Who wants to have at it?

In a season filled with guys poking and prodding at this whole “Boys, have at it,” mantra, Sunday’s late-race tangle between Jimmie Johnson and Kurt Busch should have been the next great talking point.

Instead, what turned a little spicy on the racetrack became a little disappointing, and a lot petty, after the race.

Johnson and Busch tangled on the final lap of the race at Pocono Sunday, lightyears behind winner Brad Keselowski (see post below) and runner-up Kyle Busch.  What went down between turns 1 & 2 on the last lap was nothing short of good, hard “beatin’ and bangin'” that we NASCAR fans love so much, with the 22 and 48 cars leaning on each other, side by side.

There was nothing dirty or underhanded about it.  Busch made the move to the bottom of Johnson, and while each blamed the other for coming over and initiating the contact, I think it’s fair to say that both may have leaned in the opposite direction given the circumstances.

That was a very entertaining way to end what was a very long afternoon, but after the race, Johnson approached Busch (before he could get out of his car; I don’t care who you are, I’ve always viewed that as a bit of a puss move.  Let the guy get out first and do it nose-to-nose) and voiced his displeasure.

With what?

With the fact that two former Cup champions racing to the flag leaned on each other a bit?  With the fact that the left side of his race car got a little bent up?

Or with the fact that Busch got the spot and Johnson wound up fourth?

Regardless, what the hell are we arguing about here?  This is what the fans paid to see.  Busch said so after the race when he asked “why can’t we race each other like this and put on a show for the fans?”

My sentiments, exactly.

This was fun to watch.  Busch and Johnson leaning on each other, nothing dirty about it.  If Busch had hooked him or hung a dead right into Johnson’s door, maybe the five-time champ would have something to complain about.  He still finished fourth, and still sits second in the standings to Carl Edwards.

Then, Johnson mentioned how Busch had one coming, and how he was “filing this away.”  If memory serves, the last three times these two have tangled (including a year ago at this very track), it’s always been the 48 coming out on top, usually leaving Busch with wrecked race cars.

So, regardless of what Johnson thinks, this was good racing.  It’s the kind of battles that fans have been clamoring for, and have gotten more of as of late.  I usually like Jimmie Johnson, but he needs to man up, take the fact that he and Busch put on a good show and raced hard, accept that he got the short end of the stick this time, and go on.

Perhaps Busch summed it up perfectly after the race Sunday, when he yelled at Johnson “You just can’t stand to lose, can you?”

Johnson’s retort:  “No, I can’t.”


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