After Jimmie Johnson drew widespread attention for his comments Monday to the effect that IndyCar should reconsider running on high-banked oval tracks in light of the massive crash at Las Vegas that claimed the life of Dan Wheldon, two of the sport's legends have repudiated the five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champ's assertions.
"I don't think Jimmie Johnson knows what he's talking about," four-time Indianapolis 500 winner Foyt (LEFT) – whose name has been given to the trophy awarded to IndyCar's top oval-track driver each season – told USAToday. "He's never drove one, and he's pretty stupid to make a statement like that. You could say the same about stock cars. I've driven both, and I've been hurt real bad in both."
"We've come a long way," added Andretti, who like Foyt has won both NASCAR's Daytona 500 and the Indianapolis 500. "In the '60s and '70s, open-wheel drivers had a 35-40 percent chance of surviving a career. Today, it's a 99.9 percent chance of retiring on their own terms. Some things need to be revisited perhaps, but to say after 100 years that all of a sudden we don't have the knowledge to make these things safe enough for ovals is absolutely absurd."
For his part, Johnson isn't backing down, taking to Twitter to respond to criticism of his comments to the media during post-race testing at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Monday.
"I hate some of you don't understand my opinion of Indy Cars not running on ovals," Johnson tweeted. "I don't want to see my friends hurt or another tragedy. It's only because I care… I'm a huge fan of open-wheel racing and all things racing."
"It's beyond understanding how some can turn my words of concern for my friends into more then that. #confused"
IndyCar's Tony Kanaan tweeted back in support of Johnson: "Don't bother my friend, your friends (us) all understood what your concern was. #respect"