Jimmie Johnson met the media Friday morning at Martinsville Speedway and immediately addressed the Talladega controversy involving crew chief Chad Knaus' directions to damage the No. 48 Chevrolet in a post victory celebration.
Johnson denied there was anything illegal about his ride and that the team is innocent of any wongdoing:
CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT THIS CONVERSATION BETWEEN YOU AND CHAD PRIOR TO THE RACE AT TALLADEGA?
“Yeah, looking back on things, Chad ( Knaus, crew chief) explained himself very well this week, and has been more than available to talk though the situation. Everyone is very well aware at the statements he made. The other thing to remember is that car passed inspection multiple times throughout the course of the weekend. At the end of the day, while Chad was trying to protect himself post-race, he made a foolish statement. That is truly it. At the end of the day, that car passed inspection multiple times at an impound race and was pushed out onto the grid. It was certainly something that we did not want to take place. You can tell from my reaction it was something I had never heard in the car from him before, and it is what it is. The car passed tech at the race track multiple times and people have to build faith in that; Chad and I certainly respect NASCAR and their inspection process and unfortunately it happened for really no reason at all and now we have to put it behind us.”
WHAT WAS YOUR REACTION AT THAT MOMENT? “At the moment, I was kind of surprised. As he talked to me he made a reference to covering his bases and I’m like, I am not thinking about that, I am going racing like I always do, so that was that.”
HAS CHAD EVER ASKED YOU ANYTHING LIKE THAT BEFORE?
“No, you can tell by my reaction in the race car that was something I had not heard before.”
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