Emotions were high following Sunday’s NASCAR race.
Tempers flared Sunday at Michigan International Speedway.
A disgruntled Denny Hamlin approached Dale Earnhardt Jr. on pit road upset with how NASCAR's most popular driver raced him during the Pure Michigan 400. Hamlin didn't like Earnhardt edging him toward the wall.
"He (Earnhardt) got a little upset that I was side-drafting and so he kind of crowded me up to the wall in Turn 4," Hamlin said. "I was a little disappointed, but that's part of it. You talk about it, get it worked out and move on."
Admittedly, part of Hamlin's aggravation is the struggles Joe Gibbs Racing has had keeping pace this season. In particular the organization is lacking horsepower on intermediate sized tracks such as Michigan, a 2-mile, high speed oval.
JGR owns two victories, with Hamlin and Kyle Busch each winning.
"It's just frustration from my part," Hamlin said. "I'm trying to do everything I can to keep up with the Hendrick engines. I'm side-drafting down the straightaway, trying to do everything I can. Not things I frown upon when I see other drivers do them. We're trying to do everything we can to keep our track position."
Earnhardt admitted he ran Hamlin up the track.
"I ran him up the track a little bit," Earnhardt told Motor Racing Network. "He didn't like it too much. I've been run up the track, too. I don't like it either, but I didn't want him hanging on my quarter panel all the way down the front straightaway and end up three- or four-wide. I just wanted to get on by him because I was flying. We were hauling."
Hamlin and Earnhardt weren't the only two who didn't see eye-to-eye Sunday. As they were exchanging words, Ryan Newman was confronting Johnson in the garage.
Newman became angry when Johnson slid into him as the two were racing in the final laps. The defending and six-time series champion was trying to complete a pass of Newman when his Chevrolet jumped out from underneath him. Johnson was able to regain control of his car and prevent an accident.
As Johnson leaned against his car Newman came over to express his unhappiness. Asked what Newman said to him, Johnson dismissed his antagonist.
"Oh, it was just normal Ryan Newman stuff," said Johnson, who finished ninth. "Anybody who has watched this sport long enough or has been in a race car out there understands the frustration that comes along with racing Ryan. Just normal Ryan stuff."
Newman, who finished 11th, declined to be interviewed by ESPN afterward, and a statement via Chevrolet made no mention of why he was mad or what he said to Johnson.
As for Johnson, he seemed to get the last word when after accepting an Ice Bucket Challenge later Sunday night, issued the same challenge to Newman, "who might need to cool off a bit."
- Motor Racing
- Sports & Recreation
- Dale Earnhardt
- Denny Hamlin
- Joe Gibbs
- Ryan Newman
- Jimmie Johnson
- Jeff Gordon