Biffle Confronts Johnson After Race
By: Dustin Long - @dustinlong on October 27, 2013 | 8:14 P.M. EST
Jimmie Johnson led 123 laps but wasn't strong enough to score his third consecutive victory at Martinsville Speedway, finishing fifth Sunday. (Photo: Getty Images)
MARTINSVILLE, Va. - Greg Biffle confronted Jimmie Johnson on pit road after Sunday’s race at Martinsville Speedway, swearing at Johnson and sticking a finger in Johnson’s face, upset about an incident between them with about 125 laps left.
“Hey, you knocked my ... rear bumper off,’’ Biffle yelled at Johnson, who was speaking to reporters on pit road at the time.
“I was inside of you,’’ Johnson said. “I was inside of you.’’
“You ... ran into the back of me,’’ Biffle yelled.
“I was inside of you,’’ Johnson said.
“You better watch it,’’ Biffle said.
Biffle started to walk away when Johnson reached out to him to continue talking.
“If you want to talk about it, we can talk about it,’’ Johnson said.
“We just did,’’ Biffle said. “I had to go all the way to the back.’’
NASCAR officials then closed in on the drivers.
“We’re not fighting, we’re not fighting,’’ Johnson told a series official before looking back at Biffle. “I was inside of you. I didn’t know there was another car beside you.’’
They spoke a bit longer before separating.
Biffle was upset because he thought it was contact with Johnson caused the rear bumper cover to come free. Biffle's bumper cover came free after contact with Dale Earnhardt Jr. More of the cover came free after contact with Johnson's car. Biffle had to pit for repairs and fell deep in the field.
Sunday night, Biffle tweeted an apology to Johnson.
"I Apologize (sic) for the way I acted towards @JimmieJohnson after the race, hard racing and I know the bumper had damage already but not dragging.''
Biffle's frustration after the race was because he felt he could have done more than crack the top 10.
“We finally had a good car at Martinsville and drove our way into the top 10 ... and just got our rear bumper torn off,’’ said Biffle, who finished ninth. “It takes a lot to get a rear bumper cover off. I’ve got to look back and see what happened. He claims he was inside of me. It sure feels like he hit me from behind and rubbed it across.
“Just wish that wouldn’t have happened. We had a top-five car.’’
Asked if Johnson should have been so forceful since he’s racing for a title, Biffle said: “If he’s running for the title, he better not tear my rear bumper cover off because that will be the last race he finishes.’’
Johnson finished fifth and is tied with Matt Kenseth in points. Kenseth owns the tiebreaker since he has more victories than Johnson this season.
Johnson’s take on the incident with Biffle?
“He’s upset about something,’’ Johnson said. “We seemed to talk about it and get through it there. We’ll see how things go. Short-track racing, everybody gets good and heated.
“I know how it is when you climb out of a racecar and you’re mad. We’ll get it sorted out. It was really a five-lap window where I was trying to get by and I was inside of him two or three times. We made contact. I couldn’t quite understand why he was down here pulling on my collar like he just did.’’
That wasn’t the hardest part of Johnson’s day, though.
Called the “gold standard’’ at this track earlier this weekend by Denny Hamlin, Johnson was strong but not as dominant as he was in the spring when he scored his second consecutive win at this track.
A bevy of cautions and an outside line that was not as good as the inside line conspired to keep Johnson out of the lead for the second half of the race.
“That was tough to watch that inside lane march on and just not able to get down and get in a spot,’’ he said. “That put us back and it forced our hand to pit a little bit early and then I had to come through the pack. It just didn’t go our way. That’s how it goes.’’
Now, Johnson looks ahead to the season’s final three races.
“We’d love to have got a few points,’’ he said. “We’ve got Texas, Phoenix and Homestead. A lot of can happen in those races. I think we’re going to finish close to one another each week. It will be a mistake, in my opinion, that will separate things at the end of the year. We’ve just got to be clean and not make any mistakes.’’