Biffle discusses apology over Martinsville incident with Johnson

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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.”

Michael Schumacher’s son to make F1 practice debut at Nurburgring

F1 Mick Schumacher
Joe Portlock - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images
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MARANELLO, Italy — Mick Schumacher, son of the legednary seven-time champion, will have an official Formula One drive during an F1 race weekend for the first time next week at the Nurburgring, Alfa Romeo and Ferrari said Tuesday.

Schumacher gets the practice drive in an Alfa Romeo on Oct. 9 on his home track in Germany as a member of Ferrari’s young driver program, taking over Antonio Giovinazzi’s car for the first session of the weekend.

“I am overjoyed to get this chance in free practice,” Schumacher said in a statement. “I’m going to prepare myself well, so that I can do the best possible job for the team and gain some valuable data for the weekend.”

The 21-year-old Schumacher leads the Formula 2 standings after winning races in Monza and Sochi. He won the European Formula 3 championship in 2018 and tested a Ferrari F1 car in Bahrain in April 2019. He also has done demonstration runs in his father’s old cars, most recently this month ahead of the Tuscan Grand Prix in a championship-winning 2004 Ferrari.

Michael Schumacher holds the F1 record with 91 victories, which Lewis Hamilton is on the verge of tying.

Ferrari said two other drivers in its academy program will also get practice drives in Formula One.

Callum Ilott, a British driver who is second to Mick Schumacher in F2, will drive an F1 Haas at the Nurburgring on the same day as Schumacher. Russian driver Robert Shwartzman will drive in practice for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Dec. 11, though Ferrari hasn’t said for which team.

The German round was added to the F1 schedule after the coronavirus pandemic disrupted the season and will be officially known as the Eifel Grand Prix after a nearby mountain range. The Nurburgring last hosted F1 in 2013.