By Toby Christie (Originally appeared on RubbingsRacing.com)
Last week they brushed it off, and attributed it to simply hard racing. I’m of course talking about the latest rivalry in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Jeff Gordon versus Jimmie Johnson.
At Texas the two four-time Sprint Cup Series champions made contact on the front straightaway, which crumpled the fender on Jimmie Johnson’s car, and caused him to hit pit road. The incident where it appeared Johnson drifted into Gordon was well documented, but it was really the culmination of a long day full of close quarters racing between the two. Both drivers insisted last week that this wouldn’t be an ongoing feud.
After last week’s run-in Gordon said, “I guess he thought I was being too aggressive. I don’t know, he just drove into my door. It ended up costing him.”
Johnson responded by saying, “I am pretty disappointed in how he was racing me today, but we will get to the bottom of it and sort it out. No need to play it out in the press and we’ll get it taken care of at the shop and during the week…”
We in the press didn’t play up the feud too much this past week, but now after what happened Sunday at Talladega we can’t help but ask if there’s something brewing between the Hendrick Motorsports teammates?
This week, as the Aaron’s 499 was winding down, Jeff Gordon was clipped yet again by Jimmie Johnson. This caused Gordon to go below the apron in the turn, and when he got back on the track all hell broke loose. By the end of the next lap Gordon’s car, one of the best all day, was destroyed in a melee. Gordon would soldier on to finish 22nd in his battered car, while Johnson would be swept up in a later accident.
Johnson’s accident would sideline him for the rest of the race, and Johnson would finish 31st.
Following the race Jeff Gordon was very frustrated with his teammate, and fellow four-time champion, Jimmie Johnson.
Gordon said, “…the No. 48 is testing my patience, I can tell you that. It takes a lot to make me mad and I am pissed right now. You know, when a car is going that much faster, I don’t know what it is with me and him right now, but whatever.”
Last week we were all told to sweep this under the rug, eventually it gets to a point where you can’t ignore the facts… The past two weeks, the No. 48 car, and the No. 24 car have found a way to run into each other, and the exchanges have resulted in three torn up race cars for Hendrick Motorsports.