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Johnson steps up the vitriol toward Busch

Jimmie Johnson came to Watkins Glen determined to pick up his row with Kurt Busch where the two left off at the end of the Pocono race, letting fly in the pre-race press conference.
"Bottom line, he just started running his mouth," snapped Jimmie Johnson at Watkins Glen on Friday, talking about Kurt Busch. "At the end of the day, I'm not going to let him run his mouth at me. It's just kind of how it is."

Anyone expecting Jimmie Johnson to return to the NASCAR paddock this weekend with his normal calm composure restored and displaying a more diplomatic, conciliatory stance toward Kurt Busch couldn't have been more wrong. Johnson took over the pre-race media appearance to let loose with both barrels and make it clear that his verbal fight with Busch was anything but done.

The fight between the two drivers started after the two made multiple swipes at each other on the final lap at Pocono after Johnson succeeded in passing Busch for third place. Replays showed Johnson that swerved at the side of Busch, and Busch responded by swerving into the #48 and making the first actual hit.

"We come off turn 1 and Kurt gets to me to side-draft me. I try to break the side draft and from there, he felt it was necessary to run into the side of my car and tear my car up," said Johnson explaining that initial swerve he made toward the #22. "I made zero contact with Kurt at Pocono. Once he hit me, then I leaned on him back. When I went to break the draft, I never touched him. Then he instigated the contact. That's not my goal."

But what really had Johnson worked up was how Busch had behaved when the two confronted each other in pit road immediately after the end of the race.

"When I hopped out the car and started talking to him, he had one level of interaction with me when he's sitting in his race car. When he got out of the car, neither one of us were happy, but we were talking," he said.

"Then the crowd started to build and his bravery started to build. I walk away, and he got awfully tough. That part frustrates me, and that's where you saw me engage like I did. If you're going to say something, say it to the man's face eye-to-eye when he's there, not when he walks away.

"The stuff on track made me mad, but to have somebody run their mouth like he does and did to me – if you look back at the timeline to when I was the maddest, that's when I was mad."

Johnson pointed out that Busch has always seemed to talk his way into trouble during his NASCAR career. "If you look at over the years and what his mouth has done for him: It got my 'biggest fan', Jimmy Spencer, to punch him in the face; it's led to issues with the NASCAR officials on pit road; I think we all tune in weekly and wonder what he's going to say to his crew guys; you look at what he said to Roger Penske, his car owner," he added, referring to the team radio tirade earlier this season that marked a watershed for the Penske organisation's season.




Related Pictures

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Jimmie Johnson climbs into the #48 in the garage area at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. [Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton for Getty Images]
Kurt Busch celebrates winning the Coors Light Pole for the Heluva Good Sour Cream Dips 400 at Michigan International Speedway, his third consecutive pole position. [Picture Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR]
Jimmie Johnson in the garage area. [Photo credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR]
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Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, celebrates in victory lane after winning the series championship during the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
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Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, celebrates with the trophy in Victory Lane after winning the series championship after the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)
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Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS, who is not in the Championship Four final phase of the Chase, qualified for 2nd position Friday, November 14, 2014 for Sunday`s final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. He will be joined on the front row by Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS who won the Pole position. Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
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Regan Smith, driver of the #7 TaxSlayer.com Chevrolet, stands in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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