Jimmie Johnson's disappointment at being narrowly beaten by Denny Hamlin for the win in the Samsung Mobile 500 at Texas seemed less significant to him than his earlier clash with Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jeff Gordon. The two Chevy drivers got into each other on the 241st lap as they dueled for the lead of the rain-delayed race, and Johnson was subsequently forced to pit with a deflating left-front tire.
“I am pretty disappointed in how he was racing me today,” Johnson said of Gordon, “but we will get to the bottom of it and sort it out. No need to play it out in the press – we'll get it taken care of at the shop and during the week and come back to the next race and do it again. I think we are both pretty frustrated with how we have been racing each other. There were some things today I wasn't real pleased with, so when I had a chance to express myself, I kinda did. We'll get it all sorted out.”
Gordon, however, felt that he was the innocent party. “He was real loose. He got underneath me and he raced me hard,” Gordon related. “I slid up in front of him a little bit, maybe that was it. He ran into the back of me for no reason. Then, later, he got out ahead of me after a pit stop or on a restart. He was just too loose. He wasn't fast enough and my car was just so good I could just get right to his bumper and he got loose.
“I guess he thought I was being too aggressive. I don't know – he just drove into my door. It ended up costing him.”
Gordon agreed, however, that he and Johnson would settle the matter privately.
“We'll talk about it. We are good enough friends, good enough teammates. It is more just the competitors in us coming out and the aggressiveness of wanting to win. Not anything against one another.”
Meanwhile, semi-teammate Tony Stewart took full blame for causing the multi-car wreck that eventually eliminated Gordon – who had led 124 laps of the race – and himself, among others, in the closing stages.
“I came off of Four and bounced off of Jeff's right rear,” Stewart said. “It was just a pendulum and I lost it and got into his right rear and then I got us to where neither one of us could get away from it. Somebody put me three wide in Turns 1 and 2 and that got me up to where I got a lot of crap on my tires, and that started it. It was my fault. I feel bad about doing something stupid like that. I didn't plan on getting loose, but it is 100 percent my fault.
“I apologize to all the teams and drivers that got caught up and their fans for it. We had a really good car there and it's just a shame that it happened let alone to some of your teammates like that.”
By contrast, Johnson was able to gain back the lap he lost by his extra pit stop due under a caution period, and was able to chase down Hamlin in the final laps, and added to his points lead with a second place.
"We were fortunate enough to catch a caution when we did," Johnson conceded. "There at the end, the car was just dragging the nose too bad for the first couple of laps. I think we sat too long and the front tire pressures dropped. I lost a few spots. I almost hit the wall down in Turns 1 and 2 trying to work the top. Once those front tire pressures came in and the splitter got off the ground, I started coming – but it was like a lap too late."