In a NASCAR teleconference this afternoon, Greg Biffle shed some more light on his post-race confrontation with Jimmie Johnson last Sunday and his subsequent apology over the incident on Twitter.
Biffle indicated to the media that the apology was directed to the fans for how he handled the matter, not to Johnson in particular – although he did say he was planning to call the five-time Sprint Cup champion.
Following the end of Sunday’s race at Martinsville Speedway, Biffle grabbed Johnson by the collar on pit road and turned him around before delivering some choice words.
Contact between the two drivers caused the rear bumper cover on Biffle’s No. 16 Roush Fenway Racing Ford to start flapping in the air, and that eventually forced Biffle, who was running in the Top 10 at the time, to pit road for repairs.
Biffle would charge from mid-pack over the final 100+ laps to finish ninth, but that didn’t stop him from being frustrated with Johnson, who said he had been trying to go to the inside of Biffle when they came together.
But today, Biffle insisted that Johnson hit him in the rear end after his bumper cover was initially dislodged by Dale Earnhardt Jr.
“When I was walking over there, I was furious,” Biffle recalled. “We had a great car. Nobody knows this, but we had the fastest car the last 65 laps of that race. We closed in on the leader by five seconds from the start of that run to the end of it. We closed in on the 24 car [race winner Jeff Gordon[ by that much. I had to start to the back and drove to ninth.
“The other misconception was that everybody said, ‘You should be mad at the 88 [Earnhardt], he ripped your bumper off.’ We came in and fixed it [the first time] and started at the back. The 48 car [Johnson] ran square in the back of my car, not inside of me, like his claim when I came up and talked to him about it.”
Nonetheless, Biffle felt that he should’ve addressed the situation better despite his anger at not being able to race for the win with a car he felt was up to the task.
“It just didn’t transpire and I was a little upset about that,” he said. “So I should have handled that a little differently with Jimmie. I didn’t realize he was in the middle of his interview. I thought he was talking to some print reporters when I first went over there.
“I didn’t realize he was on camera. I apologize for that. I should have maybe waited till he was done and then had my conversation with him in private with no cameras or media around.”