The pits were a troublesome place for Johnson on Sunday. (LAT photo)
Hendrick Motorsports announced Monday that its No. 24 and 48 Hendrick Motorsports teams will trade pit crews for the remaining two races of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. The change is limited to the seven primary over-the-wall members of the respective pit crews. Roles of additional team personnel will not be affected.
Johnson's car was serviced by Gordon's crew after the latter crashed out of Sunday's race in Texas, following two slow stops by the regular No. 48 crew, one of which involved lug nuts being knocked off the right-front tire. Johnson finished ninth at Texas, and is now 33 points behind race winner and new championship leader Denny Hamlin with two races remaining at Phoenix International Raceway and Homestead-Miami Speedway. It is the first time in Johnson's four-year reign as Sprint Cup champ that he has trailed in the points with two races to go.
Johnson's crew chief Chad Knaus (ABOVE) said in Texas that the decision to swap the crews was his, and that the team would meet Monday morning back at the Hendrick shop to hash out a plan for the remainder of the year.
"It's a professional sport, and you see it all the time," Knaus told NASCAR.com. "If somebody's out or somebody's not getting it done, say in football, you get a different receiver in the game or a different quarterback, or whatever it is. Unfortunately, our guys weren't hitting on all eight cylinders [Sunday], and we had an opportunity with the 24 crashing to bring those guys in. They did a good job. They came in and played relief, and I thought they did a good job [Sunday]. It's unfortunate. I don't like doing that stuff – nobody does. But it's kind of your job."