By admin | August 8, 2011
By Richard Allen
When the cars of Kurt Busch and Jimmie Johnson got into each other multiple times during the final lap of the Good Sam RV Insurance 500 at the Pocono Raceway on Sunday a post-race confrontation of some sort could have been easily foreseen. However, what wasn’t predictable was the words used by each driver in the verbal jabbing both on pit road and in later interviews.
When words like “crybaby” and “smartass” are used it would seem an easy guess that it had been the temperamental Busch to have uttered them. After all, the often blunt driver was his usual self as he talked to his crew on the in-car radio during the event. At one point when crew chief Steve Addington discussed different strategies the team might employ to give them better track position Busch replied, “Have we ever thought about just making faster cars?”
But instead, it was Johnson who somewhat uncharacteristically used the derogatory terms in describing his rival. The five time champion is more often than not the epitome of ‘cool under fire’ but certainly showed that he could be stirred to anger in this instance.
“He’s a big crybaby and wants to take shots at me when he can,” Johnson said of Busch in an interview published by SceneDaily.com’s Bob Pockrass. “He’s good for running his mouth. He can keep running it. I’ll shut it for him.”
As the two exchanged verbal jabs standing beside Busch’s car the one time champion reminded the five time champion of an incident last year on this same track which left Busch’s then #2 ride destroyed while Johnson rode away cleanly.
Busch has never been shy about voicing his disdain for Johnson and openly maintains an “Anybody but the 48” policy.
These two have had multiple run-ins throughout their careers but it typically seems to be Busch who comes out the worse for wear from a PR standpoint. However, he definitely scored a knockout blow in the verbal jab session when he said, “I didn’t know we were supposed to pull over when it came down to five to go. I raced him hard. I raced him smart. I raced him clean. And he wants to come over here and bitch about it.”
“He came off the turn and did a jab to me left. I did a jab back to the right,” Busch went on. “It was as clean as I’ve ever seen it. Why can’t we race like this and put on a show for the fans and not have a problem with it.”
The part about putting on a show for the fans won the day according to virtually all respondents to the question of “Who won the war of words between Jimmie Johnson and Kurt Busch?” that I posed on Facebook and Twitter.
There has been trouble before between these two championship drivers. But it’s supposed to be Johnson who wins out with the media and most fans when it’s over. This time it was Busch who seemed to keep his cool and provide all the right answers.
So, did Jimmie Johnson and Kurt Busch trade personalities when the traded paint on the Pocono backstretch?
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