Jimmie Johnson was in the fighting mood at Michigan on Sunday.
He fought a broken gear shifter (which required the use of vise grips as a shifter handle at one point). He fought recent history, having finished outside the top 10 in six straight races (with three finishes of 39th or worse). He fought his car’s engine, starting 30th and trying to get off pit cycle to gain track position. And he fought the field, working all the way up to a ninth-place finish, his best since finishing seventh at Sonoma in June.
But as you can see in the video above, Johnson did his most entertaining fighting with Ryan Newman. The two traded paint for several laps down the stretch — Johnson racing for momentum heading into the Chase, Newman racing for a spot in the Chase, having not yet won this season. In the end, JJ got the best of it, finishing two spots ahead of the 11th-place Newman.
So what exactly had the two in each other’s face after the race? Well, the video of the chat doesn’t have any audio, Newman did not comment after the race, and Johnson did not offer much in the way of details (but if you watch the video to the end, you get an NSFW word from JJ).
But after the race, Johnson was in more of a playful mood, posting a video to Instagram in which he takes part in the Ice Bucket Challenge and issues his challenge to three NASCAR figures, including . . . yup, Newman.
And with a nice little jab at Newman at the end:
In case you couldn’t make it out, Johnson challenged crew chief Chad Knaus, NASCAR president Mike Helton, and Newman. And to Newman he added: "I think you might need to cool off a little bit."
Thankfully, we get a short week — and Bristol! — before the potential next round in this … feud?