The Frontstretch: Voices From the Heartland: Johnson 'Forced' to take blame by Jeff Meyer -- Wednesday October 5, 2005

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Voices From the Heartland: Johnson 'Forced' to take blame

Jeff Meyer · Wednesday October 5, 2005


Before we start, find the NASCAR fan nearest you, and ask them if Jimmie Johnson was ever at fault for any wreck he was ever involved in.

I'd bet you a box of beverages, 9 out of 10 will drip sarcasm on their chins as they say "Of course not!"

Jimmie Johnson is supposed to be a professional stock car driver. He's one of those new 'Tiger Woods' type protégés that was groomed, almost from birth, to be a professional. You would think that with all that grooming, racing in probably just about everything with wheels, he would have more of a mastery of a vehicle at high speeds than the average Joe. Last Sunday, he did. Just ask him!

"It was pretty easy. I was getting a huge push from behind. I've got my hand up waving off the No. 8 (Earnhardt Jr.) and I was on the brakes, trying not to get into the back of the No. 38 (Sadler). And I don't think I got into him but I think I got close enough to him where it loosened him up getting into the turn. But there is only so much you can do when you're getting a push. I'm on the brake trying to get the car slowed down and waving the guy off behind me. I'm not trying to blame the No. 8. There is energy built up behind all these cars and one guy up there on the brakes isn't going to slow it down and the No. 38 got turned around. I feel horrible for it. If I got into him, I'll take responsibility. It's not a big deal to me. I can accept that. But when you're getting pushed, there is not a lot you can do. But it's a little tough when you've got somebody tucked under your butt pushing you as hard as that. I was on the brakes and I just hate that it took out so many cars."

Geez! Where to start?

"It was pretty easy. I was getting a huge push from behind. I've got my hand up waving off the No. 8 (Earnhardt Jr.) and I was on the brakes, trying not to get into the back of the No. 38 (Sadler)." Well, that sounds like Jimmie knows EXACTLY what happened. He got a HUGE push from behind. Obviously, Jimmie, as with any professional, would certainly know a huge bump from behind when he felt it, wouldn't he?

"And I don't think I got into him but I think I got close enough to him where it loosened him up getting into the turn. But there is only so much you can do when you're getting a push."  Apparently, Jimmie has a better feel for his car from what he CAN'T SEE behind him than what he CAN see out the windshield! Notice he again mentions the push.

"I'm on the brake trying to get the car slowed down and waving the guy off behind me. I'm not trying to blame the No. 8." Well let's see here Jimmie, you've already mentioned TWICE in 7 sentences that you are waving at the No.8 AND being pushed by him. Who or what else are you trying to blame?

"If I got into him, I'll take responsibility. It's not a big deal to me. I can accept that." Well golly, how admirable and mature of you Jimmie! Hold it! Me thinks me hears a "but" coming on....

"But when you're getting pushed, there is not a lot you can do. But it's a little tough when you've got somebody tucked under your butt pushing you as hard as that." Jackpot! not one, but two "buts" AND, hold onto your hats, TWO MORE pushes! Sure sounds to me like he knows what happened. Or does he...?

Almost as soon as he delivers the above explanation, perhaps he is having second thoughts...

"It's real easy to sit on your couch and point fingers and say so-and-so did something wrong. But until you're out there in these cars at these speeds and seeing all the near misses and what is really going on, it's not worth forming an opinion. I don't know what happened there but all anybody can say is that this is Talladega."

Let me see if I got this straight. I shouldn't form an opinion because I'm not actually in the car to REALLY know what is happening, but he is, so he must know what is going on better than I? Ok, to be fair, let's say I put my opinion on hold for a moment... "I don't know what happened there but all anybody can say is that this is Talladega." WHAT!!! 

Now all of a sudden Jimmie doesn't know what happened? I am confused. I want my opinion back!

That was Sunday. Tuesday rolls around...

"I needed to see the video to really understand what took place," said Johnson. "I feel bad, I don't know what else I can say. I started a wreck and took out a lot of good cars. That was the last thing I intended to do and I feel horrible for it."

Johnson went on to say that his intention wasn't to wreck Sadler, but rather "give (Sadler) a push into the turn."

"It wasn't to bump-draft. It wasn't to cause a crash,” he said. "I feel bad about it."

