|KuBusch, Johnson exchange words over hard racing|
|Written by Admin|
|Sunday, 07 August 2011 15:49|
The star drivers sideswiped each other on the final lap at Pocono Raceway, then yelled at each other in a confrontation on pit road. Busch was still in his car when Johnson, the five-time Cup champion, approached him.
Johnson and Busch, who both finished in the top five, have had dustups in the past. On Sunday, Johnson accused Busch of trying to run him down to secure a top finish. Johnson said he never attempted to bump Busch out of the way over the course of the race just to make a pass.
``I have no problem racing hard,'' Johnson said. ``We raced really hard all day long. I just don't understand why, when I finally get position on him, he's got to run all over the side of me down the straightaway.''
Busch claimed Johnson made the first move in the No. 48, turning into Busch.
Busch was third and Johnson fourth.
``For us to beat the 48 today, we've had our battles,'' Busch said. ``And a lot of times I come out on the short end of the stick. But what I saw today was good, hard racing where one guy jukes at the other, the other guy jukes back and rubs you a little bit. That's racing.''
The drivers had to be separated by their crews and Johnson went back for more after initially walking away.
Busch became agitated in the media room when he was pressed on the topic.
``Just accept it. It was great racing,'' he said.
Johnson slammed Busch into the wall last year at Pocono on a botched bump-drafting attempt. They've had run-ins at other tracks, so wasn't a total surprise - and it's likely not the last one.
``I just keep filing things away,'' Johnson said. ``I'll remember this stuff. There's a couple of other guys out there that have been pushing their luck, too.''
HE'S A VERY GOOD DRIVER: Joey Logano's lead disappeared along with the rain.
Logano, the pole winner, was in first place when rain halted the race at Pocono Raceway with 75 laps left. When the race resumed after a 1 hour, 40-minute rain delay, Logano's lead dried up and he finished 26th.
Logano's only career Cup victory was a rain-shortened race in 2009 in New Hampshire.
He spent the break in the ESPN broadcast booth, where he was asked if he wanted rain or green flag racing.
``I think it's a dumb question,'' he said.
Of course, he wanted the win - even if he would have needed an umbrella in Victory Lane.
Logano was the focus of swirling rumors in the garage that he would be replaced in the No. 20 Toyota had Joe Gibbs Racing signed Carl Edwards. Edwards, the points leader, stayed put and signed an extension with Roush Fenway Racing.
Logano said he had trouble ignoring the speculation, even as his performance improved over the last two months.
``I've definitely made some improvements there in trying to pull our team altogether out of that hole that we were in,'' Logano said. ``We're doing a great job now. That's something to look back at and give yourself a little pat on the back but keep our heads down and keep working at the same time.''
The 21-year-old driver became the youngest pole winner at Pocono. He took that hot streak into Sunday until a flat tire down the stretch cost him a strong finish.
Logano wasn't the only JGR driver who had a strong day go sour at the end. Denny Hamlin led a race-high 65 laps, but one slow pit stop spoiled his race and dropped him to 15th.
RAGAN OUT: David Ragan's wild-card chances took a serious hit when he crashed early at Pocono Raceway and finished 34th. Ragan has one win and is in 19th place, keeping him at least in the hunt over the final five races before the Chase field is set.
The top two drivers with the most victories in 11th to 20th place earn a wild-card spot for the playoffs. Brad Keselowski all but sealed up the first spot with his second victory of the season Sunday. Paul Menard has one win, but is in 14th place, leaving Ragan scrambling to avoid another poor finish as the competition heats up.
``We need to be in that top 12 or 13, or get a second win,'' Ragan said. ``There's still a lot of racing left. There is going to be some bad luck for some of these other guys we're racing for it.''
SUMMER SHOWDOWN: Brad Keselowski is the second driver to become a finalist in the Sprint Summer Showdown.
If Keselowski wins at Atlanta on Labor Day weekend, he will earn $1 million for himself, $1 million for his Checkered Flag Foundation charity and another million for a randomly chosen fan who went online and picked him to win Sunday's race.
Paul Menard was the first driver to qualify last week at Indianapolis.
There are three races left for drivers to qualify; Watkins Glen, Michigan and Bristol.
PIT STOPS: Paul Menard proved he was no one-race wonder. He followed last week's win in the Brickyard 400 with a 10th-place finish at Pocono Raceway. ... Kurt Busch has 12 top-10 finishes in 22 career races at Pocono.