Jimmie Johnson felt he deserved an apology from Ryan Blaney.
Ryan Blaney believes he deserves respect from the seven-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion.
As of Friday afternoon at Michigan International Speedway, neither driver had gotten what he wanted in the aftermath of an collision that sent Johnson’s No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet into the tire barrier last Sunday at Watkins Glen International.
To Blaney, it was a racing incident born of two drivers fighting for the same position. To Johnson, it was a case of getting run over. Johnson confronted Blaney on pit road after the race, but the conversation produced no satisfactory resolution.
Johnson expected a call or text from Blaney during the week. None came.
“I was (ticked) off, I was crashed, I got drove through, plain and simple,” Johnson said. “I don’t care how it looks or how it’s perceived. I got dumped, and I was upset. The way I was raised and I went racing was when something like that happens you go talk to the guy. I was taught not to use my car as a weapon, go out and try to crash a guy back.
“Fighting is really not my thing either, unless I have to defend myself, so I went there and talked to the guy and hoped to hear a different side of the story than what I thought took place in the car. So that’s the way I was raised in racing and the way I handled it…
“All I can speak to is the way I know I would handle things. Wrong, right or indifferent, I’ve always made an effort to talk to the person. I have learned more about Ryan’s point of view through reading articles than I have from out of his mouth, and that part bothers me. It’s pretty sad.”
Johnson noted after the pit road conversation that Blaney’s lip was quivering during the exchange. Blaney took offense to the characterization.
“I was pretty disappointed what he said after the race—and that pretty much confirmed that I wasn’t going to check back in with him,” Blaney said on Friday at Michigan. “That really (ticked) me off. I raced Jimmie with a lot of respect, and I let him chew my ass out for two minutes or whatever it was and was very respectful and gave me his side of the story.
“And then for him to say what he did after we got done talking, that pretty much solidified that that respect has dwindled down a lot. Obviously, that respect doesn’t go both ways. It showed me he doesn’t have respect for me.
“That really upset me. If I see him around, I’m sure we’ll have words. But I’m not going to reach out, because we talked after the race and what else is going to be solved?”
The chances of Johnson and Blaney running into each other off the track rose substantially at Michigan. By happenstance, their motor homes are parked next to each other in the driver lot.