All these explanations from a "professional". Gee Jimmie, I guess after watching the video, you formed the same opinion that I did from my couch (or barstool as the case may be.)

The thing Jimmie Johnson should feel bad about is that the video evidence made him look so stupid!

Stay off the wall, (i.e. pray you don't see #48 in your rear view mirror!)


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Today on the Frontstretch:
Racing to the Point: NASCAR Has Its Own Heartbreak Kid
Beyond the Cockpit: Brittany Force, the Fastest Force
Voices from the Cheap Seats: Advertising for Dummies
Who’s Hot / Who’s Not in Sprint Cup: Off Week-Richmond Edition
Couch Potato Tuesday: Picking The Best IndyCar On-Air Personalities


©2000 - 2008 Jeff Meyer and Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!

Charlie D.
10/06/2005 04:51 AM
Dang… thought you were going to defend Johnson’s statement and I was all ready to blow that out of the water.

Typical Johnson… he is and will always be a dodger…
10/06/2005 07:52 AM
have you ever stopped to consider what was going on 5 seconds before they started showing the footage of the accident? Hmmm, let’s see, I would venture to say it goes a little something like this:

the 38, 48 and 8 are coming down the straight-of-way

the 8 gives the 48 a big “push” or whatever you want to call it

the 48 gets a huge run on the 38

the 48 gets the 38 loose causing the 38 to get out of the throttle

the 48 hits the brakes as hard as he can but barely touches the 38

since they are now in the turn, the 48 doesn’t hit the 38 square, therefore causing him to wiggle and spin out

the chain reaction causes the 8 to get into the 48 and then all hell breaks loose

Jr himself even said in his interview that “something” caused the 38 to check up and then the 48 just stopped. Come on people! Can we please try to remember that the media purposely makes “drama” out of every little thing that they can. They could show us the footage to prove that what Jimmie said was true but why waste the DRAMA!!!!? Of course Jr gave Jimmie a push, he’s the number once culprit when it comes to “bump-drafting.” You think that he was just sitting back ther ein the straight-of-way thinking, “hmmm, I don’t think I’ll try to pass this time, I think I’ll just sit here in 5th place for a while.” I DON’T THINK SO!!!! It’s Talladega, he wants to be up front, he wants to win, those are his peeps that are all cheering for him. “I’d bet you a box of beverages,” that if we could go back and see what really happened 5 seconds before the accident, we’d all be singing a different tune!!
10/06/2005 09:17 AM
Hmmm…let’s see. If this happened, then this might have happened, and that could have caused something to happen….
Did you read the article above quoting Jimmy or did you just jump in with your version of the events that might have happened?
Just in case you missed it, here is Jimmy’s (in his own words) version, “I needed to see the video to really understand what took place,” said Johnson. “I feel bad, I don’t know what else I can say. I started a wreck and took out a lot of good cars. That was the last thing I intended to do and I feel horrible for it.”
Johnson went on to say that his intention wasn’t to wreck Sadler, but rather “give (Sadler) a push into the turn.” “It wasn’t to bump-draft. It wasn’t to cause a crash,” he said. “I feel bad about it.” (Quoted from the above article).

