Shortly after Jimmie Johnson won his sixth Sprint Cup last fall at Homestead-Miami Speedway, former NFL quarterback Donovan McNabb became Public Enemy No. 1 in NASCAR Nation when he claimed that Johnson wasn’t a true athlete on a Fox Sports 1 studio show.
Johnson took the putdown largely in stride, even if he allowed himself a nod to the McNabb incident in December when he tweeted that his third-place showing in voting for the Associated Press’ Male Athlete of the Year was “not bad for a non-athlete.”
But it appears that the matter is water under the bridge now, as McNabb himself has dropped in on today’s Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway in Southern California.
The ex-Philadelphia Eagle was in attendance for today’s pre-race drivers’ meeting, as shown by this Instagram video from USA Today’s Jeff Gluck.
NASCAR vice president of competition Robin Pemberton made sure to make note of McNabb’s presence, as Gluck’s colleague and NBCSN contributor Nate Ryan reports:
NASCAR.com’s Zack Albert also writes that McNabb was given a pace car ride on the two-mile Fontana oval by Michael Waltrip Racing’s Clint Bowyer, who will start fifth in today’s main event.
Albert says the two actually swapped seats during the experience, with McNabb claiming he hit 130 miles per hour behind the wheel. Bowyer, ever the wise-cracker, responded: “It’s a good thing you’re an athlete, ’cause you’re not worth a damn as a driver.”
And of course, McNabb and Johnson had a chat with each other as well, with NASCAR.com’s Holly Cain tweeting a photo for posterity.
All is forgiven? It would seem that way…