Johnson recounts wild week on social media
April 12, 2013, Holly Cain, NASCAR.com
FORT WORTH, Texas -- It was a big week on social media for last week’s big NASCAR Sprint Cup Series winner Jimmie Johnson. He announced on Twitter that he and wife Chandra are expecting their second child in September.
And he had a little fun with Junior Nation, too.
Johnson addressed both subjects Friday morning in the Texas Motor Speedway garage. And he was still smiling.
"I saw a theme developing and I just felt like having a little fun with it and kind of stirring the pot."
-- Jimmie Johnson
When Johnson -- as the race leader -- drove by Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s hobbled car during a late caution in Sunday’s race at Martinsville Speedway, he drew the ire of Earnhardt’s massively loyal and loud legions. They took to Twitter and questioned -- many angrily -- why the five-time champ would put his Hendrick Motorsports teammate down a lap instead of stopping on track and waiting for Earnhardt to get his car moving again. Earnhardt filed in line just behind Johnson.
“The car is stopped in the middle of the road and now it backs up and I know that I am the head of 42 cars,’’ Johnson explained. “I assume he’s (Earnhardt Jr.) backing up to let me by and I’ve been in that position where I’ve got to get turned around in front of the field and can’t, and my goal is to get the hell out of the way. I just assumed he was backing up to let me go through.
“After talking to him and Stevie (Letarte, Earnhardt’s crew chief), really the situation was I was just trying to get going and would liked to have not put him down a lap. But there is no fault held there by what I did. Again, I thought he was backing up to get out of the way.”
Instead of passionately defending himself to the Twitter universe earlier in the week, the good-natured Johnson chose to poke back.
“You haters have it right,’’ Johnson tweeted on Monday. “I’m a bad teammate, I have a cheated up car, I’m lucky and the race was fixed. Gotta love twitter.’’
On Friday, he was still grinning about the situation.
“I just honestly wanted to have fun with it,’’ Johnson said. “I saw a theme developing and I just felt like having a little fun with it and kind of stirring the pot. It’s funny, after that tweet I haven’t had much negative coming in.
“Again, I even said this in interviews earlier in the week, there is a small but loud fan base. I think all of us that work in the sport can sense that through the social channels. … I think there is a large chunk that are pro No. 48, then the majority are respectful of No. 48 (and) then there is a small portion that (isn’t). I will take those numbers. That is fine by me.”
Earnhardt said Thursday he wasn’t upset with Johnson and would have done the same thing himself.
“He did actually try to slow down and I think that he saw that I had two left-side flat tires and it was pretty pointless for him to wait,’’ Earnhardt said. “If he stopped at all, the guys behind him would have been able to pass him for that position. He couldn’t give up that opportunity or take that chance or that risk.
“I would have done the same thing Jimmie did. I’m leading the race. I’ve got to think about my team and my car and what I’m trying to do. I don’t think he did it out of spite or anything like that. He just was driving his race.’’
The resulting victory put Johnson back atop the Sprint Cup Series standings by six points over Brad Keselowski, and Johnson’s good news of his wife’s pregnancy capped off a good week.
Fittingly, Johnson made the announcement on Twitter that daughter Genevieve "is so excited to be a big sister”, considering that’s how the couple announced her birth in July 2010.
With the upcoming birth expected to come as the 10-race Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup begins in earnest, Johnson said Friday he hasn’t arranged for a back-up driver yet.
“We know that we need to, but we still have some time,’’ Johnson said. “We are not sure who will be available come that time.
“I was joking with Aric Almirola last weekend if he wanted to be my back-up driver again, but he clearly has a full-time gig and can’t do it. We will just have to see, but we will definitely have a plan like always.
“Our doctor has told me that a father has never missed a birth. That gives me a lot of confidence that I will be able to do my weekend job and then be around during the week to meet number two.”
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