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NASCAR legend Johnson defends his 'quivering lip' spat with Blaney

Jimmie Johnson

Jimmie Johnson says he has no regrets about his 'quivering lip' spat with NASCAR rival Ryan Blaney at last weekend's Watkins Glen Cup race.

After Penske Ford driver Blaney collided with Johnson's Hendrick Chevrolet as they battled for a place in the top 10, Johnson confronted Blaney in the paddock.

He later gave a furious television interview in which he said he struggled to understand Blaney's defence because "his lips were quivering so bad he can't even speak", suggesting that he was "nervous, or scared, maybe both".

At this weekend's Michigan event, Johnson said he did not understand why his comments had been considered "a big deal" in the week between races.

"It was an observation, it was happening, I didn't hear a lot of details that I expected to hear," said Johnson.

"I could have gone into a much more intense line of thought and said a lot more that would have been a lot more damaging to him than saying his lip was quivering.

"I don't understand the sensitivity to that or why it's such a big deal.

"His lip was quivering and he didn't have a lot to say. It's one of the facts that took place in the conversation."

Johnson still feels Blaney was completely in the wrong for their clash.

"I was pissed off, I was crashed, I got drove through. Plain and simple," he said.

"I don't care how it looks or how it's perceived. I got dumped and I was upset.

"The way I was raised and the way I went racing was when something like that happens you go talk to the guy.

"I was taught not to use my car as a weapon, go out and try to crash a guy back.

"Fighting is really not my thing either unless I have to defend myself, so I went there and talked to the guy and hoped to hear a different side of the story than what I thought took place in the car.

"So that's the way I was raised in racing and the way I handled it."

With four races to go in the 'regular season', Johnson holds the last place in the title shootout as he sits 16th in the drivers' points.

He has not won a championship round since June 2017.

Keselowski on pole, Childress cars disqualified

Brad Keselowski

Blaney and Johnson qualified seventh and 10th at Michigan on Friday, as Brad Keselowski put Penske on pole ahead of Kevin Harvick.

Both Richard Childress Racing Chevrolets had their times disallowed.

Friday practice pacesetter Austin Dillon had originally been seventh on the grid and tema-mate Daniel Hemric 11th but they will now start in the last two spots in the 38-car field on Sunday.

NASCAR said both cars lacked fully functioning alternators and both teams have been assessed an L1 penalty. The parts were confiscated by NASCAR.

Both drivers will get a 10-point driver and owner penalty and their teams were fined $25,000.

Provisional starting grid

PosDriverTeamCarTimeGap
1Brad KeselowskiTeam PenskeFord37.801s-
2Kevin HarvickStewart-Haas RacingFord37.877s0.076s
3William ByronHendrick MotorsportsChevrolet37.954s0.153s
4Alex BowmanHendrick MotorsportsChevrolet37.993s0.192s
5Clint BowyerStewart-Haas RacingFord38.007s0.206s
6Chase ElliottHendrick MotorsportsChevrolet38.018s0.217s
7Ryan BlaneyTeam PenskeFord38.035s0.234s
8Joey LoganoTeam PenskeFord38.044s0.243s
9Paul MenardWood Brothers RacingFord38.076s0.275s
10Jimmie JohnsonHendrick MotorsportsChevrolet38.117s0.316s
11Daniel SuarezStewart-Haas RacingFord38.204s0.403s
12Aric AlmirolaStewart-Haas RacingFord38.219s0.418s
13Kurt BuschChip Ganassi RacingChevrolet38.222s0.421s
14Denny HamlinJoe Gibbs RacingToyota38.279s0.478s
15Martin Truex Jr.Joe Gibbs RacingToyota38.316s0.515s
16Erik JonesJoe Gibbs RacingToyota38.323s0.522s
17Kyle LarsonChip Ganassi RacingChevrolet38.385s0.584s
18Ricky Stenhouse Jr.Roush Fenway RacingFord38.398s0.597s
19Matt TifftFront Row MotorsportsFord38.439s0.638s
20Ryan NewmanRoush Fenway RacingFord38.527s0.726s
21Ty DillonGermain RacingChevrolet38.585s0.784s
22Kyle BuschJoe Gibbs RacingToyota38.595s0.794s
23Michael McDowellFront Row MotorsportsFord38.698s0.897s
24David RaganFront Row MotorsportsFord38.790s0.989s
25Chris BuescherJTG Daugherty RacingChevrolet38.854s1.053s
26Darrell Wallace Jr.Richard Petty MotorsportsChevrolet38.863s1.062s
27Matt DiBenedettoLeavine Family RacingToyota38.902s1.101s
28Landon CassillStarCom RacingChevrolet38.922s1.121s
29Ryan PreeceJTG Daugherty RacingChevrolet39.121s1.320s
30Ross ChastainPremium MotorsportsChevrolet39.594s1.793s
31Corey LaJoieGo FAS RacingFord39.727s1.926s
32Quin HouffPremium MotorsportsChevrolet40.004s2.203s
33Austin TheriaultRick Ware RacingFord40.133s2.332s
34Cody WarePetty Ware RacingFord40.135s2.334s
35Garrett SmithleySpire MotorsportsChevrolet40.319s2.518s
36Spencer BoydRick Ware RacingFord41.477s3.676s
37Austin DillonRichard Childress RacingChevrolet--
38Daniel HemricRichard Childress RacingChevrolet--


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