Even though his spotter took some of the blame Monday afternoon, NASCAR America analyst Jeff Burton said Sunday’s late-race contact between Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. is “100 percent” on the seven-time champion.
“Jimmie Johnson would say that,” Burton said. “There’s only one driver of that race car. Even if Earl (Barban) said ‘clear’ and he wasn’t clear, Jimmie Johnson has to be responsible. The reason why is Jimmie Johnson is the only one going to the infield care center. Jimmie Johnson is the only one in that situation. The driver has to take full responsibility.”
Burton said the run-in between teammates was a “simple mistake.” The former Cup driver then shared his own similar experience in a 2001 IROC series race at Daytona with Dale Earnhardt Sr.
“I knew Dale Earnhardt was on the outside of me and somehow or the other I turned right, shoved him into the wall, wrecked myself,” Burton recalled. “The next day he asked, ‘what were you doing?’ And I didn’t have an answer. I was like, ‘I don’t know, man. I blinked out there for a minute.’ It happens to everybody. It’s not something we see Jimmie Johnson do often, for sure.”
Watch the video for the full segment.