DAYTONA BEACH, Fla – Jimmie Johnson is making some enemies during this Daytona Speedweeks. We’ve so far seen two crashes and both were because of Johnson.
Last Sunday, Johnson got into the left rear quarter panel of Paul Menard’s No. 21 Ford in the closing laps of the Clash. Menard wrecked in front of the field sparking a 17 car melee.
On Thursday night, Johnson got into the left rear quarter panel of Kyle Busch on Lap 25, sending Busch’s No. 18 Toyota spinning.
After both incidents, both drivers were mad at Johnson. In turn, Johnson wanted to bury any hatches early. He took responsibility for both and has since reached out to both to clear any air that could be bad.
“Jimmie (Johnson) did what he did to try to win. It was not intentional,” said Menard on Wednesday. “Maybe I moved down a little bit, I don’t know. There was no room for error and two cars collided. “What’s done is done.
“We just moving on.”
Busch, admitted on Friday during Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice at Daytona that Johnson reached out to him Thursday night and apologized for the contact. He took full responsibility Busch said. “Yeah he texted me late last night and was like ‘Hey I’m sorry and totally my mistake I misjudged it,’ said Busch “It is what it is. Nothing is going to change it now.
“It’s unfortunate for us and our team not being able to run the race and finish the race where we wanted to when we wanted, to better our starting spot. We’ll start in the back and have to come through there and do what we can. It’s fast and has good speed and felt it was drafting well.”
That’s a different tune than what Busch was signing after the Duel. Same for Menard after the Clash. Menard, fully blamed Johnson and said that’s what Johnson always does on plate tracks. After their chat on Wednesday, their relationship is fine.
Busch, was more animated.
“He ran into me,” said Busch on Thursday night. “Flat out. Watch the television. You have to open your eyeballs to see where the (expletive) you’re going. That’s about all I can say.”
Now, Busch seems good and is happy to have his primary car repaired. He was fastest in the first practice session of the day on Friday and looks to have a fast car under him.