Couple of things wrong with your “venture” of the events: 1)JJ did hit Sadler and has since admitted that (remember, he was just gonna give him a “push”); 2) If Jr. did “bump draft” it was on the straitway, where bump drafting works (and in Talledega is needed); 3) and, which is it, did Jimmie “get a huge run” on the 38 or did the 38 check up? The only reason the 38 had to “check up” is because he got hit from behind…
10/06/2005 09:20 AM
Jimmie Johnson do you want some cheese with that whine? At least be man enough to say that you started the wreck just like last fall and each time you chose to blame Jr. Are you that afraid of him beating you? Why are you so paranoid when it comes to that red 8 car? You would cause a major crash to keep him behind you? AND it was so considerate of Kyle and Mike to stop racing before the end so you could move up two positions. Aren’t teamates/enginemates soooo wonderful?
10/06/2005 09:34 AM
Well unfortunately for Jimmie, they did show what was happening before the accident. So what if Jr OR the entire line was pushing down the straight away as happens in restrictor plate racing. By the time they got to the turn, Jr was not on Jimmie’s butt. It was up to Jimmie as the driver to make the decision to lift enough to avoid hitting and/or taking the air off the rear of Elliot. So the tune, again unfortunately, remains the same.
10/06/2005 09:38 AM
I guess Krissy had her eyes closed before the wreck. Because I sure didn’t see Jr. hit the 48. How many guys have to say that the 48 causes wrecks before somebody does something about it?
10/06/2005 09:43 AM
Where in all of Johnson’s apologies did he say he was sorry for blaming the 8 car..over & over & over! He didn’t wait to see the tape…he waited until he was forced to apologize.
10/06/2005 09:51 AM
Way to go Jeff! –
You are right on with your synopsis of the second “big one” caused by Jimmie at Talladega. He and his crew chief think they are so superior….it makes me nauseous!and basically they cheat! – like that commercial for the Speed Channel show – where Chad says “we do what we have to do!” – guess that means wrecking the competition too. How many times is he going to blame someone else when it happens? – JR was right to call him an idiot last time – and he proved it again this time. Hey Jimmie – better get some plate racing lessons before you head to Daytona. All that calling out Harvick in Daytona for bump drafting the corner and wrecking you! – that’s kind of the “pot calling the kettle black” now isn’t it? – Funny, I have seen Harvick run up front in all the plate races since then and he hasn’t caused wreck one??? Can’t say the same for you Jimmie…
Get on over yourself and stand up like a man – instead of the whiney boy that you are!
Steve NJ
10/06/2005 11:03 AM
The end result was basically what I saw from my couch (or recliner as the case may be). JJ should loose the attitude. Sure ticked me off with the couch comment thats for sure. It’s the couch folks that go to a few races a year that line his pockets with gold!
10/06/2005 12:53 PM
Johnson also owes Jr an apology. He seems to be trying to gain Jr fans by bad mouthing Jr. Won’t work Jimmie Boy. He also owes us couch sitters an apology for bashing us – saying that we know nothing even though we saw several replays of the truth. We are the ones who make his salary by attending races. JJ most likely was told by his PR people or maybe even Lowes to come clean.

I had cancelled my charge card from Target and when asked why I told them as long as they sponsor Jimmy Spencer I will not shop there. Sooo glad I get to shop there again. I am not the only one that will not use a sponsors product if I strongly dislike a driver. I even heard of someone refusing their chicken a KFC because they put it in a Jr box. They made them re pack it. Another person will never step foot in a Home Depot as long as they sponsor Tony. I know sponsors are hard to come by and I try to support the ones I can. But we also have the right to protest a driver so they can move on and spend their adv. $$’s better. I have not avoided a sponsor since Spencer but I will stay out of Lowes now and so will my construction field spouse.

