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Jimmie Johnson optimistic after NASCAR playoffs streak ends at 15 seasons

Jimmie Johnson says he is “back to it” after missing the NASCAR playoffs for the first time ever.

The seven-time champ was the only driver who qualified for every post-season competition since NASCAR inaugurated the format in 2004 before coming up short at the regular season-ending Brickyard 400 in Indianapolis on Sunday, where contact with the wall took him out of contention with 55 laps to go.

“Damn, what a bummer and a letdown. But thank you to all my fans for all of your support. I promise you, we are getting stronger. This team is going in the right direction,” Johnson said in a video posted to Twitter after the race.

“Chasing eight will have to wait until next year.”

Johnson hasn’t won a points race in 27 months and Hendrick Racing has changed his crew chief twice in the past year in an effort to get him back on track. He finished the regular season in 18th place, two positions out of the playoffs. He is currently tied with Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt Sr. on the all-time championship list, with all of his titles coming during the playoffs era.

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The 43-year-old followed up on Monday morning tweeting “Well how about that... the sun still came up. 10 races to go and we are as determined as ever.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report