NASCAR

Johnson says he blamed Hornish a little too much

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AVONDALE, Ariz. (AP)

Upon further review, Jimmie Johnson believes he probably blamed Sam Hornish Jr. a little too much for their costly accident last week at Texas Motor Speedway. Johnson wrecked three laps into the race after contact with Hornish, forcing a total rebuild of his car. He finished 38th and saw his lead in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship trimmed to 73 points over Hendrick Motorsports teammate Mark Martin. Johnson said on Friday at Phoenix International Raceway that he's talked with David Reutimann, who tapped Hornish and took some blame for triggering the wreck. Johnson, the three-time defending series champion, said he tries not to place blame too often, and his harsh postrace words for Hornish were sparked by frustration. "Once I got back to the media center, four hours of sitting there watching the points disappear, I probably put a little more blame on Sam than necessary," Johnson said at PIR, where he'll try to lock up his record fourth consecutive title on Sunday. After the Texas race, Johnson placed the blame squarely on Hornish. Hornish "just lost it inside of me and I wish he would have waited a little longer to lose it," Johnson said then. "I saw he lost it later on in the race and he can do that from time to time." Hornish countered that after Reutimann hit him, he didn't have time to correct the car before hitting Johnson. "I don't ever want to feel like I've affected the outcome of the championship when I'm not in it," Hornish said after the Texas wreck. On Friday, Johnson said he revised his opinion a bit after taking "a quick look" at the race and talking with Reutimann. "I guess it was easy for me to blame the 77 (Hornish) because he was the guy that came up inside and got into me," Johnson said. "I think he was the one kind of holding up the line. It's just easy to blame him. But it did take two cars." Johnson said he thinks Hornish had some handling issues and "wasn't going all that well." "As he got into the turn, he checked up more than (Reutimann) thought," Johnson said. "The 00 made contact and off it went. So there were a lot of ingredients to what went on." Could it happen again this Sunday? "I don't think lightning can strike two weeks in a row," Johnson said. "I'm certainly hoping it doesn't."

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