Jimmie Johnson vents about Kurt Busch
The latest still simmers.
“There’s no secret about it that there’s no love lost between the two of us,” Johnson said. “We can deal with it. We have done it. We didn’t have wrecked race cars at the end of Pocono. I could have easily gone down into the Tunnel Turn and done something stupid. The stuff on the track, yeah, it makes me mad.
“When you look over the years and what his mouth has done for him _ he got my biggest fan (former Cup driver) Jimmy Spencer to punch him,” Johnson said. “It’s led to issues with the NASCAR officials on pit road. I think we all tune in weekly and wonder, ‘What’s he going to say to his crew guys?’
“Look at what he said about Roger Penske, his car owner. That aspect is the part that really got me mad. At the end of the day, I’m not going to let him run his mouth.”
Busch has a bad habit of doing that, even though he’s worked hard to improve his image since he won the Cup title in 2004. That’s when he beat Johnson by just eight points in the closest championship in series history.
During the night race at Richmond in late April, Busch, angry because his car wasn’t competitive, yelled at his crew during the early portion of the race and blamed Penske Racing’s shortcomings on technical director Tom German over a radio frequency available to the public.
“Issues that develop through the course of the year, some last longer,” Johnson said. “You’ve just got to take it as it is. The way that things are handled on the track sets the tone. If it turns into wrecking cars, man, that’s the worst situation you can have going into the Chase.”
At least one driver likes the prospect of an ongoing feud.
“If it carries over for those guys all throughout the last 15 races of the year, it wouldn’t bother me a bit,” said younger brother Kyle Busch, who is third in the standings. “But I certainly wouldn’t want any part of it.
“It’s something that they’ve kind of had going on for the past few years, I guess. Whatever it is, it’s not my beef, not my problem.”