Dale Earnhardt Jr has laid the blame firmly at the feet of Brian Vickers for the controversial multi-car accident that hit the 51st running of the Daytona 500.
The pair clashed on the back-straight on lap 124 after Earnhardt got a run on the Red Bull man and went for the inside, with Vickers moving across to defend his position. The pair touched once before Earnhardt then attempted to come back onto the circuit but tagged the Toyota, tipping Vickers into a spin across the chasing field.
The incident ultimately caught up no fewer than ten drivers, including long-time leader Kyle Busch, while Earnhardt was able to continue and took the finish in 28th place.
Both Busch and Vickers had expressed their disappointment with the incident while the race was still running but Earnhardt was clear who he felt had been to blame when quizzed about what had happened post-race.
"Penalise me? For what?” he replied when asked if he had been concerned about being hit with a penalty for causing the wreck. “I got ran in to and sent below the line. What the hell? I don't want to go down there, I didn't aim to go down there, and I got sent down there. What the hell am I supposed to do? Then what am I supposed to do? Stay down there? No. I got to get back up on the race track.
"It was unfortunate man. If he [Vickers] wasn't so damn reckless, we would have never had that problem, that would never happen. As far as I am concerned, it is all his responsibility.
"I got a run on him and he saw me coming. I had a big ole' run on him and I went to the inside. I didn't try to make no late move and try to make it some surprise or anything, I just kind of eased on over there and he went to block me and hit me in the fender and sent us both off. Sent me down toward the grass and trying to recover my car I got back into him coming back up the race track. I don't hate it for him but for everybody else that got wrecked."
The accident capped what was a frustrating race for the Hendrick Motorsport man who had run into problems on two of his pit-stops, firstly missing his pit stall altogether and being forced to go round again on one stop and then losing a lap with a penalty on a following stop for not being in his pit box.
"If you look down this pit road, my sign is pink and every other sign is pink so it's hard to see,” he said. “They're all about the same colour. Everybody says all right I'm going to make mine yellow this week then two weeks later everybody's is yellow. I was under a lot of pressure too. I was putting a lot of pressure on myself to get up in there and try to lead a lap and all that and I just wasn't thinking good. I mean I can't really blame it on anybody but myself."