Frustrated Biffle confronts Johnson in post-race


Believing that Jimmie Johnson had made contact with him during the race and caused his car’s rear bumper cover to come apart, Roush Fenway Racing’s Greg Biffle confronted the five-time Sprint Cup champion after today’s race at Martinsville Speedway.

Biffle’s bumper cover was spotted flapping in the air and he was eventually forced to go to pit road while running seventh. The No. 16 RFR team quickly tore off the bumper, but the sizable loss of track position put Biffle in catch-up mode for the remainder of the afternoon.

He would rally to finish ninth, but that didn’t keep him from having some words with Johnson in the pits. Television cameras caught the brief exchange, which had Biffle drop some expletives while warning Johnson: “You better watch it.”

“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,” Biffle said of Johnson according to Bob Pockrass of The Sporting News.

Johnson admitted that he made contact with Biffle during the race, but according to’s Kenny Bruce, it was actually Dale Earnhardt Jr. who ran into Biffle and initially caused the cover to become dislodged. Eventually, the cover came loose again, causing Biffle to have to pit.

Biffle would later apologize on Twitter for his actions against Johnson, who seemed to take the incident in stride at the time.

“[For] about a five-lap window, I was trying to get by him and I was inside him two or three times,” Johnson said according to Bruce. “We made contact and I didn’t quite understand why he was down [here] like he just did, but we’ll get it sorted out.

“Short-track racing at its finest – things get heated up and there it was right there…I was surprised he was still that [ticked] but he came down and was obviously pretty mad.”

Ferrari teammates Vettel and Raikkonen fastest in rainy final practice at Australian GP

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MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Ferrari drivers Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen went one-two in the final practice session ahead of qualifying at the water-logged Australian Grand Prix on Saturday.

Vettel set a best-lap time of 1 minute, 26.067 seconds, more than 2.4 seconds faster than his teammate in second.

Both Ferrari drivers switched from their intermediate tires to the super-fast, ultra-soft tires for the final few laps of the session, testing conditions on the track after a day-long downpour left it slick and filled with small puddles.

Mercedes drivers Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton did not opt to try out their soft tires, sticking to the intermediates for the entire session. They had the seventh- and eighth-fastest times, after topping the leaderboard in practice in dry conditions on Friday.

The heavy rains subsided by early afternoon, allowing the track to rapidly dry during the third practice session and making conditions safe for drivers to test their soft tires.

Still, only a few drivers completed a timed lap with the softer compounds, with Mercedes, Red Bull and most of the others staying with their intermediates.

Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson had the third-fastest time of the session on ultrasoft tires, followed by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen on intermediates.

Hamilton remains the favorite to capture his fifth straight pole position at the Australian Grand Prix in qualifying later Saturday. He had the fastest laps on ultrasoft tires in the two practice sessions on Friday, though Verstappen was right behind him.

Verstappen and Vettel both slid on the slick track early in the third practice session, but maintained control and completed their runs without incident.

Verstappen’s teammate, Daniel Ricciardo, had the sixth-fastest time of the session. The Australian’s chances of winning his fifth career Grand Prix on his home track in Melbourne took a hit late Friday when he was assessed a three-place grid penalty for Sunday’s race.

The Australian driver was penalized for driving too fast under red-flag conditions during Friday’s second practice session because of debris on the track.