NASCAR: Johnson and Blaney bury the hatchet over beers at Michigan

NASCAR: Johnson and Blaney bury the hatchet over beers at Michigan
Logan Riely/Getty Images

BROOKLYN, Mich.—Ryan Blaney’s lip didn’t quiver when he ran alongside Jimmie Johnson during practice at Michigan International Speedway on Saturday.
Then again, Blaney insists his lip didn’t quiver after the seven-time champion dressed him down on pit road following an incident at Watkins Glen last Sunday either.
But before the drivers’ disagreement escalated any further, Blaney took the high road—over to Johnson’s motor coach on Friday night with a couple of beers and offered the veteran the conversation he desired.
“We talked for half an hour,” Blaney told “I thought it ended really well. It was just a discussion, two guys talking, explaining our sides. We didn’t agree on some things, but it was agree to disagree on a few things. 
“Things happen on the track with two different drivers. You’re never going to be like, ‘Yeah, you were right on that.’ You’re always going to have your mind-set on what happened in that instance. Some things, we’re not going to agree upon but it was just nice to talk it out. I kind of just wanted to say we talked and we’re fine.”
Despite airing his differences at The Glen, Johnson was expecting a follow-up call from Blaney. Throughout his racing career, Johnson has gained more from talking it out with fellow competitors. Earlier on Friday, Johnson was disappointed that he hadn’t heard from Blaney—his next-door neighbor in the motorcoach lot.
“Wrong, right or indifferent, I’ve always made an effort to talk to the person,” Johnson said. “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. 
“When I went to go talk to him after the race, at some point he said he felt bad but I never heard ‘I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to,’ nothing that would make me think that he didn’t care if it happened. That aspect only confirmed the way I felt in my car. So I thought I would get a call from him during the week, just the friendship that we’ve had, the amount of respect that I thought we had for one another, and I didn’t.”
Blaney, who was smarting more from Johnson’s post-race comments to the media rather than the incident itself, didn’t believe there was anything more to say after the Glen. But as the media frenzy continued at Michigan, Blaney thought it best to put the disagreement behind him.
“In my eyes, it ended really well,” Blaney added. “Jimmie is a good friend of mine. It’s just the whole week has been blown up—blown out of proportion a lot—for sure. I got his side and said I didn’t appreciate what he said about me afterward and explained it. And I was fine with it.
“No, the racing side-by-side with him doesn't worry me. We’re still going to race each other hard like we always have, but it was good to talk to him at the race track face-to-face.”

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