2 out of 3 races we have attended this year when my driver was not talking on the scanner I put JJ on and both times I heard him ask his spotter to talk to the spotter of the car ahead of him to pull over and let him by. Both times the spotter had to tell him that if he wants that position he will have to earn it. I wonder how many do go ahead and let him by.
10/06/2005 01:20 PM
Did you people even watch the same race I did or even know anything about restrictor plate racing? I guess not, because if you did you would know damn well that you DO NOT use the bakes!!! You have to run around Dega wide open and if you dont then guess what? YOU GET RUN OVER!!! That’s just the way it works folks. Even Jr. said “the 38 checked up” his own words ladies and gents. When you check up you get run into the back of so as far as Elliot and the rest of you are concerned you know nothing about this sport obviously. Everyone is also quick to point the blame at Jimmie for causing an accident but no one said a single word about Newman wrecking half the field and he took out several chase drivers. It’s alright though, because if people are complaining about a driver and most fans hate that driver then that means that driver is winning races and they are afraid he’s gonna make a mockery out of this chase. People hated Dale Sr. when he was dominating, people hated Jeff Gordon when he was smoking everyones doors off and this case is no different. We’ll see who gets the last laugh and is standing at the podium in New York. Have a nice day
10/06/2005 01:31 PM
Hey we’re not talking about Newman here. The subject is Jimmie and I for one HATE NO driver! What I don’t like is a driver that has to put the blame on someone else when it is clear that no one was to blame except for himself. And YES, Jr did say Jimmie checked up…for pity sake, Jimmie had just turned Elliot around. I guess he did check up. I’m not looking for the last laugh…you assume much. You have a nice day too :-)
10/06/2005 02:32 PM
Just look at Jimmys record for causing wrecks at plate tracks,if he was not so concerned about where the 8 car was he would be much better off.Seems every time he has the 8 car in his mirror he forgets how to drive.Nascar should keep him off plate tracks till he takes a drafting class.And I will be laughing if he is on the podium in new york because it was only with nascars help that it would happen.but that is another story for later.
10/06/2005 02:51 PM
This is fun reading but it’s just Jimmies turn to take heat right now.
Hell lets see, Jr caused a few wrecks last year, so did Tony, Harvick, Kenseth and lets not forget Robby Gordon (The Bumper King)
I’ve never heard the media come down on “Jr The Untouchable”, but thats beside the point.
This weeks bad guy is Jimmie, and in a few weeks or next year it will be someone else. I think we all forget too convieniently the ones our driver caused.
JJ blew it, and we’ll all get over it.
10/06/2005 03:12 PM
I think everyones problem is Jimmy never owns up to it,it is allways someone elses fault.He never corrected himself untill he was shown video proof,he made a fool out of himself just plain lying about waving the 8 car off and the big push up under his butt.Chad said on his radio that the eight car was backing up to martin to get a push and get a run on jimmy,guess that made jimmy I said his record at plate tracks speaks for itself.
10/06/2005 03:28 PM
I agree with Lyle, everybody needs to get over this. NOW, Earnhardt Sr. drove like a real mad man, and guess what they call him a hero and put him on a pedstal. Back then it was ok for a driver to slam you into the wall. When he died he was doing just that. Live by the sword and die by the sword. Drivers today drive like mad and they are the bad guys. Isn’t this what all you nascar fans want…..wrecks and all. Jimmie is on the hot seat now and guess what, someone else will be there next week so you guys can throw stones at them also
10/06/2005 03:59 PM
difference with earnhart is he did not take out a bunch of cars with his wrecks and flat out lie and place blame on someone else.My problem with jimmy is his wanting to blame it on the 8 car,jimmy is a great driver but he needs to own up to his mistakes from the get go,not after he is caught on video.I think this is the most popular opinion among fans and drivers.
Jeff M
10/06/2005 04:00 PM
For the record…If anyone would care to go back and look at my past columns from this year and last, they will see that I will throw stones at anyone! Tony, Robbie, Jeffy, Kevin, reporters, even NASCAR itself…anyone who trys to blow smoke up the public’s collective skirt about what REALLY happened on the race track.
The one possible exception might be DJ and few other veterans that USUALLY (note, USUALLY!)have the class and integrity to tell it like it is in the first place without trying to blame others.
10/06/2005 04:13 PM
I can see that I really struck a cord on this, everyone makes mistakes…we ALL do, and you know sometimes we all need to see a different view on things, haven’t you been in a car crash yourselves and have sworn that it was someone elses fault. That is why we need tv, cameras. So everyone involved can see what WENT wrong.Since the beginning, JJ hasen’t really got any respect, neither does Jeff. But I think it is because they aren’t good old boys. Enough said. This was fun…and a good laugh to hear from everyone.
10/06/2005 04:27 PM
Well, its pretty crazy to think that Jr or anyone knew what exactly had happened. Jr said that something happened and the 38 and 48 just stopped, not that the 38 only checked up, but we all saw the reason for the stopping was that JJ hit Sadler. I agree that JJ was probably “forced” to take blame. He wouldnt have, had 99% of the racing population blamed him.I cannot stand his arrogance, like we race fans dont know a thing. Ha! We all seen the TRUTH, before he was even willing to accept what he did. It is very easy for us race fans to sit on our couches and to know what happens in the race, especially when its pretty black and white! JJ may have NAscar on his side, but he will never have the fanbase as his co-boss Jeff or Jr for that matter. JJ could end up Champ, and it will mirror Kurt Buschs’ Championship-nobody cares and nobody likes him!!
