didn’t help. It blew and the No. 48 slammed into the fence, ending the six-time NASCAR champion’s race only 15 laps into Sunday’s race.

Johnson, who qualified second, said the tire “just exploded.”

He refused to put the blame on his crew for the mishaps.

“I don’t know why the first one went down, let alone the second one,” he said. “I know there has been speculation about teams having too low of tire pressure, the left rear causing that. I promise you it wasn’t our case. The first one went, and there could have been damage that caused the second one to go so quickly and explode like it did.”

Goodyear said the tires weren’t the problem.

“The tires failed in a manner consistent of low inflation pressure,” Greg Stucker, Goodyear’s director of racing, said.