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Jimmie Johnson’s team won’t change engines after issue in practice

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Practice - Go Bowling 400

KANSAS CITY, KS - MAY 06: Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet, drives during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Go Bowling 400 at Kansas Speedway on May 6, 2016 in Kansas City, Kansas. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images)

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A Hendrick Motorsports official said that the team won’t need to change engines in Jimmie Johnson’s car after it was smoking during Friday’s second Sprint Cup practice session at Kansas Speedway.

After completing a run, Johnson shut off the engine but it continued to run and began smoking, similar to what happened to teammate Kasey Kahne at Phoenix earlier this year. The engine in Kahne’s car could not be stopped before it was damaged. Johnson’s team was able to do so Friday before the engine was damaged.

Doug Duchardt, general manager at Hendrick Motorsports, explained what happened to Johnson’s car:

“It appears the No. 48 got into a similar condition that the No. 5 (Kahne) got into at Phoenix; and when it did that, it pumped some oil up into the intake manifold and that’s where the smoke came from. Based on the experience we had with Kasey’s engine in Phoenix, we felt comfortable checking the engine over, running it, getting the oil out of the top of the engine, and sending him back out. Jimmie went back out during practice. We will continue to monitor, and we have no plans on changing the engine at this time.”

Johnson has an average finish of 2.7 on the 1.5-mile tracks this season with a victory at Atlanta, a third-place finish at Las Vegas and a fourth-place finish at Texas. Johnson has three career victories at Kansas, including this event last year.

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