Ryan Blaney and Jimmie Johnson both had the solid days they needed at Watkins Glen International on Sunday afternoon (August 4). But neither left the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race in a happy mood.
Blaney finished the race fifth and scored two points in stage two, further securing his points lead over the playoff bubble. Johnson entered the race on the outside looking in, but scored six stage points and finished 19th. The result put Johnson on the right side of the playoff bubble, as Ryan Newman finished 25th with no stage points.
However, the big highlight of both their days occurred on lap 63. That’s when Blaney got into the back of Johnson and sent the No. 48 sailing into the wall of the inner loop. Johnson was able to continue, but his Ally Chevrolet was never the same. He was likely a top-10 car on speed prior to the incident.
By the way … @JimmieJohnson was NOT happy after the last caution …
— NASCAR (@NASCAR) August 4, 2019
— Jimmie Johnson (@JimmieJohnson) August 4, 2019
Blaney claimed any contact was unintentional.
“It’s just racing,” Blaney said. “I mean, he had old tires, they just did gas only, and he was pretty slow. And I passed 10 guys off the bus stop all day, and he hit the third curb pretty bad and got him out of position. And I was there, and he left a lane and a quarter or so. I took it. At first, he didn’t turn down, like I thought he knew I was there, and then he kept coming. I tried to check up, and it was just too late. Obviously, I didn’t mean to spin him out. I don’t want to do that. It’s obviously an accident.”
Johnson, however, saw the wreck differently. He was not happy with Blaney and confronted him after the race.
“I was trying to hear what he had to say, but his lips were quivering so bad he can’t even speak,” Johnson said to NBCSN. “I guess he’s nervous or scared, maybe both. I don’t know what the hell the problem is. … He claims it was racing, I can’t wait to go racing. Everybody stay tuned.”
Blaney was understanding of Johnson’s anger.
“He was upset, and I can’t blame him for being upset about it. We were just racing hard, and I thought there was a lane there that just closed,” Blaney added. “I can’t blame him for being angry. He’s just trying to get into the playoffs right now and have good runs.”
Blaney, who grew up watching Johnson race, regrets that the contact happened.
“The last guy I want to spin out is Jimmie,” he said. “We always race great together. I’ve always looked up to him for a long time. I still do.”
With four races left before the playoffs, Blaney has an 89-point lead over the cutline. However, any type of retaliation could hurt that buffer in what’s been a winless year.
Johnson leaves the Glen tied for that 16th and final playoff spot.
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About the author
Michael Massie is a writer for Frontstretch. Massie, a Richmond, Va. native, has been a NASCAR superfan since childhood, when he frequented races at Richmond International Raceway. Massie is a lover of short track racing and travels around to the ones in his region. Outside of motorsports, the Virginia Tech grad can be seen cheering on his beloved Hokies.
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How soon Johnson forgets. Runs over Truex last year and takes both of them out. Years ago nearly runs over his then teammate Gordon at Talladega. The pressure is on ole Jimmie . Ain’t so easy without Knaus huh Jimmie? Now you gotta race for your wins. The days of the Knaus pit strategy are over.
Love it Dan! JJ just desperate to not close out a silver spoon career like some other vets have by holding on too long… Without Knaus and a rock solid top tier team Johnson would be just…… average IMO…… Never really saw that great wheel man ability out of him honestly…… Bobby Allison changed ever couple years or so, and still found success in a super wide variety of situations. Now that’s talent with one common denominator- Bobby Allison
Really disappointed in JJ…indeed, memory is short. The quivering voice crap sounds like a bully trying to demand respect…which is earned. First he gets his crew chief fired, now he picks on one of the cleaner racers out there because his car is slow and he won’t get out of the way. JJ, take a lesson from the best non-champion ever, Mark Martin, don’t behave like a primadona and get YOUR act together. When you need points and positions, wave someone by who is two-tenths faster and race when you have the tires and car to do so. You could have had a top ten if you used your head…