The shifter handle on the transmission of Jimmie Johnson's car broke during Sunday's race at Michigan, so he and his team had to take drastic measures.
When Johnson pitted under green the team handed him a pair of pliers and a vise grip to attach to the remaining part of the shifter handle so Johnson could shift the gears in the car.
However, he couldn't get the vise grip onto the shifter handle. When Johnson pitted he was in high gear; after his team pushed him away from his pit stall he tried to get the vise grip on the handle.
A process that continued as he exited pit road.
And continued some more as he got onto the track and accelerated toward full speed.
It was an incredible moment of multi-tasking that a mere mortal would have incredible issues with. And we'll also be honest, it's a little bit dangerous too. We all know how dangerous texting and driving can be, but fixing your transmission and driving? Though given the preponderance of automatic transmissions in passenger cars, we won't see a new set of commercials against this.
But it's also worth pointing out, if you didn't already know, that Johnson is more than a mere mortal when it comes to driving a car. He's a six-time Sprint Cup Series champion with more car control than you, me, your best friend and your brother combined. If anyone could keep a car pointed straight and out of the racing line while attempting to do this, it's Johnson.
However, Johnson wasn't successful in his efforts. He lost a lap while trying to get the shifter fixed and his team ended up fixing it on a subsequent pit stop. However, he got the lap back and ultimately finished ninth.
"Multiple attempts," Johnson said. "[The crew] handed me some tools and I didn't have success trying to get that fixed. They had some contraption with a vise grip to try to figure that out and it fell off before I even got back to pit in under caution. So once I could get the wire tie busted and get the boot down I could see what was wrong and we were kind of able to adjust from there and [car chief] Ron Malec dove in the right side window and got it sorted out."
The shifter wasn't the only thing Johnson had issues with during the race as well. After the race he and Ryan Newman had a discussion about some on-track contact in the late laps. Johnson characterized the discussion about the racing as "normal Ryan stuff."
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