10/06/2005 04:28 PM
Dont get me wrong josette,or anyone one else,I call a spade a spade even when its my own driver.I am a junior fan and was not pleased with him at all when he took himself and waltrip out at charlotte.I made a point of giving my opinion on that on the forums also.thanks for the great chat.
10/06/2005 04:47 PM
As you might of guessed Harvey, I am truelly a JJ fan. And something told me you were a Jr. fan. I really LOVE Nascar. I have season tickets to NISW. And let me tell you that Sept. race was just AWESOME> They all got a time out. Frankly after watching this weeks race and into only 21 laps or so I thought they all needed to get another one. It was so crazy. Everyboby. I was so nervous for all those guys out there driving. Just cannot imagine what it would feel like or for that fact even have the calmness to do it. What a race though. I plan to try to go to a different a year. And I am truelly thinking that this track would be better than when I went to Daytona in FEb. I was a pleasure to chat with all of you. Take care
10/06/2005 04:55 PM
I will tell you a great track to go to is dover,you can see all the way around the track,your man won the race I was at and my guy finished like 6 laps down but it was still a great race.nice chatting
10/06/2005 04:55 PM
Seems to me, the big mistake you are makeing here is you don’t seem to know the difference from a push and bump, a push is from the car behind you drafting, not necessarly touching you, a bump is when the car behind you actually hits you. NOTE, Jimmie didn’t say Jr Hit him, he said he was getting a push from him. Besides I’m sure the guy in the 48 knows a hell of a lot more about what was going on than you or I do sitting on the couch watching what TV shows us
10/06/2005 05:17 PM
Well from watching the replay and the guys in the booth,junior was not even close enough to give jimmy a push.Like I said earlier,chad said on the lap of the wreck that the eight car was backing up to the 6 to get a push and a run on jimmy.If junior was backing up I find it hard to believe he was pushing.Are you Jimmy?you sound just like him with your couch comments-lol-just kidding
10/06/2005 05:20 PM
Where’ve you been Lyle? Junior’s had his share of bashing from the media all year. He just doesn’t whine about it like some do. You forget all the heat he took for taking out Mike at Lowes—from his fans, other fans, and the media?? If Jeff Gordon’s mini-me JJ would just admit when he’s wrong, he’d get more respect from me and others. Truth is, I can stomach JJ sometimes, but Chad Knaus does not make it easy!
Mad Mikie
10/06/2005 08:22 PM
Go back and look at all the races this season and see who’s caused the most wrecks. You’ll find JJ is not alone. Several other drivers would be contenders for that title. Some drivers get mentioned, some don’t. I’m not sticking up for JJ or the other drivers who think bump drafting or punting somebody out of the way is how you win a race. Newman, Edwards, both Busch brothers,and Vickers have also caused a few wrecks this season. If they would all just step up and admit they screwed up, it might be a little more palatable. As to boycotting stuff, I don’t goes to Lowe’s or Home Depot, I stay out of Target, I don’t use the official cell phone provider, I don’t go to Office Depot, I don’t use Sunoco, I don’t use Mobil 1,I don’t wear Wranglers,I don’t eat at Burger King, McDonalds, Pizza Hut, Domino’s or KFC, I don’t use Viagra, I won’t use Goodyear tires, I don’t own any Sony products, I don’t drink Bud, Coors, or Miller, I don’t drink Coke or Pepsi or any other soft drink, and I could go on. But my reason isn’t because of any particular driver. It’s because of who’s coffers get filled down in Daytona Beach off of these sponsors as an official product off or on the percentages that the folks in Daytona get off of these sponsors on marketing their products because they’re associated with the sanctioning body. But that’s just me. besides, are you going to buy a bag of potatoes just because it’s got that fancy “official product of” label on it?

Give ‘em hell Jeff.
10/06/2005 09:39 PM
I guess that I have to agree that JJ caused the wreck at dega, and if he would just stand up and take blame at the time, the teams tape these races and he knew before he got out of the car he at blame. Just wish JG would not have given up so much track position to help him after all the damage he had he had a car that could win and gve it up for JJ, I know he is running for a championship, but JG is running for the 11 th spot also, hopefully Kansas will be better to him.
10/06/2005 10:10 PM
Ya,I hear ya,jeff allways has a good RP. car and if it had not been for jimmy he may have been there at the end.He is part owner of the 48 car and I have to think he has talked to Jimmy about his driving habits at these plate tracks.I am not bashing Jimmy but do you think he is claustriphobic(spelled wrong-sorry)at these tracks?when in tight courters he seems to panic.
10/06/2005 11:04 PM
10/07/2005 12:40 AM
The differance with the Ryan Newman wreck is that he admitted that he might have made a mistake and said that he was sorry. Jimmie was so quick to place the blame on someone else…. not the first time he has done that. If he would just do what Ryan did and say I might have made a mistake and sorry then maybe everyone wouldnt be so upset with him.


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