NASCAR legend Johnson defends his 'quivering lip' spat with Blaney

Jimmie Johnson says he has no regrets about his ‘quivering lip’ spat with NASCAR rival Ryan Blaney at last weekend’s Watkins Glen Cup race.

After Penske Ford driver Blaney collided with Johnson’s Hendrick Chevrolet as they battled for a place in the top 10, Johnson confronted Blaney in the paddock.

He later gave a furious television interview in which he said he struggled to understand Blaney’s defence because “his lips were quivering so bad he can’t even speak”, suggesting that he was “nervous, or scared, maybe both”.

At this weekend’s Michigan event, Johnson said he did not understand why his comments had been considered “a big deal” in the week between races.

“It was an observation, it was happening, I didn’t hear a lot of details that I expected to hear,” said Johnson.

“I could have gone into a much more intense line of thought and said a lot more that would have been a lot more damaging to him than saying his lip was quivering.

“I don’t understand the sensitivity to that or why it’s such a big deal.

“His lip was quivering and he didn’t have a lot to say. It’s one of the facts that took place in the conversation.”

Johnson still feels Blaney was completely in the wrong for their clash.

“I was pissed off, I was crashed, I got drove through. Plain and simple,” he said.

“I don’t care how it looks or how it’s perceived. I got dumped and I was upset.

“The way I was raised and the way I went racing was when something like that happens you go talk to the guy.

“I was taught not to use my car as a weapon, go out and try to crash a guy back.

“Fighting is really not my thing either unless I have to defend myself, so I went there and talked to the guy and hoped to hear a different side of the story than what I thought took place in the car.

“So that’s the way I was raised in racing and the way I handled it.”

With four races to go in the ‘regular season’, Johnson holds the last place in the title shootout as he sits 16th in the drivers’ points.

He has not won a championship round since June 2017.

Keselowski on pole, Childress cars disqualified

Blaney and Johnson qualified seventh and 10th at Michigan on Friday, as Brad Keselowski put Penske on pole ahead of Kevin Harvick.

Both Richard Childress Racing Chevrolets had their times disallowed.

Friday practice pacesetter Austin Dillon had originally been seventh on the grid and tema-mate Daniel Hemric 11th but they will now start in the last two spots in the 38-car field on Sunday.

NASCAR said both cars lacked fully functioning alternators and both teams have been assessed an L1 penalty. The parts were confiscated by NASCAR.

Both drivers will get a 10-point driver and owner penalty and their teams were fined $25,000.

Provisional starting grid

Pos Driver Team Car Time Gap
1 Brad Keselowski Team Penske Ford 37.801s
2 Kevin Harvick Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 37.877s 0.076s
3 William Byron Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 37.954s 0.153s
4 Alex Bowman Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 37.993s 0.192s
5 Clint Bowyer Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 38.007s 0.206s
6 Chase Elliott Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 38.018s 0.217s
7 Ryan Blaney Team Penske Ford 38.035s 0.234s
8 Joey Logano Team Penske Ford 38.044s 0.243s
9 Paul Menard Wood Brothers Racing Ford 38.076s 0.275s
10 Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 38.117s 0.316s
11 Daniel Suarez Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 38.204s 0.403s
12 Aric Almirola Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 38.219s 0.418s
13 Kurt Busch Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet 38.222s 0.421s
14 Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 38.279s 0.478s
15 Martin Truex Jr. Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 38.316s 0.515s
16 Erik Jones Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 38.323s 0.522s
17 Kyle Larson Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet 38.385s 0.584s
18 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Roush Fenway Racing Ford 38.398s 0.597s
19 Matt Tifft Front Row Motorsports Ford 38.439s 0.638s
20 Ryan Newman Roush Fenway Racing Ford 38.527s 0.726s
21 Ty Dillon Germain Racing Chevrolet 38.585s 0.784s
22 Kyle Busch Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 38.595s 0.794s
23 Michael McDowell Front Row Motorsports Ford 38.698s 0.897s
24 David Ragan Front Row Motorsports Ford 38.790s 0.989s
25 Chris Buescher JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet 38.854s 1.053s
26 Darrell Wallace Jr. Richard Petty Motorsports Chevrolet 38.863s 1.062s
27 Matt DiBenedetto Leavine Family Racing Toyota 38.902s 1.101s
28 Landon Cassill StarCom Racing Chevrolet 38.922s 1.121s
29 Ryan Preece JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet 39.121s 1.320s
30 Ross Chastain Premium Motorsports Chevrolet 39.594s 1.793s
31 Corey LaJoie Go FAS Racing Ford 39.727s 1.926s
32 Quin Houff Premium Motorsports Chevrolet 40.004s 2.203s
33 Austin Theriault Rick Ware Racing Ford 40.133s 2.332s
34 Cody Ware Petty Ware Racing Ford 40.135s 2.334s
35 Reed Sorenson Spire Motorsports Chevrolet 40.319s 2.518s
36 Spencer Boyd Rick Ware Racing Ford 41.477s 3.676s
37 Austin Dillon Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet
38 Daniel Hemric Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet

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