Dale Earnhardt Jr. brought teammate Jimmie Johnson onto his weekly podcast to assure his fans that the pair remain fast friends and fitness buddies in the wake of Sunday’s collision at Richmond International Raceway.
Jimmie Johnson stepped away from a fitness training session before 6 a.m. in Colorado to call in to Hendrick Motorsports teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s show this week.
At Richmond, Johnson side-swiped Earnhardt’s car, pushing him into the wall along the backstretch.
Johnson wanted to know if Earnhardt’s mom had forgiven him. “She’s fine,” Earnhardt comforted him.
Then NASCAR’s most popular driver then made sure that his teammate and fans knows he holds no ill will as well.
“We’re all good,”Earnhardt said. “Fans like to think that whenever we have a run-in that we’re going to get mad at each other, but teammates don’t get mad at each other too often.”
“At the time though, were you mad?” asked Johnson.
“No,” answered Earnhardt and then added more for his podcast audience, switching to “he” when referencing Johnson, perhaps in a nod to his podcast audience.
“As wild as it was I knew it wasn’t like ... he (Johnson) just wasn’t giving me room. I knew how hard we hit. He didn’t even know I was there.”
Earnhardt recalled causing a similar incident with Jeff Gordon at Bristol when they were teammates.
“I ran into Jeff and cut his left rear tire,” Earnhardt said. “Now that ... he was mad, as was his crew chief.
“But I knew when we (Earnhardt and Johnson) hit, Jimmie had no clue that I was even there.”
“I think we were both pretty shocked,” added Johnson.
After the wreck, Johnson, who won his record-tying seventh Cup Series championship last season, sits in eighth place in the standings. Earnhardt, who will retire at the end of this season, sits in 24th place.
Johnson said that leading up to Sunday’s collision he had become preoccupied with keeping a water bottle from falling into his car’s pedal area.
He speculated that he missed some information from his spotter about the cars near him on the track.
Then “.. he didn’t say anything off the turn, just assuming that I knew that you (Earnhardt) were there,” Johnson continued. “... I clearly came out to the wall with all intentions to have the entire racetrack to myself.”
Earnhardt said he was amused by much of what he saw on social media after the wreck.
Johnson said that so many Twitter users spell his name “Jimmy” that he figured that TV analyst and former Dallas Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson ends up “getting hazed to death when something like this happens.”
“How many championships do you think you have to win before they learn how to spell your name?” joked Earnhardt.
Jimmie Johnson and Earnhardt finished their call talking about their fitness workouts, with the defending Cup champ explaining how his health regimen began and how much it’s helped his racing career.
The Hendrick teammates will race next at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama in Sunday’s Geico 500.
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