Ryan Blaney upset by Jimmie Johnson’s comments in TV interview

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BROOKLYN, Mich. — Ryan Blaney said he could handle Jimmie Johnson approaching him after last weekend’s race to discuss their incident at Watkins Glen and could handle having Johnson “chew my ass out for two minutes” but what Johnson said in an interview on NBCSN crossed a line for Blaney.

In the interview, Johnson said: “I couldn’t hear what (Blaney) was saying, his lips were quivering so bad that he can’t even speak. I guess he was nervous or scared or both, I don’t know what the hell the problem is.”

Blaney said Friday that those comments “really pissed me off.”

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Blaney later called Johnson’s TV comments a “cowardly move of saying I’m quivering and shaking and scared of him when we’re just sitting there talking about it and I’m letting him say what he wants to say and I’m saying things back to him.”

The two drivers have not talked since.

“For him to say what he said after we got done talking, that pretty much solidified that respect has dwindled down a lot,” Blaney said at Michigan International Speedway. “Obviously that respect doesn’t go both ways. It showed he has no respect for me.”

Johnson expressed disappointment Friday that Blaney had not reached out to him since the incident.

“I have learned more about Ryan’s point of view through reading articles than I have out of his mouth,” Johnson said Friday at Michigan International Speedway. “That part bothers me. That’s pretty sad.”

Johnson was upset with Blaney after contact that wrecked Johnson and cost him several spots. Johnson said Friday that part of his anger was because he needs all the possible points to make the playoffs. Johnson holds the final playoff spot by a tiebreaker over Ryan Newman entering Sunday’s Cup race at Michigan (3 p.m. ET on NBCSN).

Johnson went to Blaney after the race and had a conversation.

“When I went to 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,” Johnson said. “That aspect only confirmed the way I felt in the car. I thought I would get a call from him during the week just the friendship that we have had, the amount of respect that I thought we had for one another, and I didn’t.”

Johnson said he would have handled the situation differently if he was in Blaney’s situation.

“If I was in his shoes and saw that, I would realize that I didn’t say enough and I respect that guy and I need to follow up with him and talk to him during the week,” Johnson said. “That’s how I would have responded.

They are likely to meet at some point this weekend. Their motorhomes are parked next to each other in the drivers lot at Michigan.

“If we run into to each other in the bus lot or around the garage or something yea, we’re going to talk,” Blaney said, “but I’m not going to go out of my way to reach out to him and call him on the phone when we’ve already talked after the race. He expects an apology from me. That’s just out of line. There’s just no need for me to do that.

“We talked after the race. There’s no need for me to keep going back to it like a hungry dog, I’m so sorry and get on my knees and beg for his forgiveness. That’s just not how it is. It’s not what happened.”